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PostPosted: Jul 24th, '12, 09:22 
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So here I am in central Indiana, no greenhouse, and a sudden desire to raise my own fish!? I decided that I have enough space in my basement to build a reasonably large, for an indoor setup, AP system that will fulfill my want of fresh fish.

My initial thought was to find a few IBCs or some stock tanks. Then I measured my basement again, nope, I'm going to have to build something from scratch if I want to be able to grow any decent greenery to go with my fish. I ventured out to the garage, front porch, backyard, etc. All the place that I have scrap material. I decided that I can build a timber and plywood frame for the whole thing, and line it with pond liner (heavy plastic type).

All in all I would end up with about 40 cubic feet of grow bed (1' deep) and about 240 gallons of water between the tank and sump. I have attached a basic sketchup drawing of my initial plan.

Keep in mind that I only have an area about 8' cubed to build/install this monster in. I hope to use large gravel topped with expanded clay for the grow media (to save money) and found a few local fisheries that will source me smaller batches of bluegill or tilapia. I'm leaning towards the tilapia at the moment.

I would be glad to hear your thoughts, recommendations, and criticisms as I continue to plan this out.
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PostPosted: Jul 24th, '12, 10:16 
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I like it!

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PostPosted: Jul 24th, '12, 12:55 
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Very nice. Love a well designed system from the start.

I assume you are going sump=gravity=>FT=pump=>GB=gravity=>sump or FT=gravity=>sump=pump=>GB=gravity=>FT

Either way you will need a solids handling pump. In the second option you will additionally need to put a T on the Ft side of the FT-GB pipe and drop a pipe to the FT bottom to act as a Solids Lift Overflow.

Unless you have a special plan/use for the sump, might aswell call it fishtank 2.


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PostPosted: Jul 24th, '12, 19:09 
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I was planning on FT=gravity=>sump=pump=>GB=gravity=>FT, Thsnks for the heads up on the SLO. I was thinking about some crawfish in the "sump".


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PostPosted: Jul 24th, '12, 20:49 
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The first thing that sprung to mind immediately is the weight of the gravel for the top lot of grow beds. As long as you have taking into consideration the weight then it looks good to me :) It looks like you should have a good amount of light for your plants too :thumbright:

Another thought, and this is probably more a matter of how it will all lay out in your basement. Could you swap the bottom grow bed and fist tank around? That would give you a bit more fish tank space as the fish get bigger. It would also save you having to run the pipe across the access way in the middle.

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PostPosted: Jul 25th, '12, 00:33 
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Hey slm, I like your design, great drawings!

I had a system in the basement that was made from a 180 gallon stock tank for FT and 110 gallon for sump, and four 25 gallon tubs for beds, also a separate loop of plants in the backyard with water exchange between the basement and backyard. This worked pretty well and allowed me to raise around 50 tilapia. I didn't really get much out of using a 400 watt MH grow light (just some lettuce and really skinny tomato plants) so I just made an outside setup for the plants rather than trying to grow with lights. See here: viewtopic.php?p=28824#p28824

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PostPosted: Jul 25th, '12, 01:52 
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Thanks everyone for the ideas on the design, look for some updated plans late tonight or tomorrow!

I currently have a few african violets and other small ornamentals in the basement. They will probably migrate to one of the GB's. I plan on adding in some herbs, lettuce, and trying for some tomatoes. I never thought about an external loop, good idea. That will be easy for me to implement during the summer as my basement access is actually via an outside door.

It turns out that I may be in the designing phase for longer than expected, apparently the wife decided that we are re-modeling a bathroom.

On the plus side I have a established 75 gallon tank inside that I can use to kick start the bacteria in the system.


edit: ooh, and beet root! I love beets, anybody ever try turnips in a AP system?


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PostPosted: Jul 25th, '12, 01:54 
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Right on, don't wait to start something going, lots of fun to be had!

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PostPosted: Jul 25th, '12, 11:15 
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I re-measured the basement, and layedout the proposed design on the floor in tape. It's not going to work :( . I decided to go with a smaller design based off a 75 gallon fish tank. This model I may even be able to convince the wife to allow out of the basement!

Anyway here are some renders.
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The it is just over 100" tall, 18" deep, and 54" wide. The GB is four rubbermaid totes.

I realize that I will only have around 55-60 gallons of usable tank, without adding some sort of sump, and that I will have to keep up on the water level. If it goes in the basement I can add a auto top-off to it, if it goes upstairs I will see it everyday all day and can keep it topped up manually.

If the first unit is successful (and the wife lets it come upstairs) I do have space to add a second unit next to it. This would allow for a full FT and a lower sump (crawfish!) along with doubling my GB area.

Let the round two feedback commence!


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PostPosted: Jul 25th, '12, 12:54 
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rsevs3 wrote:
Could you swap the bottom grow bed and fist tank around? [...] would also save you having to run the pipe across the access way in the middle.


That's what I was thinking also. Not that it matters so much now.


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PostPosted: Jul 25th, '12, 13:01 
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If you are going to go with small beds in your new design it might be worth doing the hammock style growbeds that Dave Donnelly makes out of pond liner only.


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PostPosted: Jul 26th, '12, 00:35 
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Are you planning on flood and drain? If you did constant flood the only water level change would be slow from evaporation. Constant flood works well enough that in this situation it could really help simplify things. Water in gravel beds takes up somewhere around 40% of the bed volume, so you would add a bit more volume than the 75 gallon aquarium with the beds somewhat full (maybe 2/3?)

Also, be careful to look at pump head graphs when buying a pump as 6' or so is pretty tall to pump. I had planned on pumping up 5' until I found my pump couldn't do it.

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PostPosted: Jul 26th, '12, 00:48 
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[quote="Dave Donley"]Are you planning on flood and drain? If you did constant flood the only water level change would be slow from evaporation. Constant flood works well enough that in this situation it could really help simplify things. Water in gravel beds takes up somewhere around 40% of the bed volume, so you would add a bit more volume than the 75 gallon aquarium with the beds somewhat full (maybe 2/3?)

Also, be careful to look at pump head graphs when buying a pump as 6' or so is pretty tall to pump. I had planned on pumping up 5' until I found my pump couldn't do it.[/quote]

I was planning on constant flood, I just want to be sure to allow for the tank to hold all the water from the GB in the event of a power/pump failure. If this was in the basement I wouldn't care if it overflowed, if I can put it in the house....

Dave, do you have any info on the hammock GB system that was mentioned? I can't seem to find it in your threads.


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PostPosted: Jul 26th, '12, 02:26 
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Sure you can try here:
http://backyardaquaponics.com/forum/vie ... 97#p266797
http://backyardaquaponics.com/forum/vie ... 76#p282976
http://backyardaquaponics.com/forum/vie ... 39#p283139

The liner is held in tension attached to a frame or board, and hangs down. TC is making troughs like this for her tower system, using galvanized pipe and Duraskrim liner. This is also similar to the Friendly's style of DWC trough, where there is a frame of 2x4s holding the top edge of liner, and the liner hangs down forming an arc.

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PostPosted: Jul 26th, '12, 03:36 
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Slm. If you are going constant flood you won't need to account for the FT holding all the water in the GBs in addition to its own. The beds will stay full in case of power outage.

If the outages are such a prob that you think the water will sit still in the for too long then maybe run some air inside the GB on battery backup (not sure if this will work week in media, used all the time in DWC though).

@DD-please excuse miss spell of ur name.


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