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PostPosted: Aug 10th, '12, 23:37 
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OK, we're still on paper, well, OK, we're not yet fully-committed to paper yet because we have to measure the site precisely, but we are picking up the IBC today as soon as we've cashed my paycheck. Best price we've found is $125 US for a food-grade one with a metal base -- in excellent condition and its only 3 blocks away.

We started out thinking we'd do the simple system from "The IBC's of Aquaponics". But in a lightly-stocked, first-run system that only allows for 10-12 fish. We have a large family with 4 kids -- 21, 18, 12 (almost taller than I am already), and 6. So that's not even 2 good meals the way teens eat. So we're thinking about adding some concrete mixing tubs as the least expensive additional grow beds possible.

If I'm calculating correctly, in a fully-stocked system once we know what we're doing that would allow 5 additional fish per 12.5 gallon tub, right? At 3 fish per tub for light stocking using 3 tubs we'd probably allow us to bring our fish numbers up to 20 lightly-stocked this winter then 35-40 fully-stocked for next summer's run. Those numbers allowing us to eat fish 2-3 times/month over the long run.

We plan to put the system against the south wall of a shed where there's a slight slope to facilitate getting the drainage right. Our ground is pure sand so, unless we hit impenetrable tree roots, burying the sump tank and fish tank for temperature stability shouldn't be too difficult. Especially if we recruit a little extra muscle from the assorted teens and young adults who hang out around here all the time.

Does it sound like we have our numbers right? It seems to be customary to start with a tank size and work towards fish stocking in that direction, but I had to start with the number of fish we eventually want in the freezer because there's no point to putting 6 months of work and all that start-up money into a snack. :lol:


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PostPosted: Aug 10th, '12, 23:46 
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For the above we think we need the following materials:

1 IBC for fish tank and grow bed
1 sump tank -- not yet sourced, not sure how big it needs to be.
3 concrete mixing tubs
3 bulkhead fittings
Assorted PVC pipe and fittings -- much of it leftover from re-plumbing the kitchen.
1 pump -- not sure of the flow rate yet.
gravel -- 3 possibilities sourced
test kit -- available from Amazon.com
minnows or goldfish for cycling
UPS and battery for backup -- have old UPS with dead battery for conversion
Timer for pump
Materials to for safety cover over fishtank and sumptank
Water thermometer
Standard assortment of southern, winter garden plants
A couple gallons of water from a clean fishing pond maintained by a club we belong to for jumpstarting the bacteria.


Correct # of trout fingerlings in October when the tank is cycled and the temps are right.

I'm sure I've forgotten something -- book knowledge never includes everything you need to know in the real world. :D


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PostPosted: Aug 11th, '12, 21:04 
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In re: size of sump tank for this system, ~ 70-80 gallons?

Growbed volume will be about 21.25 cu. ft. = 157.25 gallons

Sump tank should equal 50% of growbed volume, maximum, right?


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PostPosted: Aug 15th, '12, 14:33 
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I personally used a full IBC for my sump. You need to be able to handle the full growbed load of water. I would not personally cut the growbed volume in half. When you are building your system, you will be checking your plumbing without media in the gb. That means that if you are running flood and drain, the entire growbeds volume will end up in the sump. Granted, once you have your media, it will be less. I still prefer not to have HSMs while testing. Also, the additional water volume will be better for keeping the temp stable. Then making sure the water level is enough for the pump not to suck air. You will probibly add growbeds later on. The point is go big on the sump, you won't regret it. The good news is that you have help. I buried my IBC all by my onesies.

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PostPosted: Aug 27th, '12, 05:36 
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After some delay due to needing to fix the brakes on the old Suburban and several weekends of much-needed rain in a row, Dread has the IBC cut and ready for assembling as a simple, one-bed system so we can get started. We can add additional growbeds and the sump as we go along though that might be slow since I was put on a long-term layoff and finances are going to be tight.

We did source good gravel -- quartzite filter gravel.


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PostPosted: Aug 27th, '12, 05:44 
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One of life's great ironies is that when you have the money, you don't have the time, and when you have the time, you don't have the money. It is easier to save money when you have the time to bargain hunt. with patience and a keen eye people often score free ibc's.

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PostPosted: Aug 27th, '12, 05:54 
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That's what we're hoping to do to grow the system.

Dread owns a business and might be able to inquire about IBCs from his nearer clients. The important thing is to get up and running with some kind of system even if we can't have it stabilized and ready fast enough to start trout in October as we'd hoped.


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PostPosted: Sep 13th, '12, 22:57 
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We've bought our gravel.

Southern Silica in Hoffman, NC (on Rt. 1 between Pinehurst and Rockingham), has 1/2 x 1/4 quartzite -- washed and free of fines -- for $6.50/1 cu.ft. bag.

That was less expensive than the less well-sorted, unwashed bulk gravel we found elsewhere as well as more suitable for the purpose.


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