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PostPosted: Sep 10th, '14, 09:04 
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Here is my system as it stands today.
I have one grow bed with grow medium (pea gravel). I planted one jalapeno, one eggplant and one canna. Just to see if the water would hurt the plants.
Each of the six grow beds will hold 10 gallons (38 liters)
The large tank is 330 gallons (1250 liters) it contains 25 tilapia about 4 inches (10 cm)
The sump in the ground is 55 gallons (208 liters)
Currently it is running fine filling and siphoning about 5 times per hour.
My grow beds leak at the drain so I am waiting for better seals to arrive before I populate the rest of the beds.
The location is going to be a green house I have the hoops up, stone on the floor. If this works out the greenhouse behind this one will go to AP as well.

Pump is 850gph pond pump.

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PostPosted: Sep 17th, '14, 12:25 
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Here's some things I've realized in retrospect.
I should have put the fish tank outside the greenhouse in a small heated structure, or at least very well insulated.
I should have put a bigger sump in, perhaps nearly the size of the existing fish tank.
My 55 gallon sump has limited my number of auto siphon beds to 5 since each bed holds around 10 gallons of water. My 6th bed is a constant flood. I have cradles and half barrels for 8 more beds.
I have the room for expansion, I just planned it poorly. I'm wondering if I should drop back and punt, and implement the changes I just talked about. I'm actually kind of tired of working on it. Setting it all up was the easy part. Getting all to play together, and get everything playing nice together was time consuming and frustrating. It is all running perfectly right now. Just waiting on the seedlings to pop up. Perhaps Spring will give me my enthusiasm back.


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PostPosted: Sep 17th, '14, 12:31 
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It's not too late.

Regarding the sump tank... I highly agree with you. I have an IBC system with 3 GB's 4x8x1 all flood and drain. I have a full IBC used as sump tank and I am already at capacity with regard to flood and drain. I can add to my system as long as any additions are constant flood, DWC or NFT. So if you want to expand at a later date I'd go for a larger sump now.

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IBC CHIFT SLO (Tilapia, Koilapia, Comets)
IBC ST PIST
3x GB 4'x8'x12", 96cuft of black cinder

Genesis 2:15
Then the LORD God took the man and put him into the garden of Eden to cultivate it and keep it.


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PostPosted: Sep 19th, '14, 02:57 
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I have feelers out for another IBC tank. My fish tank is 330 gal. I don't need a sump that big. Anything from 150 gal to 225 should give me the growth room I want with my existing size grow beds which hold about 10gal each. There is a forklift I can borrow to move out the FT. I found that I can also use the fork lift to dig with, it loosens the dirt making it easier to take out with a shovel and post hole digger. So putting in the bigger sump should be a one or two day affair.

If I can get another IBC tank before the weather turns nasty I'll get it done. Then I can fill the greenhouse up. I've seen other's installations where they removed the steel cage from around the IBC tank before burying it. I'm thinking of leaving the cage on it, but then it will eventually rust away. Any thoughts on that.


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PostPosted: Sep 19th, '14, 03:26 
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emp1953 wrote:
I have feelers out for another IBC tank. My fish tank is 330 gal. I don't need a sump that big. Anything from 150 gal to 225 should give me the growth room I want with my existing size grow beds which hold about 10gal each. There is a forklift I can borrow to move out the FT. I found that I can also use the fork lift to dig with, it loosens the dirt making it easier to take out with a shovel and post hole digger. So putting in the bigger sump should be a one or two day affair.

If I can get another IBC tank before the weather turns nasty I'll get it done. Then I can fill the greenhouse up. I've seen other's installations where they removed the steel cage from around the IBC tank before burying it. I'm thinking of leaving the cage on it, but then it will eventually rust away. Any thoughts on that.

If you're not going to leave the cage I would highly recommend replacing it with some other structural support such as treated plywood with some kind of sealant on it as well. Even if you are going to include the cage you need to also include some kind of wall to keep the sides of the hole from caving in. I don't know what kind of soil you have but even clay can collapse under heavy rain conditions.

In my case, I used treated plywood coated with an asphalt sealant. I dropped the panels of sealed ply between the cage and the sides of the sump hole. These panels are only to keep lose soil from pressing against the sides of the very pliable IBC tank and possibly causing it to collapse (which has happened to many unfortunate aquaponists).

On my IBC I was able to unbolt the cage from the steel pallet and only bury the cage with the IBC. This removed the need to dig an additional 8" or so.

Also... if your sump tank is going to be in a location which floods with ground water during heavy rains or spring thaws... you will need to include a separate sump pump. This sump pump is used to remove unwanted ground water from your sump hole. The simplest way to implement this would be to dig a 12" round hole or maybe a large enough notch in your sump tank hole to allow for a basement type sump pump with a float switch to be placed next to your sump tank. This will provide further insurance against a flooded sump tank hole and a devastating tragedy to your system. I have yet to include this into my young system but it is planned for the near future before our rainy season begins.

The reason for this secondary sump pump is to keep the ground water from flooding your sump hole which would allow your sump tank to float right out of the hole. Unless you can keep your sump tank filled half way or more at all times you run the risk of this happening. And, if your area is like mine, you get your heaviest rains in the early morning when everyone is sleeping which means you wake to find your sump tank at ground level instead of neatly nestled. Not a good thing.

EDIT: This is what happened to me.

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Len Fa Farms (my backyard system)
IBC CHIFT SLO (Tilapia, Koilapia, Comets)
IBC ST PIST
3x GB 4'x8'x12", 96cuft of black cinder

Genesis 2:15
Then the LORD God took the man and put him into the garden of Eden to cultivate it and keep it.


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PostPosted: Sep 22nd, '14, 23:14 
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Today my seedlings poked through. I had broadcast spinach, kale and lettuce 5 days ago. This was quicker germination than in Promix in my greenhouse.

I've had my 55 gal sump float up out of the sump hole 3 times. When I was fine tuning things, before media in the beds. The sump overflowed itself into the hole. Some of the wall fell in under the sump and it is now 7 inches higher out of the ground. Messed up the angle on my drainage pipe.


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PostPosted: Oct 14th, '14, 04:43 
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I now have a new respect for plumbers and plumbing.

I got rid of the 55gal blue barrel sump in the first set of pictures and buried a new 275gal sump which will allow me to expand and completely fill this greenhouse.


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The previous 55gal sump is now my swirl filter which is working amazingly well.

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I have 6 more grow beds ready for installation.

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I also have this long tank that came out of a travel trailer that was the fresh water reservoir. I want to use it as a DWC bed down the center of the greenhouse. Has anyone heard of any bad experiences using this type of tank.

Thanks


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PostPosted: Oct 14th, '14, 05:31 
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A word of advice for anyone considering the half barrel grow bed configuration that I have implemented. See the fist bed, closest to the camera (photo DSCN0243) , the corner of left end is not level, but the rear is.

When I cut them in half I had them laying out in the yard, in the hot sun, awaiting installation. This particular half barrel had one corner resting on the edge of a 4"x4" board. Getting soft in the hot sun allowed it to permanently warp in this manner. I couldn't straighten it out using the sun/flat surface method.


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PostPosted: Oct 14th, '14, 11:41 
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emp1953 wrote:
A word of advice for anyone considering the half barrel grow bed configuration that I have implemented. See the fist bed, closest to the camera (photo DSCN0243) , the corner of left end is not level, but the rear is.

When I cut them in half I had them laying out in the yard, in the hot sun, awaiting installation. This particular half barrel had one corner resting on the edge of a 4"x4" board. Getting soft in the hot sun allowed it to permanently warp in this manner. I couldn't straighten it out using the sun/flat surface method.

That would drive me nuts. I'd have to trim it. :upset:

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Len Fa Farms (my backyard system)
IBC CHIFT SLO (Tilapia, Koilapia, Comets)
IBC ST PIST
3x GB 4'x8'x12", 96cuft of black cinder

Genesis 2:15
Then the LORD God took the man and put him into the garden of Eden to cultivate it and keep it.


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PostPosted: Oct 14th, '14, 20:26 
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It is driving me nuts. Every time I get close that is the first thing my eye goes to. I even have myself convinced that I can see it from my livingroom window. I will fix it eventually. Too many other things to get done to deal with that "trivia"


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PostPosted: Oct 15th, '14, 09:07 
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emp1953 wrote:
It is driving me nuts. Every time I get close that is the first thing my eye goes to. I even have myself convinced that I can see it from my livingroom window. I will fix it eventually. Too many other things to get done to deal with that "trivia"

lol... I feel ya. :)

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Len Fa Farms (my backyard system)
IBC CHIFT SLO (Tilapia, Koilapia, Comets)
IBC ST PIST
3x GB 4'x8'x12", 96cuft of black cinder

Genesis 2:15
Then the LORD God took the man and put him into the garden of Eden to cultivate it and keep it.


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PostPosted: Oct 28th, '14, 02:46 
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The second half of my system is installed.

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Now I need to finish the enclosure.

I don't think there is a cure for aquaponica.


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PostPosted: Oct 28th, '14, 09:27 
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Awesome! Great job! :-)

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Len Fa Farms (my backyard system)
IBC CHIFT SLO (Tilapia, Koilapia, Comets)
IBC ST PIST
3x GB 4'x8'x12", 96cuft of black cinder

Genesis 2:15
Then the LORD God took the man and put him into the garden of Eden to cultivate it and keep it.


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PostPosted: Nov 13th, '14, 05:35 
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Replaced the camera and got the plastic on the greenhouse.


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The inside provides plenty of clearance when inflated and the inside temperature was 72F this morning with outside temp being 54.

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This is the little inflator air pump


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PostPosted: Nov 13th, '14, 05:39 
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Here is the inflator motor and its attachment through the plastic

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This is my last 1 ton bag of pea gravel, it will fill 7 half barrel grow beds.

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A little trimming of the excess plastic on the long sides and rolling under and stapling the excess on the rounded ends and it will be done until spring.


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