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ibarrel aquaponic system 1

Want One of these neat little systems?

This is a simple aquaponic system you can build for minimal cost in an afternoon on the weekend, without having special power tools or fancy equipment, just a drill and a jigsaw. This guide will explain step by step with photos how to make the system.

Start by getting hold of a barrel. Here we are using a 200L (44 gallon) blue barrel, there are other size barrels available but these are readily available for us and they have been used for food products so they are nice and safe for an aquaponic system. If you can only get different sized barrels that’s fine, you just need to compensate for the measurements we give here so that your system will work out correctly.

It’s a good idea to make sure you know what was previously in your barrel before you begin. You should also be very careful when cleaning out your barrels, depending of course on what has been in them before. We had some that had drink concentrate in them, the smells as you washed out the barrels and cut them open was intoxicating. In the past I’ve also had drums that contained phosphoric acid, the acid is fine because it’s fairly easy to dilute and clean out and it’s an acid used in food products. However, I was told they had all been cleaned and as I cut the drum, acid leaked out and started fizzing on the concrete, the supposed clean barrels were not clean at all, they contained strong acid residues.

Once your barrel has been rinsed out you can look at cutting the top growbed off. Measure down from the lip 20 cm and mark a number of points, around the barrel for a guide.

Now carefully use a marking pen to join up all of the measurements you have made. this will create your guide line for cutting. You can use a straight edge like we have here, or an easier method is to something a little flexible yet with a straight edge, so that you can fold it around the barrel to draw your line.