My First IBC tote Aquaponics setup

loufloralcityz9April 20, 2013

This is the first of the eight IBC totes I am setting up for my Aquaponics gardening. I just started planting some roma tomatoes & eggplants in the grow bed.

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A picture of the plants I put in so far.

    Bookmark   April 20, 2013 at 9:18AM
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Michael AKA Leekle2ManE - Zone 9a - Lady Lake, F

Aquaponics always intrigues me, but I don't know if I will ever attempt it. It seems like a lot of work and maintenance is involved with keeping them going.

    Bookmark   April 20, 2013 at 9:28AM
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Good grief! How much does just the IBC tote cost (never mind the growing medium, the water delivery system, etc., etc.)?

    Bookmark   April 20, 2013 at 1:40PM
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bamboo_rabbit(9A Inverness FL)

$25 each, they are like 300 gallons full. I picked up an entire trailer load of them for Lou and one for myself as an acid mix tank for my blueberries.

    Bookmark   April 20, 2013 at 2:09PM
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Tradition... You gotta point,

But think of all the FUN Lou is having!

    Bookmark   April 20, 2013 at 3:41PM
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The recirculating water system is pumped by a 14 watt Koi pond water pump (same low wattage as the cfl light bulb). Because this was my first system I found I could have used a smaller 5 watt Koi pond water pump. Cost $12.65 The water is pumped from the lower 200 gallon fish tank to the upper grow bed where the fish waste is used to feed the plants (thereby cleaning the water) and the cleaned water is returned to the fish tank using the principle of a bell siphon to achieve ebb & flow. The grow bed fill cycle takes 30 minutes and the drain cycle takes 2 minutes. I use a cheap aquarium air pump 3 watt. Cost $16.13 The Hydroton clay growing medium is the expensive part at $40 for a 40 Lb bag. It takes 4 to 6 bags to fill the grow bed depending what type plants you intend to grow. The good part is you only have to buy it once and is used year after year. There are alternative growing mediums, Hydroton fired clay balls being the most expensive.
The only water I have to add is from evaporation as the system recycles the same water over and over 24/7 and I don't ever have to worry about will it rain. Fish food is less expensive than the fertilizer I used on a dirt garden and I get fish & veggies to eat from the system and the satisfaction knowing how it was grown.


    Bookmark   April 20, 2013 at 3:46PM
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Wow, this is great! I love it.

    Bookmark   April 20, 2013 at 10:59PM
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whgille(FL 9b)

Good job Lou! Very interesting, keeps us informed on how well it does for you.


    Bookmark   April 21, 2013 at 1:22PM
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What a Truckload deal Rabbit.....the going C-List price in Orlando is about $100-$120 each

Lou.....are you able to use both "halves" in your set-up ?

Do you use your tractor as forklift ?

What fish do you farm ?

Curious doug

    Bookmark   April 21, 2013 at 3:55PM
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Thanks Silvia for the thumbs up!

One of the important things (to me) that I forgot to mention is NO WEEDS! The water level is kept below the top inch of the clay balls so the weed seeds drifting on the wind cannot sprout. Only what you plant will grow as you place the roots just below the topmost water level of the fill cycle. Also no algae can grow on the topmost dry clay balls exposed to the sun.
I also have a tub of duckweed growing to help feed the fish and I've been thinking of putting a bug zapper above the fish tank.

I'm including the link to the YouTube video on how to build an IBC system for yourself.

Here is a link that might be useful: How to build a IBC Aquaponics System

    Bookmark   April 21, 2013 at 4:16PM
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Watch the video to see how you cut the plastic tub to make the fish tank and the grow bed from the single IBC plastic tank. The IBC tote is not all that heavy when empty but yes I do use the tractor forks to move the IBC totes just because it is easier for this old man.
Bamboo_Rabbit catches sunfish & bluegills for my fish tank as his house is on a lake.
Because I live in Citrus County I'm not prevented from growing Blue Talapia without a license by law. I will buy the fingerling Talapia when I know my system is set up properly to run without fish deaths and I have all the eight of my IBC totes set up.


    Bookmark   April 21, 2013 at 4:52PM
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bamboo_rabbit(9A Inverness FL)


The $25 is if you buy just 1 tote or 10. The totes use to hold dye for landscape mulch. Some of them have a couple inches or a bit more hardened dye still in them. If you want totes already cleaned out they are $75 each. Getting the dye out takes some time......right Lou? lol:)

    Bookmark   April 21, 2013 at 6:25PM
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Yeah, it took me a whole day on each half to clean out the plastic tubs and then paint the outside green. It really made me wonder whether it was better to pay the extra money for the clean IBC's. That hardened dye is just as hard as fired brick and some of it had to be chiseled out. I'm not biting at the bit to start on the second IBC unit just yet:(


    Bookmark   April 21, 2013 at 8:13PM
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ibarbidahl(9 (tampa-ish))

How in the world are you going to harvest those tomatoes? You must need a ladder to plant them, by the time they grow another 6' you'll need a dang forklift to get up there! LOL

    Bookmark   April 22, 2013 at 11:24AM
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abnorm(Orlando) we know the rest of the story.......Nice work !

    Bookmark   April 23, 2013 at 11:04PM
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Barbie, The top of the grow bed is exactly 4 feet high from the ground (chest level). The netting is 5 feet tall suspended from the roof of my wooden greenhouse that I'm building around the Aquaponics set up. The final wooden greenhouse will be 24 feet long by 24 feet wide and 10 feet high when completed and will have heat and A/C run by a large solar system. The solar system generated 20 million watt hours in the one year I have had it operational.
This IBC is a preliminary setup to see how well different veggies will grow using Aquaponics, later the tall veggies will grow from a much lower row of grow beds. I'm doing preliminary testing with this first setup to gain experience as I have never used Aquaponics before. I attended a two day seminar to learn about Aquaponics growing and I'm now putting the information to the test.


    Bookmark   April 24, 2013 at 6:40AM
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