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Hello All,

Greetings to all enthusiasts.  I am designing my first aquaponics system using IBC as my fish tank containers as well as my sump.  So far I have the design configured at 4 IBC fish tanks and 1 IBC sump operating on DWC beds.  Sump is below ground level to provide insulation for better temp stability.  Kinda hot where I am (Manila, Philippines) and I don't want to dicker with refrigeration systems for now.

My question is... "Can we use the sump as dual purpose role for something else?"  I just want to maximize my space use and a 1 cu meter sump tank seems like it can be used for something else.  A few things come to mind like:

  • in--tank moving bio filter
  • another bottom feeder type of fish tank
  • foot spa (okay maybe not....)

Has anybody got first hand experience or opinion on this?  I would appreciate the input.

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opinion - a filter for sure, what Rob Nash calls a polisher.  You would need a deep sump tank probably.  Drain from gravel beds to bottom of sump - bottom half of sump filled with bird netting.  Pump to DWC from top half of sump and back to fish tank too-something along those lines

Thanks for that. That's one vote for filter.  Regarding the bird netting, I am thinking that it might not lend itself to easy cleaning.  I've had some more time and I found this info about an "internal kaldness filter"  that I can put it my sump.  Obviously my filter bottles need to be a lot bigger.  Here's a link to the instructions I found.

http://www.manyhatsofme.com/2014/02/diy-kaldnes-media-aquarium-filt...

Why clean it?  The bird netting is surface area for bacteria, another biological filter, not simply a mechanical filter.

Ronald Lao said:

Thanks for that. That's one vote for filter.  Regarding the bird netting, I am thinking that it might not lend itself to easy cleaning. 

I use my sump (also an IBC in ground)as a second fish tank. The fish actually seem to grow faster in there than the fish tank. Don't know why. Maybe they're feeding on any waste that gets past my radial filter.

If you want ideas watch this guy. He has a library of aquaponics videos out there.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7DhypNPRdC0&list=PLBcWprMIwYYh9...

Ronald Lao said:

Thanks for that. That's one vote for filter.  Regarding the bird netting, I am thinking that it might not lend itself to easy cleaning.  I've had some more time and I found this info about an "internal kaldness filter"  that I can put it my sump.  Obviously my filter bottles need to be a lot bigger.  Here's a link to the instructions I found.

http://www.manyhatsofme.com/2014/02/diy-kaldnes-media-aquarium-filt...

Hi George,  from what I've read any anaerobic zones in my system could be bad for my fish as well as deplete oxygen needed by the plants too.  The netting could get clogged up with no easy way to clean it regularly.  I just want to avoid that situation since my target fish density is pretty high. 

George said:

Why clean it?  The bird netting is surface area for bacteria, another biological filter, not simply a mechanical filter.

Ronald Lao said:

Thanks for that. That's one vote for filter.  Regarding the bird netting, I am thinking that it might not lend itself to easy cleaning. 

Bigger fish in the sump?  Are you fish bottom feeders? Anyway, that is a mystery that would be nice to solve.  Also, thanks for the video links on your other post, I appreciate the additional info.

Jeff S said:

I use my sump (also an IBC in ground)as a second fish tank. The fish actually seem to grow faster in there than the fish tank. Don't know why. Maybe they're feeding on any waste that gets past my radial filter.

The bird netting (Bio-filter) will stay "clean" far longer if you filter out all solids first and that means sinkers and floaters ( a radial filter only addresses sinkers). Otherwise the netting will clog up fast and is a really nasty job cleaning it. The bio-filter should only be asked to break down the "suspended solids" which represent only a small portion of the solids as most are either floaters or sinkers.

BTW, Rob's polisher is used AFTER the media beds which are his bio-filter. I have found that the less solids reaching any GB the better. My media beds stay a whole lot cleaner now that I remove all non suspended solids and may never need cleaning beyond keeping a healthy worm population active in the media beds. That also assures a dose of worm castings tea at every ebb and flow and that helps the entire system in many ways.

One more point: If this is your first system I would suggest you start with the much more forgiving media beds and when you have that under control and stable (which can take as much as a year) then you are ready for DWC with all it's many more pitfalls.

Personally I keep my below grade sump as clear as possible and the only critter I might consider in there would be crayfish as they will help keep any buildup in the sump down. The sump should be drinkable water clean if your system is functioning properly. Friendly AP makes a big deal of this at their tours by drinking a glass in front of the class. Your pump will last years longer if it is not asked to pump solids and that is the heart of the system. I suggest a 1000L (330gal) IBC sump tank for a 2500gal system. The bigger the better for many reasons from evaporation to leaks to multi ebb and flow beds. It has to handle the possibility of all media beds draining at once without overflowing. Of course the more the media beds the less the chances of that happening but it still should be factored in. Of course DWC remains at one level so those beds don't need to be factored in.

Hello Jim Fisk,

Thanks for the hearty input.  It was great for somebody to confirm that we need filters to address both sinker and floater detritus.  Basically my system design looks like this.

FT --> RADIAL --> MECHANICAL (3 chambers) --> BIO (moving bed) --> DWC --> SUMP --> back to FT

I was thinking my mechanical filter would just be a simple 3 chamber "horizontal pass through" with different media like the following:  1st - brush; 2nd - sponges; 3rd - old nylon socks.  All these chambers will be easily top accessible and cleaned probably twice weekly or more as needed.  I'm hoping this stage will take care of the suspended particles.

Yes, this is my first aquaponics system, although I have been a hobbyist for aquarium fishes and hydroponics on and off for a number of years.  Recently, it occurred to me that their might be some commercial opportunity for aquaponics in our city. I think it would be prudent to build a smaller prototype before spending on a commercial-size system.  Hence, my current push for high density DWC based system to prove commercial viability.  I have asked in and around our city but I couldn't find anybody who is into commercial scale aquaponics to get real live data to use for feasibility study.  Most people in our country use soil farming for lettuce.

And BTW, I live in Manila, Philippines. :)

I have Tilapia. Guess they are natural bottom feeders.
Ronald Lao said:

Bigger fish in the sump?  Are you fish ? Anyway, that is a mystery that would be nice to solve.  Also, thanks for the video links on your other post, I appreciate the additional info.

Jeff S said:

I use my sump (also an IBC in ground)as a second fish tank. The fish actually seem to grow faster in there than the fish tank. Don't know why. Maybe they're feeding on any waste that gets past my radial filter.

Check out the videos from Bright Agrotech. Some of the best info out there. I trust Nate for accurate info.

Also if you're talking commercial check out this guy on You Tube:  Paul Van der Werf.
 He's in the start up stages of a huge commercial operation.



Ronald Lao said:

Hello Jim Fisk,

Thanks for the hearty input.  It was great for somebody to confirm that we need filters to address both sinker and floater detritus.  Basically my system design looks like this.

FT --> RADIAL --> MECHANICAL (3 chambers) --> BIO (moving bed) --> DWC --> SUMP --> back to FT

I was thinking my mechanical filter would just be a simple 3 chamber "horizontal pass through" with different media like the following:  1st - brush; 2nd - sponges; 3rd - old nylon socks.  All these chambers will be easily top accessible and cleaned probably twice weekly or more as needed.  I'm hoping this stage will take care of the suspended particles.

Yes, this is my first aquaponics system, although I have been a hobbyist for aquarium fishes and hydroponics on and off for a number of years.  Recently, it occurred to me that their might be some commercial opportunity for aquaponics in our city. I think it would be prudent to build a smaller prototype before spending on a commercial-size system.  Hence, my current push for high density DWC based system to prove commercial viability.  I have asked in and around our city but I couldn't find anybody who is into commercial scale aquaponics to get real live data to use for feasibility study.  Most people in our country use soil farming for lettuce.

And BTW, I live in Manila, Philippines. :)

Hi Ronald, happy to help in any way.

That mechanical filter you describe is the same as the "polisher" that Rob Nash refers to. If you can separate the solids out first (he uses the media beds) I do believe the polisher won't require that much maintenance. My swirl filter design removes both floaters and sinkers and is very simple to make. Think of it like septic tank. That does the same thing thru the simple use of "Ts" in order to protect the field lines (in our case grow beds) and so does mine. I use a specially designed adjustable skimmer outlet T on the FTs that keeps the surface of the fish water clean of floaters from oils to old floater food which is very important and that is why my filter addresses both. Most slo's only address the bottom of the tank and that is a mistake but explains why most filters only address sinker solids. Floaters of all types are trapped in the fish tanks. Not good. Not rocket science but most often ignored.

My 2500 gal system is my proving ground/educational system and I feel it should be a cake walk in terms of function and knowledge BEFORE considering a commercial operation. AP certainly has a learning curve and so does any business. The more you get straight in your mind before laying down the big $ the greater the chances of beating the 1 in 10 odds that are against making it commercially.

Ronald Lao said:

Hello Jim Fisk,

Thanks for the hearty input.  It was great for somebody to confirm that we need filters to address both sinker and floater detritus.  Basically my system design looks like this.

FT --> RADIAL --> MECHANICAL (3 chambers) --> BIO (moving bed) --> DWC --> SUMP --> back to FT

I was thinking my mechanical filter would just be a simple 3 chamber "horizontal pass through" with different media like the following:  1st - brush; 2nd - sponges; 3rd - old nylon socks.  All these chambers will be easily top accessible and cleaned probably twice weekly or more as needed.  I'm hoping this stage will take care of the suspended particles.

Yes, this is my first aquaponics system, although I have been a hobbyist for aquarium fishes and hydroponics on and off for a number of years.  Recently, it occurred to me that their might be some commercial opportunity for aquaponics in our city. I think it would be prudent to build a smaller prototype before spending on a commercial-size system.  Hence, my current push for high density DWC based system to prove commercial viability.  I have asked in and around our city but I couldn't find anybody who is into commercial scale aquaponics to get real live data to use for feasibility study.  Most people in our country use soil farming for lettuce.

And BTW, I live in Manila, Philippines. :)

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