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I am almost ready to start building my system. My question is, will one IBC (with the top cut off, the top to be used as a grow bed) used as the fish tank be large enough to supply all of the grow areas? I am thinking about having two IBC media grow beds, to filter the solids. The media beds will drain into a sump tank and from there I want to supply 80-112 sq. ft. of DWC. Then from the DWC beds the return can be pumped back into the fish tank.

I am sure I am not the 1st new aquapon to ask this question, but somebody told me long ago there are no stupid questions. Increasing the fish density is my 1st thought, but I don't want to over do it.

Thanks!

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Rule of thumb is 2:1 grow bed to fish tank volume.  I have had no problem keeping a system with 1 ibc tank, but I don't push the fish hard in that system.  I have expanded them out though, you can see the pictures on my page if you like.

If I read this right you want two pumps.  This is a bad idea imo, eventually one will fail and either drain one system or flood the other.  I won't rain on your parade, but there are better ways out there then this.

Ratios for mixed design AP (being called 'hybrid systems' or 'integrated systems') are hard to come by. Hopefully this will be changing soon as there are more and more people wising up to the benefits of such a design. I've spent over a year researching designing, re-designing (and finally starting to build :) and contacting folks who have started doing AP in that way. There as of yet are no "concrete" (meaning University/research center proven) numbers. There are however some pretty good starting points, and basic principles to keep in mind when thinking about such a system 

There are a number of discussions strewn about on this site on the topic which may be helpful as well.

Here are just a couple of the latest...

http://aquaponicscommunity.com/forum/topics/raft-vs-media-filled-gr...

http://aquaponicscommunity.com/forum/topics/growbed-with-hydroton-e...

http://aquaponicscommunity.com/forum/topics/will-solids-removal-sti...

You should be able to pilfer some useful info from these...

The short answer would be IMO you should probably use three IBC media meds, and make them a bit deeper than the "standard" 12" if you can.

Use red worms.

And yes pumps do fail, and will probably do so when you happen to NOT be standing next to them. So setting things up in a way that could minimize the damage would help. 

 

Vlad makes good points.  Pumps do go out on schedule: holidays, weekends, and at night.

Size your system.. and stock accordingly.. to basic "rules of thumb" regarding media grow bed systems... and view your DWC as an "add-on".... just giving you (some) more filtration capacity and extra water volume...

 

TCL can advise in "imperical" numbers...

 

Or use Dr. Lennards "sizing tool"....  here's a link explaining his sizing tool... and a contained link where you can download it for free... http://www.aquaponic.com.au/Aquaponic%20media%20bed%20sizing%20mode...

 

Gina could perhaps, but may choose not too... provide some ratio information regarding how much media grow bed volume:DWC volume is applicable.... as she is currently trialling such a system....

 

Basic rule of thumb seems to be about 1:4... and AFAIK, Gina has converted one of her DWC troughs to media... to service her other 4 troughs...

 

How successful her trials have been hasn't been announced to my knowledge.. and may not be until April...

 

Others, including Rob Nash have/are trialling such hybrid systems... as have many, for some time here in Australia, although not in a "commercial" sense here....

 

Just as the "friendlies" model demonstrated that you can produce copiuos amounts of vegetables with low stocking densities...

 

So is the case for media based systems... although most people continue to significantly overstock... and often at the same time .. under-filter...

 

And you guys in the US, and other places have the benefit of Tilapia... that will basically grow in a muddy puddle fed on dog biscuits...

 

Just to wet your appetite... here's my "new"... from scratch..."uncycled"... system... 3 weeks old... planted on day one...

 

1000L IBC, 1000L sump, 2 x 500L grow beds... 3 x 6mtr (400 hole) NFT...

 

Bear in mind in the 21 days from planting... we have had 19 days of rain... totalling 350mm+ of rain... (2 days of sunshine)

 

 

 

 

Total number of fish.... until a week ago..... NONE....

Since a week ago.. I've added... TEN... (biomass approx 8kg)

Yes but tilapia have about the lowest market value.  In fact, if it weren't for the losing proposition of perch, they would be one of the worst species for a commercial system in the US.  I think all who grow them commercially will generally tell you that "they are hard to market, and no one wants to pay for them."

That is about the only arena in which I luck out on here...common carp (of all things) is the most widely bought/consumed (and has a somewhat decent price) fish in the country (and region)...Too bad I'm not so interested in selling them. Though they should be a great fish for a half-assed AP system.

@Rupert. Nice. Wow! Those decades of experience in aquaculture and hydroponics sure show...hmm..why are "new" and "uncycled" in parenthesis?

unless of coarse it's a "commercial" "trade" "secret" in which case I'll understand if it is ...

It's "new" and "uncycled"... because that's exactly what it was Vlad....

 

I posted it up on BYAP with a poll asking "how many fish?"... to demonstrate a couple of points... (yet to be made)...

 

http://www.backyardaquaponics.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=3&t=12006

 

(You can check the timeline of growth if you want...  )

 

The first poll response was 30-40 fish... most, knowing I tend to lightly stock went for 10-20... and a few smarties (which have skewed the poll) went for 0-10... as I let the cat out of the bag in another post....

 

The system is so new, and pieced together between the rain... that most of it isn't even "glued" yet... ... and indeed I only managed to get the third NFT table up the other day before it rained again... and it's not even plumbed in....

 

I really only added the fish... because we've had so much rain... that the system has had about 3 complete water changes in the last three weeks...

 

As you can see from today...

 

 

Ok... I'll confess... I am cheating a little... most plants were seedlings... and the NFT tables are commercial hydro seedling plugs... but the link above does show the growth...

 

And the fish were... well not fingerlings...

 

Wow. That is a BIG example of what a little bit of fish can do...One question out of curiosity, did you use ammonia or hummonia to cycle with? Any MaxiCrop/Seasol/Kelpak, worm tea type products? anything? (not that it matters much, just asking). 

That sucks about the rain. I'm sure it'd be much better if the weather were cooperating a bit.

i personally used 1 IBC cut the top and used the top for a grow bed and then added 50 fish.  it's working great but i do really need more of a grow bed and i lost about 15 fish due to cycling up.  i only got 1 IBC because in didn't want the wife to freak out on starting an experiment.  i am going to get another IBC some time soon (and watch my wife roll her eyes)

 

@Vlad...

 

3 x palmfuls of urea... and 3 x gulps of Seasol/Maxicrop... spread over the first 2 weeks....

 

The media in the grow beds had been previously used... but was washed.... and the system water was seeded from another system...

Very cool. Thanks Rupe. F*cking amazing. What are those fish...like 500-600 grams a piece? Sure makes me feel a bit easier about my planned "low" stocking density (or what I thought of as low at least) 

Maybe the worm castings in a paint filter bag wont be so necessary after all...

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