Aquaponic Gardening

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less then a week away from adding fish, final thoughts on heating options for my set up. **newbie

im new here and to the aquaponic world. i live in oklahoma so weather is very un predictable. last weekend i built a 10x12 hoop house. i did not use greenhouse plastic i want to make sure this is something i will enjoy before investing that much. i have one 230 gal ibc tote. i plan on trying to use a raft system, a grow bed and the PVC pipe sytem with net pots to see what i like more. i will be using a sump tank and pump.  i plan on building grow beds with 2x12's and using lava rock. i dont want to use gravel for i am renting so prtable is a must. before i make the grow beds i want to stock the tanksahead of time to get it nice dirty. planning on doing this this coming weekend.

first question, do i need between the time i stock fish and build grow beds? about 2 weeks.

second question, i seen the water heater post using elements. awesome idea, but will that work with my ibc tote. and my none greenhouse plastic? it is 4 mill contractors plastic.

if it does how much do i cyscle it. 15 minutes on the hour? or is this something i will have to tinker on to fine tune.

oklhoma weather.... 80 f one day...25 the next. i have a free starter supply of some full grown tilapia.. dont want to lose them the first day. thank you guys!

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Missed your post originally but here's what I can tell you. It's better to start cycling the bed(s) before you get fish. This way you'll be able to take care of the ammonia and the fish won't suffer and you won't be doing water changes. If you're not familiar with how to do this just ask and I'll explain. The easiest heater I've found is a 5 gallon bucket heater. Just drop it in the tank and plug it in. No matter how you heat you'll need a thermostatic control (usually cost more than the heater). I was using contractor 6 mil. for a couple of years but it has to be replaced annually so I opted to put greenhouse plastic on the roof and regular plastic on the walls since I open the walls in the spring and they are easy to change. I do use double layer plastic. You want to cycle all the water in the system at least once an hour, twice is better. your pump can run 24/7. I use bell siphons to flood and drain the beds but constant flood works too.

I have lots of advice learned by mistakes and I'm still making them.

thanks Jeff, i decided to go with12  2-3 inch gold fish so i wont have to worry about heating the greenhouse just yet. ill try to post a pic

Jordan Gonzales said:

thanks Jeff, i decided to go with12  2-3 inch gold fish so i wont have to worry about heating the greenhouse just yet. ill try to post a pic

Nice setup. I used IBCs for grow beds because it seemed like the thing to do but if I did it again I would do like you and build  custom sized beds. I started with an 8x10 GH then expanded to 8x22. Totally 2x4 construction. Really wish I could double the width. Might do it at some point. 

i kinda had to use a custom grow bed or i would have cut the ibc tote top and used that, the tote i bought for $25 but the previous owner had cut a rectangle in the top. an im using a a flood and drain with a timer a ball valve to control the drain rate.

is that your setupu in the prifile pic

My system is actually only half the pic. Decided I didn't want to start over with my GH so I just extended it.

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