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Maybe this topic is hidden deep in another discussion thread....but in case not...

 

I am wondering what different types of containers people use for fish tanks & plant beds. I was going to build a frame and line it with a pool liner. My uncle is a pool man and I thought I could get a scrap piece of liner. Thank goodness my uncle is very knowledgeable man because he told me that even a new liner would be deadly to fish. Just thought I would share that knowledge for anybody else who had the same idea. 

 

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I use the Rubbermaid 80 or 100 gallon stock tanks, sometimes 2 in series, for small systems. They work great, and it's easy to drill holes for overflows, etc. in them.

I've built a tank, 8' across and 4' deep, by making a ring of 2x4 welded wire fencing, held up initially by tall rebar stakes, lined with masonite sheets and then either construction plastic (lasted about a year) or 45-mil EPDM roofing membrane. I run an old split garden hose around the top so the liner isn't stressed going over the edge, and strap the whole outside with 3 bands of ratchet ties. Cheap, ugly, easy to build, workable. A bit tricky to fit an overflow pipe to the side of it, but it worked with a plywood bulkhead. Have since replaced that with a GREAT tank made of an old carnival dunk tank - donated to our school when the superstructure broke. It's 1/4" thick rubber/plastic, I don't know the exact material. I put a lexan window into it which I love to look through to check out the fish - and they seem to like to come up to it and look out.

Has anyone used anything like this? - 156 gallon popup rain barrel for $135 -
http://www.gardenersedge.com/item.cgi?item=crb156&cat=Watering&...

A print catalog I have says they're 34" deep. I've heard fish like deep tanks. This looks like it could be a nice, compact tank significantly deeper than a stock tank.Probably not very long-lasting,though, eh?
I'm not getting to that link. It is nice to have a slightly deeper fish tank. I've done the fence panel and liner fish tank and it works great but folding the liner into it is a challenge. I could probably get a fitted liner made for it if I really wanted.
I do like the stock tanks cause they are easy but they are on the slightly shallow side for fish tanks.


Kate Mink said:
I use the Rubbermaid 80 or 100 gallon stock tanks, sometimes 2 in series, for small systems. They work great, and it's easy to drill holes for overflows, etc. in them.

I've built a tank, 8' across and 4' deep, by making a ring of 2x4 welded wire fencing, held up initially by tall rebar stakes, lined with masonite sheets and then either construction plastic (lasted about a year) or 45-mil EPDM roofing membrane. I run an old split garden hose around the top so the liner isn't stressed going over the edge, and strap the whole outside with 3 bands of ratchet ties. Cheap, ugly, easy to build, workable. A bit tricky to fit an overflow pipe to the side of it, but it worked with a plywood bulkhead. Have since replaced that with a GREAT tank made of an old carnival dunk tank - donated to our school when the superstructure broke. It's 1/4" thick rubber/plastic, I don't know the exact material. I put a lexan window into it which I love to look through to check out the fish - and they seem to like to come up to it and look out.

Has anyone used anything like this? - 156 gallon popup rain barrel for $135 -
http://www.gardenersedge.com/item.cgi?item=crb156&cat=Watering&...

A print catalog I have says they're 34" deep. I've heard fish like deep tanks. This looks like it could be a nice, compact tank significantly deeper than a stock tank.Probably not very long-lasting,though, eh?
Sorry - link was cut off - try this one
http://www.littlegreenhouse.com/accessory/other.shtml#3
Wow those are really cool!!!! Price still kinda high for me but finally some one came up with a easily to ship rain barrel!


Kate Mink said:
Sorry - link was cut off - try this one
http://www.littlegreenhouse.com/accessory/other.shtml#3
TCLynx, I haven't had a problem with termites in any manner but it is something to consider. However, nowhere in the design does the wood come in contact with the liner, and I don't think termites will be attracted to foam insulation. As far as keeping the heat in you won't believe my solution. Of course, I will insulate the pipe going to and from the tank. In the grow beds I am putting a three inch layer of "ghost terds", (some people call them foam packing nuts), with a string of white christmas lights cris-crossed just above that. I recently read of a Canadian who is growing fruit trees, and fruit, year round completely exposed to the weather, (outside), by simply stringing christmas lights through the trees! He's growing Navel Oranges, Lemmons, Limes and yes, you heard it here first, Bananas!!!

In a raft system I would guess if your foam rafts are close enough to each other they should help to retain some of the heat. The water itself is a good heat sink.


TCLynx said:
Hay Joseph,
Looks like a cool design but I'm gonna add my general warning about liner and lumber (and I don't know how foam will play in this) but TERMITES. Granted, my locaiton is worse for termites than yours probably is but lumber and liner beware, the termites might not realize they have left the wood until you have a leak.

Also, is your system going to be raft or flood and drain media? This question pertains to your hopes of insulating and keeping the water at 80 F. If flood and drain media, what ever the air temp around the grow beds, is going to greatly affect the water temp and insulating the fish tank will have only minimal effect at keeping the water warm. Raft systems have different dynamics with temperature and I don't have enough experience with them to help there.

Joseph Orlando said:
In my new system I am experimenting with some new tanks. My concern was keeping as much heat in the tank as possible to maintain 80 F so I can over-winter my Tilapia. I have decided to try a tank body made with a double layer of 2 1/4" ridgid foam insulation. I am lining the tank with a PVC "fish-friendly" pond liner. The liner is black to hold more heat and the edges of the liner are designed to sandwich between the two layers of foam. The sides of the tank will be banded and reinforced with a 2x4 'clamp" I designed. Simple and inexpensive given the volumes you can create with the design.
I'll wish you luck on the Termite angle (I know that JT has also had a run in with them in his greenhouse but his liner is also in direct contact with the wood) hopefully the foam gets them to turn back before making things leak for ya if they do visit your system.

I know people manage some crazy things (like the permaculturist that is growing oranges in the alps.) Water is a powerful moderator in some situations for keeping the microclimate suitable for some things. I don't know if the your ghost turd insulation will give you the desired effect but it will at least protect your media some from radiant chilling. I think the biggest chiller of flood and drain systems on cold nights is the cold air being drawn into the gravel beds. The christmas lights might help a tiny bit there. Rope light would probably help even more but they you are using more and more electricity for heating since most of it would be escaping as light. Perhaps even more efficient might be something like the heat tapes they use along the edge of roofing in snow country to help keep the ice dams from forming (though they backfire if it is too cold.) Or the heat tapes that often get used in nurseries on their benches to help keep the bottoms of the plants warm for germination.

Anyway, will be interested to read your observations about what you are trying out come mid winter.


I'm really not making much effort to insulate or heat my system at all this year. I've got no tilapia anymore and I know the catfish can survive freezing water. Just will miss the banana and papaya plants if we get too many hard freezes this year, (I'm not really up for covering the poor things nightly, they are too big!)

Joseph Orlando said:
TCLynx, I haven't had a problem with termites in any manner but it is something to consider. However, nowhere in the design does the wood come in contact with the liner, and I don't think termites will be attracted to foam insulation. As far as keeping the heat in you won't believe my solution. Of course, I will insulate the pipe going to and from the tank. In the grow beds I am putting a three inch layer of "ghost terds", (some people call them foam packing nuts), with a string of white christmas lights cris-crossed just above that. I recently read of a Canadian who is growing fruit trees, and fruit, year round completely exposed to the weather, (outside), by simply stringing christmas lights through the trees! He's growing Navel Oranges, Lemmons, Limes and yes, you heard it here first, Bananas!!!

In a raft system I would guess if your foam rafts are close enough to each other they should help to retain some of the heat. The water itself is a good heat sink.

That is really ingenious! I hope it works.

I don't know about termites but I have found a sizeable ant nest built into a stack of styrofoam rafts that I stored for a year. they didn't actually do a lot of damage, but when I had students move the rafts they got more than they bargained for! A very few bites, some fascinated interest and a lot of Eeeeeew!

I wonder if we should start a thread on interesting garden colonizers/pests.



TCLynx said:
I'll wish you luck on the Termite angle (I know that JT has also had a run in with them in his greenhouse but his liner is also in direct contact with the wood) hopefully the foam gets them to turn back before making things leak for ya if they do visit your system.

I know people manage some crazy things (like the permaculturist that is growing oranges in the alps.) Water is a powerful moderator in some situations for keeping the microclimate suitable for some things. I don't know if the your ghost turd insulation will give you the desired effect but it will at least protect your media some from radiant chilling. I think the biggest chiller of flood and drain systems on cold nights is the cold air being drawn into the gravel beds. The christmas lights might help a tiny bit there. Rope light would probably help even more but they you are using more and more electricity for heating since most of it would be escaping as light. Perhaps even more efficient might be something like the heat tapes they use along the edge of roofing in snow country to help keep the ice dams from forming (though they backfire if it is too cold.) Or the heat tapes that often get used in nurseries on their benches to help keep the bottoms of the plants warm for germination.

Anyway, will be interested to read your observations about what you are trying out come mid winter.


I'm really not making much effort to insulate or heat my system at all this year. I've got no tilapia anymore and I know the catfish can survive freezing water. Just will miss the banana and papaya plants if we get too many hard freezes this year, (I'm not really up for covering the poor things nightly, they are too big!)

Joseph Orlando said:
TCLynx, I haven't had a problem with termites in any manner but it is something to consider. However, nowhere in the design does the wood come in contact with the liner, and I don't think termites will be attracted to foam insulation. As far as keeping the heat in you won't believe my solution. Of course, I will insulate the pipe going to and from the tank. In the grow beds I am putting a three inch layer of "ghost terds", (some people call them foam packing nuts), with a string of white christmas lights cris-crossed just above that. I recently read of a Canadian who is growing fruit trees, and fruit, year round completely exposed to the weather, (outside), by simply stringing christmas lights through the trees! He's growing Navel Oranges, Lemmons, Limes and yes, you heard it here first, Bananas!!!

In a raft system I would guess if your foam rafts are close enough to each other they should help to retain some of the heat. The water itself is a good heat sink.

Joseph, I worked for a foam or EPS manufacturer.... Termites love it! It provides no nutritional value to them but makes a very comfortable home...its insulated.

One thing you can look into, if you chose to continue using foam products, is to get some that is treated for insects, namely termites. This is usually a borate product, of sorts, but there are other, newer, versions of this coming out on the market soon.

One thing to note, if using foams in your systems, in contact with your water, dirt etc. make sure there are NOT any bug deterring additives in the product otherwise it could have an effect on your beneficial creatures in your system.

Here is a link for some further technical information. http://www.foam-control.com/termite-resistant.asp
Has anyone tryed using a spray on truck bed liner or brush on product. i found one online for about $40 and it says it works with wood or metal. I have an old horse trough i would like to line and just thought this would work, possibly for a wooden grow bed as well?
You will want to read the specs, biggest question is, would it be safe for potable water and fish? I'm not a bit fan of wood near liner in anything even remotely resembling contact with dirt (basically anything outdoors in termite territory and concrete blocks do not provide a barrier to termites, they can build tunnels up through them.) A paint/spray on liner won't be too much different in wood contact.
for the metal, if you decide it's safe enough for a food and fish system, then I don't see why it wouldn't work. There are potable water safe paints/ sealants out there.


John Gelineau said:
Has anyone tryed using a spray on truck bed liner or brush on product. i found one online for about $40 and it says it works with wood or metal. I have an old horse trough i would like to line and just thought this would work, possibly for a wooden grow bed as well?
Great! thanks for the advise.
that would be nice. In the culinary world we use a heat resistant silicone product for casting molds used in sugar work as well as baking. I know for sure its food safe for this reason and am in the process of pricing it out to use in bulk. Maybe just coat a wood frame or even just cast a grow bed. The benefits would be the heat resistance, flexability, and food safe. But i know its going to be more expensive than a spray bed liner.

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