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I'm just in the planning phase of my first build, a smallish IBC media system. I recently got Murray Hallam's DIY video and I'm modeling my system somewhat after that.

 

Today I have been on a search for an outlet to obtain PVC fittings and parts. I'm coming to realize that some components are kind of pricey and I'll need multiples of certain parts. Bulkheads are what comes to mind but there are a few other parts that I thought were a little costly as well. Some items, such as ball valves, I'll pay a little more for quality.

 

My question is, has anyone got a good internet resource for reasonably priced fittings and shipping. Of course, a few of the sites I visited today didn't even have some of the parts I was looking for. Hopefully someone can offer me a decent solution.

 

Also a bit off topic, I have located 275 gallon IBC totes locally thanks to Craigslist. Is $75 (each) a fair price or should I keep looking?

 

I'm sorry if this has been asked before, I have not been able to locate an answer thus far.

 

Thanks for any help or suggestions!

Quigs

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Yea $75 is probably a fair price, however, can they tell you what was in it?  You want to make sure it didn't contain anything that would be toxic to fish, bacteria, plants or YOU if you don't manage to clean it good enough.

 

And to save you a little on bulkhead fittings, one word uniseals

 

As for other fittings and pipe, you might stop in at a plumbing/irrigation/septic supply place and see if they would let you purchase from them.  Problem with that is you need to know exactly what you are looking for and what to call it since you don't get to paw through the bins in search of what you need when you are just putting in an order at the counter.  I've learned my way around the plumbing section at my local Lowes to the point that other customers are always asking me questions instead of the guys in the vests.

 

As to ball valves, get the ones with the black handles since the red ones won't hold up to UV light long term.

 

Thinwall pipe is lighter, cheaper and easier to cut but isn't as sturdy so don't burying a thinwall pipe shallowly under the driveway.

Thanks TC,

 

Yes, I'm aware that I need to know what was previously in the totes. I believe these particular units had olive oil in them. Just wondering if I could perhaps score them cheaper and curious as to the "going rate".

 

I have looked at the uniseals and they seem practical for some applications. However, will they work in the bottom of the grow bed with the bell siphon?

 

Unfortunately, I'm not near a plumbing supply house. I'm somewhat rural. There's a Lowe's closer but I've never been able to find everything I need there and couldn't imagine they would have all the parts I'm looking for. I guess I'll check them out but that's why I was interested in an internet outlet with reasonable prices as well as shipping.

 

I should have added that this first system will be in my garage, so I'm not as concerned about UV degradation at this point. Thanks for the heads up on thin wall pipe though. I was planning on using 1" for all the hard plumbing but I think I recall you suggesting 1 1/2"? On a smaller system, is that extra 1/2" necessary?

If you are using 1" to send water from the fish tank to the grow bed, I would use 1 1/2" at least for the drain if doing timed flood and drain.  If doing the bell siphon you will want to size the siphon parts to be appropriate to your flow rate. Look up affnan siphon for that modification since it will make things easier.

 

The only trick when using uniseals through the grow bed and doing siphons is you will probably need a coupler or adapter just inside the bed to make it possible to remove and re-install the stand pipe when you need to make adjustments.  Now it might be possible to use a bushing in a larger uniseal but that won't leave much fitting on the outside of the bed to secure a fitting or pipe to carry the water back to the grow bed.  Or one might slip some regular pipe into a uniseal and use a piece of bell end pipe as the stand pipe inside the bed.

 

Aquatic Ecosystems has some inexpensive 1 1/2" bulkhead fittings that are threaded on both sides Aquatic eco

Aquatic eco system for bulkheads and other plumbing parts.  Most of their stuff id better priced but compare shop just to be sure.  I also have used thier e-z seal rubber gasket for pipes and those things work real nice. A bulk head for me locally was $35 and they had to special order it.  Through Aquatic Eco I bought a $10 one to see what it was all about and I bought a $3 one to check that out.  Both being very nice.  But seriously for multiple pipe connections check out those e-z seals.  Good luck and shop wise!!    Reading TC's post what I meant was uniseal not e-z seal!!!

In response to TC's post about the coupler and uniseal.  Definitly think about ease of maintaince when designing your system.  Many times with aquarium installs and the two AP system I have bulit so far when you don't consider this it definitly is a major downer espcially when something goes wrong.  I have also realized the importance of ball valves as well. Good luck and Happy aquaponing!!(is that a word?)

 Pat Quigley said:

Thanks TC,

 

Yes, I'm aware that I need to know what was previously in the totes. I believe these particular units had olive oil in them. Just wondering if I could perhaps score them cheaper and curious as to the "going rate".

 

I have looked at the uniseals and they seem practical for some applications. However, will they work in the bottom of the grow bed with the bell siphon?

 

Unfortunately, I'm not near a plumbing supply house. I'm somewhat rural. There's a Lowe's closer but I've never been able to find everything I need there and couldn't imagine they would have all the parts I'm looking for. I guess I'll check them out but that's why I was interested in an internet outlet with reasonable prices as well as shipping.

 

I should have added that this first system will be in my garage, so I'm not as concerned about UV degradation at this point. Thanks for the heads up on thin wall pipe though. I was planning on using 1" for all the hard plumbing but I think I recall you suggesting 1 1/2"? On a smaller system, is that extra 1/2" necessary?

Pat,

I think that $80 is good for IBC even considering I got mine from a good friend for less. For my IBC project, I purchased all of my pvc piping needs from Lowes and maybe 1 item from Home Depot. As for the "Bulkhead fitting" here was my soloution. In the electrical section of Lowes find the PVC conduit fittings(Grey in color) and get a male and female threaded adapter fitting. These fittings will screw together and tighten down tighter than the equivalent plumbing fittings. With some silicone on the threads and mating surfaces of your tank, they will prove to be a great and cheap solution. You can check out my last video and see where I used one on the wall of my tank for an overflow. My Video

 

Hope this helps!

Steve

The plumbing/electrical conduit fitting trick definitely works for the smaller plumbing on small systems.  However when you start talking about stuff 1 1/2" and up, you might not do as well finding conduit fittings to do something like a 3" SLO drain for a large CHIFT PIST or CHOP system.
Thanks for all the ideas! I took a look at 'Aquatic Eco' and I think I will go with their bulkheads for the bottoms of the bell siphon assembly. They come in at around half the cost or better than I had seen them other places. The uniseal is a great option for the fish tank outlet (from the fish tank to the sump), I think. Hopefully I'll be able to locally source most of the other items that I'll need but Aquatic-Eco seems to be a great place for the hard to find.

TCLynx said:
However when you start talking about stuff 1 1/2" and up, you might not do as well finding conduit fittings to do something like a 3" SLO drain for a large CHIFT PIST or CHOP system.
Whoa! Slow down there TC! Either I said something to upset you or I'm a complete newbie.

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