Aquaponic Gardening

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I want a 4 tank system, 2 for redclaw, and 2 for tilapia.  However I will be starting with goldfish and crayfish to learn the basics.  I have been looking at these totes from walmart, for a month or so and have no idea if they would be safe for the fish.  Would I need to also get pond liner, is there a better alternative? Space / price is a issue.

Sterilite 50 Gallon Tote Box- Titanium, Set of 4


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I went with Rubbermaid stock tanks... a bit pricey but super rugged. I think the plastic was like a 1/2" thick when I drilled it. I bought the 150 Gallon one from Blue Seals. I think Tractor Supply sells them also. They come in various different sizes so you should be able to find what you want. The problem with most totes is that you will need to reinforce them 'cause they aren't rigid enough. You have Rubbermaid stock tanks and there's another company called Tuffstuff

For economically as well as durability I would go with used IBC tanks if you have the room. If you're going with smaller stocking quantities you can even cut them in half and just buy 2. There's all kinds of info in this site as well as on You Tube on how to best configure them.

I think you would find that these totes would like bulge/buckle under the weight of all that water. I'd go for something a little stronger, like some food grade 55 gallon barrels. Depending on the deal you find, those probably wouldn't cost you too much more.

The IBCs can't bulge/buckle because of the steel cage around them. They are designed to contain that much liquid, even during shipping. I pay $35 each for semi-cleaned IBCs then just scrub them down again and have never had a problem.

I started my system with Behlen country stock tanks, they were on sale on and had free shipping. they have a tubular welded plastic rim and the sides are formed into additional supports. they have held up really well for the last 1 1/2 years (inside the house). one is 300 gallons(fish tank) and the other is 70 gallons. Don't buy them at full price, wait for a sale.

How about a small kiddie pool?

Keep in mind that there is a disease that US crawfish carry that kills Red Claw crawfish. You might have to scrub down your whole system before you put any Red Claw in there.

I'm looking for a inexpensive alternative using a coruscation for hands on experience. So when I spend the money to get redclaw breeders they don't all up and die.  Same with the goldfish/tilapia.  Currently living in a condo, and my balcony is my herb/tomato garden. It's about 5' by 12'-14'.  The system would most likely be scraped when we move out of the city. A new permanent one will be built with the greenhouse we have planed.

Then I would just get some sturdy totes at the big box store. I have used totes in the past for temporary tanks and am using a couple now for smaller grow beds. The long "under the bed" type tote is a good GB option.

I had a small area in a prep room next to my class room and have put together a small system shown under Forum /member system: System Build with $$ showing parts, suppliers, and cost. maybe it will help.

I'll throw in a second on the Rubbermaid stock tanks. 

Well, since the thread resurfaced.....

@Jeff S I was talking about the Walmart totes in question, not the IBC totes.

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