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This is my first year with Tilapia in an IBC tote, I have them in my greenhouse. I am wondering what others will do for winter? Ie, insulating tank, running grow beds, heater???

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Here is a pic of one use for the furniture bubblewrap. A GH within the GH for those 20F below nights. Of course in a warmer climate it might be all you need to get thru those few cold nights.

The bows are 1/2" x 10' cpvc pipe about every 4' and since this pic was taken I added a horizontal pipe at the peak for much more support. God only knows what that cat was doing. Looks painful.

Looks toasty. How did you add the horizontal pipe? I am looking to build a full size pcv GH and would like to see a photo of what you did here.  How is your wood stove working?

Toasty and FREEE. The best kind. Wire ties for the horizontal with the pipe under the hoops. KISS:-)

Some of these heavy duty bubble wrap covers are 10+ feet long or even longer (depends of course on the couch). They come as a big envelope so I cut straight up the ends of the envelope and tape an end on that is cut out of a damaged one to the shape of the hoop + a couple of inches for overlap and of course just tape them together to make any length you need. They are about 8' - 9' wide opened up and cover the 42" hooped IBC width perfectly. My son in law is no longer at the furniture store so I will have to make an arrangement with the boss there to set them aside now. BTW much heavier than the standard bubblewrap we are used to seeing and DOUBLE layered. Such a deal

They also come in bright blue which I use to wrap the IBC FT and that I leave double/double or 4 bubbles thick as it were. Any furniture shop must get these in.

The wood stove is working great. Biggest problem I have had this year is wet wood as we had no time this Summer to cut wood due to the house build. So of course we have had the worst Winter in years with temps to 20 below so all the wood first gets dried on top of the stove as you can glimpse in the front of that pic. Twice I failed to dry it enough and the GH air dropped to 16F but I am guessing the water temp saved everything from cabbage to lettuce even tho the leaves froze solid as glass. I thought we would lose it all but nothing. We are only growing cold weather plants this Winter thank God.

My GH is wood framed but you can build a PVC tunnel the same way as the GB cover to any size. Lots of examples out there. I wanted the fish room separated so wood frame made more sense.

 My electric bill put me in a state of shock this year, my first winter with AP. I have decided as a temporary method of heating to use a small propane radiant heater directed at the IBC as close as possible without damage. This helps heat the water tremendously at the same time providing GH heat. I installed a 450 watt MH grow light (turned off at night) and also use that heat to help heat the GH. I only use the propane about 8 hours a day so a 20 lb. lasts about 6 days. The built up water temp then covers the GH during the day with the help of a little sun light. I am in eastern Mi. so it's been really cold. Green house is 8 x 10. I intend to build a larger GH this year and will be looking at heating options for sure. I put in a wood burner but it's too much trouble to maintain.

Hey Jeff you might want to try the tunnel cover above inside your GH as I have (got the idea from Rob) and then put a SMALL electric heater in the tunnel on a thermostat. That could prove very economical. Again the bubble material is free at the furniture store and the 1/2" cpvc hoops are just over a dollar for a 10 footer. A good thermostat would be the one they sell for kero/electric powered "salamanders" at Sears even. I've had one of those for 40 years and all yoi=u do is plug the little heater into that (assuming the heater does not already have a T-sat. I run the wood stove anyway so I haven't needed the extra heater and it protects the system even if the stove should screw up due to the wet wood I have to deal with this "Winter from Hell".

I am loosely enclosing the grow bed with reflective material to maintain heat in the GB and using the light for heat. Hopefully that will be enough with the water heater. Hooking up a way to measure the electric usage of the water heater. Damn this is fun.

I have the entire GH on a brand new (but very old stock at 120v) power meter I purchased on Ebay all set up for 120v with a 4 rec box and cord on it for all of 15.00 delivered (some yrs ago). I have yet to actually read it tho because we only saw a 10 - 15.00 hike after turning on the GH but I don't heat at all with electric. Hate to see that bill on our 24x24GH when it's 20 below at night. YIKES!

I think I am going to move my operation to my basement next winter. At least any heat I produce will be in my house too. I can't come up with an economical way to heat my small GH. Today I received a thermostatically controlled propane radiant heater. Hope that will help adjust the power and fuel usage. I picked a bad winter to get into AP.

I'll say Jeff, and we picked a bad year to move into our unfinished house. TG for lots of hardwoods on our property as I have never gone thru so much firewood running 4 wood stoves. 16F again last night after seeing 60F overnight a week ago.

The new bubblewrap tent over the GBs has made a big difference and today we should have good Sun so the new solar collector should get a good work out. I'll post a pic of the new 100' x 3/4" collector. Been able to go thru some cold nights without using the stove by relying on the system water heat. 26F outside and still 52 in GH as I write (3/4/14 9am) and haven't added any wood since 7pm last night. The next 10 days looks a whole lot better. Baby steps toward Spring this year.

I'm in the process of putting my IBC sump in the ground. Anyone have suggestions about the best way to insulate it? I'm going for keeping it warm in the winter. I often wonder why folks with overheating water problems don't put their sumps in the ground without insulation to cool the water.

I did not insulate the 275g inground sump as I wanted it to buffer the temp down in the Summer and up in the Winter. Seems to help. Keep in mind I grow trout so the ground temps are in their range.

I wound up putting 2" Styrofoam around the sump. I can only assume it helps. I boxed in my GBs from the ground up with 1" foam and covered them with a mylar low tunnel with the grow lights inside for heat at night.  I only heat the GH during brutal cold.


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