Aquaponic Gardening

A Community and Forum For Aquaponic Gardeners


IBC Aquaponics

A place for IBC tote systems to share what they have learned and system designs.

Members: 206
Latest Activity: Apr 23, 2019

Discussion Forum

Adding more sump tanks - question!

Started by Blake Allen. Last reply by Yaacov Levi Jun 27, 2017. 14 Replies

Hello,I have the following IBC Tote setup (covered in another thread here) and I need to add another sump tank for additional water…Continue

Got my IBC system up, having a plumbing problem...

Started by Blake Allen. Last reply by Blake Allen Jun 25, 2016. 18 Replies

Hello! Ive just got my new system up and running and your seeing my plumping in the middle of a rework. Before I cut to many pipes and give myself a bigger headache I thought I'd ask the community to…Continue

Storing Fish Water

Started by Jeff S. Last reply by Jeff S Jun 13, 2016. 3 Replies

I'm planning to drain and clean my IBC fish tank but due to the amount of rain we've had I don't want to put it on my gardens right now. Is there any reason I shouldn't put in in my rain storage tank…Continue

How flexible are IBM Totes?

Started by Craig Shevlin. Last reply by Jeff S Jan 2, 2016. 7 Replies

I need to bring 3 totes into basement.I will be cutting off the top 1 foot.How flexible are the totes to fold back to get through a 3' door way?Would rather not take door jams apart.CraigContinue

Comment Wall


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Comment by Jeff S on October 18, 2015 at 6:17pm

Jim, I was noticing your tank in the pic. The only "unclean" area in my tank is a slight algae line just above the water line. Couldn't clean it better myself. Probably because I have so many fish. They actually clean the walls up to an inch above the water. I can't see the bottom because of the iron chelate I added.

Comment by Jim Fisk on October 18, 2015 at 2:09pm

Arthur, don't over clean your tank of course. That is healthy bacteria in most cases. Just remove any solids buildup on the bottom.

Comment by Arthur King, Jr. on October 17, 2015 at 8:36pm

Mike,  Do you have a media guard around your drain in the GB?  Do you use any chemicals on the plants?  I agree with Jim that your water looks dirtier than I would expect.  I have a similar set-up (GB over FT using siphon and river rock) and my water is crystal clear for over a year now.  I need to flush my pipes and wash my sides, but I haven't even done that since it was set-up over a year ago.  Only other thing I can think is you may be over feeding your fish.

Comment by Jim Fisk on October 16, 2015 at 6:26pm

Here are a couple of pics:

Comment by Jim Fisk on October 16, 2015 at 6:23pm

Mike, I made a bottom suction tool with some 3/4" pvc attached to a 25' hose and I just use it as a siphon to suck thre crud off the bottom, especially in the IBC corners where solids will collect. Works like a charm but due to my SLO I only have to do this about once or twice a year. Like a pool vac.

Comment by Mike Beckman on October 16, 2015 at 4:58pm

Jim, I remember you telling me about smell in a prior communication and to stop using the add on water conditioning chemicals that I was using which I did.  Since then I have always been sensitive to the smell of the tank and honestly, even now it has not smelled bad. Also overflowed the tank for about a half hour just now, cleaned the pump and pipes, left the aerator on and lots of particulate came floating up, looks like the water is full of it and I kept scooping.   Attaching a picture of what is in the water(old food, poop????).  For some reason the fish stayed near the top and I saw one of them had no tail fins, looked like it was attacked. I agree with you on the sump but in the short term is there something I can do to clean the water?  Will do a complete chem check in the morning.  As always, appreciate your advice.IMG_3724%5B1%5D.JPG

Comment by Jim Fisk on October 16, 2015 at 3:08pm

Hey Mike, looking at your system water I see a few things that would bother me. First the suds bubbles on the surface. Something in the water chemistry is causing that. Might be a clue. Probably a slow concentration that has snuck up on you. Also, the biggest problem with not having a sump (you are of course using the fish tank as the sump) is that the surface builds up with oils (could be the culprit) and lots of other debris. I realize you are running forgiving fish (my trout would leave home if their water looked like that lol) but surface oils will even kill mosquito larvae in a marsh. That's how they control them after all. I would simply overflow your FT for a spell to get rid of any surface build up.

I would love to see you make an slo with surface skimmer (see my blog on here) and drain to a sump where the pump would pump from there to the GB. That also allows the FT to stay at a full and constant level as well as keep the FT water much cleaner as any oils get trapped in the sump and all you do is overflow the sump now and then and voila they are gone. Some work involved I realize but keep in mind that the system you have is considered a basic starter system. There is tremendous room for improvement with the GB over the FT method. Also keep in mind that as soon as a fish dies in the system there is a big build up of said oils and they are smelly and toxic.

Speaking of that, how does your water smell? That can tell you a great deal as our noses are very tuned in to any anaerobic bacteria odors. Everyone should get used to how your system should smell when all is good. We know immediately when a fish has died by the system water smell BUT our system is designed to get rid of the rancid oils and tainted water as soon as we remove the dead fish and that ain't often.

Comment by Mike Beckman on October 16, 2015 at 2:14pm

Arthur,  Thanks for the reply and yes it is one GB and one FT from an IBC and I have never taken out more than 25%, not sure if that is too much at one time.  Over the past year have gone months with no fish loss and just not sure what I am doing wrong, but will keep trying.  Lots to learn!!  I would love to expand the system but my confidence is not high right now. Attaching pic of my greenhouse, the AP system and the water, hoping someone might have an idea. Thanks again to all for your assistance.  IMG_3718%5B1%5D.JPGIMG_3723%5B1%5D.JPGIMG_3721%5B1%5D.JPG

Comment by Arthur King, Jr. on October 16, 2015 at 1:08pm

Hi Mike.  When you sat standard IBC set-up, you one GB and one FT made from one IBC?  I ask because I have only lost fish (Koi and Goldfish) when I had a combination of low pH (~6) and low tank water volume.  Too much stress for the fish is what I figured.  Don't have much else to suggest other than I use Potassium Bicarbonate and Calcium Carbonate (egg shells) to adjust my pH once in a while.  I like the buffering action these provide and find adjustments are not needed nearly as much.

Comment by Mike Beckman on October 16, 2015 at 1:00pm

And I am using a flood and drain system, running 15 minutes every hour, compost worms in the GB.  Was aerating on the timer but changed to 24 hours last week to see if that would help.  Originally, couldnt get the bell siphon I had to work so just using a piece of white pipe cut at an angle and positioned inside a piece of black plastic slotted "pipe" at a height to keep the input water from overflowing the GB.


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