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

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Comment by Mike Beckman on October 16, 2015 at 12:53pm

Okay, really appreciate the responses.  My system is a "standard" IBC tote system with expanded clay media, white plastic piping, no brass or copper anywhere except the hose connection to the outside water pipe and you are correct, the water changes I have done were in response to a high PH from mis understanding the amount of c and p hydroxide to add to bring the PH up and what looked like a very high nitrate level. Color matching is not easy for me for some reason and at that time, nitrate appeared to be the darkest on the chart so the answer is yes, I have only changed water when the chemistry was off and I let the water(city water is chlorinated) sit in 5 gal pails for a day before adding so it takes a few days to get it done.  I thought the larger fish were attacking the smaller ones but the largest one died last week.  Any suggestions would be much appreciated. 

Comment by Jim Fisk on October 16, 2015 at 10:35am

Jeff, the GBs lol

"I use wood ashes from the GH woodstove at each GB inlet (about 1/2 cup in each of 5 GBs in our 2500g system) to naturally raise ph and trace minerals and some bio-char".

I actually place short slotted "gravel guards" at the inlets to trap any solids that get past the swirl filter and I place the ashes in those. I make them from scrap left over from making our bell siphons. We are fast approaching 1000 bell siphons made here and shipped worldwide. Lots of folks getting into AP!

Comment by Jeff S on October 16, 2015 at 9:41am

Mike I was terrible with controlling pH for the longest time but never had any fish loss due to it. I have Tilapia in 4 tanks and goldfish in another. Once while the pH was really low (Less than 6) my goldfish were showing signs of stress but as soon as I raised it the problem went away. I've read and seen videos on changing pH rapidly being bad but I haven't experienced that when I make pH adjustments. My only fish loss has come when the power went out and I lost about 30 Tilapia out of 1000 before I got it corrected.

Jim, I like your idea of using wood ashes to control pH. What do you put them in?

Comment by Jim Fisk on October 16, 2015 at 8:28am

Mike, while we await ans to Arthur's excellent questions I just wanted to mention that the only fish deaths we have had in 4 yrs (since system maturity) (trout fingerlings) were due to low PH and I use wood ashes from the GH woodstove at each GB inlet (about 1/2 cup in each of 5 GBs in our 2500g system) to naturally raise ph and trace minerals and some bio-char and it has worked perfectly. By adding it at the GB inlets the bacteria have a chance to work it before it hits the sump and on to the 5 FTs. Our mature trout never gave any indication of a problem, only the newly introduced @4" fingerlings. Since our awakening we always run a PH test before we introduce new fish.

Comment by Arthur King, Jr. on October 16, 2015 at 7:43am

Also forgot to ask, why the regular water changes?  Once you are through cycling, water changes shouldn't be needed unless you are correcting for some way out of whack water chemistry.  Is you water chlorinated or treated with a water softener?

Comment by Arthur King, Jr. on October 16, 2015 at 7:41am

Mike,  Sorry to hear about your fish.  Any chance you have brass or copper in your system?  Any galvanized would also be a problem.  Is your set-up a CHOP type?

Comment by Mike Beckman on October 16, 2015 at 7:30am

Good morning.  Need some advice.  My goldfish are dying off at about 3 per week.  Have had them for about a year and the sizes vary from a couple of inches to about 5 inches(2 of them).  The dead ones dont show any visible sign of disease or trauma.  My ammonia is almost 0, nitrites are 0, nitrates appear to be in the 40 to 60 ppm range.  PH is tending to drop below 6.5 and I have been trying to keep the PH closer to 7.0 with equal amounts of calcium and potassium hydroxide(small additions).  The fish and plants look healthy, the water is clear.  I have done 25% water changes every month.  Started with 50 fish and down to 20.  Lost most in the first few months then the odd one for many months, now a consistent  3 per week.  Would appreciate any advice!!

Comment by Jim Fisk on October 12, 2015 at 2:20pm

Hey Jeff. They are still in the loop and I have cycled for as much as a week at a time with no ill effects noted (since that initial tea coloring over night the first night). Just that 1/2" or so of contact when the bed hits high level and kicks the siphon in is enough to inoculate the water. I now let it cycle for a few days and shut it off for a few. The plants grow significantly in 24hrs when the water is on.

Comment by Jeff S on October 12, 2015 at 11:03am

Jim, If the soil/compost and worms are separated from the water flow how do castings and tea get into the system?

Comment by Jim Fisk on October 12, 2015 at 7:49am

Michael, I see a lot of GBs with the inlet manifold running around the perimeter and entering thru small holes or slits and what I see is a maintenance headache due to clogs from solids. I like KISS and enter at one corner with a simple rotating (and cheap) 90 to adjust flow and exit as far as practically possible from the inflow. Opposite corners does just that. Like I always say "think like water" when you're doing plumbing, lol.

In the case of our 13' x 3' GB I enter at both ends and exit at the center so that bed can be any of the 3 types. I can monitor the water flow visually due to the gravel guards at each inflow. Very KISS. The wicking bed is out of control!! Been harvesting for a few weeks now. Still keep in mind that it is the 5 IBC media beds performing the nitrogen cycle (bio-filters harboring the vital bacteria). The wicking bed is merely a "grow bed" which lives off the system water clarified by those IBC media beds and does very little filtering. It does introduce compost tea and worm castings, however, to the system.


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