IBC Aquaponics

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

Members: 195
Latest Activity: on Tuesday

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Requesting help with media/plants

Started by Mike Beckman. Last reply by Mike Beckman Aug 17. 5 Replies

Hi there, my IBC tote system is functioning well, fish are getting bigger(started with goldfish) and plant growth is amazing however fruit production is disappointing to say the least.  Several posts…Continue

IBC Tank Drain - Fish Screen

Started by Jeff Guykema. Last reply by Jeff S Aug 9. 6 Replies

I saw someone use the IBC drain as the solids outlet run out to a sweeping 90 to veritcal into a radial flow filter.  Thought that was a great way to go until it was time to put fish in...  hmmm, how…Continue

Update to my IBC system

Started by Mike Beckman. Last reply by Jeff S Jul 21. 9 Replies

 Plants are doing amazing.  Peas growing all over the rafters, squash growing over the media bed, down to the floor, tomatoes tied up to the rafter and flowers everywhere however, fruit production…Continue

Source for IBC Totes in North Pugt sound

Started by Carla&Dave Jun 22. 0 Replies

They usually have 2 or 3 available each (253) 269-2928 3715 Irongate Rd, Bellingham, WaContinue

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Comment by David Gallentine on Tuesday

Hello there, need tilapia?

Comment by Jim Fisk on October 19, 2015 at 8:25am

Hey Jeff, it might be the species of fish. Some will dine on algae and some don't. Our trout don't seem all that interested while our cats and BGs are more prone to eat it. That's over 3 yrs of buildup as I try never to outguess nature, lol.

Mike, don't forget that bacteria will create organic compounds that are who knows what. Something went awry. I check almost daily for water level in my sump, water appearance, water odor, and surface appearance (from scum, oils, to dead fish). Takes about 15 seconds when I do the morning feeding. I have been planning a vid of the daily walk through for some time for what it's worth. It could even be your brand of feed as I ponder this. I use Cargill's Trophy Feed from TSC and it has been great. There will always be something to overcome I'm afraid. In a closed system like AP there are things that will sneak up on us from time to time due to concentrations that start out harmless. The larger the system the less likely the harm I would imagine. Our 2500g is very forgiving.

Comment by Mike Beckman on October 18, 2015 at 6:28pm

I believe overfeeding was in the mix but whatever caused the bubbles on top of the water I think was the issue.  I dont use any chemicals anywhere except to adjust PH from time to time so not sure what happened.  I overflowed the tank twice for a considerable time and let water drain from the bottom, cleaned the pump and pipes, changed the air stone and the water bubbles except for the air stone seem to be gone.  3 fish have survived. The chemistry is showing a PH of 6.9, 0 Nitrites and Ammonia, 20-40 ppm Nitrates.  Everything I read says to see how much food the fish will eat in 3-5 minutes but my fish never eat all at once even if I just put in a little.  Some would come to the area I am putting the food and some would stay in different areas of the tank and it didnt seem to be related to the size of the fish.  Down to 3, a small, medium and large.  Very upsetting especially since I am not sure of what happened.   I have a larger black plastic pipe with slots in it(not sure of the name) around the drain pipe and there dont appear to be any large pieces of anything on the floor of the FT.  I will post a picture tomorrow of the water and again thanks to all for your responses.  Jim convinced me earlier this year to stop "micromanaging" the process and it has been fine for many months.  

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.


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