IBC Aquaponics

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

Members: 172
Latest Activity: on Monday

Discussion Forum

3-tote system - Design questions and pump size questions

Started by Blake Allen. Last reply by Jeff S on Monday. 11 Replies

Hi guys,Long time luker, first time posting.  I made a small 50 gallon system out of two large tupperware containers that worked great for about a year.  I've sinced moved homes and my system broke…Continue

Getting fish out

Started by Steve Armeros. Last reply by Phil Slaton Oct 23, 2014. 12 Replies

I posted under the wrong area with question..Hello AllIs there an easy way to get gold fish out of the Tote?  These suckers are really fast to net.SteveContinue

Wintering your IBC tote/ fish tank

Started by Angela Pierce. Last reply by Jeff S Oct 20, 2014. 22 Replies

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???Continue

What size PVC pipe and threads for IBC tote bottom valve?

Started by Steve Federwisch. Last reply by Paul Anguiano Oct 8, 2014. 13 Replies

I was told the bottom valve on my IBC totes were 2" pipe thread so I went to the store and got the PVC 2" pipe female connectors thinking they would screw right on. I cannot even get them started. Is…Continue

Comment Wall


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Comment by Todd Johnson on November 23, 2014 at 9:47pm
Check your water hardness. Sounds like you have soft water. If you get your water harder it will be easier to raise and maintain pH
Comment by Phil Slaton on November 23, 2014 at 3:07pm

Come on over and join West Coast Tilapia.  We look forward to your input!

Comment by Jeff S on October 6, 2014 at 11:19am

I've had egg shells in my system for a couple of months and still have the pH going down. I add calcium carbonate to one 45 gallon system and potassium hydroxide & hydrated lime to the other to raise the pH. My IBC never goes below 7.2 and I never add anything to it. Not sure why the pH doesn't go down in the IBC.

Comment by Leo White Bear on October 6, 2014 at 8:27am

The seaweed extract here in the states is called "Maxi-crop".  Murry Hallum in Australia says it is called Seasol, I found my in a plant nursery, I don't think just any nursery has it but the bigger ones do.  You can also order it online but you will pay a hefty price for shipping.


  If you want to buffer with egg shells or oyster shells you must be patient as these break down very slowly, you add either and then check the pH and see that nothing happened so you add more.  Suddenly you find that your system is all out of whack so you add a buffering agent to lower the pH.  It can become a battle if you don't know that it works slow.  Right now - don't worry about the finesse part of aquaponics, worry about the basics, learn, read, experiment and MOST OF ALL  have fun.

Comment by Arthur King, Jr. on October 6, 2014 at 8:02am


I have heard a lot of people use Seaweed extract to provide trace minerals to growing environment.  Also, you will find that the fish food will have some of these in as well.  The only thing I see at lot of people needing to add is a source of iron.  I have found that for me, the amount I get from my water replacement is sufficient.  I use both potassium bicarbonate and calcium carbonate via egg shells to buffer my water pH.

Comment by Leo White Bear on October 6, 2014 at 5:36am


  It may have some trace minerals but remember it is volcanic GLASS.  Sand is basically sterile so no trace minerals, scoria is made of melted sand.  It also is very dirty and all that bits of glass and dirt gets into your pump shortening its life.  If you must use a mineral supplement use granet dust or a phosphorous compound and little of it.  I have heard of someone using "green sand" but never heard of anything much after that so no results to be passed along. Don't know what happened, maybe another aquapon can give you the answer to that one.

Comment by Butch Pornebo on October 5, 2014 at 10:16pm

@ jeff ... very nice

@ Leo and Arthur King ... noted .... yeah to think about it mother nature did not evolve plants to expect light from under.

river rock in my area is about $40 per yard. I like the lava rock a lot. porous and lightweight too. i'm for sure using gloves ;) hyrdoton is just out of my budget...way out.....

in soil gardening a lot of people uses azomite rock dust / volcanic dust and they swear by it. lots of trace minerals. I would assume that the lave rock dust will have some trace minerals too. maybe ? 

Comment by Arthur King, Jr. on October 5, 2014 at 7:56pm

I use pea gravel (3/4" river rock) that I checked for limestone before getting  it at $45 a yard.  Seems like a lot of media prices vary depending on what is available in your area.

I would not recommend the white gravel top for two reasons:  1.  It might look nice at first, but unless you spend time washing it down, it won't stay white for long.  And 2.  although I'm in no way a biologist, I would argue that reflecting light back up to the leaves will have little affect as Mother Nature has designed plants to receive light top down.  I would also worry about algal growth on the white surface where the water is entering.  ( I guess that is three :) ).

Comment by Jeff S on October 5, 2014 at 7:46pm

Basement System

Comment by Jeff S on October 5, 2014 at 7:42pm

I sow my seeds in my grow media. I even built a small bed over a 45gallon aquarium just to germinate seedlings. If you are trying to produce as fast as possible it saves a few weeks of growing time in your GB if you have a separate germinating system or soil bed.

I covered my Grow Stones with hydroton for appearance and easier planting.


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