IBC Aquaponics

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

Members: 182
Latest Activity: 12 hours ago

Discussion Forum

3-tote system - Design questions and pump size questions

Started by Blake Allen. Last reply by Jeff S Mar 26. 25 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

Wintering your IBC tote/ fish tank

Started by Angela Pierce. Last reply by Jeff S Mar 4. 24 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

Leaking IBC

Started by Arthur King, Jr.. Last reply by Jim Fisk Feb 11. 19 Replies

I went to feed my fish this morning and it seems my IBM has sprung a leak!  Anyone have experience with this.  It is lest than a year in service, I would not have expected a failure this…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

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Comment by Jim Fisk on March 12, 2015 at 9:37am

Welcome aboard Nikki (Artus). IBCs are a great way to go. Let us know if we can help in any way.

Arthur, Aquaman, and Jeff: Thrilled to help. The more I think about it I may stick to the thinwall because as long as it is painted it should last forever and the thin walls should pass the heat on better. It will need a bit more support than I gave it as it has sagged a bit over last Summer. I'll pass on what support it should have as I tackle that. It probably gets mighty hot with no water in it. I might even place a Summer cover over it. (Duh) Mylar?

Now keep in mind that solar is sneaky (or subtle for lack of a better word) as you might not notice a big difference between the in and the out (to the touch) after the initial start up each day BUT the real test is how much did your system water rise by days end. 2F in a 2500g system is a lot of btus. If I can even double that with more collector I will be thrilled. I can tell at a quick glance if the collector is running by the slight condensation on the pipes. At such times you know it is sucking up the heat. Now a clear cover that keeps the moisture away (evaporative cooling is working against us in this case) could help quite a bit as well. There is always room for improvement.

Comment by Jeff S on March 4, 2015 at 4:56pm

I built a 3'x5'x4" box painted black with a double pane glass front with 200' of black irrigation hose inside. The temp got really hot in the hose but as it circulated it didn't seem to keep up well. I ran it during the summer and with the severe cold and lack of sun in the winter I just retired it. Circulation was a problem but the way you describe it Jim that might take care of that problem.

Comment by aquaman on March 4, 2015 at 3:56pm
Thx Jim for the info. Some of this i had started but just didn't get it done in time. Im looking fwd to killing this next yr lol I just added four more grow beds so I have a total of 8 now cant wait to get fired up again Thx for all your help :))
Comment by Arthur King, Jr. on March 4, 2015 at 3:16pm

Thanks Jim for the pic.  I have been thinking about something like this for a bigger system I'm going to build this Summer.  The cost of copper and an exchanger was somewhat of a deterrent but seems like CPVC works just fine. 

Comment by Jim Fisk on March 4, 2015 at 2:31pm

Arthur, KISS.  The little pump sits in the sump and pumps sump water. It heats about 2500g of system water. If you used say copper at great expense these days, then you would need a heat exchanger in the sump but I try and keep it simple and cheap. I would use cpvc for the next 2 expansions maybe. Better for the system and more rigid. I used thinwall pvc which does transfer the heat better perhaps. IDK for sure. But since I automated it I am thrilled with the hands off performance. In Summer I just drain and shut it off. The paint protects the pvc from UV so it should last forever. Just remember to start under water (pump in sump) and end under water (extend the exit pipe well below the sump water lowest level so no air can get in) so there is nearly no load on the pump as it merely circulates the water and the up forces are countered by the down forces. You need a hose bib tap valve and a shutoff ball valve right below it so you can purge the air from the loop just like in a household heating loop. You can see in this photo how easy it will be to add more collector for even more free heat.

Comment by Arthur King, Jr. on March 4, 2015 at 12:11pm

Do you have any heat storage in the collector loop, or does it directly heat the AP water?  What is you heat transfer fluid in the collector?

Comment by Jim Fisk on March 4, 2015 at 9:20am

@aquaman. I use every possible (plausible) method to heat the system water which in turn keeps the GH at least above freezing on most Winter nights. I also have 4 55g black barrels that sit in direct sunlight and of course absorb a good deal of heat. I have a 100' x 3/4" pvc solar collector that is mounted on a 2' x 16' metal roof panel all painted flat black. I used an attic fan control, removed the cover, adjusted it to come on at about 80F, painted the bimetallic plate flat black (Sun turns it on directly) and mounted all of it at the S peak of the GH wall (between my hot house and fish room) and it comes on whenever the Sun is out via a small pond pump (20.00 eBay), in the below grade 275g sump, which only acts as a circulator and not a pump as it would never pump that high up on it's own just like the circs on a home heating system (must all be primed first and have NO air leaks). I have a ss coil inside the digitally controlled wood stove for those below say 20F nights and that is set to about 38F on and 39F off. The use of the wood stove of course depends on how many days have been clouded over prior to the cold night(s) as to when I need the wood stove. My next plan in this regard is to double and then triple the size of the solar collector to cover most of that S facing wall which will bring the system temp up a good 6F on a single sunny day. In a 2500g system that is a lot of btu's. Temps this Winter have only dropped to 10F below on clear nights. That brings up another point: the GH gets a nice cover of ice on the inside on those cold nights and that prevents radiant cooling and saves a great deal of heat. Not something I hear mentioned much. Many things work in our favor in Nature TG. All in all this has been the easiest Winter yet but it takes time, a little $ and above all planning.

Comment by Bayy Quest on March 3, 2015 at 6:01pm

I live in the desert I see maybe 10 days out of the year that there is little to no sunlight it dropped in the low 30's maybe 3 days this winter in the valley. So I think I will be ok 

Comment by aquaman on March 3, 2015 at 3:28pm
Hi Jim I know its been a while sense we chatted. I was just wondering how you deal with winter and if you had any good tips for me? Remember I live rurally on solar so heating could be tuff. I was not able to keep my system running properly this winter. partly because I just wasn't truly ready for it. But just wondering if you had any good advice for next yr?
Comment by Jim Fisk on March 3, 2015 at 11:36am

I hear you Jeff. I have wanted to do solar for years but the more I look into it the less I am impressed. We have good Solar coverage here in Winter (we made sure of that when we purchased) but we have had such heavy cloud cover I would have to at least double up on everything if I wished to depend on it.

I recently happened upon a YT vid on using a washing machine "Smart Drive" for a wind or water gen. Some simple rewiring and it is ready to go. Here is just one good example of folks converting this amazing drive. Turned out we had one with a bad computer in the shed so I am on it as we have a good year round stream on our property with a 35' drop in 300'. Should be enough for most of the house as well as the AP. This guy in the vid is blessed with a 90' drop if I am hearing him right but 35' will do a great deal with 4 nozzles rather than one. These are permanent magnet 3 phase motors. A prepper's dream.


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