I am using a 275 gallon IBC for a fish tank. Do I need to cover it from light. What do I cover it with? Do I need to cover the surface of the water with anything?

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Hi Dick,

It all depends on your system and where the FT is located. I just cut an access door in the top and my FTs are located in a separate, divided off from the hot house, room with limited skylights by design. Have you cut off the entire top? Is it in direct sunlight? Here is a picture of how I have my FTs if this helps. Otherwise we need to know more about your situation. Pics really help. If your top is still intact like mine are you could just paint it if sun hits it. In my case it does not so I have no worries except to wrap the tanks in some insulation. This Summer I will be fully insulating the fish room so even that will be unnecessary. We got thru this Winter with double tarps for fish room walls. That should save some firewood next Winter

The surface of the water? nothing.

Dick

I Connected a piece of conduit across the top and made simple hinges by bending plumbers tape into a u-shape and screwing it to a piece of plywood lid painted white. That way I prop it up during the day to let a litte sunlight in, but close it when I need to to control sunlight getting in as well is winter time to keep cold out.  (The lid has a little rubber seal stuck to the underside that closes down against the IBC frame top ). 

You'll also notice I wrapped it with a brown tarp and r19 unfaced insulation under that to insulate the sides and bottom of the fish tank as I live in area that's cold in winter.  The insulation helps regulate water temps all year long too. I actually throw a $5 harbor freight moving blanket over the top all winter to control water temp loss also. On the parts of the IBC top that the plywood lid doesn't shade, I glued that foil bubble wrap from home depot to stop any sun infiltration.

{I have a little fluorscent coil light bulb under the lid on a timer...so that when I have to keep the system "wrapped up" and the lid down when it's real cold- the fish get to see light during the day and darkness only at night.}

It is typically 30-40 degrees at night from late fall to spring, and in winter it gets down to 18 degrees.  Some days it stays at 30-40 degrees for 3 or 4 days in a row.

I have a heater I made on a thermostat to keep the water at a set minimum temperature... which is a little costly to run, but hey-who said doing this was cheap !!  :-)

 

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You want to protect your IBC plastic from excessive UV light as it will get brittle with age and be prone to cracking.  Many people will paint the IBCs or wrap them up with something to block the light.  This could be insulation, tarps, wood, or whatever best suits your situation.

You also want to cover your tank to some extent.

Reasons for fish tank covers,

1-keep fish in (fish jump)

2-keep things out (leaves, debris, children, non-aquatic pets, drunk guests etc)

3-keep sun from causing an algae bloom.  (you don't want pea soup green water, block the light.  Fish only need enough light so they can tell day from night, fish do not need suntans.)

What to cover the tank with?  Common options include shade cloth, netting, fencing, tarps, a constructed lid, wood, insulation, the cut out form cutting the IBC open, etc.  Use what is appropriate for your situation.

DO make it easy to open/close to feed and inspect your fish.

Don't make it air tight, the surface of your fish tank is very important for air exchange so you do want to let some air circulate to the surface of your fish tank.

Love your list TCLynx. :)  I'm in the planning stages of a greenhouse for aquaponics system. Any useful hints for a newby?

TCLynx said:

You want to protect your IBC plastic from excessive UV light as it will get brittle with age and be prone to cracking.  Many people will paint the IBCs or wrap them up with something to block the light.  This could be insulation, tarps, wood, or whatever best suits your situation.

You also want to cover your tank to some extent.

Reasons for fish tank covers,

1-keep fish in (fish jump)

2-keep things out (leaves, debris, children, non-aquatic pets, drunk guests etc)

3-keep sun from causing an algae bloom.  (you don't want pea soup green water, block the light.  Fish only need enough light so they can tell day from night, fish do not need suntans.)

What to cover the tank with?  Common options include shade cloth, netting, fencing, tarps, a constructed lid, wood, insulation, the cut out form cutting the IBC open, etc.  Use what is appropriate for your situation.

DO make it easy to open/close to feed and inspect your fish.

Don't make it air tight, the surface of your fish tank is very important for air exchange so you do want to let some air circulate to the surface of your fish tank.

Dottie, Find some examples of systems in a similar climate to yours and as similar size/layout/and fish as you think you want to do.  Read their posts or system threads to see what they learned as they built their systems.  Over on BYAP I would recommend people read the Useful info and basic info sections and then pick out a couple of the big long old member system threads to read through and then start your own system thread and post some descriptions, ideas, perhaps pictures or diagrams and get suggestions and recommendations from others.

This site hasn't formed quite the same way so trying to learn from it seems a bit more hap hazard but you could still start your own Topic here to get suggestions from others.  Be sure to describe where you are (climate, greenhouse etc) so people can keep that in mind when sharing advice.

Hey Dottie,

If you are going for a GH you might consider what I did and arrange so your fish tanks are on the N side and separate them from the Sun side with some sort of wall. I am just using a tarp for now until I fab something more permanent like 1" foil covered foam. It makes things a lot easier in terms of climate control and keeping the Sun off of the fish is no longer a concern. This composite pic gives you the concept. That is the same tarp, just 2 angles. Metal roof over fish with 3 of the panels clear for limited light. I can run the hot side temps to 112F (like 2 days ago while we were in town) and the fish stay cool (trout like cool). The only veg that even appeared a bit wilted (and recovered fine) was the Swiss Chard. AP is amazing like that. Those temps would have decimated a dirt garden. Seen that a lot with our AP system. Very robust growth and very forgiving once you get it established. Click on my avatar (one of our 3-4ft across AP cabbages, btw) and ck out my pics and floor plan for ideas. We are just graduating from experimental to real production so this Summer will be very exciting. (i.e. no fish deaths in at least 6-8 weeks now

Jim, I'm happy to hear you are doing trout!!!!!  Tell people about it, so many in this country think you can't do trout in AP and don't seem to believe me when I say the guys in Oz do it all the time.  I can't do trout though since I'm in FL and even more unwilling to chill water  than I am to heat it but I'm a Firm believer that more people should grow native fish rather than Tilapia.

I'm running at 12% battery but I will get back to you on this. For me Trout have been by far the easiest and most rewarding in terms of fun at feeding time and especially losses (deaths). Bluegills were a disaster. Ch. Cats almost as bad. I buried the 275 gal sump as a temp buffer for cooler fish. Summer? who knows. We'll know soon

Thanks for all the info. We're still researching places to relocate but it looks like it will be a cooler climate hence cool water fish (trout or walleye). We've lived in GA over 20 years and have had enough of the heat, bugs and humidity..... Nuff said.....  Has anyone tried walleye???

Currently in San Francisco and LOVE the climate but we're in an apt.  Great idea about separating the FT from GB! Haven't seen that before. I posted a question in the plant section about how do plants thrive (germinating and growing) with cooler water. I'm not keen on starting all my seeds in soil pots as I haven't been very successful with this in the past. Haven't seen the cool water with plants addressed anywhere in my research. I'd appreciate your input in that section--don't want to mess with this thread....

There are plenty of cool weather plants that thrive with water in the 60-68 F range.  Some even seem to thrive (once established at least) with water in the 50-60 F range.  Kale, collards, broccoli, etc.

Need plenty of filtration to make up for the cooler temperatures but media bed aquaponics is great that way as long as you make sure to have twice as much media bed volume as you have fish tank volume.

Yup, been running 49-55 all winter and those you mention plus edible pod Peas have done great. Tomatoes that were well along grew well all winter as did Parsley and Mint. Must have had 6-8 cuttings at least from 4 brocs (the trunks must be 3" across by now) and as many from the peas. Fungus gnats and white flies interfered with the test and we culled things like Carrots early due to their popularity as a breading area. Learned a bunch this Winter. That should be at the top of some list: "Never ever bring home someone else's plants to your GH. Ever!!" Right Jon Parr? Sounds like he fell for that recently himself. I seemed to have missed that advice. Some things just can't be repeated too often. The Trout love to jump for the gnats at least. Good helpers.

TCLynx said:

There are plenty of cool weather plants that thrive with water in the 60-68 F range.  Some even seem to thrive (once established at least) with water in the 50-60 F range.  Kale, collards, broccoli, etc.

Need plenty of filtration to make up for the cooler temperatures but media bed aquaponics is great that way as long as you make sure to have twice as much media bed volume as you have fish tank volume.

Good info.....however, one can only eat so many greens....  Perhaps I'm not asking the question right *~*  Can one successfully grow plants such as melons, tomatoes, green beans, legumes, etc. if the water temp. is in 60s or thereabouts.  I'd prefer to germinate in the expanded shale and this is my concern, that nothing will germinate or won't grow well. Just finished a 36 pg. article someone sent about walleye--they like low 70s temps--so that will help considerably.

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