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Jim Fisk's Discussions

Smoky Mountain Aquaponics System Up and Running

Started this discussion. Last reply by Jim Fisk Apr 30, 2013. 13 Replies

Now that we are actually "fished" I guess we are officially a system. So here is an "as built" plan as opposed to the original plan that evolved as we were building.…Continue

Tags: Mtns., Smoky, system, ap, Aquaponics

Calling all AP gurus. Here's a hoot.

Started this discussion. Last reply by Jim Fisk Aug 12, 2013. 6 Replies

Anyone else ever notice a voltage potential between your ibc fish tanks. I kept noticing a cactus like feeling when I leaned on my tanks. One forearm on one , etc. You get the idea. So, I got out the…Continue

Blue Gill Fin Fungus?

Started this discussion. Last reply by Brent Wheeler Oct 1, 2012. 18 Replies

We picked up our first bluegills 4 days ago and 2 days in we noticed what appear to be white fungus on the dorsal fins. Water quality is right on and clear. Me thinks it was on them from the fish…Continue

Tags: fins, fungus, Bluegill


Jim Fisk's Page

Latest Activity

Rob Tennant joined Jim Fisk's group

IBC Aquaponics

A place for IBC tote systems to share what they have learned and system designs.See More
Jim Fisk replied to Futti's discussion plants die after a fast growth
"Could be damp off. I see what appears to be possible mold on the media in the tomato pic."
Sep 12
Jim Fisk replied to Sue C.'s discussion Mouse in grow bed
"I leave a mouse trap armed at all times in one GB and one in the FT room as well where fish food gets dropped on occasion and I catch them fairly regularly. About the only body fluid likely to be released is mouse pee and theirs is far more likely…"
Sep 12
Jim Fisk replied to Dennis Brooks's discussion Sump overflows
"Dennis, you really need to take a pic or draw something up as your system is not conventional. The beds normally drain back to the sump individually and not in series as you describe. My buried sump is 275g and it only varies about a foot running 5…"
Sep 12
Jim Fisk commented on Richard Kowalski's blog post Trials and Tribulations of getting a Flood and Drain System Up and Running
"My conclusion after reading your trials and tribs is that you need to do a whole lot more reading and taking notes. I hope you realize it can take 6 mos to a year to get the system stabilized. It takes time to grow the colonies of bacteria. Until…"
Sep 10
Jim Fisk commented on Jim Fisk's blog post How We Build Our Solids Lifting Outlet (SLO) At Smoky Mountain Aquaponics
"Hi John, yes it is very important to filter out the fish I use the drain to lower the FTs down to about 12" during harvest and I use a wok strainer on a piece of pvc, for a handle, to block the drain during that process. I haven't gotten…"
Sep 10
John Tracy commented on Jim Fisk's blog post How We Build Our Solids Lifting Outlet (SLO) At Smoky Mountain Aquaponics
"What a great idea!  Thanks for sharing.  I'll be modifying my system next season, and this looks perfect! I used the drain on the IBC for my outlet and never had a problem with the sinkers when I started the system with Koi and large…"
Sep 10
Jim Fisk replied to Jon Parr's discussion SchoolGrown Learning Lab Greenhouses in the group AP for Educators
"Sounds like the FDA and DOA got together on that one. The same folks that don't want to see gardens on front lawns like they were something dirty. wth. On the peroxide front I am willing to bet they never heard of cs. Cs has been used very…"
Sep 9
Jim Fisk commented on Jim Fisk's blog post How We Build Our Solids Lifting Outlet (SLO) At Smoky Mountain Aquaponics
"Thank you Sylvia and Vlad. My favorite place to share AP. I'll try to get some more articles done soon. We have had a very busy Summer."
Sep 3
Jim Fisk replied to R.K. Castillo's discussion My First Solar Powered Aquaponics System
"NICE RK! I would go inverter and stick to pond pumps. Might need another solar panel but I think it would raise the reliability factor 10 fold. Like Alex said bilge pumps have a low duty cycle meaning time on/time vs off/time BUT in a timed flood…"
Aug 30
Jim Fisk replied to Suzanne Hayes's discussion Fish in Brdige Siphon
"How about a "hinged" screen that allows them into your sump for rearing but does not allow them back in the other way? This is assuming you want them in your sump? Vlad, didn't I read somewhere that duct tape has is poisonous to fish?"
Aug 30
Jim Fisk replied to Steve Armeros's discussion Getting fish out in the group IBC Aquaponics
"Elevation is a relative term. I am spreading my gravity power among about 10 IBC GBs in two rows of 5 so I knew I needed plenty of GP. (gravity power; did I just coin a new AP abbreviation?) In Jeff's case you are not spreading it out as much…"
Aug 30

Vlad Jovanovic commented on Jim Fisk's blog post How We Build Our Solids Lifting Outlet (SLO) At Smoky Mountain Aquaponics
"Awesome tutorial Jim, thanks!"
Aug 29
Jim Fisk replied to Steve Armeros's discussion Getting fish out in the group IBC Aquaponics
"First off no one minds good feedback The only problem could be the lack of elevation in Jeff's design as far as gravity flow is concerned. That is why my FTs are high up and my sump is below grade leaving the GBs at a perfect working height.…"
Aug 29
Todd Johnson joined Jim Fisk's group

IBC Aquaponics

A place for IBC tote systems to share what they have learned and system designs.See More
Aug 28
Jim Fisk commented on Jim Fisk's blog post How We Build Our Solids Lifting Outlet (SLO) At Smoky Mountain Aquaponics
"Hey guys, TY for the kind words. I love sharing what we learn as do so many others on here. This forum simply rules! Be sure to let us know how you make out and of course if you have any questions. I hope to get more posted soon on other perhaps…"
Aug 28

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Are you an aquaponic gardener already?
If so, what type of system? (pick all that apply)
flood and drain media
How old is your system?
6 mos - 1 yr
What type of fish do you grow with? (select all that apply)
Goldfish, Trout, Catfish
How big is your fish tank?
1500 gal (5 x @250 gal ibc's and 10 ibc grow bwds for starters)
Name a part of a fish (spam blocking question)
Please tell us something else about yourself.
Homesteading in the Smoky Mtns of NE TN. Setting up 5 ibc fish tanks and 10+ ibc grow beds in a 20 x 24 pole building greenhouse with an insulating wall between the "hot house" and the "fish room".

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Jim Fisk's Blog

How We Build Our Solids Lifting Outlet (SLO) At Smoky Mountain Aquaponics

Posted on August 18, 2014 at 1:30pm 11 Comments

There are many ways to skin a cat or in this case get the poop out of your fish tank (FT). Here is how we make ours for our full size IBC (Intermediate Bulk Container) FTs. We wanted a true family…


Making A Zero Backpressure Check Valve

Posted on February 21, 2013 at 12:30pm 7 Comments

I have a portion of my bypass water going to the SS heater coil in my woodstove and since it goes high above the rest of the system in order to clear a doorway I ran into some issues. All goes according to plan once I force the water up and over. However if there is a power interruption either by me or the power lines I immediately loose the prime and the coil is emptied and soon overheats and melts the pvc fittings.

So what I needed was a check valve that would not create any back…


Comment Wall (12 comments)

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At 9:55am on August 18, 2014, N.G. said…

Thank you so very much!!!! You are awesome!

At 5:08pm on August 17, 2014, N.G. said…

Hi Jim, I saw on a previous post that you know a lot about bell siphons. I am a newbie and have built my own, but am having difficulty with it. Now I can't get it to work and I'm not sure why. It has a 3/4 " standpipe, 2" bell siphon with 1/2" holes along the bottom all the way around... The bell is an inch taller than the stand pipe... It should work and it did a few times but then stopped, leaving 5 inches of water left in the grow bed. I'm using a 130 gph pump for a 55 gl tank and going up 4ft. Do you think its my pump? I would greatly appreciate any suggestions :) Thanks

At 9:45am on June 19, 2014, Jeremiah Robinson said…

Hey Jim,

If the air is warmer than the water, it's a tossup in my view.  The sweating might help a tiny bit, but very little of the heat absorbed will come from the plastic of your tanks. That's why I was thinking it's not worth the effort, though I'd love to hear the results of an experiment.  If you had metal tanks it might be different.


At 8:54am on June 19, 2014, Jeremiah Robinson said…

Hey Jim,

I wouldn't.  I don't think the sweating would be worth the convective heat gain.  

At 8:05am on June 18, 2014, Jeremiah Robinson said…

Hey Jim,

Thanks for asking.  Yeah I'm a dad now.  Same story as you - long induction and a c-section.  I just about lost it in the hospital.  Really good to be home.  Not much sleep yet but hopefully soon as she gets back up to birth weight.

Here's a link to some pictures.

At 5:11pm on March 4, 2014, samsjoy89 said…

Wow, Jim, looks like you have the perfect setup.  Great property for an awesome AP system!   I'm small scale, sub-division in town.  AP system, a couple raised beds and some young fruit trees.  Thanks for all the posting you do.  Helps us newbies learn.


At 3:48pm on December 11, 2013, Ken McCown said…

Nice. What did you end up covering the hot house side with? The video shows it covered with plastic.

At 3:24pm on December 6, 2013, Shelia Hoyt said…

Hi Jim,

  Thanks for answering my question so promptly. Sorry I took so long to reply but I waited to respond because I wanted to see how the heat exchange my husband built for my yesterday was going to work. It works well. We  had to use cast iron 90's  because that is what he had on hand. I had a mishap shortly after we set the heat exchanger up- I slowed the flow too much and went inside and cooked dinner.  When I came back the pvc had started bending so I pulled it apart and drove quickly to town (13 miles in the freezing rain and sleet) picked up more pvc and when I returned my husband modified the exchanger( to try to prevent me from damaging anything else LOL ) by taking the s.s. across the top also and then connected to the pvc and increased the flow and the temp was 76-78.

  Today  I added some steel on top and in between of the s.s.   then I was reached temps of 87 on the out put and the tank was around 67 or 68 so I increased the flow and until it was a temp of 74 and now both the pond and the fish tank (about 700 gallons) is at 71. the air temp is around 60. So I am pleased with the heater.  Now we will see how well everything does if it gets down between 8 and 0 over the next few days.  Missouri is definitely experiencing winter weather, but thankfully we did not loose power.

Thanks for posting pictures of your heat exchanger. We had been talking about several options and after I heard that your s.s worked well we decided to make this heater.


At 12:28pm on April 4, 2013, Brad Moreau said…


hows it going? I'm getting closer the start up system, I was wondering if I could use stainless steel tubing to cool water in freezer, or do I have to use vinyl / pvc 


At 9:45am on March 22, 2013, Nick Scud said…

Thanks Jim, your wealth of knowledge is much appreciated!  I should be receiving my IBC's (and hopefully a plastic 55gal drum, for a sump) this weekend.  I like to have a good game plan before just starting to cut & build..  so I'm sure I'll be in touch to verify some plumbing details, and other stuff, before I just try slapping everything together.  Thanks again for the warm welcome, I look forward to learning and cultivating.


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