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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

Jim Fisk commented on Jeremiah Robinson's blog post How Twitter Killed My Fish
"It's all in the definition and everyone has a different def. I don't make the categories but I totally agree they are overused. Having said that, the phrase:" we grow up liberal and when we are grown ups we become conservatives"…"
Jim Fisk commented on Jeremiah Robinson's blog post How Twitter Killed My Fish
""Back in the day" eh? You old fart. I went to Columbia U. to study EE (BITD) and I was so appalled at the lack of knowledge and hands on experience of my classmates I quit in disgust. I have since learned what a "hands on…"
Jim Fisk commented on Jeremiah Robinson's blog post How Twitter Killed My Fish
"Smart. As an electrician I can tell you that GFCIs can cause a lot of trouble. If you have an immersion heater in the FT it might be a good idea but life support systems should stay off of them. The original idea was to keep folks in a bathtub safe…"
Jim Fisk commented on Jeremiah Robinson's blog post How Twitter Killed My Fish
"And that is why in the land of Smoky Bear I keep all things aquaponic SIMPLE and the pump in the sump. The worst that can happen in the land of deluge (here in the mountains) is a little water runs thru the GH and out the floor drain. Maybe a simple…"
Jonathan Trease commented on Jim Fisk's photo

Bypass Filter

"Hiya -- this looks really perfect.   I'm running one pump up to a long 2" trunk line, that branches off to 5 racks of vertical towers.  I'd like to add some filtration, because bits are getting into the feed lines of the…"
Jul 14
Jim Fisk commented on Rick Stillwagon's group Northwest Aquaponics
"Hey Joe, On my 2500g (and growing:-) system I use 1" THINWALL pipe on a 1200g pump to 5 IBC FTs and the woodstove ss coil and to the 12x3' DWC and have extra to spare back to the bypass. As far as gravity drains are concerned just remember…"
Jul 11
Jim Fisk replied to Charlotte Seibert's discussion Hot weather plants
"What are your GH temps hitting? Ours will hit 110F at max but Swiss Chard, Tomatoes, and even Kale seem to recover each and every time. We finally pulled our SwCh and Kale after they were 2 yrs old and still producing in favor of fresh plants. They…"
Jul 11
Jim Fisk commented on Rick Stillwagon's photo


"Hey Rick, you're welcome. This pic is now #1 on the leaderboard. Who-da thunk? Must be pretty quiet on the AP front when a still takes first slot. Siphon sales are a bit slow this time of year as well. I have noticed a correlation."
Jul 11
Jim Fisk replied to Mathew Slattery's discussion Help!! Using an Indexing valve to increase growing area without adding a sump.
"Just remove the bell on your siphons and drill a small drain hole at the bottom of the stand pipe. That's about it. Often bell siphons have that hole anyway in case of a power failure they will not hold standing water for hours on end so it…"
Jul 11
Jim Fisk commented on Rick Stillwagon's photo


"That's great news Rick. We have mini's cropping up all around here as well and they seem to be doing the business. Most have their own tavern and are crowded by all accounts. My kids love going with their friends. A growing new trend. You…"
Jul 11
Jim Fisk replied to boats4906's discussion TOO MUCH FISH POO IN SUMP TANK ON A CHOP 2 SYSTEM
"Actually this is an old simple diagram of my basic layout. What you suggest is correct but I would require another pump or the media GBs would have to be well above the DWC. As you can see the GBs and the DWC are at the same convenient height. My…"
Jul 11
Jim Fisk commented on Rick Stillwagon's photo


"Wow Rick, I live in "still country" now in NE TN and that is a bute! I do repairs on large commercial laundry equipment and have done so at the local jail in Carter Co. Tn and they have a beauty right in the lobby that of course was…"
Jul 10
Jim Fisk commented on Rick Stillwagon's group Northwest Aquaponics
"Diddo what Lloyd said. I too used ammonia. As far as the siphons are concerned, having sold over 400 now, sight unseen (a pic of your siphon would be great, top and bottom) I believe you need a vent right after the 1st or 2nd 90. It is not…"
Jul 10
Jim Fisk commented on Alan Barnett's blog post Roots can cause problems!
"Yup, lots of things with AP become apparent AFTER we get rolling. After 2 1/2 yrs in I can now just look at a system and see all the pitfalls that will pop up down the road a few months. Mesh GGs are just one of many and I see people selling their…"
Jul 9
Jim Fisk replied to Alex Veidel's discussion Vertical Cucumber Growing
"Fabulous, thanks Alex and Vlad. I will do just that."
Jul 9
Jim Fisk replied to David Wyatt's discussion worst idea's ever
"I was afraid for you when you announced your foray into a set up that size. I still say "grow big, don't start big." Every business I have built and sold was built from the ground up and all mine. I sleep better that way. Now if I can…"
Jul 8

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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

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 (10 comments)

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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.

At 5:51pm on November 19, 2012, Bob Campbell said…

Jim I've been telling Silvia about the break down in notifications.  Vlad also noticed it, and I think it is happening to a lot of people but few are saying anything.  Please tell Silvia about the notifications that you are missing.   I started a discussion and thought no one was interested until I checked it.  I had missed 5 replies!

At 11:56pm on August 19, 2012, Sylvia Bernstein said…

Welcome Jim!


Thanks for joining the Aquaponic Gardening community!  I hope you find it a fun place to explore aquaponics.  There is a real blend of experienced and new aquapons in this community, so please don’t hesitate to get in there and start asking questions.  Everyone is quite happy to help out new members--no question is too basic. 


A great place to start is to read the “How to Use This Site” link on the upper right corner, “Start Here” section of the Home page.  You might also find the “Aquaponic Gardening Rules of Thumb” guidelines helpful.


Please participate and check in with us every day!  We are constantly posting news about aquaponics and the good food movement.


Thanks again for joining us, and I look forward to getting to know you.




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