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Discussion Starter #1
This is probably not the smartest thing I have ever done. I'd be willing to bet you I could spend my time and money a lot more wisely. Still, I'm going to do this thing.

I don't remember how I started thinking about aquaponics, but I started watching videos and reading books. I finally decided to build one of those systems that uses a 275 gallon IBC Tote, so I ordered one from the Lexington Container Company. I didn't order one from Ebay or any other of those self-selling places because I wanted to buy from a place that had a reputation to protect, and it is important to buy only a container that had food grade material in it.

I still had questions that just weren't answered by ANY of the books and articles I read, so I kept on looking. Then, I came across Friendly Aquaponics, out of Hawaii. I bought the plans for a 128 sq ft system for 99 bucks, and it was the best investment. More than just plans were given, but a lot of things they have learned along the way.

The Tote came in, but that's OK as I can use it for the fish container. The only thing I'm going to do differently is the grow beds. These have to be built. I have never built anything wooden, so this is a great learning opportunity for me. So far, I have learned that everything called a board is not necessarily a board, and just because it is listed as being eight feet long, don't bet on it. :lol: Still, I am having a lot of fun.

Oh, and there is a way to feed the fish without having to spend a lot of money on organic fish food. A buddy at work told me about black soldier fly harvesting. The soldier flies will make a whole lot of fish food, and their pheremones will keep regular old house flies at bay, Also, the black soldier flies are not nuisances!

Gotta go to work, now. Will add more as I do more.
 

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I've been researching the same thing though not sure when I will get to putting one together. By what I have found, get your plants in & established before adding the fish. If the plants aren't there to filter the water you've a good chance of loosing the fish.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
The ammonia build-up would certanly kill the fish, yes.
 

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ph test kit to establish the ph before adding the fish. Too low or high can easily kill the fish. I think I read 6.4-6.8 is ideal.

BestDealUSA PH-009 IA Pen Type PH Meter & Digital Tester Hydro
Its under $10 from amazon & reuseable. Range goes 0-14.
 

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Another guage you will need is a submersible thermometer. Your water temperature will dictate in part which fish will grow best.

Putting the aquaponics system in a greenhouse & able to control cooling in the summer & heating in the winter, you can grow both plants & fish year round.
 

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We are going to be building ours out of an IBC? I think they call them container. We have a place in our city that builds them so getting a great deal on one. Builds the tank, we will still have to modify it. Looking forward to getting to work on it.
 

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Oh and I saw something on a video where they grow Duck Weed? I think in a kiddy pool to feed their fish with. I haven't researched it beyond watching a video.
 

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TM, you'll be needing a reciprocating saw to cut the first 8" or so off the top of the IBC Tote. The top part of the tote and the cage will be your grow tray.

This is the system I am going to build. Amazing, the amount of information that came with the package.

By the way, Alabama is not as constant as Hawaii, so I had to buy one of these so I could control the environment during the winter months. While catfish are a lot more tolerant than tilapia, they prefer not to freeze. Besides, I want to grow year around.

I can already taste the bell peppers!
 

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Backyard Liberty is a site that we just ordered our guide for aquaponics. We borrowed a friends copy and loved it so much we wanted our own. I highly recommend it and we are starting to build ours next week!
This is the one my wife ordered as well. I think this is going to be a fall project for us.

Denton, great thread. Thanks!
 

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Yes, Aqua-ponics uses a combination of animal life (fish) to provide most of the nutrients for the plants. In Hydro-ponics you have to use fertilizer and supplied nutrients to feed the plants. It is more expensive and intensive to grow plants using hydro-ponics because you have to maintain (buy) new nutrients continuously. The fish in aqua-ponics are like an Aqua-culture system (raising fish) with the wastes from the fish feeding the plants and the plants cleaning the water for the fish. There is a lot less waste and lower costs in keeping the fishes water clean and the plants fed. You still have to feed the fish but there are several ways to do this without much in the way of cost to you.
 
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Yes, Aqua-ponics uses a combination of animal life (fish) to provide most of the nutrients for the plants. In Hydro-ponics you have to use fertilizer and supplied nutrients to feed the plants. It is more expensive and intensive to grow plants using hydro-ponics because you have to maintain (buy) new nutrients continuously. The fish in aqua-ponics are like an Aqua-culture system (raising fish) with the wastes from the fish feeding the plants and the plants cleaning the water for the fish. There is a lot less waste and lower costs in keeping the fishes water clean and the plants fed. You still have to feed the fish but there are several ways to do this without much in the way of cost to you.
Thanks that should have occurred to me but I doubt it ever would.

You are so correct. I kicked around the hydroponics idea for a while but could never justify the cost.
 

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My wife bought an Aero-Garden because a friend had it so we could start growing our own food. What a complete waste of money! We got the tomatoes and while we got tomatoes, maybe 10 miniature cherry tomatoes in the last 100 days, it has been barely enough for a topping let alone anything of value. Compared to like the 300.00 we spent and the upkeep, completely not financially practical. It is totally a fun project for kids or just a conversation piece but nothing more than that. I keep trying to talk her into selling it but she wants to use it as a seed starter. They have a way you can put a bunch of seeds in to get them sprouted then take them to the yard to plant them. We will try that to see if we can salvage this purchase. But I'd highly recommend going with an aquaponics over a hydro or make your own.
 
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