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 Post subject: Windows in IBC's
PostPosted: Feb 3rd, '20, 14:51 
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I know this has been mentioned a lot here (searched and searched to find as many threads on it as possible) but wondering if there are any new attempts out there ?

I am VERY interested in getting glass windows into these IBC's, so looking for any ideas/tips.

I wasn't really looking for any info on Aquaponics but after reading so much here I might just have a try at that too !

I know this has NOTHING at all to do with Aquaponics but these IBC totes are amazingly versatile.

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I am going to have a building one of these showers as it would be amazing on the bush plot I have.

It will be even more amazing when I have IBC's with windows on my plot.


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 Post subject: Re: Windows in IBC's
PostPosted: Feb 4th, '20, 15:55 
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To hold water like an aquarium or a shower door?


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 Post subject: Re: Windows in IBC's
PostPosted: Feb 5th, '20, 05:22 
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I want to put windows in IBC's for aquarium use.

The pic posted of the shower was amazing to me and I just wanted to share it. As I said its amazing how versatile these IBC's are - only limited by your imagination ! But It did seem as though I was posting about that shower - which I was not. Sorry for the confusion.

I need a shower on my bush block (currently bath in a lake come bathing time each afternoon at days end, so it would be nice to actually have a shower !)

But back to the real task at hand........

My real interest here is too develop a method of putting **GLASS** windows in IBC's

Looking for ideas/thoughts on getting GLASS windows in


Last edited by Jack_Daniels on Feb 5th, '20, 06:08, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Windows in IBC's
PostPosted: Feb 5th, '20, 05:38 
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This is the best window I have come across so far.


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Although I dont think this is glass....they look like pop rivets to me, so this would have to be plexi glass or polycarbonate i think


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 Post subject: Re: Windows in IBC's
PostPosted: Feb 5th, '20, 07:00 
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+ plexiglass or similar. In my opinion, Glass would need a steel/aluminium frame tethered back to the cage to support the glass and tank walls in dual function. With some potable grade silicone. Depends how freely you can come across both .materials, give it a go, report back


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 Post subject: Re: Windows in IBC's
PostPosted: Feb 5th, '20, 14:03 
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I need this window to last a long time. Therefore glass is the best material for the window because;

- Plexi/polycarbonate scratches easily - polycarbonate scratches easily if you even breath on it (not really of course but feels like it)

- Polycarbonate can bought that have treatments applied to the surface to prevent scratching - but what is that coating - anything toxic to fish ? It seems to be a trade secret what the coating is - so that concerns me

- Polycarbonate yellows with UV over time. Again you can purchase polycarbonate sheets that have a UV treatment applied to stop or reduce this but again what is the formulation? Another trade secret I am afraid.

- A Large window needs thicker polycarbonate or plexiglass. This directly equates to $$$

- Polycarbonate is very expensive !

Glass.......;

- Does not easily scratch

- is inert

- can be easily found in many thicknesses. I would say about 12mm is the right thickness for this job given the size of the window that can fit in an IBC.

- Does not yellow with UV exposure but does get brittle over many years exposed to strong UV. But talking many years here. I suspect the plastic drum of the IBC will degrade a lot faster then the glass window.

- is considerably cheaper than Polycarbonate

Thats for starters.

I am very determined to have a go at this. It involves thinking outside the box (excuse the pun) on how to do this. There is a lot to consider.


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 Post subject: Re: Windows in IBC's
PostPosted: Feb 5th, '20, 14:50 
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You seem to have considered alot with this.

IMO UV will hammer the ibc liner before any of the alternatives window choices above mentioned fail. If longevity is the main factor I would do away with the window concept and also replace the ibc with four sides of glass and a base i.e. build an aquarium. Leaks overtime can be patched, and also rejuvenate all seals periodically. 12mm toughened you can get for around 150-200m2 = 750-1000.

Edit: sorry came off a bit blunt, long day at work I guess.


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 Post subject: Re: Windows in IBC's
PostPosted: Feb 5th, '20, 15:19 
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No problem being blunt - I like direct and blunt up front ;0

Yes I have put a lot of thought into this. Lets just say I am a little obsessed .....nothing wrong with a little obsession hey...

The IBC's with a window cannot be beat for price for the volume. Ask me how I know ;-)

The trick is going to be using glass (which is about 8-10 USD per Sq mtr in China - can load with other stuff in a container) as its cheaper and has less day to day handling issues. But it does not flex much and that is the achilles heel of it.

As has been mentioned here the wall thickness of the IBC drum is very thin. This does necessitate a frame on the inside and outside of the IBC plastic drum material. There are several examples of this here on backyard aquaponics.

So the real question is how to make that frame.

It is vital to keep metal ***ALL**** metal out of a tank of water that fish will live in. The only metal that seems remotely reasonable to expose to fish in water is titanium and I dont think any of us are going that route. (ok, ok, someone here prove me wrong and build a titanium frame).

So this brings me to wood. Plywood specifically. Ply is an amazingly strong material. It can be machined easily on a CNC router or a laser cutter to get tight dimensions on those bolt holes - we want to get tight dimensions so that we slightly undersize the diameter of the hole for the bolt so it is an interference fit to lessen the path for water to leak through, although this itself won't stop water finding a way out - more that the sum total of many things/steps taken will defeat the water leaking.

This youtube video got me thinking about wood and glass tanks. Not an exact fit for IBC's granted, but it got the gears turning upstairs.




https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vL6CqIjvvI8

The other issue is sealing the wood against the plastic IBC drum material. It seems a gasket is the way to go. This youtube video shows this quite clearly.




https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E9DTSZBEbRI

I do wonder about that rubber gasket though. Is the sticky backing against the rubber helping to seal the polycarbonate to the rubber in anyway or is it just to keep the rubber gasket in position while its fitted ??


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 Post subject: Re: Windows in IBC's
PostPosted: Feb 5th, '20, 17:55 
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The thing we battle with windows in IBC's is the thinness of the plastic drum. In thicker walled containers it does not seem anywhere near as difficult to put windows in.

This video is a repair to his first attempt. Many of you have probably seen it, but I put it here for completeness.




https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KViBkSfm1IE

You can see in this vid that he uses stainless bolts with a rubber washer to stop the water going between the head of the bolt and the polycarbonate.

He uses silicon as a gasket on this window between the polycarbonate and the tank plastic surface and the final result is it does not leak.

Note how thick the polycarbonate is early on in the video - he has a tall tank and that is a lot of hydrostatic pressure pushing in on that window. I am not sure of the structural properties of Polycarbonate because I just cant afford to use it.....import duties are excessive where I live. however it must be quite strong to be able to resist all that hydrostatic head which is a whole more than you think if you have never looked into this.

A biggie with this repair job is the stiffeners he uses down each side of the tak. This is critical in our IBC application as has been mentioned by other members here on Back yard who have done (successfully) a window in an IBC.

I love the way she helps guide his bolt in as the first locating bolt goes in :shifty:

****HOWEVER*****

One has to remember that the tank he is using is probably a different plastic composition (I dont believe he mentioned it in the vid - if he did I missed it)

Our beloved IBC totes use a plastic that nothing but nothing but nothing will stick too !


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 Post subject: Re: Windows in IBC's
PostPosted: Feb 5th, '20, 18:22 
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This video is very interesting but its in Korean - so setup auto translate first.

This is a very interesting video showing the use of a rubber gasket for a fairly big window in a very large tank (a water storage tank actually). Again it must be polycarbonate window because of the curve - glass will NEVER do that.




https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VBKOm2r_apE&t=4s

He uses no strengthening support on either side of the tank. Only the Polycarbonate and the rubber gasket. The gasket is all in one piece this time around as opposed to the earlier vid posted where the gasket was cut into 4 sections and stuck to the polycarbonate with some sort of adhesive backing on the rubber. I suppose the early vid where the kid uses a kit he bought has the gasket cut that way because it would be a lot more economical on material to cut strips that join together the way he showed that he did it, then to cut a gasket for a large window as one large gasket cut from a large sheet.


Also note how many more bolts this guy uses. I think this is key to the success of his approach.

Question : how thick would the bolts need to be if using lots of bolts close together like he did? I would like to use the smallest stainless bolts possible that will technically do the job because of costs reasons - I like the idea of many more smaller bolts then less bigger bolts spaced further apart.


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 Post subject: Re: Windows in IBC's
PostPosted: Feb 13th, '20, 15:08 
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Not a lot of love for windows in IBC's then. I find it fascinating.

It's hard to find the information if it's out there so have to rely on this forum since it seems the most active on IBC's................ has anyone ever used a rubber gasket with a window in an IBC?


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 Post subject: Re: Windows in IBC's
PostPosted: Feb 13th, '20, 22:35 
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I have one with a clear face shield for a window.It has been there for quite a few years now and is still okay.I put it there so the kids could see the fish.The first time that I looked after filling it there were three fish looking out at me so I thought who is supposed to look at who. I used silicone to seal it and it has been good ,never leaked.

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 Post subject: Re: Windows in IBC's
PostPosted: Feb 15th, '20, 02:08 
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Thanks for the info Don.

Any photos ?


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 Post subject: Re: Windows in IBC's
PostPosted: Feb 15th, '20, 02:11 
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How important is the size of the bolts going to be on a window like those shown in the videos above?

M5 or M6 maybe ?

I dont think going smaller then M5 would be wise but have no engineering data to back that up - was down at the hardware a few days ago looking at stainless bolts and while M6 looks about right, M5 was cheaper still. However M5 is getting smallish so not sure about anything smaller then that.


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 Post subject: Re: Windows in IBC's
PostPosted: Feb 19th, '20, 16:45 
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I am still busy overthinking this.

Yesterday I managed to track down 250 Gal IBC's in not too bad a condition. They had been used for soap concentrate. The guy tells me he can get IBC's used for bulk honey transport and others that have been used for milk concentrates of some sort. So on standby waiting for those IBC's. About $60 USD each, so not too bad.

I keep checking here everyday hoping someone has posted some pics of thier genius window setup on thier IBC. Alas, not yet, but I am still hopeful there are others out there interested in this "Window in an IBC" who will pipe up here.


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