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 Post subject: Hello everybody!
PostPosted: Oct 16th, '14, 16:02 
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Hello everybody! :wave1: Floridafishin here. Complete newbie. I have been reading up on aquaponics on various sites for about 3 months now. Decided to jump into it with both feet. So far I have to say I have found the best information on this forum. I am still in the planning stages and could use some constructive criticism. It is far easier to change a design on paper than it is to rebuild. With the amount of expertise on this site, I know once built it will work as planned. My dilemma, at this point is this. I was designing thinking I had until my vacation in December. Boss just informed me today that I go on vacation next week. Very short notice. But I believe it can still be done. My main reason for entering the hobby is to feed my family. I have a 2yr old and one due in Jan, so this is a now or never build. It will be a CHIFT PIST with F&D media beds. Basically trying to follow the tried and true water flow, FT -> MB -> DWC/ Sump combo. 3 FT's will all be 275 gal IBC. Draining into 32 55 gal drum halves, all FD with red worms. I am still debating between expanded shale or scoria, which would you decide if you were building this arrangement? Some of the rows drains will have a bypass able swirl filter (so I don't steal the good stuff from my MB) at the end of the rows. Just incase I want to feed other potted plants, or expand, in the future (more fish). I have not figured out the proper pipe sizing for the build yet. And frankly I just keep hearing bigger is basically better, or am I wrong? I was thinking 2in minimum from FT to MB, and possibly 3in from the MB to the sump. What does everybody think? It will all be powered by a single waterfall pump at a 10ft head, I was thinking this one. http://www.harborfreight.com/submersibl ... 68418.html All media beds and the sump will be under a hoop house. I am building them so I can roll up the sides in the summer. I have already collected the 55 gal drums, and 2 of the 3 FT IBCs. I was looking to use a sunken box with pond liner for the 4ft by 10ft by 4ft sump. For temperature regulation. I attached a drawing, and am now awaiting my beating :mrgreen: If anyone lives near Orlando, Fl, where do you find the cheapest supplies (media, fish, fish food, heirloom seeds, etc)? Sorry for the long post. Just didn't want to be the guy you had to ask a bunch of questions before you could give a reply.


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 Post subject: Re: Hello everybody!
PostPosted: Oct 16th, '14, 21:35 
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looks good to me Floridafishin and welcome. I guess you will supply 6 MB from each FT, in which case 1.5" pipes from each of the SLO's will be fine assuming about 300 or 400GPH, I didn't see a pump curve, do you really have 10ft height from sump water level to FT? if so the pump may struggle to supply 1200gph.

If you batch each set of 6 MB into a common drain 2" drains will be fine IMO. are you putting a timer on the pump for F & D? I would.

only drama I see is getting the flows to all the MB's equal.

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 Post subject: Re: Hello everybody!
PostPosted: Oct 17th, '14, 02:17 
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Thanks for the reply Slowboat. Thanks for the input, it is appreciated. I have not seen a pump curve for that pump yet myself. I figured if it did not flow what I needed I would just put 2 in the sump. Unfortunately there is actually a 10ft head. Although I could put the pump on a pedestal in the sump and reduce it a bit. My screened porch is raised 6 in. Then the IBCs set on top. Since the sump is dug in to hopefully let me regulate temp well enough to cope with the FL summers 90F +. In which I have been told you can't grow through. I think the ones I have talked to have just not found a way yet. Trying to use a little geothermal help. I guess the timer is an option if I run 2 pumps. I like the aeration properties of constant flow into the FT. The Flow into the MB is defiantly going to be a pain to get right. I am going to try manual ball valves to get it right.

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 Post subject: Re: Hello everybody!
PostPosted: Oct 17th, '14, 16:18 
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Your head is only counted from the water surface level to the outlet or final level if the outlet is submerged.

Can you raise the sump up so the water level is say 1 or 2ft below the bottom of the GB's?

Our summers are way hotter than 90F, maybe some shade cloth rolled over the hoop house?

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 Post subject: Re: Hello everybody!
PostPosted: Oct 18th, '14, 04:16 
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Slowboat wrote:
Your head is only counted from the water surface level to the outlet or final level if the outlet is submerged.

Can you raise the sump up so the water level is say 1 or 2ft below the bottom of the GB's?

Our summers are way hotter than 90F, maybe some shade cloth rolled over the hoop house?



The MBs are only going to be 38in off the ground (my wife is short). The major differential is between the FT and MB. I figure 4ft tall for the IBC FT and they are setting on a 6in raised screened porch. Since I had planned to dig in the sump 4ft (which may not be nessicary after all). I was calculating from 4ft underground to the 4ft 8in outlet of pipe above the FT plus a little fudge room for drag and possibly a check valve. Was I calculating wrong? Did I understand you correctly that If I chose to enter into the middle of the IBC with a bulkhead my calculated head would be much lower? :?

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PostPosted: Oct 18th, '14, 06:05 
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Please help since I need to get everything right before I start to build. By the way thanks Slowboat, for the earlier advice. I was also looking into possibly building an airlift to save on power consumption. Thanks to Val from Mexico and others on this site. Any ideas? Also if any of you are in the Orlando, FL area, where do you get your supplies? Thank you everybody in advance. I'm hooked with the aquaponic disease but need help. :lol:

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PostPosted: Oct 18th, '14, 06:06 
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This was the airlift design I was looking at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UlZKrskaBFs has anybody tried it? Results?

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PostPosted: Oct 18th, '14, 07:13 
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I had a look at the youtube video and the video of it actually working, and I'm seriously not sold.

He avoids mentioning what wattage is needed for the air-lift in the video, which I think is the key for the whole thing. I'm quite sure he'd have a higher wattage air pump running there, and the water flow isn't great.

This is the pump on my system:
http://www.ebay.com.au/itm/Jebao-CM-800 ... 5ae841e1da

It's 70W to run, and it'd fill that bucket in 5-10 seconds at the same head.

I had a look at the diagram in your intro thread, and the barrels you used, you'll end up spending far more on fittings than you'd save on cheaper barrels (16 of them by my count). You'll need uniseals, elbows, valves, stands to put them on, etc. They seriously add up quickly.

I'd replace the barrels with long beds lined with pond liner, you'll get far more usable space, more filtration area, and the whole thing will be far simpler to run and control (you tweak the flow on one bed, and it'll throw out all the others, bigger is better). If you can weld, have a look through my thread for the bed designs, otherwise, with wood, Ryan's first thread has a good method for building the beds:
viewtopic.php?f=18&t=8754

You can build them to your area as well, so it'll fit better, and you can have bigger/wider beds than you could achieve with the barrels.

Plus they look far prettier. In my opinion anyway.

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PostPosted: Oct 23rd, '14, 13:23 
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Colum Black-Byron wrote:
I had a look at the youtube video and the video of it actually working, and I'm seriously not sold.

He avoids mentioning what wattage is needed for the air-lift in the video, which I think is the key for the whole thing. I'm quite sure he'd have a higher wattage air pump running there, and the water flow isn't great.

This is the pump on my system:
http://www.ebay.com.au/itm/Jebao-CM-800 ... 5ae841e1da

It's 70W to run, and it'd fill that bucket in 5-10 seconds at the same head.

I had a look at the diagram in your intro thread, and the barrels you used, you'll end up spending far more on fittings than you'd save on cheaper barrels (16 of them by my count). You'll need uniseals, elbows, valves, stands to put them on, etc. They seriously add up quickly.

I'd replace the barrels with long beds lined with pond liner, you'll get far more usable space, more filtration area, and the whole thing will be far simpler to run and control (you tweak the flow on one bed, and it'll throw out all the others, bigger is better). If you can weld, have a look through my thread for the bed designs, otherwise, with wood, Ryan's first thread has a good method for building the beds:
viewtopic.php?f=18&t=8754

You can build them to your area as well, so it'll fit better, and you can have bigger/wider beds than you could achieve with the barrels.

Plus they look far prettier. In my opinion anyway.


Thanks for the reply. And I see your point on the airlift. So I decided to buy a mechanical pump. Maybe in the future if I have some spare time and money I would still like to see if I could use a hybrid design to "reduce the head", allowing me to run a even smaller and thus lower wattage pump. By the way I saw you setup and I like it. I was only using the barrels in my design because I was lucky enough to score all of them for free. The elbows I can't get around, but I am looking to bypass the Uniseals by using threaded to slip pvc fittings, with aquarium silicone. Much cheaper. I figured it would end up spending less than if I bought pond liner and framed the grow beds. Since I already had the drums. Otherwise I would have made grow beds more like yours, or Squatchponics. As I like the cleaner look it provides. Along with the much easier operation. I actually started to build it today and realized that I had made a Huge rookie move. I did not take into account the slope of my yard. Having to redesign on the fly.

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PostPosted: Oct 24th, '14, 22:30 
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Sorry to be a newb, but what is the purpose of an airlift? Also, what does the acronym "MB" stand for?

I agree with Byron, ditch the barrels and build a wood-framed DWC and GB's. Although you did save a fair amount with obtaining them for free. Put some pictures of the progress online.

I am in Florida and didn't have problems with growing during the summer. You do have to incorporate a shade cloth though. Most tomatoes won't flower in our high heat, but sweet potatoes, squashes, melons, beans, and herbs all grow just fine.


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PostPosted: Oct 28th, '14, 04:47 
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FloridaChris wrote:
Sorry to be a newb, but what is the purpose of an airlift? Also, what does the acronym "MB" stand for?

I agree with Byron, ditch the barrels and build a wood-framed DWC and GB's. Although you did save a fair amount with obtaining them for free. Put some pictures of the progress online.

I am in Florida and didn't have problems with growing during the summer. You do have to incorporate a shade cloth though. Most tomatoes won't flower in our high heat, but sweet potatoes, squashes, melons, beans, and herbs all grow just fine.


The purpose of an airlift is to move water at low heads, while oxygenating, and saving precious watts. They have a very steep pump curve once the head starts growing, and quickly loose their efficiency. MB stands for media beds. As for your comment on a shade cloth. I was planning on getting one by summer. I was also planning on Using a hoop house with greenhouse film to overwinter with. Thank you for the info on the tomatoes. Is their anything else that you have found finicky, in our summers?

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PostPosted: Oct 28th, '14, 20:02 
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MB = Media beds... Duhhh. Wasn't fully awake I guess.

I don't know if it's necessary for the greenhouse film during our winters. It still get's extremely warm during the day in the sun. I lived in Orlando for 5 years and although we did get the rare occurrence of frost, it wasn't frequent enough to be concerned, I feel.

As for summers, just keep an eye on them plants in the heat. The shade should provide enough, but you never know. Morning sun and heavy afternoon shade was my game plan.


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PostPosted: Oct 29th, '14, 03:16 
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FloridaChris wrote:
MB = Media beds... Duhhh. Wasn't fully awake I guess.

I don't know if it's necessary for the greenhouse film during our winters. It still get's extremely warm during the day in the sun. I lived in Orlando for 5 years and although we did get the rare occurrence of frost, it wasn't frequent enough to be concerned, I feel.

As for summers, just keep an eye on them plants in the heat. The shade should provide enough, but you never know. Morning sun and heavy afternoon shade was my game plan.


Thanks for the helpful advise Chris :thumbleft:

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PostPosted: Oct 30th, '14, 03:04 
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floridafishin wrote:
Also if any of you are in the Orlando, FL area, where do you get your supplies? Thank you everybody in advance. I'm hooked with the aquaponic disease but need help. :lol:


So, you're an aquaponaholic? Well, me too. Don't know much about the Orlando area, but here in Lakeland, Home Depot is my friend. And, judging from your design, I feel certain the Home Depot plumbing dept is going to be very happy with you, too.

When do you expect to be finished with your build and what fish are you planning to use? Reason I'm asing is I have a small herd of babies in my pond I will have to cull in the near future. I'll give you some for free if you come catch them yourself ...... depending on the timing. Right now the little guys are only about an inch long. I hope they'll hit a growing spurt shortly so i won't feel so bad about sending them off to a new home where they might not be large enough to fend for themselves and become fish food. Oh yeah, they're tilapia.


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PostPosted: Oct 30th, '14, 05:02 
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Hello, Fl. Panhandle here.. New to AP but have a system up and running (2 months), now I am just fine tuning things by sitting back and watching..lol. I heard that tilapia isn't welcomed here in FL. How do I go about getting some and where do you get them may I ask.


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