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Danie's First system build - CHOP 2

Discussion in 'TotePonics - IBC - CHOP Systems' started by DanieP, Mar 13, 2017.

  1. DanieP

    DanieP New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 29, 2016
    Messages:
    2
    Country:
    Australia
    State:
    Northern Territory
    City:
    Darwin
    Hi All
    I have finally started to put the system together. It's taken me a while.
    The IBC's were cut and prepared a few weeks ago. Space is a little tight for the build but I think it will work out.
    Please feel free to provide comments or suggestions if you see I'll be making a rookie mistake.

    The system is pretty close to the standard design. It will consist of:
    Total of 3 IBC's -
    • 1x IBC as Fishtank
    • Half of an IBC for the sump
    • Two halves as Media Beds
    • Last IBC half as DWC
     

    Attached Files:

  2. AZLiberty

    AZLiberty Member

    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2014
    Messages:
    74
    Country:
    US
    State:
    AZ
    City:
    Mesa
    Hi Danie, wish you much success with your AP project. I have a couple recommendations I would make having started out with the same setup 3 years ago, then progressing to what we have now.

    1. Include a radial flow filter as part of your design. Fish waste going directly into beds can go anerobic and kill your fish after the system has run for awhile. It happened to us after 1.5 years. Granted we are in US and use Tilapia (AKA pigeon of the sea) but still there is a lot of waste to contend with. Murray's original 3 bed design didn't call for it, and while it is a great simple design and I give him much respect, the lack of the inclusion of some sort of filter was a huge oversight IMO. We lost almost 25 of our fish due to this.

    2. IBC's are great for grow beds but horrible as fish tanks. They are very difficult to keep clean as the water will not swirl like in a round tank and fish waste will accumulate in corners creating a very bad environment for the fish. They are OK to start with but you will find going with a round tank to be much better. Fish do not swim in a square. The swim round and that will create a small vortex in a round tank and bring solids to center to your SLO. Start with a round tank and save yourself more heartache. Unless your using goldfish or some other small fish, square tanks don't work well. Our round tank is packed with fish and spotless. Your fish will be much happier in a round tank. Trust me.

    3. With a DWC in your system and no filter, this is a recipe for disaster. We use a DWC and we also have three media beds and a 55 gallon radial flow filter and we still have to vacuum out the DWC due to waste. With no filter and only two beds on your system, unless you are adding a radial filter, forget the DWC you are going to have way too many issues with anerobic bacteria and mounds of fish waste piling up in it. DWC beds require filtration, and lots of it. Even one radial flow filter is not enough IMO for a DWC with AP, and I speak from our own experience.

    Personally, I would just go with the 3 media beds. Unless you plan on raising crayfish in the DWC, there really isn't anything you can do in a DWC you can't do in a media bed. Actually, DWC are way more limiting as they are really mainly suitable for leafy short term plants. You can do lettuce etc. in media. The media bed will also act as a filter which you will need.

    These are just some things we found out the hard way. Had I known about these issues beforehand, it would have saved time and grief. Take it as friendly advice and if you choose to adopt any of these suggestions, I think you will have a more successful and easier time. Wishing you much success and please post progress pics.
     
    Last edited: Mar 14, 2017
    TexaNAZ and bigdaddy like this.
  3. AZLiberty

    AZLiberty Member

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    Country:
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    City:
    Mesa
    Oh, also you will want to either paint or wrap the outside of your growbeds to prevent light from entering to help prevent algae. Also, leave yourself room to access sump. If you can pull it out some and put the pump on that side, you will have a far easier time when maintenance, (yes, it will come) is due.
     
  4. Mel Redcap

    Mel Redcap Active Member

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2016
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    Country:
    Australia
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    ACT
    City:
    Canberra
    Seconding AZLiberty's note about needing access to the sump tank - make sure you can reach in there and move things around! Also, it looks like you're going to need more support under the growbeds. Media + water adds up to a lot of weight, and IBC bladders can hold a lot with support but buckle easily without it.

    Round fish tanks are better than square, yes, but I don't think you need to change it just yet; the fish will move some of the crud out of the corners for you, and as long as you keep an eye on things and clean it out regularly if necessary you should do fine. Definitely look at a round tank if/when you expand, though!
     
  5. DanieP

    DanieP New Member

    Joined:
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    Country:
    Australia
    State:
    Northern Territory
    City:
    Darwin
    Thank you for the great insight shared by both of you.
    I am actively looking for a blue barrel for the swirl filter. I should get one over the next week or so. My aim is to install a swirl filter prior to filling the whole system.

    With regards to the DWC; I am only installing it to expand my learning. With a swirl filter and p

    As far as the sump goes, I didn't think of access for maintenance. The sump will be moved to a more accessible position.

    I will wrap the growbeds as well.

    As far as support goes, perhaps one more sleeper under the two growbeds will do the trick.

    Once again thank you for sharing your learnings.
     
  6. Mel Redcap

    Mel Redcap Active Member

    Joined:
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    City:
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    It wouldn't hurt! --Ooh, that's a point, you're using sleepers... are they treated? Anything in contact with your water or placed where water can splash onto it and drip back into the system (like over your sump) has to be completely non-toxic. That includes fungicides and insecticides that are safe for humans. If your sleepers are treated or you're not sure, you can probably manage by wrapping them in plastic!
     

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