Charlie had already started experimenting with aquaponics when he decided to build a second system using an IBC.
He has had some good results with his first system and has come up with a very neat and workable second system. The IBCs were available free from his work place, and all he had to do was spend a bit of time and energy sourcing some equipment to put it all together.
The pipes and fittings were all easily available at Bunnings, the local hardware store. He also got pipe glue and ball vales as well as a 2400lph fountain pump which cost all up $190-00. He purchased an airpump off eBay which set him back another $120.00 and then spent $20.00 on airline and stones at the local pet store. He visited a local soil yard and found some 20mm blue metal/gravel which would do the job for another $60.00. For under $400.00 he had everything he needed. Charlie removed the IBC base, by simply removing the screws.
This is the part that allows the IBC to be moved with a forklift, which left the thin metal base plate and no supporting beams, but that was okay as it will sit flat on the ground. There is a section of the bottom plate that is moulded to cater for the drain tap and spout, he used a grinder with a cutting disc to chop it out so that he had flat bottoms on both to aid with sitting the whole set up flat.
The fish tanks was cut off at the 900 litre mark, washed out with chlorine, placed in its desired location, filled with water and then aerated for a few days to disperse the chlorine. He then cut a piece of the remaining framework to make a stand at the back of the growbed, this allowed a greater opening over the fish tank allowing him to access the fish.
The growbed was cut off at the 400 litre mark, this was stamped on the side of the IBC. He marked the spot for the drain hole (double nut fitting as he calls it), making sure the space was flat and without seams. Once the magic spot was marked, it was cut out with a hole saw, followed by an opening in the base plate. Three timber supports were used to sit the growbed on, although Charlie would recommend steel box tube as the timber is already starting to bow and needs replacing, not a job he is looking forward to as the gravel probably weighs around 500 kilos. Charlie decided on an auto syphon, which he says took a fair bit of mucking around and after 6 prototypes he has one that works a treat. The pump is connected with 25mm pipe and two ball valves allow for flow adjustments.
One goes to the growbed and the other returns water back to the fish tank. Charlie admits that although he is relatively new to aquaponics he is absolutely addicted. Everyone that visits his house is very intrigued and wants to get their own thing going, because everyone loves fish and everyone loves food. It is a winning combo! His only wish is that he had started years ago.