Tristrin’s Aquaponics Systems: Tristrin and her husband have a number of aquaponic systems. They have both off the shelf kit systems as well as home made IBC systems, obviously they’ve been bitten quite badly by the aquaponics bug.
The first of Tristrins system was a reasonably straight forward CHIFT PIST system using three IBC’s, though it had a few modifications most IBC systems may not have. They have used the frames in an ingenious way for supporting the growbeds. Most people normally cut their frames horizontally if you were looking at the IBC standing normally, however Tristrin has cut hers vertically. This vertical cutting of the IBC frame has allowed for the construction of a far better growbed support, large enough for three growbeds.
This growbed frame sits on the bottom half of an IBC that is acting as a sump at one end, while the other end is attached to the frame of the IBC that is the fish tank. As with all CHIFT PIST systems, the water is pumped from the sump tank up into the fish tank, from here it overflows into the growbeds before draining into the sump tank. Tristrin and her husband have used flanged tank fittings for all protrusions into the main fish tank, a great added safety measure. This particular system also has two feeds from the fish tank out to the growbeds.
The second system has a few further modifications and tweaks. Using the same style of growbed frame structure, this time they made it big enough for four growbeds. It’s the same style of operation, running as a CHIFT PIST system with the pump in the sump tank, pumping into the fish tank which overflows into the growbeds before draining via autosiphons into the sump.
One major difference here is that the system has 3 sumps, all bases of IBC’s. These sumps are all joined together by pipe work, with the pump being in one of the sumps. Originally the pipe work between the sumps was 25mm but when two siphons from different beds emptied at the same time it caused a sump to overflow. The interconnectors between the sumps were changed to 50mm to increase the flow between the tanks and vent mesh cowls are placed on the end of the pipe to stop things getting into the pipes and blocking the flow.
As if it wasn’t enough to have an off the shelf kit system and two IBC systems, they had to build a third system that’s even bigger. This next system was going to be a combination of off the shelf fish tanks and IBC’s. This is an unusual style of system with the two large fish tanks being lower than the growbeds, while there’s also an IBC that acts as an additional reservoir of water.
All these tanks are joined together with underground piping. Once again the same growbed support system has been used in this system as the other systems, with IBC 4 growbeds sitting in their frame, that sits on a couple of other complete IBC frames. This system is running on a timer with the pump pumping from the main fish tank up into the growbeds for half an hour, then turning off for half an hour as the beds drain.
This system has enough water volume that it can have some major expansion in the future by adding more growbeds to it. The growbeds have been filled with rough scoria rock media in the bottom half of the beds, then topped up with smooth river pebbles.
Tristrin and her husband are obviously rather taken with the whole concept of aquaponics, it’s great that they have shared their trials and tribulations with everyone on the forum.