Building aquaponic systems from IBC totes over the last two years has been extremely enjoyable and somewhat profitable. I do not build systems during the winter months because I have no place indoors to work, so each spring I have started out fresh with new advertising, pre-orders, etc
So many of my past customers have purchased a completed aquaponic system from me and then purchased a raw IBC tote with every intention of duplicating the process from the first tank. Too many found that it wasn’t so easy to make sure that all measurements and pressures were accurate. SO I end up getting the call that “My system doesn’t work!”. Since my systems are guaranteed to work, I usually end up making a trip to find that the system that doesn’t work is not the system that I built! Nevertheless, I end up doing an impromptu class on “How to build an IBC aquaponic system.”
Building the systems, without knowledge of the inner workings, which include heights, clearance’s, and head pressure, can be complicated.The trial and error process is very time consuming, not to mention the money spent learning that something won’t work! I spent weeks working out different variations to insure I found the right combination that was going to work-First time and every time!
As 2015 spring begins in the Mid-Atlantic Region, I am going to start this building season by saying “OK, I give up!” I am tired of taking the calls about poorly built systems or trying to talk someone through the errors they made when trying to reproduce my work. I’m flattered, but time is a commodity that I have little of with my responsibilities around our suburban homestead.
I have no dreams of grandeur to become the foremost aquaponics system builder on the east coast: I just love working with aquaponics. It is an enjoyable hobby, which allows me to marry two of my hobbies: Gardening and animal husbandry.
I will still be producing new systems this year, but for the first time, I will be offering a class on aquaponics, basics, system construction, and maintenance. This will be a hands-on half-day class and you will leave knowing enough to build and maintain your own IBC tote aquaponics system.
Be prepared to get your hands dirty! The day will start with a tour and explanation of our suburban greenhouse. We will discuss:
- Is aquaponics legal in residential areas
- What about more commercial applications
- Do you need permits for vegetable/fish sales?
- Aquaponic Basics
- What is aquaponics?
- How does it differ from hydroponics, aeroponics, or aquaculture?
- Is it cost effective to grow this way?
- What are your goals with aquaponics
- What are you wanting to grow? flowers, vegetables, herbs
- NOTE: for Washington, DC residents: since Marijuana is not legal in MD, I cannot teach to that specific plant, but will answer any questions as best I can.
- Personal consumption only or larger scale
- Outside system or in a garage, shed, or greenhouse.
- Types of aquaponic systems
- Fill & Drain, Constant Height, Vertical, Gutter
- Pro’s and Con’s of systems
- Which system is best for you?
- Types of plants best for your system
- Different types of Grow Media or floating rafts
- Pro’s & Con’s
- Cost factor
- Raising and breeding Tilapia fish (This is our fish of choice)
- Pro’s and Con’s of Tilapia
- What other fish lend well to an aquaponics system
- Are you wanting to harvest fish for food, for sale, or just have fish for the system
Once completed in the greenhouse, you will roll your sleeves up to be completing your own IBC tote tank system. Be sure to bring your truck or trailer. We sold almost 100 of these last year at $299 each and you will take yours home with you the day of class!
I will take you through step-by-step in building your tank and the importance of measurements, heights, and clearances to insure your tank will function properly. Although we will have the majority of the parts pre-cut, please have knowledge of basic hand tools and drills. If you have a battery operated drill, feel free to bring it.
With any system there is some basic maintenance. As we complete the tank systems, I will cover basic maintenance and common causes of malfunctions, as well as the necessary steps to solve and prevent future issues.
If you bring pictures of the area where you want to install your tank and a simple drawing , I will help you determine the best setup for positioning lines and filters. We can also make small modifications on the spot that would make your system very user friendly for your location.
When you complete this class, you will walk away with the knowledge you need set-up and run your new aquaponics system successfully.
All class participants will receive the book and DVD from the foremost expert in Aquaponics in the United States: Sylvia Bernstein.
Aquaponic Gardening: A step-by-step guide to raising vegetables and fish together. This book is the first and best book I read in starting my aquaponics adventure: a $30 Value
Aquaponics Explained Video: full-length aquaponics course taught by Sylvia Bernstein in her warm, approachable style in June, 2012 at the Denver Botanic Gardens: a $30 Value
We will be offering 3 variations of the class on Saturday May 9, 2015. Choose the one that is right for you.
11:00 am Aquaponics Basics-This will include everything listed above in the “Greenhouse Tour” plus the book and video to take home.
1:00pm Tank Only Class-This class will be spent hands-on in building your own tank system to take home right after class*. It will include all instruction on the mechanics and maintenance of the IBC tank system. You will be able to leave the class with the knowledge to build more tanks or variations to fit your needs in your own space. This class will include Sylvia Bernstein’s book & video to take home.
*Does not include Grow Media or fish
FULL CLASS-Best Value for a 1/2 day in training, learning about aquaponics and leaving with all the information and material you need to get started with your own aquaponics system when you get home!* Includes everything in both of the above classes plus the book and DVD but as an added bonus full paid tuition will include ONE guest FREE. So bring an interested friend, neighbor, or relative and they can participate with you.
*Does not include Grow Media or fish
**Includes only ONE book and DVD
Because of the amount of space necessary I must limit participation. Once the class is full the Pay buttons below will no longer work. I have already started receiving phone calls about the class, so HURRY and reserve your spot soon to insure your space!
Classes held in Southeast Baltimore County in Dundalk. Times and exact address of class will be sent on your payment confirmation page.