Have you ever wanted to get started with aquaponics but maybe you thought it looked a little difficult or weren’t sure where to start? Well, I hope this post can convince you to build one and reap the benefits. Here is how to build a simple and inexpensive chop and flip aquaponics system using an IBC.
What Is A Chop and Flip IBC Aquaponics System
This type of aquaponics system gets its name because of how you build it. From a single IBC (Intermediate Bulk Container) you build both a fish holding tank and a grow bed. You do this by cutting around the container a few inches from the top and flipping it over to create the grow bed which sits on top of the fish holding tank.
Much Easier To Build Than I Thought
I had been planning on building one for a couple of years but just kept putting it off. I think the reason I did that was that I thought it was going to be harder than it was to build, it was surprisingly easy. The only part that I think might be a little intimidating is the bell siphon so for my first build, I just purchased one already made.
Less Expensive To Build Than I Thought
The total cost of putting this system together was just over $200 and it could have been cheaper had I gone with a smaller pump, made my bell siphon from scratch, and bought the lava rocks in bulk. Not crazy expensive for the amount of food that can be produced with a system like this.
Materials I Used
Food Grade 275-gallon IBC for the tank – $35
Tetra Pond 425 GPH Fountain Pump – $40
1/2″ Water Hose that attaches to the pump – $6
12 Bags of Red Lava Rock – 1.0 Cu. Ft. – $76
12″ Bell Siphon Kit For IBC Growbed from Smoky Mountain Aquaponics https://amzn.to/2uiGxRd – $45 with shipping cost (I could have saved money here by building my own bell siphon but wanted to save time and work well for the first build)
How I Built It
Covering Tanks With Pallet Wood
Installing The Bell Syphon
I then filled it with water and a few cheap goldfish and a couple of algae-covered stones from my backyard pond to start cycling the system with some beneficial bacteria. I then added a few plants and there it is, a running aquaponics system!
Enjoying The Benefits Of This Aquaponics System
I am really starting to see the advantages of these systems more than ever before.
Great For Propagation Of Cuttings
Fish to clean and put in the freezer at the end of the growing season.
I can see aquaponics being a huge part of my homestead in the years ahead, possibly replacing many of my raised beds. I have a lot to learn and I’m sure many trials are ahead for me but for now, it has me seeing only possibilities.
If you’re interested in doing Aquaponics year-round indoors, check out my post on the Indoor Fish Tank Aquaponics System I built.