Stock-Tank-Ponics Kit

Ya heard it here first.  Stock Tank Ponics or Stocktank a ponics however you want to say it.

I’m working on a kit that will help people build their own Stock tank aquaponics system similar to my 300 gallon system.

This would be a kit providing all the kinda specialty parts that might be hard to get locally while leaving the buyer to source their own media, stock tanks, concrete blocks, and PVC plumbing supplies locally.  See shipping gets really outrageous for much of that and people can get them cheaper at their local plumbing supply, tractor supply, or big box store than I could supply them for and then there is the savings on shipping.

This isn’t aquaponics on the cheap though once you do the DIY and then change your mind (or have it changed for you by termites or something) the stock tanks don’t seem so costly anymore.

Anyway, this stock-tank-ponics kit  will include at least the pump, timer, gravel guards, indexing valve, float top up valve, and all the needed uniseals.

I’m still working on what other pieces parts should be in the kit and how big the kit will be for shipping.  I’m trying to keep the kit price under $500 so at the moment I’m not trying to include any feeders or battery backup or air pumps.  So we shale call this the basic stock-tank-ponics kit aimed at making the construction of a 300 gallon fish tank by 6-100 gallon grow bed aquaponics system just a bit easier.

So what I want from you, my readers, are constructive comments about what you would expect from such a kit.  I will need to write an instruction manual and an inventory of what would be provided in the kit as well as the itemized list of materials (with an idea of what they might cost) the builder would need to get locally and add to that a list of required tools and skills.

This is currently planned for a 2:1 grow bed to fish tank flood and drain aquaponics system with the fish tank sunk in the ground and the grow beds on blocks around it.  It can be set up in a 16 foot by 16 foot space or a longer narrower space depending on the situation.

So comments please, I’ll be working on writing the manual and would love to know what you have to say.

11 comments to Stock-Tank-Ponics Kit

  • Aquarium Systems Parts

    [...] Stock-Tank-Ponics Kit | Aquaponic Lynx LLC I'm working on a kit that will help people build their own Stock tank aquaponics system similar to my 300 gallon system This would be a kit providing all the kinda specialty parts that might be hard to get locally while leaving the . [...]

  • Nadia Hodges

    ……. ..I am thinking of using a large galvanized stock tank as a small above in ground swimming pool. I would like to paint the inside of the tank with pool paint to increase its water retention and to improve its appearance. I am not sure what type of primer I should use that would be compatible with an underwater galvanized metal surface application…Any info would be appreciated…Debbie Greene..- Sacramento California…. ..I came across your question as I was researching the feasability of using a stock tank as a swimming pool.

  • TCLynx

    Well I don’t use stock tanks as swimming pools. And I don’t recommend galvanized tanks for fish systems unless you line them with a food grade or fish safe coating.

    as far as holding water, I don’t think a coating is required for that unless the tank has a leak and a simple leak can be sealed with silicone.

    Stock tanks would make for a rather small swimming pool, be a bit more like a kiddie pool as most of them are between 12 and 24 inches deep.

    I don’t know anything about swimming pool paints or primers for galvanized tanks.

  • Sminfiddle

    A screen that passes too-small gravel. Size and shape the frame so it can be used for something else after your growbeds are filled – capillary shelf? Trout tank hat?

    You’d ship a roll of screen and any frame in parts. Maybe a choice of screen gauge based on planned medium type.

  • TCLynx

    Hum, I hadn’t really thought of that. I did most of my gravel washing with some plant baskets rinsing them in bins and didn’t really worry too much about screening my media for size other than rinsing away the sand/silt/clay. But I can see your point for dry sifting media for size.

    However, I expect something more along the lines of a hardware cloth screen might be had more cost effectively from a hardware store locally rather than shipped as part of the kit and I could see keeping such a thing for sifting compost and worm castings since a metal screen might not be as appropriate over the fish tank.

    I’ll have to think on this. I don’t currently have a good source for a material that I think would be well suited and durable enough to handle what I think you are suggesting but I will keep an eye out, let me know if you have any links to things you feel are suitable.

    Thanks

  • Sminfiddle

    Wow, I posted that from the Blackberry and didn’t think it made it.
    Actually, sourcing screen material can be challenging depending on the part of the country one is in. Seems like it would be easier but I have been just using baskets picked up at big Asian supermarkets (Rice and Strainer Aisle) – and trying to zero in on a good hole size. The first one kept expanded shale that I think may be a little small, but then they had these leftover fruit-shipping baskets 6 for a dollar with larger holes. They pass a lot thru but being expanded shale, even the ‘reject’ is very useful for soil conditioning, building paths that don’t flood, etc.

    The client will need guidance in right-sizing, like how round media can run somewhat smaller and still provide good gappage, while irregular media packs together leaving less worm-room.

    What else? OK, a long clear hose for the (oh joy) leveling part of the project. You know, attach each end to a yardstick, add water and mark the level on both when together, stick one in the ground as a reference and walk around with the other end leveling.

    • TCLynx

      Well I think you have expanded the Stock-tank-a-ponics kit into an AP tool kit. Hum. I think this will need to be a separate kit. Some people already have all the tools they need while other would need the kit. Yea, I think something with a hole saw set, drill bit for stand pipe holes, screw driver for the indexing valves, ratchet for the rubber couplers, a hack saw and sandpaper for cutting pvc, media sifting baskets, levels (I really just used a 48″ bubble level to level the blocks amongst themselves and wasn’t too concerned with leveling the whole site but I suppose it would be useful for those who are putting up a whole greenhouse or long runs of things.)

      It’s an idea

  • Sminfiddle

    Spirit level for the individual GBs. The water level, yes it is more for covering distances but when you think about 6 or 8 grow beds, for a lot of folks’ backyards they will have to make some more remote than others.
    I guess the GBs don’t have to be exactly level with each other… I always think of a master level because of my long-range plan of a master siphon.

    A hole saw kit including a card showing that a 2″ Uniseal needs the 3″ hole, a 1.5″ bulkhead needs a 2.5″ hole, …would be a good thing on its own.

    • TCLynx

      Well I’ve gotten away with not having all the grow beds exactly level with each other as long as I’m indexing the flow to them or able to control flow to them with valves.

      However you are right that if you are flowing to all the beds at once and not adjusting with valves, levels suddenly do become more important. As I found out when I was running constant flood to all six beds on the 300 gallon system. It wasn’t so much that all the beds needed to be level but the plumbing from the indexing valve to the beds needed to be balanced so that all the beds got a sufficient flow into them. I’ve found that this balance tends to fluctuate over time too and I needed to tweek things every few days to make sure one bed or another didn’t loose it’s flow.

  • GrowingCrazy

    The Stock-Tank-Ponics kit sounds like an awesome idea. I totally agree with your statement that readily available and bulky materials don’t belong in a DIY kit. As you say, that stuff would cost a fortune to ship and most times would be cheaper at Home Depot. I’m planning a 300gal FT / 3-100gal GB system this spring (expandable to 6-100 gal GBs)and would be interested in a kit that contained the specialty equipment needed to do the pump side of a CHOP Mark2 system using sequencing valves to keep the sump tank(s) smaller. The idea of using a “Flout” valve to sequence the valve rather than a timer sounds very interesting. A schematic of that setup would be very worthwhile.

    I’m all set on the drain side – the bell siphon parts are pretty simple to make out of readily available PVC pipe fittings. I plan on making mine using Uniseals rather than expensive bulkhead (double nut) fittings.

    I hope that helps!

  • TCLynx

    Hay there GrowingCrazy thanks for the comment,
    Just so you know, on a system using a sequencing valve or a timer, I wouldn’t recommend using siphons on the drain side, especially if you are going to try to under size the sump. There is too much chance of a siphon perhaps not kicking in quite right and leaving a bed flooded when the timer takes things to the next bed. If you were to do bell siphons with a timed flood and drain system (which is essentially how a sequencing valve works out) you definitely need to put some small holes around the base of the stand pipe to make sure the bed will drain anyway even if the siphon doesn’t kick in for whatever reason. There is also slightly more danger of a bed over flowing if there is a problem with a siphon than if the stand pipe has no bell over it.

    While a FLOUT may possibly work to operate a gravity modified indexing valve, I have not actually gotten to test that one out yet. It would probably require a tank up on a stand so that the bottom of the tank would be about 2 feet above the tops of the grow beds. The tank would need to be at least as big as the largest bed that is being fed at any one time. I’m not sure the added cost and complexity of this would really be to much gain, other than the fact that the FLOUT is pretty cool. If the pump is chosen appropriately, the on/off cycles shouldn’t be that much of a problem.

    But anyway, what ever you design, I’ll be working on a stock tank ponics kit to support building a system with a 300 gallon in ground tank and up to 6 grow beds.

    Thanks for the encouragement to get working on it seriously.

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