Fish Tank IBC

by Bob on July 10, 2011

Here is a picture of the 240 gallon fish tank we made out of an Intermediate Bulk Container (IBC).

Fish Tank IBC

Fish Tank IBC

When I started building my first Aquaponics system I bought a DVD and plans from Murray Hallam for his CHOP2 system. He uses IBC containers for the fish tank and the grow beds. Right now I am not using the grow beds because I got stuck deciding on what media to use. Hydroton was out of my price range and getting rocks I liked, the right size, and at a reasonable price delayed me.

While I was shopping for media, I discovered Friendly Aquaponics (FAP) and really liked their grow beds and some of the short cuts they are using to save money. They have about 5500 gallons of grow beds and sell Organic Lettuce to Costco in Hawaii.

Their systems and growing processes are the only ones that are certified organic, which will bring you 50% to 100% more for the same produce on the wholesale market. This got me excited!

So I for my first system I am using 2 each of the FAP 4’x8’x 8″, deep water raft grow beds and the CHOP2 IBC 240 gallon fish tank for my system. All my construction and system design follows FAP’s plans.

FAP Micro System 64 and 128. The plans cost $99 and come with great info about aquaponics and system DIY.

More info on my site about FAP Micro System 64 and 128.

Make sure you use a food grade IBC, so that you know the liquid that was in it was safe to consume by you, your fish, and your plants. Often these are used to ship corn sugar, honey, and other eatable liquids.

These are referred to interchangeably as TOTES and TANKS.  IBC Totes are large tanks which are used to store and transport fluids and other bulk materials.

IBC Tote Container

IBC Tote Container

IBCs come as either a 275 Gallons IBC Tank or 330 Gallon IBC Tank, depending on your make and model.  Some of these bulk containers may hold less material, but they are less common.

These shipping container are used for shipping liquids and consist of 3 parts:

  • IBC Plastic Container Bottle
  • IBC Metal Cage
  • Container’s Pallet (made of Wood, Plastic, or Metal)
IBC Container Bottle

IBC Container Bottle


IBC Metal Cage and Pallet

IBC Metal Cage and Pallet


Length is 48″, width is 40″ and height is 46″ for the 275 gallon IBC
Length is 48″, width is 40″ and height is 54″ for the 330 gallon IBC

Typical costs:

I have seen IBCs for sale from $75 to $110 for a 275 gallon, only used once container.

The 275 gallon IBC containers I purchased cost $75 each for 4 plus $30 for delivery.
I purchased from OutlawBob at
and found Bob via Craig’s list. He delivers in the DFW area.

Make sure you as for food grade IBCs and ask for a record of what was in the container.

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{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

phenibut July 11, 2012 at 3:41 pm

Greeting from over the sea. excellent blog I will return for more.

Georgina August 23, 2012 at 3:34 am

Feb26 Awesome post. Have been looking for any info on gnowirg veg in bath tubs. My question was about what bath tubs can’t be (or shouldn’t be) used. If you have any info to share on enamel/acrylic (?) or whatever types of bath tubs are out there that are OK to use with food gnowirg, that would be much appreciated.Awesome set up. Thanks for sharing!

Gladney Flatt October 2, 2012 at 3:12 pm

Thanks for the wonderful aquaponics meet- up on Saturday. I learned a lot and enjoyed meeting new people with new ideas, expertise and enthusiasms!


Bob October 2, 2012 at 3:54 pm

Thanks to you and all our friends for supporting the AP event! Bob

Bob August 25, 2012 at 7:55 pm

Any container can be used as long as you have no metal in the system, like the metal drain or pipe in a tub or a galvanized container. Use PVC pipe to avoid metal leaching into the water. The system is easy to keep balanced especially if you have lots of water. Smaller systems require more fiddling. Even a little metal can imbalance the biology. Also avoid concrete limestone or marble (has limestone) as this leaches into the water. Bob

Vikash November 6, 2012 at 4:36 am

Rod what do you mean by Cyclonic Filter ? If you mean swirl filter, I have found the best thing to be a tranitiodal 55gallon blue barrel. As far as the totes for that price I would take extra special care to make sure that they are actually Food Grade. In my experience, when they are that cheap, they usually contained chemicals that I wouldn’t want ANYWHERE near my food

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