Aquaponics Progress

Slowly making progress…  I’ve been painting the IBCs a bit (old trashcans make great pedestals), and am getting used to where they are going to go. Unfortunately, the ground is not quite level there (odd for Houston, which is super flat), so I am leveling as I go. I can’t put concrete down, as it’s on an easement, unfortunately. The other down side is the shadow cast by the house… however, in a month or two the sun’s angle should give direct sunlight on the GBs, so it’s not terrible. Unfortunately, not too much of a better spot for 9 months of the year.

We had a big storm last week, so I took the downspout to my rain barrel and put it in my fish tank…. I got about 150 gallons, but now I can’t paint it until I get the water pumped to the sumps, so I better get the sumps levelled and plumbed quickly!

Cleaning Complete

Got the sludge out!   The fish tank IBC had been worrying me, as the pressure washer seemed to clean some parts, but they still felt slimy afterwards.   Fortunately, some Simple Green + warm water + sponge and a plastic paint scraper together with some elbow grease produced a clean fish tank!

The growbed/sump that had glue in it I gave a once-over with the Simple Green as well, followed by some Comet…  I figure if that is not enough, nothing reasonable will be.   Worst case, I can exclude that GB/sump from the system.  I’ll try putting some water in it and monitoring the pH change to see what happens.

Adding Trusted Root Certificate Authorities to iOS (iPad, iPhone)

As manager of a web administration team, we’ve encountered several teams who have had trouble adding internal Certificate Authorities to iPads and iPhones…  and I don’t blame them, it’s not obvious.

To add private CA certs to your iPhone or iPad, you will need:

  • The iPhone Configuration Utility (windows or mac)
  • Your iPhone or iPad physically connected via cable to said windows or mac machine.  It’s tempting to try to add the resulting .mobileconfig by downloading it wirelessly over a browser, but it will not be trusted.
  • The cert file(s)

Once the above requirements are met, do the following:

  1. Start the iPhone Configuration Utility.
  2. Under “Library”, select “Configuration Profiles”
  3. Click the Add New button on the top left.
  4. Fill out the mandatory general information tab contents
  5. Under the Credentials section, add the CA cert or certs.
  6. Attach your iOS device if it is not already connected.
  7. Select your device in the iPhone Configuration Utility, and select its Configuration Profiles tab.
  8. You should see the profile you just created with an “install” button on the right – click it.
  9. On your device, you will see a profile installation dialog – hit the install button and follow directions.

That’s all, the CA profile should be installed and verified with a geen check.   I hope this helps some of you out there.

This process can also be used to install client SSL certs on the iPad.

IBC Cleaning


That’s all I can say about two of the IBCs.   Two growbed/sumps are just fine, cleaned up now.  The other growbed/sump used to have glue in it, it turns out.  See the picture below – I ended up using the pressure washer at its highest setting and it was able to get the big parts out.  After it dries out a bit, I may try sandpaper to see if it can get rid of the remaining glue bumps.   The fish tank is a little different – rather than glue, it seems to be some sort of greasy gunk that does not seem to go away  – there’s still a film on the inside.   I may try the bleach and hot water approach that I’ve heard suggested as a good general approach…  or I may look for a strong degreaser.

Cutting the IBCs

I finally found time to start cutting the IBC tanks today after extracting them from their cages yesterday.   I pulled all of the tanks onto the back lawn and tried cutting one of the cages with a metal blade on my “Sawsall”.   Wow, that’s some tough metal – it took three and a half blades to cut one cage in half!   I am going to look at using some cutting discs on my angle grinder tomorrow, as that’s the way most people seem to have cut theirs.   I still imagine it takes a few discs there as well.   Below is a picture of the cut result.

Back on the lawn, I measured three of the four for 16 inch deep growbeds – a little deeper than most I’ve seen, but done at the recommendation of Rick Op, who advises that the maintenance will be less with deeper beds – I’m all about low maintenance once it’s set up!   (Rick wanted me to make them even deeper.)  I cut them and also the top out of the fourth for the fish tank.   You can see a pic of one in the cut cage as an idea of what it looks like in the end.

As light began to fall, I fired up the pressure washer and started cleaning the grime off.   Fairly successful, although I was pretty disappointed to see that one of the growbed IBCs seemed to have glue in it – not budging at the moment.   I’ve read about one person’s trials with an IBC that had wood glue in his that he did not clean out – it sent the pH way up in the beginning for a while, which makes it hard to get the beneficial bacteria started.   I’ll see about what I can do to clean that one better tomorrow.   The others cleaned out really nicely and are ready for sanding and painting.