Fanatically Happy Day! – The Aquaponic Tank is in the Hole!!!
Originally the idea I had in mind was to get 3 extra people together and coordinate a time to have them come over to lend me their muscle lowing the tank in the hole with some large rope. Problem was I could never get everyone together on the same day. Family plans and being out of town were the main reasons. This then made me research hiring some movers to come out and help me get the tank in the ground. Well that plan was also a no-go as I was repeatedly getting quotes somewhere between $240-290 dollars to have them come out and put in an hours worth of work (uh uh). What finally ended up happening was that my friend John, who has many cogs and gears whirring through his head at any given time, helped devise a game plan that involved the use of 1 inch PVC to act as rollers underneath the tank to get it from my porch to the other end of the yard. He also help devise a sketched idea of using an a-frame gantry and a winch that we used to span over the hole. My job was essentially getting the needed materials together and building it.
So with this new plan in mind, I paid a visit to a local Harbor Freight and got my hands on a hand winch and straps with hooks. I then was able to piece the A-frame portion together with some 2×4’s, OSB board and some 3/8″ lag screws. For the gantry portion going over the hole I had to purchase three lengths of 2x4x10’s (as all I had was 8ft lengths at home which were too short). These lengths I then screwed together with deck screws and then mounted the winch in the center.
These eventually showed me a few issues that I needed to overcome. One, the hand winch is the cheapest unit I could find at Harbor Freight (rated for 2000 pounds, the tank I figured was pushing about 6-800 pounds).. this winch had originally been placed on the bottom of the gantry, but that proved to not be a workable idea since the design of the winch did not allow for a cleared area of the cable and hook away from the hand crank, essentially eliminating my ability to crank it up and down. The solution was to detach and re-attach the unit on the side versus the bottom of the 2x4x10’s. Because of this I need to add a 4th, shorter piece of 2×4 so that I could accommodate the entire footprint of the winch on the side. Immediately I could see that this would cause some serious torque happening on the overhanging gantry, essentially setting it up for failure by twisting to the point of falling off the A-frame support. To negate this, I added a 2×6 piece at the end overhanging the cinderblock wall on the other side, giving the gantry some much needed leverage.
In the end the whole system was a one-time use setup, so as long as it did the job of getting the tank in the hole, that’s all I cared about.. and… it worked! We needed to constantly work on maneuvering the tank into the hole cause I made the size of that hole only inches of clearance on each side (this did require some modification on our part with a pick ax and shovel before hand as we found a few areas that would not clear the tank.. my bad).
The last aspect of this endeavor was that we were doing it in Summer in Phoenix. Even though the sun was not directly on us at the time of the lowering. It was still reading 108-109 outside. Yeah, we’re a crazy bunch for doing this in that heat, but it was either that or wait till September to get it done when the temps drop… uuuuh NOPE!
So, to say I’m ecstatic about the tank finally being in the hole is an understatement!
The next steps of my progress will be to back fill the areas around the tank, add in the pond liner, start in on the end frames for the greenhouse and get started on building at least 2 grow beds to get the system started on cycling.
Obviously I’ve still a ways to go, but now I’m no longer bottlenecked going forward! WOOT!
BIG, BIG, BIG thanks to my buddy John for all his help on this project.. a true friend to the end!