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whiskey barrels


hi jo...

i have 2 of them running on the patio, year around......what specifically do
you want to know.....these are the full size 80 gallon barrels, from canadian
club, which is right across the river from detroit.....

if you get fresh barrels......you need a circular saw to cut off the
top....whew that whiskey is strong smelling.....dont worry about the charcoal
on the sides.....buy a barrel the has the plug in it......if you get a fresh
barrel it will most likely hold water.......my original one has for 20
years....but this summer i had to line it.....6 mil, cheap poly from home
depot and some staples.....will report back on that next year.....there is a
few tricks to filling it the first time without a liner.....it can take up to
3 days to get it to seal itself......place a sprinkler upside down [facing
down.....low pressure...it coats the sides and starts the sealing all
over....if you start from the bottom it seem to be a losing battle....

they each have a powerhead 402 to circulate the water [approx'ly 30 to 40
bucks]....i do not use the micro filters, which are expensive [$3 each and
they clog too fast].....i use cheaper ones that i staple on the outside of the
pump housing [3 for $10 bucks, but they last 2 or more months]

each has a submersible heater set at the lowest setting....[$20
bucks???]....this keeps the barrel at about 50 degrees in the winter...unplug
it in the summer....

electric is a power strip hanging on a screw on the back of the barrel....i
dont even think it is anything special....but the outdoor electric has a
trippable ground circuit [proper term???]

started with feeder goldfish [10 for a buck].......2 are still alive 4 years
later.....others i presume were sickly to begin with....then bought some fancy
fan tail goldfish [up to 5 bucks]...they are going on 5 inches now......they
are carp [aka, rats with gills] so they are very resilient.....

last week, and in the spring and once in the summer, i siphon off all the
water, put the fish in a 5 gallon bucket.....blast the inside with a
hose....[this is a bit tricky, as you have to strong-arm the barrel to its
side.....then fill it up.....2 thermometers....one in the filling barrel & one
in the bucket with fish......replace the water to the same temp as the fish
are [couple gallons of hot tap water will raise the temp].....throw the fish
back in....you could put them in plastic bags and float them if you are really
concerned about temperature shock....i dont use chemicals for algae,
etc.....though there is quite a flourish in spring.....it eventually burns
itself out as it uses up all the things it needs....if you can flush the
barrels early you can reduce that problem......

save 3 -- 5 gallon black landscape pots....cut some holes in the
sides.....invert them...insert them in the partially filled barrel.....put a 6
x 12 patio stone over it....fill the rest of the barrel...then you have a
shelf for taro, or other potted plants......seaweed grows like a
weed.....floating plants are cool, but the fish tend to eat the roots when the
fish get too big....never had luck with water lily as they tend to get too
big...even the dwarfs......

with fish, there is no bug problem....i believe squeeters need standing water
so the pump takes care of that....

for half barrels i believe they sell kits at home depot....though maybe not
this time of year

mine are in full sun so i dont know what to tell you about plants for
such....an eee to plant delight  might answer that.....

the pump will keep the water moving in winter...if the temp of the barrel goes
way down the fish simply go dormant and fall to the bottom...slow motion
swimming.....i never really tried it without the heater.....they dont eat much
in the winter...floating koi food is fine.....

if you dont have electric available, i dont know what to tell you.....as the
moving water adds oxygen ....without it, i dont know how to the fish will
manage.....without fish it sounds like a bug magnet....

they spawn every year...you see the roe on the seaweed...they tend to eat it
all if you leave it......

water evaporates at an incredible rate in the winter ....you can cover about
2/3 of the top to reduce such......air needs to get there for fish, so you
cant cover the whole thing.....

now????....what did i leave out???  

ken
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