In our aquaponics system, we have chosen to use IBCs as our containers. They are typically used to store large quantities of food oil, maple syrup, and other liquid goodies. Once they are used they are resold and people use them for water storage, gardening, and many other awesome things.
So, when we decided to expand our aquaponics system we bought 4 more IBCs. One of those we are keeping as a second fish tank and the other three got cut into grow beds. They aren’t really all that difficult to cut, but you have to have a metal saw and a star screw bit in order to get them cut nicely. First off, you have to unscrew the top bars which hold the plastic into the metal framing. These are not common screw heads but they are not all that expensive to purchase.
Pulling out the plastic IBC isn’t mandatory but really makes cutting the metal bars quick and easy. After you get the top bars off, you can pull the plastic out and set it to the side. Then you cut the vertical metal bars in between the horizontal framing. It takes a bit of elbow grease but actually goes pretty quickly. The beds won’t be exactly even, one side will be about 18 inches and the other side about 21 inches, but it makes very little difference in the actual system.
Once you have all the bars off, your IBC will look roughly like this and you’ll have to cut the plastic. Use the frame as your guide and draw with a permanent marker around the IBC.
Use either a saw or a box knife to cut the plastic. If you are using a box knife I would suggest you don a pair of gloves because you’ll be pushing on the knife pretty hard. You’ll end up having a several-inch-wide piece of plastic to either be crafty with or dispose of.