Southern States has apparently created their own line of stock tanks, and it almost makes me wish I could start over from scratch. These bright blue tanks are UV protected and less expensive than Rubbermaid tanks of the same volume. Plus, there are a few unique sizes and shapes, like this 250 gallon tank that could be positioned in a corner.
Now that I've lived the life of trying to observe my relatively dark fish in a black, covered stock tank, I also like the bright blue color. It wouldn't be everyone's preference, but I'm always thrilled to see a new, commercially available tank option!
In other news, I found out I have a supplier for expanded shale within a pleasant drive from DC. Matthew Ferrell has started a company called HydroShale, and is selling expanded shale that is the right size for aquaponics (3/4 inch). It's a bit pricey if you need to have it shipped, but if I can pick it up, I can get it in bulk for less than even the expanded clay beads Home Depot sells online (ViaStone from ViaGrow). Nothing will ever be as inexpensive as gravel, but I do like working with these lighter materials.
In the mean time, I'm just glad I finally put up my greenhouse this past weekend. The garden and fish have done amazingly well without cover for the first portion of winter, but the temperatures will remain well below freezing for most of this week. But with the protection from the wind and solar heating during the day, I expect my garden and fish will weather this bitter week adequately well. Hooray for bluegill and goldfish!