Sunday Morning Garden Chat: Aquaponics

aquaponics greenhouse  east end

From commentor MB:

One of my personal boycotts is against blog posts that are listicles or that are entitled “Why…” The listicle “thing” has gotten seriously out of control and I am sick to death of posts that purport to give a final explaination of some great (or not-so-great) truth (Ezra Klein, I’m looking at you.) With that in mind, here are A Bunch of Reasons Why I Love Aquaponics and So Should You.

First a thumbnail sketch of aquaponics (AQ) in general and as practiced in the above pictured greenhouse. AQ is the process of growing plants in water like hydroponics but the fertilizer is (mostly) provided by fish who live in the water used to flood the plants. It is, at it’s heart, a symbiotic relationship wherein the plants feed from the fishes’ effluent which cleans the water that is returned to the fish who then, frankly, shit in it again. Fish gotta do what fish gotta do. The good news is that fish poo is just about the best poo you can use for plant food.

My AQ setup is housed in a 12×40 greenhouse and is comprised of a 600 gallon fish tank containing ~200 fish, four 4×7 gravel planting beds and a sump which runs most of the length of the greenhouse. I use one pump to pump water into the fish tank and the dirty water from the tank runs by gravity to the four planting beds. You have to have at least a 1:1 ratio between the volume of your fish tank and the total volume of all planting beds. You can support up to a 1:2 ratio. I have a 1:1.33 ratio. I have a total of about 1200 gallons in the whole system. The water is used over and over again and only lost to the system through evaporation and plant use. It it generally thought that AQ uses 1/10th the water needed for traditional gardening. This was a big selling point for me as I hate paying water bills and watering plants.

aquaponics loop siphon

The water enters the bed relatively slowly but exits quickly through the use of a siphon (shown above) similar to the siphon used to evacuate your toilet bowl. The orange arrows in the above picture indicate the direction the water flows. When it reaches the top of that pvc gooseneck and begins to drain over, it kicks off the siphon. It takes nearly 30 minutes to fill the bed but less than 5 to empty it. This is important because it sucks oxygen into the root zone. This also helps clean the water as the gravel “polishes” it removing all solids which remain in the bed available to the plants. A lot of aquaponists use the bell siphon system but I found it to be very, very temperamental whereas the loop siphon works pretty consistently. The pvc piece in the upper right hand corner helps the siphon stop when the water level is low enough to suck air into the siphon.

Fish poo is unusual relative to other animal waste in that it is immediately suitable for use by plants without composting. Worms also like it and will populate any AQ bed and that serves to further break down any solids. Finally, of course, the system depends on the nitrogen cycle to clean the water of dangerous nitrites that would harm the fish. In fact, the first step in the setup of an AQ system is to get the nitrogen cycle started, usually using ammonia, before fish are introduced.

The cleaned water dumps into the sump where it is pumped back into the tank through a venturi nozzle that infuses the water with oxygen – good for fish and great for the plants. From the fishes’ perspective, the AQ system is a giant filter and the principles involved would be familiar to anyone who has ever kept an aquarium or done water gardening. However, the “filter” is overdesigned specifically so you can overcrowd your tank without endangering the health of the fish. You need a large number of fish in order to make enough fertilizer for heavy feeders like cabbage and tomatoes. If you use game fish in the system, they will mature and you can eat them. However, AQ should not be considered a way to raise fish for food because it will never supply enough fish to be more than a meal now and again.
aquapnics goldfish

I have a mix of catfish, goldfish and a few bream. If it were up to me, I’d only have goldfish. They are very tough fish where most game fish are more sensitive to water conditions. Also I like the pretty colors. The experts will tell you not to buy feeders because feeders aren’t well-bred. On the contrary, I have had very good results with feeders and they have 2 real benefits going for them:

  • they are cheap as hell – just about the cheapest fish you can buy; and
  • if you don’t buy them they’re going to end up as some other critters lunch. Probably some pampered 1%er living in some rich kid’s bedroom. (Occupy the fish bowl!) So I figure I’m getting some good karma off this and striking a blow for the oppressed.
  • .
    That is pretty much the basics. There is, of course, much more to it and it is an ongoing learning experience for me. I’ve had fish in the system now for about a year and a half. The first year is really a shake down cruise though I did see some results and was generally pleased with the production.

    aquaponics cabbage comparison

    Some plants do very well in the system, others not so well. Green, leafy things generally do very well and it is not unusual to see plants get really large really fast. I have an eggplant that is still producing that is over 6 feet tall. Tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, and eggplant all do well. Okra, not so much. Above right is a picture of a cabbage currently growing in the AQ bed. On the left is a cabbage planted about the same time outside in my raised bed (outside cabbages are being fertilized with chicken poo – so it’s the battle of the poos, chicken v. fish.) The AQ cabbage is easily twice as big though the head is not nearly as compact. I really can’t get over how huge the leaves are on the AQ cabbages and I’m looking forward to eating this one on New Years with some black eyed peas, etc.

    vidalia

    Finally, what Balloon Juice post would be complete without a pet picture? This is Vidalia, a 12 year old (11 in this picture) longhaired miniature dachsund, my constant companion and the sweetest dog that ever drew breath. Honestly, I don’t think she cares a whit about aquaponics, but she tolerates my obsessions and gives me a reason to get up in the morning.

    If anyone has any questions about AQ or my project in particular, I’ll do my best to give a coherent answer or help direct you toward more information.

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    79 replies
    1. 1
      MomSense says:

      MB, your aquaponics set up is impressive and Vidalia looks like the perfect companion.

    2. 2
      OzarkHillbilly says:

      Some “neighbors” (They’re only one county over, that still counts, don’t it?) of mine have an AQ setup and did a workshop on it. Pretty interesting stuff. That was in fact when I began to seriously consider building a greenhouse. They use tilapia for their fish and from the way they talked it sounded like they were eating them on a not TOO infrequent basis. My only concern with tilapia was temperature sensitivity as our winters can get chilly (below zero not uncommon) so I was considering using bluegills and or catfish, tho goldfish should certainly work too.

      All talk right now. I was going to grade the location and build the first section or 2 of an eventual 14 x40 GH in December but between work, building the cold storage room, and winter moving in a little early and locking us down, it now has to wait for spring.

    3. 3
      OzarkHillbilly says:

      Today’s forecast:

      Today:

      Snow with widespread blowing snow before 3pm, then snow likely between 3pm and 4pm, then widespread blowing snow and a chance of snow after 4pm. The snow could be heavy at times. Some thunder is also possible. Temperature falling to around 9 by 5pm. North wind 11 to 18 mph, with gusts as high as 31 mph. Chance of precipitation is 100%. Total daytime snow accumulation of 7 to 11 inches possible.

      Tonight:

      Widespread blowing snow before midnight, then a chance of flurries after midnight. Mostly cloudy, with a low around -12. Wind chill values as low as -25. Northwest wind 14 to 16 mph, with gusts as high as 29 mph.

      I know, wimpy compared to what you just got, eh AL?

    4. 4
      JPL says:

      Wow! That is an impressive greenhouse. Today I’m going to rescue my kale and chard from the approaching cold front.

    5. 5
      raven says:

      That is great!

    6. 6
      JPL says:

      @raven: Did you rebuild your deck yet?

    7. 7
      WereBear says:

      I have a new goal in life. Will it work for roses?

      And I believe cats to watch the fish are the missing element which I can, fortunately, supply in my own future setup…

    8. 8
      WereBear says:

      I lurves me some Dashies! What a lovely face and I’m sure, personality to match.

    9. 9
      AnonPhenom says:

      MB, on those gravel beds. How deep are they & what size is the gravel?
      Thanks!

    10. 10
      Elizabelle says:

      MB: you write so well. I hope you’re here a lot to update us on aquaponics.

      If I may ask, where do you live? (You don’t have to be any more specific than “north Georgia” or even MidAtlantic.)

      How far north could one have an aquaponics shed? Asking because I have some Northern Virginia friends who might enjoy trying aquaponics.

      Are there any modifications you need for a sometimes cold climate? (We’re expecting single digits tomorrow, have snow on the ground now, that’s not a frequent occurrence here, but it does get cold.)

      My friends might especially like your project because they are already fishkeepers and deer cannot open the shed door, right?

      Vidalia is charming. Doxies rule! (Some race.)

    11. 11
      Cermet says:

      A system that mimics (in a minor manner), nature. Some aquarium keepers have a similar system. They keep a slump system that is filled with plants (land, not aquarium) and has lights that clean the water in the same manner. I am glad to hear about someone using one just to grow food. Nice system. That old style thermometer is a classic.

    12. 12
      Botsplainer says:

      Youngest daughter is heading back to school today, leaving me alone with the dog while my wife is away in Southeast Asia (Thailand and Cambodia).

      Guess I have nothing better to do than take down Christmas decorations, cover outdoor hose valves, and resist fucking up this 500 cal a day diet.

    13. 13
      Ash Can says:

      MB, thanks for your very enjoyable and interesting essay. Just thinking about anything actually growing right now, anywhere, makes me feel warmer. :)

    14. 14
      Cermet says:

      @Cermet: A error on that one sentence. It is true that some aquarium filters have lights that help clean the water (UV and really just kills algae) I meant to write:
      “They keep a slump system that is filled with plants (land, not aquarium) and lights. This system is used to clean the water in the same manner. ”

      To early.

    15. 15
      Linda Featheringill says:

      @Elizabelle:

      http://portablefarms.com/2012/pfas-cold-climates/

      It seems that you can run an aquaponics garden in winter if you can maintain an inside temperature of 40 degrees or so.

      Actually, this whole system looks interesting. I like the idea of gold fish. And I don’t see why you couldn’t arrange it like a Japanese water garden or something, although I don’t have the skill to do that.

      Thanks to MB and AL for passing this idea along.

    16. 16
      Linda Featheringill says:

      BTW, we are enjoying a heat wave in Philly. It’s up to 32 degrees already!

      [Where did I pack away my sun suit?]

    17. 17
      Elizabelle says:

      @Linda Featheringill:

      Thank you. Bookmarked it. Fascinating. Quick skim says it’s easier to warm the temp a few degrees than to bring it down from 100, like you’d find in Arizona.

      And I guess you could set up some lights or a space heater on brutally cold days/nights.

      I want to see one of these in action. Colorful fish and fresh veggies. Yum.

    18. 18
      Poopyman says:

      @Linda Featheringill:

      It seems that you can run an aquaponics garden in winter if you can maintain an inside temperature of 40 degrees or so.

      Probably a bit of a challenge in really cold climates, but at least the water tank provides thermal inertia. With some active management of insulating covers it might be possible for fairly prolonged cold spells. I suppose I could use Teh Google to find a northernmost AQ setup, but it’s going to be a busy day and I need to get cracking.

    19. 19
      R-Jud says:

      Back in England after ten days in the Poconos for the Best Christmas Ever. I can genuinely say I prefer negative temps with snow to 36 degrees with horizontal rain. I’m weary already of being constantly chilled and clammy.

      Plus the washing machine has kicked the bucket and the Child woke up with what I suspect is strep throat this morning. What a comedown. Bah humbug.

    20. 20
      raven says:

      @JPL: Not the deck but the stairs and fence. I’m trying to get rye to grow but, right now, it’s the perfect storm of dog door mud tracks.

    21. 21
    22. 22
      OzarkHillbilly says:

      @AnonPhenom: The operation I am familiar with used plastic 55 gallon drums cut in half. The gravel was just our typical creek gravel tho I do not recall the specific size and there WAS a preferred size. Don’t know where I put the handout we got. It’s here somewhere.

      @Elizabelle: As Linda said, there is no northern limit as long as you can regulate the temp. As I mentioned earlier, some fish are more cold tolerant than others. As I did NOT mention tho, the cold tolerant species are slower growing.

    23. 23
      OzarkHillbilly says:

      @AnonPhenom: Doooh! Those 55 gal drums were cut in half lengthwise.

    24. 24
      JPL says:

      @R-Jud: The x-mas tree is gorgeous. In the south, we are lucky enough to have those cold dreary days because the alternative is not nice. They are mentioning the ice and snow words on TV. ugh
      I almost posted on your blog, that you are a beautiful writer and as a grandma wanna be, I enjoy the updates. Your daughter is beautiful, but I do understand your concerns though.

    25. 25
      JPL says:

      @raven: I had quite a large mutt visiting for twelve days and I’m familiar with those paw prints that you speak of. Little dogs shed and track in mud but they do it on a smaller scale.
      The stairs look great.

    26. 26
      mb says:

      Hi all, and thanks for your kind comments.

      I live in Jackson, MS but aquaponics can be done pretty much anywhere. Up north you’re going to want to heat the greenhouse at night, I’d imagine. You don’t even have to have a greenhouse, if you live in a warm climate or don’t want to run the system in the winter. However, imo, it does help to have a cover over your beds and tank so you control the amount of water that goes in. Wouldn’t want a gully washer to wash all the nutrients out of your bed.

      1/2 barrels are a common way to make AQ beds. Mine, however, are ones I built out of 2x6s and OSB. They are 12 inches deep, which is standard in AQ and contain plain drainage gravel from Lowe’s and some pea gravel In the top few inches to make it easier to dig in the gravel to plant, etc.

      I’ll be in and out today and check this thread to try to answer what I can.

      Thanks again to everyone and, especially, Anne Laurie who worked the magic to post my little essay.

      Vidalia says hi, too.

    27. 27
      mb says:

      RE: tilapia

      Tilapia is a common fish used in AQ. Works well but needs warm water ~85 degrees F. Also many states, mine included, restrict the ownership of tilapia due to fears they will escape and breed in the wild. I can use tilapia but I’d have to buy an annual license which is not much but more than I have (which is approx. zero.) Tilapia work good if you keep the temps right. Goldfish, on the other hand, are very adaptable to temp and water quality.

    28. 28
      carolannie1949 says:

      I would like to see a nutritional comparison between AQ and soil grown vegetables. Nitrogen, warmth and light can produce monster veggies with not so much flavor, a sign that nutrients are missing.

      Just asking, not interested in pros or cons or flame wars

    29. 29
      OzarkHillbilly says:

      @mb: And thanx to you from one who is very AQ curious.

    30. 30
      raven says:

      @JPL: My replies are getting ated.

    31. 31

      Thanks, MB, this is really informative and inspiring. A sustainable system like this has a lot of attraction, and seems fairly easy to replicate.

      I figure I’m getting some good karma off this and striking a blow for the oppressed.

      Awesome.

    32. 32
      Josie says:

      Thanks, MB, for an informative and timely essay. I am starting a folder with this info plus any other I come across. I can’t do this setup right now, but I plan to have the space and ability to do so in the next two years. This is one big step into sustainability.

    33. 33
      carolannie1949 says:

      All my research shows no info on nutrition except a paper from Oahu stating that interveinal chlorosis is an issue in bok choi, the vegetable they researched. Adding nutrients to the growing medium ameliorates this. This is still a high input system at this point. It is interesting to see how it will develop.

    34. 34
      Betty Cracker says:

      Wow, great essay and extremely impressive setup! The mister is the gardener at our place; I will have to tell him about your amazing system.

    35. 35
      TaMara (BHF) says:

      MB, I love everything about this post. thank you for sharing the information and inspiring a new crew of AQ farmers. And Vidalia is adorable.

      ETA: As a matter of fact, I love this so much, I’m going to repost it over at my place unless someone has some strong objections…..no…okay then… :-)

    36. 36
      mb says:

      @carolannie1949: There are nutrients that have to be added regularly to the system. The main one being iron. Most aquaponists also add kelp extract. I give my system a monthly dose of iron, calcium nitrate (just about can’t make cucumbers without it,) kelp extract, and muriate of potash. You have to stagger the calcium and potash doses because the calcium will precipitate out otherwise.

      Aquaponics is prone to exceptional vegetation growth at the expense of fruit. Adding the micronutes helps with this.

      As to taste: I can assure you my vegies are delicious, as good as anything I’ve ever grown in dirt.

    37. 37
      Higgs Boson's Mate says:

      MB, thank you for the well-written exposition of your garden. That it is a low-loss system is very intriguing. One question; How do you keep Pauly Shore away?

    38. 38
      Valdivia says:

      @mb:
      Thank you thank you thank you for the hate on listicles.
      I am also looking at Ezra Klein whose writing has diminished to the point of absurdity.

    39. 39
      currants says:

      MB: Thank you! Really interesting…going to store this away for when I live somewhere I can pull this off space-wise. Very cool (especially having just come through the kind of weather that reminds me that growing fresh greens in winter requires more than just straw and a hoop house, unless I only want green curly kale).

      ETA second the request for ‘WHERE’D YA LARN ‘BOUT THIS?’ especially if websites. Learned the hard way that it’s best to get a recommendation or read LOTS of sites–and their locations–to figure out how something really works. True of recipes, and especially true of garden info.

    40. 40
      Schlemizel says:

      A friend just posted this on FB – it is THE BEST version of “I Want My Country Back” you will ever hear!

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ek6hBmoaeS4#t=20

      seriously funny

    41. 41
      mb says:

      @currants: You can scale this system down to the level of a 10 gallon fish tank and a kitchen window herb bed. If you “google” it, you’ll find folks all over the world doing AQ in apartments as well as in greenhouses like I am. You can also grow ornamental plants — probably easier than vegies ’cause my plants have no problem blooming — setting fruit can be a challenge (see micronute comment above.) One of my long term projects is an outdoor AQ system that will grow ornamentals only. I want to see if I can grow an aquaponics dahlia.

    42. 42
      Cermet says:

      Forgot to ask: do you check the ammonia/nitrate waste levels of the water? If the ammonia is above 1.0 ppm, and/or the nitrate is above 20 ppm, than the fish are in polluted water and suffering. Good idea to monitor those waste products to be sure that the fish are healthy and that the plants are not being overwhelmed by fish waste (which will lower plant yield.)

    43. 43
      mb says:

      RE: ‘WHERE’D YA LARN ‘BOUT THIS?’

      I guess the short answer is, the internet. Google “aquaponics” and start clicking. The groundbreaking work on this has been done by folk all over the world, notably in the Virgin Islands and Australia. I don’t even remember how I stumbled on this — probably googling about water gardening (one of my loves,) but I found a guy from Australia, Murray Hallam, who has done a real service to us all to bring this technology to the masses (http://www.aquaponics.net.au/). He does all kinds of workshops and sells dvds, etc. but he also gives a lot of info away for free and it is pretty easy to ferret out how to put together a DIY system.

    44. 44
      mb says:

      @Cermet: Water quality is the foundation of the system so, yes, I check ammonia levels, pH, nitrites, etc. However, it is amazing how stable the system has become. For the first year I checked the water daily but now it just doesn’t change much so I don’t check that often.

    45. 45
      TaMara (BHF) says:

      @Schlemizel: That was refreshing!

    46. 46
      raven says:

      Rand Paul is waving his sons “medicare” card and screaming about Obamacare.

    47. 47
      rikyrah says:

      First lady gets a few extra days of Hawaiian sun
      Posted: Jan 05, 2014 2:09 AM EST

      HONOLULU (AP) – First lady Michelle Obama is getting a few extra days of Hawaiian sun.

      While President Barack Obama is departing Hawaii late Saturday, Mrs. Obama is staying behind to spend time with friends ahead of her upcoming 50th birthday party. The White House says the extra time in the islands is part of Mrs. Obama’s birthday gift from the president.

      The first lady turns 50 on Jan. 17. The White House did not say when she planned to return to Washington.

      The Obamas’ daughters, Malia and Sasha, are returning to the White House with their father. They’re scheduled to arrive in Washington Sunday morning after a two week vacation.

      http://www.hawaiinewsnow.com/s.....waiian-sun

      POTUS to FLOTUS: No, Boo. You stay here and do you for a few days…Mama Robinson and I have got the girls….Happy Birthday!!!

    48. 48
      currants says:

      @mb: *grin* well OKAY then. I start all my seedlings in my attic, so I’m thinking that might be a good place for it. Why NOT have a studio, seedling greenhouse, and aquaponics all in the same 350-400 SF? (Or wait, there’s only light from skylights and one each east/west window, so maybe not).

      Thank you!

    49. 49
      JPL says:

      @Schlemizel: Mockery is the best medicine and sometimes it makes you laugh.

    50. 50
      Schlemizel says:

      Just watched Russian defeat Canada in the World Junior bronze medal game. The folks on the NHL network are in mourning and apparently this is a day for deep national reflection on how it could have all gone so wrong. The first time since ’82 Canada didn’t win some medal. After the game their coach looked like he needed to be put on 24 hour watch & not have access to any sharp objects.

      At 1PM EST today Sweden and Finland will play for gold – it should be a great game to watch, on the NHL network if you have cable

    51. 51
      Percysowner says:

      There’s a place near me that sells units to do this inside homes and apartments. They sell the aquarium, a pretty wooden pedestal to put the tank on, the pump and even a place to put daylights, or florescent lights if you don’t have enough light from your window to grow the plant. They were at a home and garden show a few years ago and had 2 sizes on display a smaller one for year round fresh herbs and a larger one for fresh veggies. They recommended starting with breeder fish because they put out more fertilizer and then adding the large fish once your garden is established so you can also grow your own fish dinners.

      I didn’t investigate further, because I have not done well with plants (forget to water) and fish (forget to feed) and I didn’t know how warm I needed to keep the fish, but now I may look into it again and at least get a good herb garden year round.

    52. 52
      JPL says:

      @raven: Isn’t his son under 26? If he wants to pay for him, he should add him to his policy.

    53. 53
      mb says:

      @currants: If I had my druthers, I’d live in my greenhouse. May yet before it is all said and done.

      Not having enough light, though, can be a problem. You could consider using CFL grow lights. I had pretty good results using CFL’s for an indoor hydroponic system. Can’t seem to remember WHAT I was growing, though, so apparently CFL’s effect short term memory. One more reason for the wingnuts to hate them.

    54. 54
      JPL says:

      @rikyrah: The new headline on that site on the left hand of this page will be
      Why does Michelle Obama vacation alone?

    55. 55

      […] stolen from Balloon-Juice. Every Sunday morning, Anne Laurie, who cross-posts my Friday Recipe Exchanges, hosts a Sunday […]

    56. 56
      mb says:

      @Percysowner:
      “because I have not done well with plants (forget to water) and fish (forget to feed) ”

      Well, one of the great things about AQ is that you never, ever, ever have to water your plants — they are being watered constantly. I also hate watering plants. I worry that I do it too much or too little. It was one of the reasons I loved water gardening — just top off the pond occasionally and you’re done.

      Now, you can’t forget to feed the fish. You can in water gardening, if you use few enough fish. And, if you don’t feed them, soon enough you’ll have very few. But, in an outdoor fish pond, a few fish can pretty well feed themselves. However, in aquaponics, fish food is all important, both quantity and quality wise.

    57. 57
      Baud says:

      I can’t believe no one has posted a “Five Reasons Why I Hate Listicles” comment yet.

      I am disappoint.

    58. 58
      Botsplainer says:

      @Schlemizel:

      Heh. That guy encapsulated the Teatard Nation in one song.

    59. 59
      MomSense says:

      @Schlemizel:

      That was sooooo good.

      Anyone read the NYT article on the power vacuum in the Middle East?

    60. 60
      Singular says:

      Wow mb, just wow. That is just an amazing setup, and a great post!

    61. 61
      Schlemizel says:

      @MomSense:

      No, please link if possible. I am afraid the worst is yet to come as a result of all our mindless meddling and Israel’s misguided attempts to control everything.

    62. 62
      mb says:

      I’m off to sunday lunch soon. If anyone has any other aquaponics questions, leave them and I’ll check this thread later this evening and do what I can to respond. Thanks for all your interest and kind comments.

    63. 63
    64. 64

      @OzarkHillbilly:

      IIRC, goldfish are cold water fish, so that’s probably why they do well in this kind of setup.

      @Schlemizel:

      Outside links were acting weird yesterday — every time I tried to include one, my comment would get eated by FYWP, and other people seemed to be having the same problem.

    65. 65
      ruemara says:

      @Botsplainer: you can do it. Just remember, you’re not hungry.

      This thing is impressive, but I glazed over while reading. It’s the sort of thing I’d appreciate with an expert doing it.

    66. 66
      MomSense says:

      @Schlemizel:

      What is up with Miss Lindsey and McCain going to Israel during Kerry’s visit there and making public statements undermining his negotiations??

    67. 67

      @mb: Thanks, again, mb.

      A quick skim of “micronutes” on the intertoobz yields some collision between pot growers and the foodies, e.g. info that applies to both. Is there a distinction in the body of knowledge that separates the two? Like ‘if you are growing food, do this, don’t do that, that’s for growing weed.’ I can see obtaining micro-nutrients and grow lights in a significant quantity as attracting certain attentions, something I’d prefer to avoid. ;)

    68. 68
      Bubblegum Tate says:

      @rikyrah:

      Oh man, the wingnut freakout about that is going to be amazing. “MOOCH-elle takes $10 million vacation to paradise on taxpayers’ dime; creates no jobs, still refuses to tell truth about BENGHAZIIIIIIIII!”

    69. 69
      satby says:

      OT, but since we’re talking about water: ice tsunami in Canada:

    70. 70
    71. 71
      beergoggles says:

      Now that she’s apologized for something she didn’t do, it’s blood in the water. They’ll be after her scalp.

      Can’t say I’ll be shedding any tears over it. She had the opportunity to do what Maher would do and laugh at rightwing butthurt and she blew it.

    72. 72
      Amir Khalid says:

      @satby:
      No, still no joy.

    73. 73
      I'mNotSureWhoIWantToBeYet says:

      @Amir Khalid: There was a misplaced “s” and colon. Try Moving ice wall destroys homes in Manitoba, Minnesota / Vagues….

      HTH.

      Cheers,
      Scott.

    74. 74
      OzarkHillbilly says:

      @Mnemosyne (iPhone):

      goldfish are cold water fish,

      Yes they are, don’t know why I did not think of them before.

      Had to go away for awhile but should have mentioned the difficulties a buddy of mine had getting permits for a greenhouse in Kirkwood, MO (suburb of St Lou) He finally got them but he got a load of butthurt first.

    75. 75
      Frank says:

      Jonathan Nadeau recently interviewed Tracy Holtz about aquaponics. If you are aqua-curious, it will be an interesting listen. Tracy is trying to expand from aquafarming for personal use to a small commercial scale.

      http://frostbitemedia.org/node/293

    76. 76
      mb says:

      @BruceFromOhio: Well, plant micronutrients are plant micronutrients. However, it is not so much the micronutes that is the issue as how to provide them to the plants in fish-safe way. The micronutes used to grow hydroponically would not be safe for fish. But if you were growing tomatoes hydroponically you’d probably use similar chemicals to those used to grow pot. Growing pot aquaponically is considered almost impossible. Word is you can get the plants to grow leaves but no buds. No buds, no fun.

      So, if you’re buying nutes for aquaponics you will never be suspected of growing pot. You might be mistaken for an organic gardener, though, since everything done in an aquaponic system has to be organic in order to be fish-safe. Though not all organic stuff is fish-safe. You have to keep fish safety at the top of the agenda or the system will collapse. Fish are sensitive critters — especially in a crowded tank environment.

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      Miss Bianca says:

      this is so cool. Just emailed your diary to the Dear Companion, as we are looking into alternative ways to farm/water up at his place. There are a couple hot springs close by that use aquaponics to grow crops and decorative plants in naturally-heated greenhouses! We are looking into rainwater harvesting at the DC’s place, as he has 35 acres and no irrigation water out here in the arid West. Quick question: how well do you think aquaponics would work with rainwater harvesting? Would there be any special filtration concerns?

    78. 78
      mb says:

      @Miss Bianca: I top my tank off with rain water all the time. It’s really the best source since it is not chlorinated.

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      Gretchen says:

      Good post. I’d like to hear more.

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