Cold Weather Aquaponics

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About Cold Weather Aquaponics

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  • Biography
    Jeremiah Robinson loves to contemplate his tiny little existence on this surprising and wonderful speck in this vast and spectacular universe. He spends as much time as he can taking in the truly great and numinous stuff of life by spending time with his garden, his family, and his community at Madison Mennonite Church.

    He manages a big permaculture garden with a four-season aquaponics greenhouse on a little urban lot on the south side of Madson, WI. In the greenhouse he raises tilapia, trout, catfish, and perch along with lettuce, spinach, and basil. After coming to the realization this winter that nobody else in the world is really pushing backyard aquaponics design for cold weather conditions, he decided to do it himself. These days he gives talks, writes for Aquaponics Survival Communities, and just started a blog and Facebook page, all about cold weather aquaponics. If you're interested in building a passive solar greenhouse or an energy efficient aquaponics system, he'd love to talk with you to see what you can do together.

    For his day job, he works as an energy efficiency engineer for DNV GL Energy.
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    Permaculture, Reading, Church Involvement, Backyard Aquaponics

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    Madison, WI

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  1. It does make sense. Matthias and I both had the experience however that this style of brewer maintained very good oxygen levels (Matthias actually tested his O2 - I just tested for the presence of ammonia) using only the airlift as a source of O2. Not sure I follow. You mean the valve outlet? More to the right meaning a longer nipple between the tee and the valve? I don't think that's it. The clogs were more often at the elbow directly below the barrel. It doesn't make sense to me either, but that's what I found
  2. Interesting. Yours works well with the short downspout and riser? The professional ones I've seen online have a long downspout, but they also have four risers. The clogs happened in the bottom tube every time. I was thinking that watering down my solids like yours might do the job. The rubber coupling is where I introduce the air. The 1.5" tube runs unbroken inside it, with small holes drilled into it. I'm still not sure, however, why the vortex is so much better than just a heavily aerated barrel. Have you tried both options?
  3. Good to know. The solids I added were a lot thicker than paint. More like soup. Maybe if I watered them down it would be better. Do you have a picture? Here's a video of mine. Clearly I exaggerated how well it would work Any thoughts?
  4. Used 1.5 inch. Just one vertical though. Did you use more?
  5. Hey Ravins, Good question. I built one of those but found that the piping clogged when I loaded it too heavily. I need to be able to walk away for a week at a time.
  6. I'm building an offline barrel-style mineralization tank. Anyone have advice on the best kind of air diffuser for this application? I'd love to use a venturi with a cone to inject air, but I'm trying to avoid pumping really dirty water if I can. If anyone knows of a small (<50 watts) dirty water pump I might change my mind. Thanks!
  7. Might be worth checking in with WaterFarmers. They have a couple builds nearby. Pond aquaponics and very small scale tend not to do that well. Your 200 ft2 greenhouse sounds fun - about the same size I run. Do you plan to grow all winter?
  8. If you can find "Arizona Mountain Bark" at your landscape supply place it makes a good cheap expanded clay substitute.
  9. What scale are you looking at building?
  10. My impression of their organization is that the CEO is a very social guy who prefers to spend his time raising money and making connections, and leaves the day-to-day operations to others. I'm also under the impression that the different parts of the organization (feed mill, breeding, grow-out) were in many ways managed independently. I could be wrong about all of this, but under that kind of a structure I could see how a part of the organization that's in transition ("We have terminated the former feed management team, are completing a full reorganization of that division...") could fail to communicate something important like that with the rest of it. Yes, in the US we get subpoenas as well. But if nobody's opening the mail in the feed office this week...
  11. More articles popping up.
  12. That's interesting. I wonder why they've been out for blood? I confirmed with another source that Bell is having a tough time making their bills this month.
  13. I'll be doing some side by side tests comparing sand and DWC in various ways. I'll report back. Can you all stop bickering now?
  14. Bell stopped selling perch a while ago (a year), and sold (or gave) that part of the operation to Will Allen who is better at keeping unprofitable ventures afloat. That could have been what put them in the red though. I know they've been underwater for a while.
  15. Good point about RAS. I know there are successful operations in Israel and Australia. Timmons mentions a tilapia farm in Pennsylvania in Recirculating Aquaculture. However, none of the fish farmers I've met in Wisconsin are aware of any profitable RAS operations anywhere near here. Does anyone else know of any?