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New Blog on Cold Weather Aquaponics  RSS feed

 
Jeremiah Robinson
Posts: 92
Location: Madison, WI
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Hi there. Occasional poster, regular reader of permies.

Hope it's not bad form to promote my own blog without doing a lot of forum participation yet, but I guess I'm taking the risk.

Anyhow, I started a new blog all about cold weather aquponics. You can find it at:

Cold Weather Aquaponics

or

Cold Weather Aquaponics at Aquaponics Source
 
Miles Flansburg
steward
Posts: 4028
Location: Zones 2-4 Wyoming and 4-5 Colorado
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bee books forest garden fungi greening the desert hugelkultur
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Howdy Jeremiah, welcome to permies.

My computer filters here won't let me see blogs. How about a little cut and past of some of the things you are doing!
 
Jeremiah Robinson
Posts: 92
Location: Madison, WI
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Sure here's the first post (without most links) and the request for problems. Sorry you can't see blogs with your filters.


This website and blog is devoted to helping those who live in zone five or colder to grow plants and fish together with a minimum of cost and energy use.

In case you were wondering, zone five is freeze-your-nuts-off cold! It corresponds to average winter minimum temperatures below minus 10 degrees fahrenheit (not windchill). At these temperatures, with a mild wind, you get frostbite in thirty minutes.

Hard as it may be to believe, you can raise fish in liquid water and grow live plants in zone five without spending all your hard earned cash on heat, chopping wood all winter, or maintaining a twenty-yard compost pile like Jean Pain.

Through the use of a variety of techniques I’ve read about or developed myself, I’ll show you how to keep everyone warm and alive when it’s cold-as-Pluto outside. These techniques include the following:

  • Passive Solar Greenhouse Design
  • Insulated and Air-Sealed Fish Tanks and Grow Beds
  • Insulated Piping
  • Multiple Layers of Thermal Protection for Plants
  • Fish Selection for Cold Hardiness
  • Plant Selection for Cold Hardiness and Freeze/Thaw Tolerance
  • Efficient Water (Not Air) Heating
  • Programmable Temperature-Dependent Pumping Controls
  • Strategies for Maximizing Nitrification in Cold Water
  • Aquaponics-Integrated Hot Tubs (Seriously)


  • Don’t worry if some of these strategies go over your head. I promise to explain them in accessible language with lots of diagrams, examples, and videos.

    I will post blog entries about once per week, start offering products as soon as I can, and generally try to be as entertaining as I can manage on little sleep (baby on the way very soon).

    You’re welcome to look, but based on my searching nobody else on the internet is actively trying to push the envelope on inexpensive and energy efficient cold weather aquaponic growing. Maybe that’s because it’s a little crazy. But heck, we’re already living in the frozen tundra, so why not make the best of it?

    Feel free to contact me directly and post whatever comments you feel like on the blog. I’ve got skin like a astatotilapia, so as long as they’re not blatantly self-promotional, totally off topic, or personal attacks on other commenters I’ll leave them up.

    I would welcome your feedback and debate about the best ways to pull off this absurd and wonderful goal. Together we can accomplish something awesome.

    Call for Problems
     
    Miles Flansburg
    steward
    Posts: 4028
    Location: Zones 2-4 Wyoming and 4-5 Colorado
    172
    bee books forest garden fungi greening the desert hugelkultur
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    Awesome, I know about that cold temp you speak of. I am zone 5 and below depending on if I am in Colorado or Wyoming.
    Looking forward to more info here. Thanks !
     
    Nick Kitchener
    Posts: 477
    Location: Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada
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    I live in zone 3 and although it's well below freezing for 4-6 months of the year, it gets very hot in summer too.
    This poses challenges because cold water species (like trout or chard) have issues in the summer with the warm water, and warm water species suffer in the winter.

    An aquaponic system in these climates not only need to maximise the use of heat in the winter, but also find a way to sink excess heat in the summer.

    At this point, I can only think of thermal inertia as a viable option, which means digging a great big hole in the ground to house the system, or installing a geothermal heat exchanger.
     
    Jeremiah Robinson
    Posts: 92
    Location: Madison, WI
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    Hi Nick,

    You asked a lot of questions that I can't reasonably answer in one post. I'll get at them in the blog over the next year, so following that is probably your best bet for getting everything you need. I'll respond briefly below.

    I live in zone 3 and although it's well below freezing for 4-6 months of the year, it gets very hot in summer too.
    This poses challenges because cold water species (like trout or chard) have issues in the summer with the warm water, and warm water species suffer in the winter.

    You have a number of options. An upcoming article in Aquaponics Survival Communities will get deep into that. Essentially, you could shut down in winter, pick a fish that will survive both seasons (catfish, perch, bass, etc...), or switch from trout/char to tilapia by season. Options 1 and 3 will require you to buy 7-8" stocking fish which are more expensive but can grow out in 6 months.

    An aquaponic system in these climates not only need to maximise the use of heat in the winter, but also find a way to sink excess heat in the summer.
    At this point, I can only think of thermal inertia as a viable option, which means digging a great big hole in the ground to house the system, or installing a geothermal heat exchanger.


    You hit the nail on the head with this one! For summer, you can do a lot with mechanical and natural ventilation and shade cloth. For winter, you have to store heat. Check out Penn & Cord. There are a variety of options for you, but you have to get really creative and spend some time getting your head around the concepts of thermal mass, enthalpy, and radiant heat.

    Like I said, I'll get into all that very soon if you can be patient

    You're a great example to all of us for doing what you can in intense circumstances. I'm hoping to hold a contest at some point for the coldest weather aquaponics system in the world. You might win
     
    Would you turn that thing down? I'm controlling a mind here! Look ... look at the tiny ad ...
    Permaculture Playing Cards
    https://permies.com/wiki/57503/digital-market/digital-market/Permaculture-Playing-Cards
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