Discover Aquaponics Extended – A Premier On-Line Event.

This premier Aquaponics event will commence shortly and will be in the form of 6 x Webinars. One delivered every week over a six-week period.

You will have access to the members area where a recording of each Live Webinar will be posted for your review, reference and further study.
The members area will also have PDF files of interesting and very useful information for the committed home Aquaponics practitioner.

Murray Hallam of Practical Aquaponics will present Discover Home Aquaponics Extended instruction at its best.
See Below our standard Discover Aquaponics Extended two full day seminar content that will be presented over a series of six webinars.

Instead of having to spend money on airfares, food and accommodation in addition to the normal Discover Aquaponics Extended class fees, you will be able to access all this gold standard information on-line.

You will be able to become more self-sufficient by growing Aquaponically.   Better than Organic fresh vegetables and fish.

Course content. – Section #1

Discover Aquaponics Extended–

Includes;  What is Aquaponics. Aquaponics description/history. What you can grow. Plants. Fish. The Aquaponic advantage. Comparison, Hydroponics, Aquaculture.  Is Aquaponics Organic.

Cycling a new system –
The nitrogen cycle. Cycling without fish. Cycling with fish.
Recycling nutrients. Environmental parameters.

System Parameters –
pH. Dissolved oxygen. Temperature. Conductivity (EC)

Water Chemistry –
Managing system chemistry.  Nutrient origins.

Protected Aquaponics –
Why protect. Protection criteria. Climate control. Structure types. Geodesic domes. Hoop houses.  Heating and cooling methodologies.  Layout and planning.

Wicking Beds- Other appropriate technology.

Course content – Section #2

Types Of Aquaponic Systems-
Media Grow Beds. Nutrient Film Technique. Deep Water Culture. Wicking Beds.

System Design-
Pumps. Plumbing. Siphons. Timers. CHOP. CHOP 2. Decoupled Aquaponics, FloMedia. Filters. Clarifiers.
Swirl filters.  Canister Filters.

Fish and Plants-
Fish diseases. Treatment.
Integrated pest management. Common plant diseases.
Nutrients balance/shortfall identification.
Compost. Vermiculture.
Grow bed health.
Which species of fish. Fish food.
Common plant diseases and how to deal with them.

Practical Workshops introduction –
Home system build. Plans. Liner. Specifications.
Water testing. Aeration devices. Fish handling.
Seed raising. Planting. Pruning. Buffering the system.

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Murray Hallam will present Home Discover Aquaponics Extended instruction at its very best.
Murray Hallam regularly teaches Aquaponics at both Home Aquaponics Level and Commercial Farm level in Australia and overseas. Just returned from teaching tour in Hungary and Portugal in Europe and Oregon USA.

If you can't make it to one of Murray's face to face Discover Aquaponics sessions then this series of Webinars is directly suitable for you.

Please indicate your interest in being kept informed of when the Webinar Series will open for enrolments.
Go HERE. (Please note, this is not an order or obligation, just an indication of interest in the program)

GroPockets – A Better Way To Grow.

GroPocket.  This is fitted to a standard 100mm (4") PVC pipe to make a very functional GroTower.

GroPocket. This is fitted to a standard 100mm (4") PVC pipe to make a very functional GroTower.

GroPockets are used to turn PVC pipe into the ideal vertical GroTower growing system. GroPockets are glued over holes drilled into PVC pipe and hold the plant crowns above the wet root zone. Special low volume sprinklers are used to distribute the nutrient solution for hydroponic and aquaponic systems.

It is faster, easier, and cheaper to eliminate the growing media inside the pipe. Plants are easier to harvest without having to untangle roots from media. This design facilitates the lowest operating cost of any vertical growing system. Commercial Aquaponics and hydroponics growers can now have the advantages of higher plant densities in greenhouses with low labor cost.
GroPockets are sold individually or in sets. Quantity discounts for commercial aquaponics and hydroponics users are also available.
Go HERE to purchase your GroPockets

 

GroPockets. from Murray Hallam on Vimeo.

Solar Powered Aquaponics GroPockets. from Murray Hallam on Vimeo.

Is the Pipe Poisonous?

Is the Pipe Poisonous?

Many ask the question about PVC pipe, should I use it in my home or commercial project.
Most folk use PVC mostly because at this time there is not much else readily available. Some folk really worry about PVC. There is a load of info out there on this kind of subject but, we need to remember, "the road to better, purer food is a journey, not a destination" In other words, we need to use the best materials that are available to us today. Don't stop the journey because of a small difficulty. It is far, far better to go ahead and produce clean carefully grown food. Keep moving forward on the journey.

Aquaponics pipe.

PVC Pipe is readily available almost anywhere.

The plasticizers in PVC that some worry about, and in other types of plastics need to be fairly warm before they start to gas off. Additionally, the inside of the pipe work will be very quickly coated with a layer of biofilm thereby effectively sealing off the PVC from direct contact with the system water.  I realise this is an emotive issue with some folk but we need to achieve a balance and use the very best materials we can secure for our project.  Some folk who will just not use PVC because of the perceived problems still commute to work in their plastic car, ride in plastic lined aircraft, work in a plastic office, sit on chairs filled with very dangerous plastics and so on.  In short, we are surrounded by plastic of one kind or another. The exposure of the Aquaponics system water to any danger, real or otherwise is so small by comparison to other plastic products.

Aquaponically grown produce is way, way better than anything on the supermarket shelf, even if we do have some materials to deal with that may be slightly less than our ideal.

The ideal material at this time is HDPE. There is plenty of HDPE pipe, but the fittings are extraordinary expensive. HDPE pipe can be obtained at most irrigation supply stores. You will not usually find it in plumbing stores or hardware stores. HDPE stands for High-Density Poly Ethylene.  Poly Ethylene is said to be the only really food safe plastic material along with common old fiberglass made from properly cured polyester resin.

So, the important thing to do is get started, be prepared to use better materials when they become available, but....get on the road to better, more sustainable, nutritionally dense food for you and your loved ones.

 

Cycling a New Aquaponics System. Quick Guide.

How to Cycle a new Aquaponics System.
Have your system built and the water circulating, the auto siphons are functioning and adjusted well. If you have decided to use a timer system for flood and drain, then your timed cycles should be functioning well. You have run the system long enough for the water to be clearing.  The water can be a bit dirty from loose dust on the clay pebbles or gravel, but it should start to clear after a few days.

Barra in a basket

Small Barramundi contained in a plastic laundry basket within the fish tank. This makes it easy to take the fish out and treat them in a salt bath if necessary.

Small Barramundi contained in a plastic laundry basket within the fish tank.  This makes it easy to take the fish out and treat them in a salt bath if necessary.

Adjust the pH to just below pH 7. Adjust using pool acid to bring pH down or hydrated lime to adjust pH up. Get some plants in there right away.  The plants will soon tell you if there is not enough nutrients.  Use some Maxicrop or Seasol seaweed extract to provide some nutrient for the plants.  It will not harm the fish once you have them in the system.
There are very small amounts of ammonia in these products, so the process of building a suitable colony of beneficial bacteria will be slow, but it is a very safe and gentle way of cycling your system. Be patient.  These are natural processes and they take time. If you feel you must  speed the process, then, in addition to the seaweed extract, add a VERY SMALL amount of Urea.  No more than 1 teaspoon per 1000 litres of water.
If you can obtain some pure ammonia then use that in preference to Urea.  Once again, very a small amount like 1 tablespoon per 1000 litres (250 gallons). I stress that my preference is not to use Urea.  It can be vicious and cause lots of problems if overused.

The beneficial bacteria are naturally occurring, and they will begin to multiply once there is ammonia present. One option t ensure you have a good number of the beneficial bacteria present is to add some water , 3 or 4 liters (1 gallon) from a disease free freshwater aquarium, or a friends Aquaponics system.  The beneficial bacteria will be in this water and will take up residence in your new system and begin to multiply and use/process the ammonia. After your system has been running for about two weeks and everything is going nicely…..add the fish of your choice.

Stock lightly for your first batch of fish. Don’t be tempted to have a lot of fish in the beginning. Remember , loads of aeration and a backup system. Conduct your usual tests for Ammonia, Nitrites,  Nitrates at the following frequency. Daily for pH and Ammonia. Every second day for Nitrites. When the Nitrites appear you will know that the beneficial bacteria are on the increase. A short period of time after that Nitrates should start to appear. Test for Nitrates every second day until you see them appearing.  Once you see Nitrates you know that your system has cycled. All the while test for Ammonia.  If it goes beyond 1.0 mg/L then carry out a one-third water change.
The good thing about having the plants in is they are capable of taking up some of the ammonia.  Once the system has completed the "cycling" process tests for ammonia should reveal very small amounts or even none at all on occasion. All the while test pH.  Try to keep it just below pH 7.   It is not uncommon to observe swings in pH during this early period.   Don’t panic and start chasing the pH.   Only adjust when you see a firm pattern developing, for example, if it stays at say, 8.0 for 3 days, adjust gradually down using pool acid or similar…….be gentle, adjust in small increments, until you get it steady just below pH 7.

Once your system is up and running and everything is just fine, if you want to introduce more new fish always quarantine them in a salt bath for a week before putting them into your main system.  Don’t risk bringing sick or infected fish into your working Aquaponics system.
Happy Aquaponics Murray.

Is Aquaponics Worth The Effort?

The question has been asked countless times and I guess will continue to be.  Why do Aquaponics and is it worth it?  Is Aquaponically grown produce and fish all that different?

Some claim no!  Some say that the nutritional value or density, is not much different between produce grown in a regular dirt farm or garden, a hydroponics system or an Aquaponics system.  I suppose that comparison is something to be documented, but let's suppose that the comparison is correct.   Why then bother with growing Aquaponically?

Aquaponics fish

Fish dinner. Home grown and home cooking.  How good is this!

In this short piece so far, we have not mentioned the fish.  Regular dirt gardens/ farms, or hydroponics at any level can't deliver a fish dinner.

So what other reasons might there be to engage in Aquaponics.  I will list some. The list is not exhaustive but a good start.
1. Freedom from dangerous pesticides and synthetic fertilizers.
2. Aquaponics can be truly "Organic" (none of that midnight spraying of poisons. If you do, you will kill those little policemen, the fish.)
3. Use of natural processes for the production of plant nutrients.
4. Most efficient use of water. (that one is a big one, especially now in SoCal, Aussie and other places)
5. Can be done anywhere. Especially significant in desert areas, places of poor, degraded or polluted soil. Inner city areas that are food deserts. At village level where resources are very limited.
6. Pure food. This sums up many of the above reasons.

Aquaponics produce

Wonderful pure food. Aquaponics produce at it's best. Your body will thank you for this meal.

Food purity is the overriding consideration.  Many, if not most other food production methodologies, are pure food failures.

Perhaps you can add some reasons that are important to you.   Please comment below.