Call for Problems

Calling for your cold weather aquaponic problems and questions.  You can post them in comments or on the Contact page.  Watch the video for more details.  You can see all the CWA videos on the YouTube channel.

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17 responses to “Call for Problems

    • Your plan looks very epic! Looks like you’ve got a big barn that you’re already working with, which is exciting. I’d probably start by contacting a local carpenter, inviting them over and talking through your ideas, getting a feel for what the building can handle structurally and what kind of reinforcement you would need. Grow beds full of water are heavy! Having the tanks on the lower floor would work great, but you would need a powerful pump. An air pump is out in that case.

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      • My plan is to have temp holding tanks upstairs. I figure the most I would have to cycle the water is 4 times a day which gives me the window to store enough water for the cycle.
        If that doesn’t work then I do have a big pond pump to use. I’ve had a carpenter come out and he says they look strong enough to hold cows up there. 🙂

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      • That’s awesome Onyxtacular. I do believe you’re the only person I’ve ever run across to try and convert a barn into a greenhouse. I’m eager to see how it goes!

        After I read your comment this morning, I have been wondering all day what use you could make of the fact that you’ll have such a high ceiling. Do you have any ideas on that?

        Liked by 1 person

      • Actually, it’s an old burned out schoolhouse, 4300 square feet. I’m a builder…. so its a challenge but no biggee. All the tanks are ground floor. I’m using a bi-level grow bed configuration , gravity feed from the tanks to the grow bed #1, then a sump pit to pump up to grow bed #2, which gravity feeds back into the fish tank. I’m using 1,000 gallon fertilizer tanks.

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    • Hey Onyx,
      I visited a guy last week named Don who’s doing exactly what you are – converting a barn to an AP greenhouse. He’s reinforcing the structure with steel, and putting in a mezzanine with vertical grow towers hanging from the ceiling. It’s insulated with recovered panels from old walk-in freezers.

      He’s planning on doing everything with artificial lighting which I’m trying to talk him out of, but from a heating perspective the concept is awesome!

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Onyx… food for thought… a cow weighs 800 to 1200 lbs … a 500 gallon fish tank weighs 4,150. I would not rely on a carpenter to move forward… unless he is part structural engineer.

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    • Thank Rod… The tanks will be on the ground floor and my plan is to pump up just enough water to holding tank upstairs to get the plants watered then let gravity take care of the rest. Are you blogging your project? If so I would like to follow it. Mine has been put on hold ( One of my roofs collapsed this past winter so there goes the funding for the project) So I’m getting as much info as I can on things.

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  2. Oh and sorry… i’m having a hard time navigating this site, didnt mean to jump the thread, Jeremiah i thought you were replying to my modeling. sorry..

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  3. sorry took me so long… hard days lately. I just had my first batch of Tilapia hatched last week… very fulfilling. and amazing.
    here is the download of the sketchup drawing… you will have to hide the roof layers to see much. https://www.dropbox.com/s/tivif83py2no2vd/Old%20School.skp
    free to anyone who wants to look at it help yourself.
    I haven’t finished the tank/grow bed modeling yet… to busy DOING it LOL… 😉

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    • This is awesome! I’m so impressed with what you managed in Sketchup. I can only dream of getting this good with it.

      This looks like a sketchup of your house. Can you send me the one of your greenhouse?

      Also, is there a reason you have six vending machines in your house? 🙂

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      • Its not my house… its a 4300 square foot school that I am converting into a convenience store, managers apartment, and aquaponics operation, along with a service shop. I got it cheap cuz it’s burned out… tons of work to fix it, but worth it. the vending machines are what I call a “vend alley”, the center hallway of the school that I will leave open 24/7 for vending and restrooms for travelers. rest of c-store will close at night. and i’m afraid I haven’t got anymore modeling done of the greenhouse, it was last and I haven’t had time to finish it. However, I have modeled my own house, which is an earthship using a concrete method I invented in Africa… we are about to build a home using the method on Pine Ridge Reservation with SDSMT, so if you want to look at my house plans its here: (again, hide the roof layers)
        https://www.dropbox.com/sh/wrzj1f4pt152nku/AACj9jULO9WHKwIaVCZbZxCca the file is HIPS ELIANA HIPPS stands for Hybrid I Post and Panel System… which is how I built concrete homes in Africa.

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  4. Rod, I love your house! It’s really awesome! If you ever want to chat about energy saving strategies I’d be open to it. My day job is as an energy engineer, so I spend a lot of time coming up with ideas for folks who think they’ve thought of everything.

    I still think there’s a sketchup file I haven’t seen though. The stove, boilers, and growbeds from the image above weren’t in old_school.skp.

    Do you have a website where you share your stuff?

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