Posts Tagged ‘Nature’

A Colossal Fracking Mess

Wake up people! This is going to happen all over Southern NY and Northeasten PA. If you live where the Marcellus and Utica Shale Bed lie, This article in Vanity Fair: A Colossal Fracking Mess is just a taste of what is to come.


The Story Of Bottled Water


It’s Aquaponics Baby!

Those of you who frequent my blog, know I have been experimenting with Aquaponics and have posted a couple of videos on the subject. What didn’t make clear in my videos is how I set my Aquaponics system up so I will explain that in further detail now.

First of all, some of you who have never heard of term Aquaponics. What is it? Aquaponics (IPA: /?ækw??p?n?ks/) is the symbiotic cultivation of plants and aquatic animals in a recirculating environment. In simpler terms, Aquaponics is the combination of aquaculture and hydroponics. Aquaponics combines both systems, and in doing so cancels out the negative aspects of each. Instead of adding toxic chemical solutions to grow plants (hydroponics), Aquaponics uses highly nutritious fish waste which is pumped into the grow beds, past the roots of plants which extract the nutrient from the water. Instead of discharging water, Aquaponics uses the plants and the media in which they grow to clean and purify the water, after which it is returned to the fish tank. This water can be reused indefinitely and will only need to be replaced when it is lost through transpiration and evaporation. Basically it’s a recirculating environment where fish excrete ammonia, bacteria breaks down the ammonia and converts it to nitrites, Nitrobacter bacteria convert the nitrites to nitrates, plants absorb the nitrates and the grow medium filters the water for the fish completing the cycle.

How did I become interested in Aquaponics? I was searching for a viable way to expand my garden without digging up my whole yard. I also wanted a system that would require less weeding and use natural fertilization, which lead me to Aquaponics. In my search I came across Travis Hughey manual for Barrel-Ponics system which was so simple and easy to understand. I decided to build one for myself with a few modification.

My Aquaponics Set Up

My Aquaponic Set Up

With my system I used 2 – 55 gallons plastic barrels (recycled food product barrels); one for the fish tank and the other cut length wise in half for the grow beds. The grow beds are mounted above the fish tank and filled with pea stone. The pea stone is the growing medium for the plants and also act a water filter for the fish tank. Mr Hughey’s system incorporates the use of a flush tank system, where the water from the fish tank is pumped in to a holding tank and when the water reaches the desired level in the holding tank flushes the water into the grow bed. I eliminated this by using a sump pump connected to a floating piggy back switch in my fish tank.

My Aquaponics Set Up

The float switch is attached to perforated metal strip on the side of the fish tank, this way the float switch can easily be moved/adjusted to turn the sump pump on and off at the desired water levels. I also added extra foam to the float switch to give it little more buoyancy. The sump pump rest on the edges of 2 flat rock instead of sitting directly on the bottom of the tank, there is no particular reason for this other than it gives the fish a place to hide out when the pump is not running. So how does this work? When the fish tank is completely full of water the piggy back float switch turns on the sump pump which pump the water in to the grow beds via a hose which is connected to a bottom of a 1/2” PVC Tee. The Tee then diverts the water into both grow beds flooding the beds to the desired level. The float switch then shuts off the pump and the water in the grow beds slowly refills the fish tank via a hole in the bottom of each grow bed that has been fitted with a ½” PVC male adapter. I used a shut-off valve to control the rate the water refills the fish tank this helps keep the water oxygenated forthe fish and also keeps the pump from running constantly. The whole cycle of water circulation from tank to grow bed back to tank takes approximately a half an hour.

sump pump

For fish, I chose Comet Goldfish as they are a hardy breed of fish, that produce lots of ammonia and easy to keep, not to mention inexpensive to purchase. The fish tank is currently home to approximately 40 goldfish who are thriving in this environment with very little care or maintenance other than feeding them twice daily.

If you haven’t already viewed my videos please do so now: