Aug 12

What IS Aquaponics?

What IS Aquaponics? 
- by Colle and Phyllis Davis

portable-farms-green interior-3

Portable Farms® Modular Aquaponics Systems (Patent Pending) 

Aquaponics is easier and more productive than organic gardening or traditional agriculture using less water, less electricity and less labor than any other aquaponics system in the world.

 

 

 

To work efficiently, Portable Farms® Aquaponics Systems require ‘warm water, fresh water fish’ of some kind to provide the essential waste and their nutrients for your plants. Generally, aquaponics systems use warm-water fish instead of cold-water fish (like trout) because the plants don’t like the cold water.

Portable Farms® raise Tilapia which are a delicious white fish with a mild flavor. They require between 7 and 9 months to grow to harvest size at 1 1/4 pounds (.5kg) to yield two, four-ounce (113gm) fillets. Tilapia is the common name for nearly a hundred species of cichlid fish from the tilapiine cichlid tribe and range in color from white, pink, salmon colored, dark gray and brown.

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Aquaponics is the growing of fish, or other water-based animals, along with land plants in a controlled environment, to maximize the use of the energy and nutrients in the system in order to harvest the greatest amount of vegetables and fish protein from the system.

The word aquaponics comes from words aquaculture, which is the cultivation of fish or other `water- based animals, and the word hydroponics, where plants are grown in a sterile medium or completely in water.

By combining the fish, water and plants, Portable Farms® Aquaponics Systems use an integrated environment to produce vegetables and fish in very small space, with very little water.

Aquaponics has its roots in ancient China and parts of the aquaponics system were developed in other areas of the world where high concentrations of people lived who were observant of the relationships that existed naturally in their environment.

Farmers Plant Rice SeedlingsIn China, farmers knew that land livestock waste could be added to their fields or ponds to increase production of vegetables and fruit bearing plants. They also noticed that different fish had different tolerances to the level of land-animal waste in their water. For example too much pig or chicken waste caused many fish to die (the modern explanation for this is lack of oxygen) so they were careful about balancing their system for maximum yield and minimum fish loss.These Chinese farmers were able to refine their systems so they could grow chickens in pens above pigs, (with the waste dropping through along with any spilled food) who were in a pen over a pond with carp in it, and then the water flowed to another pond with other less tolerant fish such as catfish, and perhaps other aquatic animals and certainly other water plants were grown and harvested. These systems were so called flow-through systems, meaning that water was used once through the ponds, and then released to the local paddies, streams, lakes or ocean. The sludge from the bottom of the ponds was used on the fields and some of the water was used in the paddies for fertilizer before it was released.

portable-farms-dry-riverbedIn the twenty-first century, the world faces an environmental crisis, issues related to climate change (drought and flooding as well as record-setting heat waves) and an energy crisis. In addition, many parts of the world face severe food shortages. Twentieth century agricultural techniques have harmed the environment and consume an inordinate amount of energy and water. Many countries lack the large amounts of arable land and water needed to sustain growing human populations. Developed nations use large amounts of pesticides and artificial fertilizers to grow their grains, fruits, and vegetables. At the same time, they use huge amounts of gasoline and diesel fuel to power their farm machinery, large amounts of electricity to process their food, and enormous amounts of fuel to deliver the processed food to grocery stores. The raising of farm animals, particularly cattle and swine, is notoriously inefficient in terms of the amount of land and energy required to raise corn and other animal feed for each pound of protein produced.

UN reports tell us that in 2012, for the 6th time in an eleven-year span, the world will eat more food than it produces. With 7 billion people in the world now and the expanding population growth of the projected 9.3 billion in 2050, there must be a shift towards vegetarianism and the option for farm-raised fish as a protein source for many, and a shift away from meat heavy diets, but this will take time. Growing crops to feed cattle, pigs, lamb or sheep take up more land and emit more greenhouse gases than producing crops for direct human consumption. In the 21st Century, food production accounts for up to 29 percent of man-made greenhouse gasses; twice the amount the United Nations has estimated comes from traditional ‘dirt’ methods of farming.

Many areas of the world, such as California, require elaborate and expensive aqueducts and irrigation systems to deliver potable water to farming regions. A tremendous amount of fresh water evaporates or is otherwise wasted with conventional farming methods. Third world countries often lack the financial resources, arable land and technology to produce sufficient food, and in particular enough protein to maintain the health of their human populations. There are also health concerns raised by humans consuming pesticide residues on fruits and vegetables and hormones in chicken, pork and beef. Wild birds and animals are adversely affected by pesticide and fertilizer. Local waters (ponds, rivers, and streams) are also polluted by the runoff from the pesticides and fertilizers used for local growing.

Therefore, there is a need to promote a new “green” method of farming around the world for ‘locally grown food’ in any region to produce healthier food that requires far less land and water, and at the same time, is environmentally friendly:

•             Eliminates the need or use of artificial chemicals

•             Provides sustainability for people locally

•             Substantially reduces energy consumption for planting, harvesting and shipping food, and greenhouse gas emissions.

•             Also, provides jobs for local people strengthening the local economy.

portable-farms-interior1Aquaponics has been explored for several decades as a possible solution to the foregoing environmental, energy and food shortage problems.  Aquaponics combines the art of growing aquatic animals (fish), known as aquaculture, with the modern technology of hydroponics in which plants are grown without soil. In aquaponics, fish and plants are grown together in an integrated closed loop re-circulating system with a very low rate of water usage or water loss due to evaporation. The fish waste (effluent) produced by the fish is delivered from the fish tank to a settling tank to remove the heavy ‘waste’ and then sent to the grow trays to provide a food source for growing plants in the gravel and the plants provide a natural filter for the water that keeps the fish healthy. This symbiotic relationship between the fish and the growing plants is the goal of aquaponics by creating a sustainable ecosystem in which both fish and plants can thrive and as a result, produces safe, fresh protein and healthy vegetables.

Aquaponics systems heretofore developed have not met with widespread success. Previously, aquaponics systems have been complex and labor intensive to operate, difficult to construct because to date, there has been no standard design that has proven itself to be easy to operate, and they are often poorly constructed with inferior materials requiring constant attention to leaks, challenges for disposal of the fish waste, and careful maintenance of pH levels, micronutrient depletion and water temperature. They have also been expensive in terms of the pumps and other electrical equipment required. In addition, prior aquaponics systems have been difficult to maintain and are prone to catastrophic system failures such as death of the fish and plants due to design flaws in the actual aquaponics system.

PFAS LLC and their invention, Portable Farms® Aquaponics Systems (patent pending), has evaluated and resolved the major stumbling blocks (mentioned above) to such a degree that they can be successfully operated by semi-skilled labor to produce healthy vegetables and fish to sustain families, communities and countries.

Diagram of one module of a Portable Farms Aquaponics System that feeds 8 people with 200 sq ft of grow space.

Diagram of one module of a Portable Farms Aquaponics System that feeds 8 people with 200 sq ft of grow space.

The Portable Farms® Aquaponics Systems duplicate what nature has been doing for billions of years. The water, containing the fish waste, is pumped out of the fish tanks to a settling tank, where the solids settle to the bottom of the tank while the nutrient-rich water then flows, by gravity, through a series of trays where the plants are growing, and then back into the fish tanks. The small amount of separated fish-waste water in the settling tank is drained off at regular intervals, and can be used to fertilize crops such as trees, ornamentals or lawns.The cycle of the water flowing through the system repeats itself several times each day. Some make-up water has to be added at regular intervals to compensate for the water used in the settling tank cleaning, and for the water used by the plants for growth (transpiration). And, that’s how the system works. Simple, elegant and with very little energy to produce high quantities of locally grown food.

Jun 02

The Aquaponist’s Daily Prayer: “PRAY FOR POOP”

The Aquaponist’s Daily Prayer: “PRAY FOR POOP”
- by Colle and Phyllis Davis

fishpooping

Portable Farms is proud to show you Before and After Photos highlighting the 40-day progress of our newly constructed PFAS LLC’S Experimental and Research Center in San Diego, California, that was completed and planted on May 28, 2012. Because of improvements in our seed choices, planting methods and technology, our farm is exploding with fresh organic food after only 40 days. The 600 tilapia fish in this system know our voices and ‘frenzy’ when we walk into the farm (a good sign because a happy fish eats well and POOPS A LOT and that’s the fertilizer for our plants). In case you didn’t know it, the Aquaponists’ Daily Prayer is, “PRAY FOR POOP.”

 

 

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BEFORE: Gravel Grow Trays in a Portable Farms Aquaponics System with Colle Davis, Inventor, Portable Farms Aquaponics Systems – May 28, 2012 before planting

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AFTER: 40 Days After Planting with Colle Davis, Inventor, Portable Farms Aquaponics Systems, July 6, 2012. Many green leafy organic vgetables are already READY TO HARVEST and other blooming plants already have blossoms and are ready to produce organic fruit or vegetables after only 40 days (such as tomatoes, peppers, green beans, zucchini, and cucumbers). Portable Farms grow enormous amounts of healthy, organic, nutritious food in small spaces. This small farm feeds TEN adults . . . FOREVER. This greenhouse is 16′ x 33′ (528 square feet) and contains 264 square feet of Grow Tray space.

Install your own Portable Farms Aquaponics System after taking the Aquaponics University  Simple, Easy and Fun online course! It only takes about one hour per day for about two weeks and when you finish the course you will receive your own Portable Farms Kit to build your own commercial or backyard farm that will feed people forever. The price for the Aquaponics Course which includes the entire assembly, operations and maintenance course, PLUS the PFAS Technology Kit for one module is $2,500. Offer is now available in select countries.


zucchini leaf 40 days ruler

One single leaf of an organic zucchini plant measured after 40 days of growth in Gravel Grow Tray = 10.5 inches wide

zucchini height ruler july 7

Height of the same organic zucchini plant (above) after 40 days growth in a Gravel Grow Tray = 20.5 inches tall

india mustard ruler july 7

Organic India Mustard plant (a spicy lettuce) after 40 days in the Gravel Grow Trays = 19 inches tall

 

This is a photo of that same head of India Mustard at harvest:

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romaine with ruler after 40 days

Organic Cos Romaine Lettuce after 40 days of growth in a Gravel Grow Tray = 12.5 inches tall

We’re growing a variety of organic seeds in each of these categories in this farm:

  • Basil Green Peppers
  • Swiss Chard
  • Cucumbers
  • Romaine Lettuce
  • Jalapeno Peppers
  • Tomatoes
  • India Mustard
  • Chinese Cabbage
  • Long Green Beans
  • Zucchini
  • Bib Lettuce
  • Basil
  • Pak Choi
  • Kale
  • Eggplant
  • Leek
  • Iceberg Lettuce
  • Green Onion
  • Green Swiss Chard
  • Hot Peppers
  • Yellow Crookneck Squash

Apr 04

Adjusting pH in Your Aquaponics System

 

30-fish-shapes-Shapes4FREEAdjusting pH in Your Aquaponics System 
- by Colle and Phyllis Davis


These are the products we recommend for balancing the pH in aquaponics: CLICK HERE. The cost for this kit is $14.55. Good price!

  • Plants in Portable Farms Aquaponics Systems prefer a pH in the 5.8 to 6.8 range, or even a slightly lower range.
  • Fish prefer a little higher pH and to keep both organisms happy, the water in an aquaponics system needs to be adjusted.

 

This kit contains:

  • General hydronics Ph control kit
  • Contains ph up which add a little at a time when your nutrient pH is too low in order to raise the pH to the proper level
  • Contains ph down which uses food grade phosphoric acid to lower the pH to the proper level
  • Designed to work superbly in hydroponic environments as well as with both soil-less mixtures and soil grown plants.

The measurement of pH is how acidic (6.9 and below) or alkaline (7.1 or above) a liquid is at any specific moment. This pH measurement is not about the water’s hardness, that is a measurement of the dissolved mineral content in the water, and it is measured in a different way.

pH scaleThe water at our location in San Diego, California, has incredibly alkaline at 8.4 to 8.6 pH (but not hard or mineral laden), and we have been forced to figure out a way to bring the pH level down to approximately 6.5. We have found that pH Down (food grade phosphoric acid) that is carefully added to the water over a day or two will bring the tap water from the mid 8 range to the lower 6 range of pH balance. Because the water is automatically refilled each day with makeup water with our automatic fish tank levers, we check the fish tanks on a weekly basis and add pH Down, the dry formula, as needed.

ph resultsIn some instances, the pH in an aquaponics system will have to be raised to meet the needs of the plants and especially the fish. There is a companion product called pH UP that contains Potassium Hydroxide and Potassium Carbonate for just this purpose. Be careful with all of these substances, read the labels carefully, and use gloves when handling them, both the liquid and the dry formulas.

Purchasing a pH tester is a good idea to insure accurate measurements, but even the pool test strips will give you a rough idea of the acidity or alkalinity of the water in the system. Providing the correct pH and keeping within a healthy range will keep both fish and plants happier and more productive.

Apr 04

FINALLY! Commercial Aquaponics is Trending Because Portable Farms Cracked the Code!

 

FINALLY! Commercial Aquaponics is Trending
Because Portable Farms Cracked the Code!
- by Colle and Phyllis Davis

abossAquaponics is the future for urban agriculture as well as a reliable food production facility for remote and desert areas and areas susceptible to desertification.

First of all, we want to make it very clear that there is one measure of success that has to occur or your efforts are doomed to fail: A commercial aquaponics installation must be run like a business that pays its investors back for their investment, with interest. Even if you install an aquaponics installation for charitable purposes to ‘give back’ to your community, it must be able to generate enough revenue to fund the day to day operations and cover the cost of the initial installation.

Please note: Ongoing revenue from produce and fish sales from your aquaponics system are required to remain successful and are a mandatory requirement for sustainability. We want your business to thrive over time by providing high quality food to your community.

kale aug 20

With Portable Farms Aquaponics Systems (patent pending), our proven technology and scaleable modules fit into any size greenhouse in any climate in the world, and have no ‘single point of failure.’

  • One quarter-acre of Portable Farms (one 10,000 sq ft greenhouse)  feeds 240 people forever.

  • One full acre of Portable Farms (four 10,0000 sq ft greenhouses) feeds 1,0000 people forever. 

  • With Portable Farms Aquaponics Systems’ minimal need for ENERGY, WATER AND LABOR, we can grow more food with minimal requirements than any aquaponics system in the world. 

  • With the discovery of FF Mineral Rock Dust, aquaponics growers now have the perfect balance of 57 trace elements not consistently available from just plain ordinary fish poop and growers no longer need to add harsh chemicals to grow food. Now growers can consistently grow blooming plants with the addition of FF Mineral Rock Dust, because the plants and fish poop now contain adequate levels of calcium, iron, magnesium and potassium, just to mention four of the vital elements for successful growing in aquaponics. Plus, it’s fish friendly and the fish are healthier and happier.

Colle Davis, showing Inda-Gro light suspended above the grow tray.

Colle Davis, showing Inda-Gro light suspended above the grow tray.

  • With the discovery of Inda-Gro Induction Lighting  aquaponics can be maximized in any climate, anywhere in the world for year round growing (even in basements or closed buildings).

SOLAWRAPSolaWrap’s honeycomb feature, diffuses the light inside the greenhouse.

  • With the discovery of SolaWarp for greenhouse covers, growers receive higher yields because of 83% transparent with 83% diffusion, high thermal qualities, increased durability (has been in use for 29 years in Europe and 29 year old greenhouses still have the original covering working at high levels). SolaWrap™ withstands 100 mph winds and stands up to hail storms, easy Installation and high ventilation.

Consider your best investment at this point enrolling in the ONLINE Aquaponics University Aquaponics Certification Course  explains in great detail how to build and operate the Portable Farms™ Aquaponics Systems that will be the core growing method for your new business. Most of your questions will be answered in this course and it’s filled with step-by-step directions and images. The entire course requires 10 to 15 hours to complete. Plus, as part of this online Aquaponics University Course, you also receive a Portable Farms Technology Kit that’s required to operate a Portable Farms™ Aquaponics Systems’ module. The fun part is getting your hands wet early so you know what to expect from the system.

Portable Farms is making aquaponics a business that is viable, profitable, fun and exciting. Contact us if you are ready to become successful.  We are now offering Technology Licenses for Individual Installations, Territories and Full Country Licenses. CLICK HERE for more information.

Apr 04

Aquaponics Greenhouses

Aquaponics Greenhouses
- by Colle and Phyllis Davis

ACRES GRENHOUSESGrowing food year round in any climate anywhere in the world IS the future of food. Aquaponics greenhouses are part of the growing trend for using controlled environments for the growing of food. They allow for the raising of food nearer to the consumer and consistently delivering a much higher quality product. They also require the use of less water and energy than conventional farming or even regular greenhouse growing.

The use of greenhouses for growing food is centuries old and over the years there have been incremental improvements to them. The most impactful change in recent decades has been the use of plastics to cover the structures making them much more air tight and actually safer. Yes, the coverings must be replaced every few years (3 to 20+) but, they more than pay for themselves during that time. They are also specially designed to enhance the light quality reaching the plants.

greenhouselightsatnightThe main advantage for using greenhouses is to modify the micro-climate and to extend the growing season. The protection from the weather has a huge positive effect on the plant growth and is very cost effective. The main disadvantage, in most cases, is that the greenhouse is being used in the same-old-ways of intensive farming methods that are used in regular growing. The water is applied to the plants and the excess water flows into the ground and is lost forever. Even if watering is done with careful irrigation even drip irrigation systems, the water is lost forever.

The other greenhouse growing system that is gaining huge traction in recent years is that of hydroponics. There are literally hundreds of acres of hydroponics systems in production or in the planning stages today. Most hydroponics systems grow lettuce and basil very well but their ability to grow a wide variety of plants is limited unlike medium-based aquaponics which grows over 300 varieties of plants.

farm 8 18 2012 aquaponicsModern aquaponics systems are almost always closed-loop growing systems. This means that the systems are very nearly self contained and, yes, you do have to put in fish, fish feed, electrical energy, seeds and some human energy and there is a very small amount of ‘waste’ generated. This waste from aquaponics can be used again on trees, gardens, lawns, flowers or anywhere a liquid fertilizer is normally applied because it is NON TOXIC. The sun is the main energy input and it works nearly every day and for free, use it wisely.

 

 

kale2 aquaponicsThe aquaponics greenhouses do need some of the same heating and cooling systems that regular greenhouse are equipped with, but because there is so much thermal mass with the water and grow medium (often gravel) contained inside, it is much easier to heat and cool than ground-grown systems. This use of thermal mass and the careful timing of the heating and cooling requirements are the hallmark of a climatically adapted greenhouse tuned to maximize the production using very little outside energy.

 

 

 

waterfish aquaponicsAnything that is toxic to fish such as pesticides, insecticides, herbicides and even many ‘organic’ pest controls will kill your fish and ruin your system. It is vitally important to keep the killing agents outside the greenhouse and out of the system. This means keeping the interior clean, neat, never bringing in any kind of soil or outside plants, having the workers wear gloves and be very careful of washing their hands and tools before and after usage and in general keeping a ‘clean room’ level of sanitation.

 

 

pfas shot to video aquaponicsGreenhouse aquaponics will reward the owners with year round vegetables, fish on a regular basis, an income that will grow faster than inflation and production will never exceed the local demand. As the cost of fuel/energy increase the ROI on the investment in aquaponics greenhouses will become more and more attractive.

The Portable Farms™ Aquaponics Systems are a proven, guaranteed to work, patent pending system that is available today for aquaponics greenhouse growing. Contact us today to receive the Special Report – 5 Phases of Commercial Growing document.

Apr 04

The Elegant Locavore

The Elegant Locavore
- by Colle Davis and Phyllis Davis

broccoli crowing1What, pray tell, is a locavore? Using the definition from Wikipedia, slightly paraphrased, ‘One who eats food that is only grown locally, one who is even perhaps interested in sustainability and preserving the environment and local jobs’.

On the surface being a true locavore sounds like a reasonable and practical idea. However, if you live in a cold climate, this way of food sourcing poses some very difficult challenges.

Here is a short, well done YouTube Video about the topic of Food Miles which means how far food travels from farm to fork and the impact that creates on our environment:

canned peachesThroughout history there is evidence that everyone was a locavore at one point. Even in the 1950’s, much of the food that was available for Baby Boomers was freshly grown in local gardens or shipped from another county nearby. Our grandparents at the time grew food ‘in season’ and then canned it (peaches, strawberries, apples, plums, tomatoes, corn, green beans, zucchini, and potatoes) in large Mason Jars, and also dried spices, herbs and many greens. They smoked fish and made beef jerky to make the food supply last through winter months.

According to Wikipediafood that is transported by road produces more carbon emissions than any other form of transported food. Road transport produces 60% of the world’s food transport carbon emissions. Air transport produces 20% of the world’s food transport carbon emissions. Rail and sea transport produce 10% each of the world’s food transport carbon emissions.

People ate living plants and seeds that they could gather (berries, nuts and simple greens). Foraging for food was simple, straightforward and tenuous. Even when ‘civilization’ arrived and people began farming, they were still only eating locally available foods. The shipping of food is a very modern phenomenon and has been brought to its peak of efficiency in today’s world.

olive oil in olivesSpices, grains, seeds, oil and wine were some of the first food items to be traded and shipped. Notice that these products do not spoil easily and provided a concentrated source of energy. The accumulation of wealth that prompted the growth of states and empires began with the growth in technologies used to grow and store grain. What is often forgotten is that until the completion of the railroads in the US, nearly the entire population grew and thrived on locally produced food.

 

Stepping back in history even further there is excellent evidence that even the Roman Empire was mostly supported by locally available foods. The upper class ate a more varied diet based on better quality food and some grains, but the poor ate food fed to the work animals: Herbs, grasses, seeds and a bit of meat which were almost all locally grown. In every society that has left evidence of state governance or empires, the basis for much of the power was a result of the farming and the growing of local grains, seeds, tubers and vegetables. Meat was a rarity, a welcome treat and mostly used as a condiment.

woman shopping for foodIn today’s supermarkets, the selection of foods is so vast that it is incomprehensible and is a tribute to the amazing technologies in the growing, freezing, canning and transporting of foods that has been developed over the last two centuries. A quick survey in any grocery store reveals that there are foods from over thirty countries. Some products on the shelves are made of ingredients from several countries, processed in other countries and assembled in a third country. That process is very similar to the process that modern electronics gadgets go through to be used and enjoyed by our societies.

How can a person become a true locavore in say, Chicago, NY, Atlanta, Toronto, or Kansas City or even London, Paris, Moscow, Dubai, Madrid or Tokyo? That is an exceptionally tough question to address and one fraught with pitfalls.

Can the food necessary to live through the winter or during the off season be grown and then purchased in the above locations? If so where does one draw the line to define ‘local’? Is it at ten miles? Or, one hundred miles, an hour’s drive, four hours, where is the end of local?

Recall what foods you ate yesterday and see if your diet would qualify YOU as a locavore. Urban dwellers in major cities have a very low ability to live the life of a locavore because their food is grown away from the city in surrounding farms.

aug 20 farm interior aquaponicsSecuring a local food supply on a year round basis is nearly impossible, except now there is one tiny new technology available: Aquaponics (presented by Portable Farms). There will still be a struggle to find enough starch/carbohydrates (grains, potatoes, rice, etc.) locally, but vegetables and some protein can be grown locally in your own Portable Farms Aquaponics System, year round. Starches are easy to buy and they store well and ship easily.

 

Because of aquaponics, the opportunity to become a locavore has become much more readily available even for those in the cities and those who live in cold climates. The use of climatically adapted greenhouses produces an ideal opportunity to become a locavore with aquaponics. It only take 25 to 35 sq ft of aquaponics grow space to feed one adult most of their vegetable requirements year round. The fish are a nice addition to the protein sources, and humans do require some additional protein sources to stay healthy. Growing chickens, goats, rabbits or other protein sources is a bit less elegant in the city, but these can be added if you have the space and patience.

The growing realization is that being a locavore is a much more gentle gift back to the earth, makes economic sense, is both possible and feasible in today’s world and it is affordable are all aspects of sustainability that help make the carbon footprint smaller for everyone. Today is the day to dedicate as the beginning of the new life of less impact and showing the earth some love.

Apr 04

How Does Aquaponics Work?

How Does Aquaponics WORK?
- by Colle and Phyllis Davis

fishdrivingtruckAquaponics is a balance of water, fish, plants and bacteria.

A balance of these four components is what makes a successful aquaponics system.

Aquaponics is finally becoming ‘main stream,’ and although it may still be in the early stages of widespread use, it IS gaining the reputation it deserves for growing chemical-free food and fish in an automated system with minimal use of power, water and labor.

 

We know stuff. 

The fish in Portable Farms Aquaponics Systems are healthy. Our plants grow to maturation and ripeness because our systems work and we know how to operate them because, over time, we’ve learned our lessons from trial-and-error mistakes and we’ve learned our wisdom through experimentation, guidance from botanists, chemists, other aquaponists around the world (there are far fewer than you might imagine), and our customers.

One of the most important lessons we have learned is that the HUMAN FACTOR in aquaponics growing is as important as the technology that automates the aquaponics systems. It may not seem like a politically correct thing to say but, we’ve killed fish and we’ve killed vegetables’ over the many years that we have spent refining our systems. And, we have always grieved over those losses because we care deeply for all living things – especially those that are in our care.

Tilapia in a Portable Farms Aquaponic System

Tilapia in a Portable Farms Aquaponic System

We seldom, if ever, lose fish. We have lost a few, but very few over the years and it was due to unique reasons and not disease. Because of our technology and the ‘human factor,’ which we teach our customers, we are happy to report our fish are extremely healthy and here are some tips you can use in your own aquaponics systems to create a productive system:

  • Always provide your fish with proper aeration, good food, insulation from cold or excessive heat (tilapia are happiest when the water is a warm 78 degrees F), and adequate sunlight.
  • Keep your fish from being stressed. When fish become stressed, it lowers their immune system and they can become susceptible to disease.
  • Tilapia are friendly (even clown like) and they enjoy human interaction. Talk to your fish when you feed them and treat them with respect and they will respond by being healthy and growing to maturation.
  • Wear gloves when you feed the fish and also when you handle the plants and the gravel to avoid human pathogens from getting in the water.
  • Never overfeed your fish. It’s tempting to overfeed them because they ‘frenzy’ when you feed them and it’s entertaining to watch them jumping around, but the fish are healthier if you’ll feed them only what they can eat in 15 seconds.
  • Don’t overcrowd the fish tanks and make sure the tanks are always clear and clean.
  • Empty the Clarifier/Settling tank regularly so their water does not foul with ammonia buildups.
  • Never, ever, use chemicals that could harm the fish, plants or the system.
  • Add make-up water during times of hot weather by placing the hose in the grow trays before it circulates back into their fish tank.
  • Feed your fish nutritious a high-protein fish food and even duckweed if you have it available.
  • Give your fish occasional treats of organic chopped greens grown in the farm.

Our plants are healthy in Portable Farms because we have learned these things:

  • Experiment with plants and seed selections and determine what works best in your aquaponics system in your climate.
  • Since space is at a premium in any aquaponics Grow Tray, maximum production is achieved by careful attention to size, quality and grow time for seeds.
  • Implement stalking and support systems to encourage vertical growth of plants that bear heavy fruits and vegetables (tomatoes, zucchini, etc.)
  • Protect plants at all times of their growth and maturation. Protection from wind, humidity, extreme temperatures (hot or cold), insects, disease or predators.
  • Pay close attention to water flow with appropriate levels of nutrient from fish waste.
  • Take care of plants that require pruning unneeded branches.
  • Don’t allow plants with large root systems to remain in grow trays too long. For example, the root system on a tomato plants grows very wide and very deep like a 4 inch thick carpet under the gravel and will alter water flow for the rest of the Grow Tray.
  • Study indoor pollinating techniques designed for non-pollinating and self-pollinating plants.
  • Apply effective and safe organic methods for treating plants IF they need support (seldom needed, but occasionally, you might have a problem) for any type of bugs including ants, aphids, red spiders, etc.
  • Learn effective harvest and planting cycles that are crucial to maximize yield in all aquaponics systems.
  • Use grow lights from 4:00PM to 8:00PM from Mid-November to March 1 if living in the Northern Hemisphere so you can grow various crops year round that require a longer grow day.

 

Apr 04

Aquaponics Systems for Sale

Aquaponics Systems for Sale 
– by Colle and Phyllis Davis

facebookgreensIf you’re interested in owning your own aquaponics system, your first goal is to select the size aquaponics system you’d like to operate for your own unique purposes. We always suggest to our customers that they learn how to successfully operate an aquaponics system and if it fits their needs THEN expand to multiple aquaponics modules (the sky’s the limit).

- Are you interested in a small backyard system so you can ‘get your hands wet’ and learn how to operate an aquaponics system?

- Would you like a few aquaponics modules so you can begin to sell the food you grow and then expand?

- Or, are you interested in the commercial side of aquaponics that raises and sells vegetables and fish to local markets in your area? You can begin at the top and install multi-acre commercial systems!

The future of food production involves growing food in a controlled-environment greenhouse. By growing food in greenhouses, growers are no longer dependent on weather conditions (think climate change), and they can grow food year round, in any climate, and the grower doesn’t need to use harsh chemicals or pesticides to protect their plants.

Which aquaponics systems for sale are you interested in owning? 

There are literally thousands of websites that can show you how to set up a small workable open-source aquaponics system for free. For many people who are not able to buy our systems, we suggest you start there and we also suggest you lurk around forums to ask and answers questions.

Colle Davis’ story: A simple aquarium and a dish pan with two inches of rough sand in the bottom of the dish pan were the originating ideas for the original Portable Farms™ Aquaponics Systems that all began at University of California at Davis back in 1970. To read more of the history of Portable Farms: CLICK HERE.

aquaponics back yard farmFor a very small backyard Portable Farm, the cost is approximately $4,000 to $4,500 and the system will feed a family of four all of their surface vegetables and a few fish per month, year round, in any climate, forever. This cost is not affordable enough to be practical in some people’s mind, but at this level of investment it is certainly doable and it will eventually pay itself off. This amount includes the Aquaponics University Portable Farms Aquaponics Systems Course© plus, it also includes the cost of installing a small greenhouse to protect the system, the materials to build the Grow Tray and a correctly sized Fish Tank to put it all together. This amount of money will build a small, single module tray system that will be operational year round and provide vegetables and fish to your family on a regular basis.

Read Our New Six-Part Article Series for Backyard Aquaponics Made Easy

- by Colle and Phyllis Davis

greenhouse backyard

  • Article 1. Sizing your Aquaponics System to determine how many people you want to feed.
  • Article 2. Location for your Aquaponics System in your backyard
  • Article 3. The Type of Building for your Aquaponics System – greenhouse, etc.
  • Article 4. The Cost and Materials for an Aquaponics System in your backyard
  • Article 5. Operations for your Aquaponics System – fast and easy!
  • Article 6. Variations for Your Aquaponics System – no two are the same.
  • BONUS ARTICLE: Nine Steps for Building a Super Backyard Portable Farm

The next step up is almost too easy; yes, you can sell the food you grow. The desire to ‘sell the excess’ is almost too good to pass up. Your neighbors and friends will be delighted to receive your excess bounty for free and a few of them will offer to pay for it. TAKE THE MONEY. It is your reward for being smart and focused on your business. Building a larger installation to house two or more Portable Farms™ Aquaponics Systems’ Modules makes the adventure into a real commercial aquaponics business. Starting with about twice as much money as noted above, a person can become a millionaire is less than ten years.

 

Read our Newly Published Three-Part Article Series Getting Rich Slowing with Aquaponics

Article 1: Getting Rich Slowing with Aquaponics – Start Small and Grow Large
Article 2: Getting Rich Slowing with Aquaponics – Growing as You Grow
Article 3: Getting Rich Slowing with Aquaponics – Growing the Business

Or, the large commercial aspect can be address in the very beginning. Offering your aquaponics systems for sale after making your money back in three to five years is a very smart investment strategy and one where you can demonstrate that a pricing of $400,000 to $600,000 is an easily justifiable sales price for a going commercial installation in any market.

 

To receive a .pdf Special Report on the 5-phases of Commercial Growing to present to investors or business partners, please request this formal document by sending an email to Colle Davis.

Read our new series, Building a Commercial Aquaponics Installation

greenhouse4

Introduction: CLICK HERE.
Phase 1: Conceptual Research: CLICK HERE.
Phase 2: Planning: CLICK HERE.
Phase 3: Site Preparation: CLICK HERE.
Phase 4: Initial Operations: CLICK HERE.
Phase 5: Ongoing Operations: CLICK HERE.

huh2At what level are you interested in to explore aquaponics? Looking on the Internet for Aquaponics Systems for Sale is one place to begin. There are not many aquaponics systems for sale, yet. Most of  them are very small, glued together backyard systems that sit in the open (without a structure/greenhouse which makes them seasonal hobbies) and, they have no guarantees or service or even an operators manual about how to assemble, operate and raise health food and fish.

You can begin with the professional and patented system that has proven itself in installations all over the world and is the parts are GUARANTEED for a full year. Please, take the Aquaponics University Portable Farms Aquaponics Systems Course©, build or lease a greenhouse, build the  Portable Farms™ Aquaponics Systems Modules and leap into the business. It’s fun and after the installation, a small farm only takes about ten minutes per day to operate. Join us!

Apr 04

You Can Feed Your Family Healthy Food Forever OR Buy a Used Car

1950s-family2You Can Feed Your Family Healthy Food Forever OR Buy a Used Car 
– by Colle and Phyllis Davis

Which is a better investment?

      • Providing your family with fresh, healthy food that will last FOREVER . .
      • Or, buying a used car? 

 

 

used carDo you want to provide your family with food for the rest of their lives, or spring for that used car that you will have to replace again in a few years? Interestingly, they cost about the same.

A Portable Farms™ Aquaponics Systems which feeds five people will fit nicely into a 12 ft x 24 ft. climatically adapted greenhouse (for your climate) and can be built, even in a very cold climates, for approximately $6,500 total (including training to build and operate it, materials costs, and our technology).

 

 

farm 36 days june 2The cost will vary mostly depending on the cost of the greenhouse itself. (Please note: We don’t sell greenhouses but we can recommend you to reputable greenhouse companies that we trust.) Some greenhouses are fancier than others and you may have most of the materials already available, there may be an empty greenhouse you can rent or you may be able to build a lean-to type structure on the side of your house for less money. You may even find a greenhouse that someone wants taken away for FREE. This total amount includes the Aquaponics University Portable Farms Aquaponics Systems Course© which even has the PFAS Technology Kit as part of the purchase price.

 

 

Here’s the breakdown of the costs for a backyard aquaponics system:

  • Greenhouse: Must be able to keep the interior temperate between 40 and 104° F. The costs are dependent on your choice of design
  • Wooden or concrete floor/slab – from $100 to $300
  • Insulated stem wall to set the greenhouse on top of for more height – 2×4’s and plywood – $250 to $350
  • Fish tank – sometimes known of as a livestock watering trough  - $150
  • Lumber for the Grow Tray – 2×4’s, 2×6’s, plywood, etc – between $800 and $1,200
  • PVC pipe and fittings  – $100
  • Misc – $250 

construction materials2You may even have some of the materials on hand or have access to recycled materials at a reduced cost. Even if you have to pay full retail price for everything, an operating aquaponics farm is a fantastically good deal. Plus, a Portable Farms Aquaponics System is infinitely expandable because of it modular design. You can expand it and begin selling the excess to create a small income.

 

 

greenhouse lean to

 

Imagine a 12ft wide lean-to greenhouse 24ft long off the south side of your house. In this arrangement the Portable Farms™ Aquaponics Systems is a carbon negative installation because it contributes more energy to the house than it consumes on an annual basis. There are installations with wood burning stoves inside them to keep them from freezing in very cold climates. Every installation is different and unique. You are only limited by your imagination and your budget.

 

build5In commercial installations, our foreman, with a crew of four, can build 30 operating Modules that are 5ft x 40ft in one week. Building a module is not rocket science and the construction is straight simple carpentry and the Aquaponics University Portable Farms Aquaponics Systems Course© has pictures and step-by-step instructions about how to build the Portable Farms Modules. You can have your own aquaponics farm up and running in a matter of weeks and be enjoying fresh home-grown greens is a little as five weeks after completion. Now THAT’S exciting.

Where will you be investing your money? In your family’s health and future or in that used car that will depreciate the moment you pay for it? Take our Aquaponics University Course now and build an aquaponics farm that will be producing food for your family within a couple of months. That food will continue to be there for your family FOREVER.

READ THE ENTIRE AQUAPONICS COURSE OUTLINE: CLICK HERE. If you’re interested in a backyard or a commercial aquaponics system, you’ll need to take our Portable Farms™ Aquaponics System Course© FIRST, and upon satisfactory completion of the course, you’ll receive one Portable Farms Kit as part of the Portable Farms™ Aquaponics System Course© so you can build your own Portable Farms™ Aquaponics System. This price for the Portable Farms™ Aquaponics System Course© includes the entire assembly, operations and maintenance course, PLUS, it INCLUDES one Portable Farms technology kit – all for the price of $2,500. Offer good only in the US and certain other countries.

Mar 07

Aquaponics in Domes?

Aquaponics in Domes?
- by Colle and Phyllis Davis

geo domeSeveral times a week we receive inquiries from potential customers asking us if our Portable Farms Aquaponics Systems can be placed within a geodesic dome. We take a deep breath and shatter their dreams by saying, “No. Portable Farms are designed to be placed within a rectangular building. We’ve never seen our farms work successfully within a geodesic dome, but if you can do it, please send us pictures and we’ll tell the world.” Then, they wipe a tear from their eyes and we never hear from them again.

 

 
bucky with domeBuckminster Fuller – 1895-1983, a 20th Century inventor, gifted the world the geodesic dome and all of its amazing attributes. A geodesic dome is a domed structure that is shaped like a half a ball and is created by equally sized triangles that are evenly spaced.

Fuller has been called a ‘practical philosopher’ who experimented with ideas to simplify them and make them functional and easy to assemble. Fuller held 28 patents, wrote 28 books, and received 47 honorary degrees from universities around the world. His true aim was to create ideas that encouraged sustainability on the planet. (To read the amazing biography of Buckminster Fuller: CLICK HERE.)

Domes became popular for ‘homes’ from the mid-1960s to the mid-1970s, but the shape of a dome house makes it difficult to build and to live in1:

  • Air stratification and moisture distribution within a dome are unusual, and these conditions tend to quickly degrade wooden framing or interior paneling.
  • Privacy is difficult to guarantee because a dome is difficult to partition satisfactorily.
  • The interior space functions as a single space and sound travels and is amplified as it moves to the outside edge and then along the interior skin, so sound is all over. This makes every noise everywhere noticeable and annoying. It is nearly impossible to get away from any sound inside a dome. Unless, you break up the interior with solid linear walls.
  • Smells, and even reflected light tend to be conveyed through the entire structure.
  • Restricted use due to lack of headroom.
  • Design for basic furniture did not fit within a circular plan.
  • To heat a dome is an interesting exercise in fluid mechanics and heat transfer. Window coverings are not enough, there needs to be a fan to circulate the hot air down to the floor running most of the time when the dome is closed up.

domeauTo sum up domes. They really look neat and they were/are futuristic.

Domes are fantastic for enclosing space. They are not fun to live in because the sound and smell is all over the place and the heat all goes to the top and you have to find some way to push it down to the floor.

However, there must be a new ‘dome-wind blowing’ because we are receiving at least three to five requests per week on, ‘How large of a PFAS Module can I put into this size dome?

If you are an incredibly adept carpenter and can make a curved grow table that is level in all directions, you may want to build a 3 ft wide tray around the outside edge of the dome or make a nice rectangular tray that take up the middle of the entire floor space. If not, please consider a rectangular building to house your farm, they are much easier to build, easier to heat and an easier space to install an aquaponics system.

Portable Farms’ suggestion is to build a rectangular building that will house a grow tray Module of sufficient size to feed your family. This shape has many advantages over a dome. It will be cheaper, easier to build, easier to control the interior environment and far easier to plant and harvest the bounty produced by your aquaponics system.

1 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Geodesic_domes

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