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Friendly Aquaponics Newsletter
Number 111
February 22nd,  2013
Images from our farmily aquaponics farm
Aloha Friend,

I just got back home to my family from teaching aquaponics and greenhouses on the mainland nonstop for the last month, and am ready for a little change. Tonight I'm going to have some fun with Part 2 of my column from January 30th which talked about my horse, "Major Dude".

Our "In The Farmily" column today will be Part 3 of "The Miracle Tree", by Susanne, in which she talks about moringa.

Keep in touch if you're interested in taking one of our commercial aquaponics and greenhouse trainings. We're finalizing the schedule for the balance of 2013 and will be announcing it
soon in this newsletter and on our website.

In the meantime, if you're interested in commercial aquaponics and/or energy-efficient solar greenhouses but don't think you'll be able to attend one of our live courses in person, our
DIY commercial aquaponics and greenhouse packages are a good second choice. They contain the complete technical information we use in the live courses, and we support DIY purchasers while they build and operate their systems at no additional cost. These packages also come with a 100% money-back guarantee!

The free information in these three newsletters: last week's, the week before last week's and two weeks before last week's newsletter will meet most people's needs for tilapia breeding. However, if you want the complete story in 72 pages, with highly descriptive photos of the process and equipment we use, our new commercial tilapia hatchery manual is finished and ready for you. There's even a "micro-video" that my gorgeous biologist wife Susanne shot with her treasured Leica Microscope that explains why the techniques we use work so well.

For smaller home backyard and apartment systems, please read on:

Purchase Construction Plans and Operating Info for 4 Different Sizes of Table Top Aquaponics Systems $49.95

Our TableTop System package includes easy-to-understand building instructions and operating information for 4 different sizes of small aquaponic systems based on our years of experience. Anyone can build a system out of plastic barrels or IBC totes, but operating one successfully without good and easily-understood information can be frustrating. You simply use the "Daily Operations Checklist" in the manual and follow the step-by-step instructions on your way to success. We also cover how to make aquaponics systems out of weird things like old refrigerators and door frames; this makes aquaponics much more economical to get started in, and fun too!

We spent hundreds of thousands of dollars, hundreds of hours, and built our first commercial aquaponics systems with FAR less information than this manual contains. We included all the information learned from that experience in this manual so you don't need to make any of the same mistakes we did.

Learn about our TableTop Systems!

My Horse Major Dude, Part 2 (NOT An Aquaponics Nugget) Have you ever ridden a 2,000 pound, 18-1/2 hand horse? 

One day as we were leaving the farm on errands, we noticed Major in the pasture with his head down, looking very lethargic. We stopped and checked him, and his gums were blue, and his nose was running. I may have gotten the exact symptoms wrong here (my medical wife Susanne knows the correct term) but this means his circulation was poor and he was quite sick. We took him to the vet.


This began a two-week ordeal during which the vet gave him five different antibiotics and three other medications, without coming up with a hint of a diagnosis first. The vet didn’t know what was happening, and couldn’t treat it. He went completely blind, had large localized infections develop in two places in his ribcage where the vet took lung fluid samples, and finally got laminitis.


Laminitis is diagnosed when there is a line of blood all around the horse’s hooves where they join to his leg; usually the condition gets worse. It almost always ends with the horse’s hooves falling off and needing to euthanize the horse.


It’s almost impossible (and incredibly expensive) to recover a horse from laminitis: it takes months for the hooves to grow back so the horse can use them, and the horse cannot stand on its feet while this process is going on, they have to be hung in a sling that supports the horse’s whole weight without cutting off their circulation. It would be like you walking on a broken but unsplinted leg.

You can’t just let them lie down while their hooves heal, because being on the ground for more than an hour or two can kill a horse: their circulatory system is designed for them to be upright all the time. We knew if this went any further, we would lose Major.



I had gone home the first night we left Major at the vet’s, but the next day, when I came back to check him and found that things had gotten worse, I told him I would stay with him until I brought him home. I talked to him and told him that I’d either bring him home after he’d gotten well or bring him home to bury him, because he was my horse. I called Susanne and told her about the committment I'd made to Major, and she supported me completely: brought me hot meals, books, and new batteries for my flashlight. I slept in the back seat of my pickup truck just outside Major's stall.


Susanne was just learning about essential oils at the time, and gave him several of those in various forms. We may never know what made the difference, but about seven or eight days after we brought Major to the vet, he’d gotten a bit better, and so we took him home. The vet never came up with a diagnosis for the problems.


We put him in a stall lined with as much soft hay as we could round up, and he stayed there for the first week or so after he got home. He ate well, which is always a good sign with a sick animal, and gradually recovered his strength.  About two months after he came home, he was running around in the pasture with our three Shire mares. He was completely blind; although we’d hoped his condition was temporary and would improve, he never recovered his vision.

(Part Three of Major Dude next week! After that, I'll cover HOW to do a valid experiment in Aquaponics to try out that great idea you have; WITHOUT ruining your large commercial system in the process; and in the very next newsletter, I'll cover exactly how much fish you DO need in your aquaponics system for good vegetable growth. Hint: it's a LOT fewer than you might guess! Thanks for listening!)

The photo below is our Solar Greenhouse. It's cool when it's hot, and warm when it's cold (hope that makes sense to you, it's the best greenhouse we've ever seen!).

GrownOut1medium 2

Friendly Aquaponic's FIRST Aquaponic Solar Greenhouse in full bloom, Honoka'a, Hawaii, March 2012, (on a grey rainy day) showing PV panels and growing plants.

Click Here To See Our New Aquaponics Video!
Back Issues Of Newsletters Now Available, Click Here!
Purchase Trough Liner Directly From Manufacturer!

Free Farm Tours
Aquaponics tour at the Friendly farm!

We hold a free workshop on our farm the FIRST Saturday of every month at 10:00,  focused on growing food with aquaponics and permaculture.  Click here for information. See you there!

If you are a school, a non-profit organization, an organization working with the poor, Native Hawaiians, or ex-inmates, or if you are a church, we will hold a free farm tour for you anytime. You DO need to email us first to schedule, or we might be out on errands!


Thousands of inch-long "fifty-cent" baby tilapia from our "backyard" hatchery


What they turn into about a year later: a beautiful 2-pound white tilapia grown in the fish tanks of our aquaponics systems

"The Miracle Tree, Part 3"

(We've been on the road for a month giving trainings, so we've included some of Part 2 of this article so you can remember where we left off)

But despite the proliferation of public and private initiatives on Moringa, and despite the fact that It has been used by The World Health Organization for over 40 years to treat malnutrition, state-sponsored and UN-related programs have not yet gotten involved, and funding remains almost non-existent. There are only a few organizations that have supported this development in recent years. Among them, two European institutions: the Centre for Enterprise Development (CDE) and the Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation (CTA), and, more recently, the L’Occitane Foundation.

Moringa Ladies

Moringa Ladies

The L’Occitane Foundation is working to support a group of women from Burkina Faso in the production of Moringa in powder form, aimed at the local market. Partnerships have been negotiated to sell the product to organizations and small-medium size businesses that work combating malnutrition in mothers and children.

Some African businesses that manufacture baby formula or nutritional supplements are becoming increasingly interested in Moringa leaf powder: it is an inexpensive resource which would allow them to naturally enrich their products with micronutrients. But unfortunately, regulatory barriers prevent the commercialization of these enriched products.

The current world food crisis is proof that export-led agriculture is a very poor option for countries with few resources. At the same time, the poorest among us simply cannot afford animal-based proteins. It is therefore critical for developing countries to rapidly switch to using local resources, including Moringa, whose exceptional nutritional value and accessibility make it a perfect solution.

The main current need is for the financing of information campaigns, and certification of the leaf powder as a food, are critical steps needed to enable large-scale commercialization, particularly in Africa. We're working on large test fields, and will develop and share a practical guide on the cultivation, processing, and use of Moringa leaves, grown in tropical and subtropical regions.

At Friendly Aquaponics, our ultimate goal is to make a difference in the lives of the poorest in our world. Look closely at the photo below, and be grateful for something as simple as your shoes. We believe that these feet belong to our brother, to our sister, to a member of our Ohana (family).

Poor Feet small

Aloha, Susanne.....

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This email, our manuals and construction plans are all copyrighted by  Friendly Aquaponics, Inc, Susanne Friend and Tim Mann, 2008-2013

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PO Box 1196
Honoka'a, Hawaii 96727

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