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Friendly Aquaponics Newsletter
Number 62
November 15th,  2011
Images from our farmily aquaponics farm
Aloha Friend,

One of the new Friendly Aquaponics partners that we are honored to introduce is a lovely, humble man who goes by the name Sahib Punjabi in the world of aquaponics. This name reflects his deep pride of his ancestral motherland, India. Sahib is a highly intelligent and well-educated man, with a degree in Economics and Accounting and is qualified as a Chartered Accountant of England & Wales. After extensive world travel, Sahib and his gracious, lovely wife Neema settled just outside Orlando in 1989, and consider Central Florida their home.

Sahib says that for years he tried to grow food in soil, only to be disappointed and frustrated by both the difficulties presented by proper watering, and the seemingly necessary applications of harmful pesticides and chemical fertilizers required to achieve a good harvest. About 12 years ago, he built a decorative fish pond and began to use the fish waste from the filters to feed tropical plants in their home's yard, and soon noticed the difference in the levels of growth and health in his ornamental tropicals, while the vegetables in his in-ground garden were still suffering. There had to be a better way to grow them. In December 2009 he did a google search for the string “fish water plants” and came across something called “Aquaponics”, which he describes in this manner:

"Well that was a life changing event for me. For the next six months I almost became a hermit and studied whatever I could find on Aquaponics. I started to share my little knowledge with anyone who would listen (Aquaponics has that crazy effect on you), and had numerous farm visitors who always left with fresh locally grown naturally food. I was totally humbled when the India Ambassador to USA, Mrs. Meera Shankar and her delegation visited my small Aquaponics farm. I started taking a few pictures and film of my Aquaponics Research farm and posted a short video on You Tube. That video had so many views and I received numerous requests to teach my methods. I was called the Aquaponics Urban Guru by some but I still felt that I only knew a fraction of the knowledge. I had to learn more, understand it and share that in simple layman terms."

The system Sahib built is the most amazing hybrid system, with deep-water raft culture (like ours), media bed, vertical towers, and NFT. He combines it all with plants in the ground, watered with AP water, giving him a total of five(!) different types of aquaponics going, the most complex system I have ever seen – and it works impeccably! In addition, he makes it easy to understand!

We are honored to have Sahib as a partner, both in teaching workshops in Urban Food Production in the Orlando area, and his commitment to serve the world's poorest people. As with our mission, since the very beginning, Sahib's goal has been the same as ours. Since pictures really do tell a thousand words, here is a photo that says most clearly who we want to serve:

Poor Feet1

If you want to find out more about Sahib's systems or his aquaponics courses, here is Sahib's website or you can call him at 909-575-8334.

If you're interested in
learning about this new Solar Greenhouse technology, please take a look at our Aquaponic Solar Greenhouse Training (Special Offer in right sidebar of this email), where you will learn more about how to grow affordably using aquaponics in greenhouses than you can anywhere else in the world. The FIRST training is in Hawaii in February 2012. For smaller home backyard and apartment systems, please read on:
Purchase Construction Plans and Operating Info for 4 Different Sizes of Apartment/Condo Aquaponics Systems $49.95

Our Apartment/Condo System package includes new and easy-to-understand building instructions and complete operating information for 4 different sizes of small aquaponic systems based on our years of experience operating a commercial aquaponics farm. 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!

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 Apartment/Condo Systems!

Aquaponics Nugget #62:
A Primer On Sustainable Energy-Efficient Greenhouses, Part 3

This column is an ongoing series on how to understand, build, and operate energy-efficient greenhouses. If you missed last week's newsletter, #61 (and the week's before, # 60), you can click here: "Back Issues Of Newsletters" to read them first if you wish.

We've been getting requests to purchase the ETFE film we use on the Aquaponic Solar Greenhouse that Asahi Glass Company of Japan makes. This film WILL be available for purchase at some point, and it is NOW if you order a large enough amount directly from Asahi. However, I MUST stress that the new Aquaponic Solar Greenhouse technology we've been speaking of in this newsletter is a SYSTEM.

This means that the system works and does its job because all its parts are designed to work together; it must HAVE all its parts to do so. If you just put some Asahi ETFE film on a regular greenhouse and then expect it to be warm in the winter and cool in the summer, ain't gonna happen!. However, doing this DOES mean you only have to re-cover the greenhouse every forty or fifty years, AND you will get WAY better light transmission and growth inside the greenhouse than with any regular film or even with GLASS!

So, if you act intelligently when building your greenhouse and decide to spend MORE money initially
to purchase Asahi ETFE film to cover it with, I think that's a good decision. Yes, it costs MORE per square foot than conventional greenhouse film, but way LESS than glass, AND you DON'T have to replace it every two to three years with the attendant labor costs, AND it doesn't get dirty, which means it's transmitting MORE light all the time AND your plants grow much faster; what does THAT mean in income to you?

My guesstimate is that after all costs have been factored in, if you're planning on using your greenhouse longer than two to three years, ETFE film is actually cheaper than regular greenhouse film. It starts looking WAY cheaper if you look at the greenhouse costs and production over a ten-year period.
If this was ALL we'd learned about when we met Franz Schreier, we'd still be covering our greenhouse with ETFE film because it would make us more money for less work, period. But there were many more valuable pieces in the system of Franz' design; which we will cover in depth, one-by-one, in future newsletters.

Now, let's talk about another part of this system: the structure. IF you don't already have a structure, AND you need to build one, AND live in the northern hemisphere above 20 degrees North latitude, OR in the southern hemisphere below 20 degrees South latitude, then the most energy-efficient and cost-effective type of structure for you to use is a Chinese-style greenhouse. This is because it is LOW profile and has minimum amounts both of interior volume to heat and cool, and exterior surface area to either lose or gain heat to the environment through.

Its sloped roof easily adapts to having a thermal "kilt", or insulating blanket, that easily rolls down at night to keep in warmth during cold times, then rolls up at first light to let in sunlight for the plants. (See image next:).


Chinese-type greenhouse, with long wall facing South in the Northern Hemisphere, end walls built out of masonry brick, and an "airlock-type" anteroom/entrance at this end for storage and to keep the temperature even inside.

Now, if you already have an existing greenhouse, you can still use all the energy-saving heating, cooling, and electricity-generation technologies we're going to cover in this column over the next few weeks, you'll just have to adapt the general principles expounded here to your structure. What does this mean? Well, let's assume you don't have a greenhouse yet, and you want to put together a usable structure at a reasonable cost. There aren't many Chinese greenhouse manufacturers in the United States, so we'll look at other options.

As we mentioned in a previous newsletter, conventionally heated and cooled greenhouses are dinosaurs, just waiting for their time to come. Many of them are already out of action because of rising fuel and electricity costs, and it is possible to purchase one of these for pennies on the dollar, disassemble it, and transport it to your location for reassembly and reconfiguration as an Aquaponic Solar Greenhouse! More on this in next week's Nugget!

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Franz Schreier's FIRST Aquaponic Solar Greenhouse in full bloom, Heppenheim, Germany, 2011, showing PV panels and growing plants!

(Next week: More on the Aquaponic Solar Greenhouse, and how you can build your own! Thanks for listening!).

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,  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!


3-1/2 pound kalo (taro root) grown in a 2" net pot (little bump at bottom)


4-month old prawn (macrobrachium rosenbergii) grown in hydroponics troughs of our aquaponics systems

Special Offer! Sign up for our February 16th-17th Aquaponic Solar Greenhouse Training before December 15th, and receive a 50% discount, plus we will email you our Micro System package so you can begin studying aquaponics! ($99.95 value)

More Information on Hawaii Aquaponic Solar Greenhouse Training

In The Farmily

This week we'd like to invite a deeper connection between our Farmily and you. It seems that every week we send out a newsletter, we get between 40-50 people who not only read it, but care enough about what they've read to reply to us. Every week, people send us comments, stories, and most deeply appreciated words of support. People have come out of the woodwork to assure us that we're doing good things, and they tell us how we have impacted their lives for the better.

Some people have posted their blogs to the Internet, for people to follow along. Here's a great example of this:, this is incredibly good information posted by a family in Texas, where records were set this past summer for 70 days over 100 degree F.. They're running a Micro System built from our plans, with photos and charts, and excellent commentary.

All these comments have been hugely appreciated, though we never solicited them. I'd like to change that. We'd like to hear from you. It provides so much encouragement to us, especially when set against the few less than happy, fulfilled people who have made it their hobby to try to damage us in any way possible, using the Internet as their platform.

We're asking for powerful statements about how our work has impacted your life, and what you have built with the information you have received from us, to use as testimonials on our web site. If you're willing to give us permission to use your full name, and where you call home, we'd be honored to hear from you, and use your testimony.

You see, we hear from just enough of you to realize that we have an amazing group of people out there who support us and want us to win. There are people who understand our deep commitment to remaining open source, and our reasons why we want you ALL to teach Aquaponics. We realize there are people who "get" us, and want to connect more fully with you, to "get" you back.

We would also be honored to see photos of what you've built as well, so please include them if possible! And if you have a website, or a blogspot, please share that as well. We'll feature some of you in future newsletters, and put together a web page on our site to feature your comments, your story, and your photos!

WIth deep Aloha,

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This email, our manuals and construction plans are all copyrighted by  Friendly Aquaponics, Inc, Susanne Friend and Tim Mann, 2008-2011

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