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Friendly Aquaponics Newsletter
Number 9
June 28, 2010
Images from our farmily aquaponics farm
Aloha Friend,

People ask "What is different about Friendly Aquaponics?".  That's easy: we give good stuff away and help out even when no one pays us. The Hawaiian word for this is kokua; we practice it as a way of showing we care about our community. Check our our new Free Downloads Page for valuable do-it-myself manuals and information. We have also been giving our Do-It-Myself Commercial Aquaponics Training package to accredited NGOs, churches, and bonafide non-profit groups for two years now (we ask for $50 to cover printing and mailing costs for this $995 package so we are not out-of-pocket). We help out!

We Share Our Knowledge With
Our Affiliates: Micro System Training
First ever Micro Systems Live Training:
in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii, Saturday, July 10, 2010

Although our Micro Systems manual and plans are designed as a Do-It-Myself package that will allow those with no local aquaponics resources to build successful aquaponics systems, we have always intended to license affiliates who will offer live courses and support for those who wish to build a Micro System but feel less than totally confident about it.

Our first Micro System Trainer Affiliates are Chris and Alexis Smith of Kailua-Kona, Hawaii. Chris and Alexis are self-starters who purchased a Commercial Do-It-Myself package and then built thousands of square feet of aquaponics systems and are growing and selling produce locally to an increasing demand.  You can sign up for this course on the Big Island by emailing "Coastview Aquaponics Inc." . If you have questions about the course you can also call Chris or Alexis at 756-1121. This course includes the Friendly Aquaponics Micro System plans package, and will cover:

Classroom instruction on Aquaponics technology
Hands-On Aquaponics System Construction
Hands-on Aquaponics Farming and Water Quality
Free system water for inoculation of your system ($20 value)

The Micro Systems are 15% to 1200% LARGER than aquaponics kits being offered on the internet. Materials for your Micro System 64 in Hawaii are about $900, for the 128 about $1,200. Compare that to these "kit" prices (none of which include shipping!):

* FGS-2 system with 20 sq ft of growbed area for $3,695.00
* Phoenix "Farm in a Box" with 56 sq ft growbed area for $2,995.00
* (Nelson and Pade) 4T50-2-4x6 system with 48 sq ft growbed area for $5,756.00

* (Murray Hallam) Balcony Aquaponics Kit with ~10 sq ft growbed area for $2,280

We include the URLs of these websites so you can see what is   available and compare it to our Micro Systems. The larger Micro System 128 is two times larger than the largest of these kits, but even including all materials, equipment and the cost of the Micro System Live Training it is only one third the price!  You decide if these kits are overpriced, and if our Micro Systems are the best way to go.  

Click to visit our website and  learn more about our Micro Systems!

Aquaponics Nugget #9:
So you want to try something
"New" in aquaponics?

One of our students fish were not eating well and were occasionally dying. We asked him if he had done ANYTHING different from the plans and manual. He said no. We asked again, and it turned out he used a galvanized horse water trough as his reservoir tank. Galvanized anything in the system bleeds off toxic zinc into the water, that's why we include a description of the vinyl liner that needs to be used with a galvanized tank, in the tank discussion section of our manuals; we do not want anyone to use a galvanized tank WITHOUT the liner.

Another fellow bought polyisocyanate foam rafts; they were right next to the ones we had recommended (the Dow Blue Board), but they were cheaper! When they went into a system that had no problems for a month, he lost ten percent of his fish the next week. It probably had something to do with the polyisocyanate rafts, as cyanate is somewhat chemically related to cyanide.

An aquaponics system where the owners used black EPDM rubber liner in the hydroponics trough had a prolonged and difficult start up. This type of rubber is NOT food-grade, and stinks for the first couple months or so while it outgasses the chemicals it was made with. It is used as pond liner, and many people confuse this with food-grade.

This is why we don NOT recommend anything in these systems that isn't in the manual, and that we have not tried ourselves to be absolutely sure of. If you want to try something new in your aquaponics system, realize that you have introduced a new variable, and are now running an experiment. We can guarantee these systems work if built as specified in the plans.

As they say, a giraffe is a horse designed by a committee. You will get different advice from different people about aquaponics. If they only know about part of aquaponics, say the fish part, then they will give you advice that might work if fish were the only thing in your system. This advice does not take into account the whole-system nature of aquaponics unless it comes from someone who has extensive experience in aquaponics. By following this kind of partially accurate advice, you risk your whole system on guesses such as galvanized tanks, odd-ball water filters, poisonous materials, and stuff like duckweed and crayfish that you will never get out of your systems once you introduce them (accidentally or on purpose).

Good luck with your experiment! Thank you for being willing to risk compromise or failure of your aquaponics system to advance aquaponic knowledge. Please let us know how it worked; if it was a success, we will be happy to put it in our manuals with your name as the discoverer. If it was a disaster, we will also put it in our manuals, but we will omit your name and any embarrassment you might experience as a result. Either way, the results of your experiment in aquaponics will be very beneficial to others!

Upcoming  Free Training

Organically Certified is worth more to your farm!

We invite you to our first  "Organic Certification and Tilapia Breeding Workshop". This free one-day workshop will be held August 21st at our farm in Honoka'a, Hawaii, just off the main highway between mile markers 40 and 41.

This training covers all aspects of getting your aquaponics farm USDA organically certified, and tilapia breeding,hatching, and nursery operation; as we teach in our Commercial Aquaponics Trainings twice a year.
And it is free!

Installing the HapaInstalling a hapa in a tilapia breeding tank.

Tilapia fry

White tilapia fry from our nursery system

Special Offer! Sign up for our October 4-7th, 2010 Commercial Aquaponics Training now, and we will email you  our Micro System package so you can begin studying aquaponics! ($99.95 value)

Sign up for this Training

In The Farmily
We operate on an "Open Source" policy, which means we help others out freely and share all we know. We don't hold anything back to sell it later as "consultants". Unfortunately, we have to disappoint some people who think this means we should give EVERYTHING we know for free. Even though there are no support contracts included with our Live Hawaii Trainings or Do-It-Myself Training packages, we give our clients as much help as we can for free while they are building and becoming operational; and even after that. We are committed to the success of everyone in our Farmily!
This email, our manuals and construction plans are all copyrighted by  Friendly Aquaponics, Inc, Susanne Friend and Tim Mann, 2008-2010
Email: Friendly Aquaponics

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Friendly Aquaponics, Inc
PO Box 1196
Honoka'a, Hawaii 96727

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