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Friendly Aquaponics Newsletter
Number 143
October 29th,  2013
Images from our farmily aquaponics farm
Aloha Friend

In today's "Nugget", we continue with Part 9 of our series on "Energy-Efficient Greenhouses For Aquaponic Growing".

Our "In The Farmily" column today
is Part 1 of the story of our son Lucky. This was in the last two "Special" newsletters announcing our book "Aquaponics The EASY Way!", but I realized that there wasn't going to be a next "Special" for Part 2 and Part 3 of Lucky's story, so I'm running it here as well.

We have a new "mini-column" called "Fish Bites" with technical information and supplier information we recently developed.

Aquaponics Nugget #143, Part 9: Energy-Efficient Greenhouses For Aquaponics

(You can catch the first 8 of this series on our "Back Newsletters" page, starting with #135, if you wish!)

Active Cooling With Cold-Side Air:

This only works if your greenhouse is oriented with its long axis East-West, because a greenhouse that is oriented North-South doesn’t have any appreciable length of “cold-side” wall to draw cool air in through; only one of the greenhouse ends is on the North side. The reason this works for an East-West oriented greenhouse is that the North wall (in the Northern hemisphere) of the greenhouse is a relatively long wall, and effectively shades the area just beyond it, cooling the air there.

How this works: you actively blow in cool air through the “cold-side” air intake vents on the North side of the greenhouse using energy-efficient fans. This is beneficial because the ambient air on this “cold side” is typically from 8 to 12 degrees cooler than the ambient air on the “hot side”. Why? It’s because the cold side is in the shade formed by the back wall of the greenhouse; this makes the air that much cooler there.

You can accentuate this effect by planting trees (edible fruit or nut trees, of course!), and ground cover (edible ground cover like peanuts, soybeans, or sweet potatoes, of course!) in back of the back wall, and this will drop the air temperature of the incoming cold-side air even more: perhaps as much as 5 to 8 degrees more. Where do you sit on a hot sunny day? In the shade under a tree on the cool grass, right? Same thing.

To accomplish bringing in this cooler “cold-side” air, you install energy-efficient (or even better, solar-powered) fans in the cold side vents. These vents are installed down low in the North wall of the greenhouse, just above the height of the aquaponics trough; where they bring in the cooled air that is nearest the ground on the North side.

In contrast to the "passive" hot air venting that is accomplished by allowing relatively hot ambient "hot side" air to come in through vents in the south side of the greenhouse, you need to "actively" bring this air in with fans, because it is cold; it doesn't move by itself the way the hot air does when it rises and takes the even hotter air with it out the ridge vent.

When this relatively cold air comes into the greenhouse, it sinks to the floor and surrounds your plants and troughs. The "cold-side" air that is highest off the floor heats up a bit and rises to join the hot air being passively vented out the ridge vent; as it does so, it is constantly replaced with cool air being blown in by the fans in the cold side air intake vents. Thus, the part of your greenhouse that is most important, the plants, is in relatively cool air that is 8 to 12 degrees cooler than your “hot side” ambient air.

You won’t feel this unless you get down on the floor: your head (which has most of your “sensors” in it) is 5 to 6 feet off the floor in the relatively hot air that is coming in through the south side vents and rising out the ridge vent. If you get down on the floor, though, you will be able to measure and sense that it is noticeably cooler than up at head height. This is called a thermocline: the cooler air will stay down low (because it’s heavier), and the hotter air will be up higher (because it’s lighter).

You have experienced a thermocline if you ever dipped your toe in the water at the end of the dock at the lake in the summer and decided the water was warm enough to go in. When you dove off the dock five seconds later, you found yourself freezing cold in water three or four feet down because the lake had a thermocline in it: the top foot of water was quite warm (and rose to the top as a result), and below that was a lot colder!

Now that we're exhausting hot air out our ridge vent, and bringing in relatively cool air from the colder North side of the greenhouse, our plants are a lot better off in the hot season. But we are not stopping here; we will discuss two additional energy-efficient and effective systems for actively cooling your greenhouse air and water in the next couple of newsletters; which can both be used in conjunction with these already discussed.

An Aquaponic Solar Greenhouse with the participants in our second June 2013 course in Tennessee!

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(Next newsletter in this series will cover  additional methods to achieve energy-efficient cooling for the aquaponic solar greenhouse. Most important for those of you who are "lightly funded", a bit later in this series we will explain how to purchase and erect your own energy efficient greenhouse for pennies on the dollar, even if you never purchase any of our offerings! Thanks for listening!)

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!


Friendly 2014 Commercial Aquaponics and Greenhouse Trainings;

Texas Training from January 13th to the 17th at Ben Godfrey's farm in Milam County, Texas (Click here for more information!).

Tennessee Training from January 27th to the 31st at Randy Campbell's farm in Elora, Tennessee (Click here for more information!).

These trainings are $1,495 per person for five days of the most comprehensive and profitable Commercial Aquaponics and energy efficient Solar Greenhouse technology on the planet. If you can't wait until Jamuary to learn about profitable commercial aquaponics, check out our Personal Intensive trainings in Hawaii.

(Below) One of Ben and Alysha Godfrey's aquaponics systems in a greenhouse in Milam County, Texas. I can't wait to taste their system water! lettuce2-385px

(Below) Another of Ben and Alysha's aquaponic greenhouses.

(Below) Tim drinking water from one of Randy and Katie's aquaponics systems at a Tennessee training. "I've been doing this for six years; I'm certain the food from these systems is safe and healthy" (Tim).  TimWaterDrinkingNugget

These five-day trainings allow you to travel during the weekend so that you only need to take a week off your busy life to attend, and include our $999 DIY Commercial Aquaponics package, $998 DIY Farmer's Market Aquaponic Solar Greenhouse package, and new $295 DIY Commercial Tilapia Hatchery manual as course materials, plus our Plywood/Epoxy/ Tank manual, CAD construction drawings for all greenhouses and aquaponics systems, and much more!

(Below) Randy and Tim showing attendees at a Tennessee training how easy it is to use a DO (dissolved oxygen) meter to measure oxygen levels in the vegetable troughs.


If you're located near Tennessee or Texas, Randy and Katie Campbell (in Tennessee) and Ben Godfrey (in Texas) give regular free farm tours of their aquaponics systems and greenhouses to introduce the public to the benefits of aquaponics and energy-efficient greenhouse growing.

In Tennessee: Call Randy and Katie at 256-679-9488 or email Randy to find out when the next farm tour is scheduled.

In Texas: Call Ben at 254-697-2927 or email Ben to find out when their next "Family Day" farm tour is scheduled ($15 fee per family is charged).

More details of the Aquaponics Technology course here.

More details of the Aquaponic Solar Greenhouse course here.

More details of the Commercial Aquaponics course here.

(Below) Randy and Katie's Chinese-style Aquaponic Solar Greenhouse in Tennessee in the February snow, 2013. 70 degrees inside and you had to take your coat off when working with the vegetables!

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The Friendly  Aquaponics Way Video!
Back Issues Of Newsletters Now Available, Click Here!
Trough Liner Distributors:
West Coast USA
East Coast USA

Click here for Trout fry and fingerlings directly from the hatchery to you!

Spanish Language Micro System package now available!
Free Farm Tours

Aquaponics tour at the Friendly farm!

We hold a free Farm Tour on our farm the FIRST Saturday of every month at 10:00,  focused on growing food with aquaponics.  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.



Sign yourself up for the Texas January 2014 (13th-17th)

Or sign yourself up for the Tennessee January 2014 (27th-31st)

Commercial Aquaponics and Solar Greenhouse Training
NOW, and receive a free Micro System DIY package so you can begin studying aquaponics, as soon as you register! ($99.95 value)


Micro System Classes!

Our four affiliates are now offering Micro System courses.

Click here
for a listing of affiliates and course locations!


"Fish Bites: Food-Grade Liners and Fish Tanks"

Corrugated steel round fish tanks come from Scafco Grain Systems,

Tell them you need an open-top tank, not one with a conical steel roof, which you don't need or want for a fish tank.

For Liner, order standard sizes AND custom-sized round and rectangular food-grade vinyl liners from DLM Plastics, 1530 Harvard Avenue, Findlay, OH, 45840, 419-424-5250. Get "White NSF-61 PVC", it is FOOD-GRADE vinyl (the "NSF" on the label means "National Sanitation Foundation").

"In The Farmily: Lucky's Story, Part 1"

We’ve always wanted kids, and in a lot of ways it’s good that we didn’t get an earlier start; or we’d have twenty five now instead of just four. Susanne was 37 and I was 48 when we met in 2000. We didn’t so much “decide” to have a family as ignore all the fears and social conditioning we heard all our lives that said: “Women have kids when they’re under 30, and couples have families when they’re in their ‘20’s and ‘30s”. I’m glad we did!


We were in our first “real” house when Susanne gave birth to Lucky; we’d had Jack (a year and a half older) while living in a rented studio apartment on the second floor of an old warehouse (how we got Susanne’s “birth tub” up the stairs and filled it without collapsing the old warehouse’s creaky floor is another story!).


Susanne had liked the tub idea with Jack, so I put in a jacuzzi tub on the back porch of our new house. Our “new” house had been built in 1938, but that’s yet another story; we’d fixed it up quite nicely, and at ages 39 and 50, respectively, were just another young married couple in their first home, having their second child.


Lucky came along, and our friend and midwife Nina attended the birth. Everything went well, and soon we had a new baby boy, ten pounds one ounce, right out where we could see him. We oohed and aahed, and held Baby Jack up so he could see the new baby.

Nina measured and weighed, and listened to him with a stethoscope; she did what’s called “the well baby exam”. When she finished, she turned to us with a worried look, and we went “what?”.


She'd heard a sound that indicated Lucky’s lungs weren’t functioning very well. She said: “we need to get your baby to the hospital to be checked!”, and explained that Lucky had “meconium aspiration syndrome”.

It means Lucky had pooped and breathed some of it in while in the birth canal. Babies normally breathe the amniotic fluid of their mother’s womb in and out during their development, and are born with some of this fluid in their lungs; it doesn’t harm them at all.


But they are not designed to breathe in the meconium, which is also known as “baby’s first poop”; a sticky black tar-like substance. Many babies have meconium aspiration syndrome and aren’t affected much because they have a slight case of it.

Lucky had an extremely severe case of it, and his life was in danger. Without spoiling the story, I can say that Nina’s training and professionalism allowed her to correctly diagnose this situation; and things would have turned out very differently without her.

(to be continued)

Aloha, Tim....

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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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