Click to view this email in a browser

Friendly Aquaponics Newsletter
Number 142
October 15th,  2013
Images from our farmily aquaponics farm
Aloha Friend

In today's "Nugget", we continue with Part 8 of our series on "Energy-Efficient Greenhouses For Aquaponic Growing".

Our "In The Farmily" column today
is a fish story by Tim (it actually happened!). Really!

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

Aquaponics Nugget #142, Part 8: Energy-Efficient Greenhouses For Aquaponics

(You can catch the first 7 of this series on our "Back Newsletters" page, starting with #135, if you wish!)

Energy Efficient Cooling: How To Use Hot To Get Rid Of Hotter (AKA passive air venting for cooling):


In addition to the active cooling your aquaponics water will get from circulating the heat exchanger water through the geothermal cooling ditch pipes (we cover this in just a bit!), you will ALSO need to get rid of excess hot air as efficiently as possible to help keep your greenhouse from heating up. The sun shining into your greenhouse will heat up the air and other contents of the greenhouse, and you will need to get rid of the resulting hot air before it becomes even hotter, and bring in relatively cool air at the same time.


The easiest way to do this is to have a large vent at the highest point in your greenhouse. Hot air rises in the greenhouse, and ends up in the highest point in the greenhouse; if you can OPEN that highest point to let this hot air out, you’re ahead of the game. This is called passive air venting, because the energy in the rising hot air is what moves it out your vent even without the expenditure of any electrical energy.

So you need a VENT at the highest point in your greenhouse. Standard vent hardware is available from all greenhouse supply companies, ranging from hand-crankable vents to solar-powered ones to electrically-operated ones with thermostatic controls you can set to open or close at any desired temperatures. Guess which ones cost more. In addition, many standard “transom” windows available for houses are perfect for this purpose, and can be purchased with insulating double-layer glass.


If you’re in a climate that is hot in summer and cold in winter, your vent needs to be an opening/closing vent that is easy to operate. The hotter it is in the summertime, the bigger your vent needs to be in order to be useful in cooling the greenhouse. You need to be able to open it easily in summertime to let out hot air (which rises out of the open vent) and close it easily also, because you may have a single VERY cold day or night in an otherwise hot period due to weather vagaries, during which you do NOT want to lose your daytime heat through the vent at night.


This vent is referred to as the “ridge vent” (although we specify it installed in the back wall near the top), and for any useful amount of air movement, is often two feet wide and runs the full length of the greenhouse!! The bold here means if you install a couple of puny little vents in your greenhouse because a “greenhouse sales expert” told you that was all you needed, then don’t blame us when your greenhouse cooks in the summertime.

An Aquaponic Solar Greenhouse showing the full length ridge vent that cools it at no cost for electricity. It's mostly open, except for a couple of recalcitrant solar-powered vent openers!  In June in Tennessee, the greenhouse is covered with Aluminet for shading the crops (which will be covered in a separate newsletter). Also, the participantts in our second June 2013 course!

June2013Class1-385px 2


This ridge vent is how you get hot air out of the greenhouse. For it to work, you need to bring air in from somewhere else in the greenhouse; it’s logical: unless air can get in, none will flow out. However, there is no need to waste nice cold air doing this (we’ll get to that in a moment) because what we want to do is get the really hot air out of the greenhouse. It’s perfectly okay to use hot air to get hotter air out of the greenhouse. We use the well-known principle of ‘heat rises” to accomplish this.


Because there’s plenty of hot, ambient air available just outside the front wall vents, all we need to do is open those vents, and outside air pours in. As it heats up inside the greenhouse, it is rising all the time, taking all the hot air inside the greenhouse with it, until it finally pours out the ridge vent. There’s no fan and no electricity required because this hot air rises naturally and sucks more air along with it.


This is quite profitable from an energy efficiency standpoint: We use hot ambient outside air to remove the hotter air from the inside of the greenhouse, and it’s free: the only energy used is that required to open the vents.

A greenhouse with NO ridge vents, but energy-sucking fans instead. All they can do is bring in hot ambient air, and force even hotter air out the other end, at a huge ongoing expense for electricity. They keep the greenhouse slightly hotter than the outside air, but don't actually cool it. Does that sound right?

Often, the only cooling in conventional greenhouses is provided by blowing lots of hot ambient air in one end and out the other with huge fans that use kilowatts of electricity per hour. And doing so doesn’t cool the inside of these greenhouses, it simply keeps them from getting much hotter than the outside air. We’ll show you several ways to cool the inside of the greenhouse in a bit; what we just discussed is just the best and most energy-efficient way to get rid of the hot air.

(Next newsletter in this series will cover  more 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;

Tennessee Training from January 13th to the 17th at Randy Campbell's farm in Elora, Tennessee (Click here for more information!).

Texas Training from January 27th to the 31st at Ben Godfrey's farm in Milam County, Texas (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 the next farm tour is scheduled.

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!

GreenhouseSnow3Small 2

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 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


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

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

Commercial Aquaponics and Solar Greenhouse Trainings
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!

Join Ben and Alicia Godfrey at Sand Creek Farm in Cameron, Texas for a Micro System training! Call Ben or Alicia directly at 254-697-2927, or email them to sign up for this course. You can visit their website here to see a list of all the other cool classes they offer!

Join David Lindemann in Melbourne, Florida, in one of his Micro System classes: Call David directly at 321-604-6684, or email him to sign up for this course. You can visit David's website here for details of the class and to see all the other cool things he's doing!

Join Kevin Crawford in Longmont, Colorado, in one of his Micro System classes: Call Kevin directly at 720-363-5069, or email him to sign up for this course.

Join Randy Campbell in Elora, Tennessee, in one of his Micro System classes every third Saturday of the month! Call Randy directly at 256-679-9488, or email him to sign up for this course.

These Texas, Tennessee, Florida, and Colorado one-day live trainings use our $100 Micro System DIY manual as coursebook, and are a real deal!

"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").

"The Fish's View"

This is a fish story from 1983, when Tropic Bird and I were fishing off the coast of Kona on the Big Island. It’s about how I developed the mahi-mahi call. If you fish for a living, you probably already know about “holding your mouth right”; a major component of catching fish in any waters anywhere, whether salt or fresh. I’ll explain that first, for our non-fishing readers:

“Holding your mouth right” simply refers to the unquantifiable ingredients that go towards a fisher’s success or failure in the enterprise. If you don’t hold your mouth right, you don’t catch any fish.

If you hold your mouth really right, then you are the one that comes home with the fish hold filled to the brim, because when you hold  your mouth right, it helps you figure out where the fish are. No one can ever catch a fish until he can answer the question: “where are the fish?”.

The subtle, often interconnected clues (that tell him or her where the fish are) don’t always jump right out and salute you, they often have to be figured out from slight hints and differences in the way the tides and currents are interacting, from the wind, from the temperature of the water, and sometimes just from “the way it feels”.

This isn’t shopping, where you know what section of the store to go to to find light bulbs, or cream cheese. This is fishing, and it’s not the least bit amenable to logical analysis.

You’ll get a hunch, or for some people it’s a feeling. The good fisher learns to listen to these hunches, and play them. Often that good fisher will put a baited line in the water, or troll for a while in a certain area to get a little more information.

What’s happening here is that they are trying to reduce the variables. It’s like a mathematical equation; a 1-variable equation is easy to solve: 2 plus X = 5, you know what “X” is, right? A two-variable equation is those parabolas and hyperbolas that we did in high school algebra; a three-variable equation is calculus, and the answer is expressed as a range of possibilities rather than a single-number “answer”.

But fishing? That’s more like a seventeen-variable equation, with the variables shifting all the time: some being subtracted from the equation, and more being added, as the tide changes, as the schools of bait fish move around.

It is something that can be solved only by approaching it using a special kind of “fuzzy” logic, in the fastest and most complex computer in the world: the human mind. I’ll give you an example that will demonstrate the “fishing computer” in action:

We were on our way to the shrimp grounds, to pull and reset our three lines of shrimp traps. I knew we were going to pass by a deepwater fish aggregation bouy, and about two minutes before we got to the bouy, an uncontrollable urge seized me, and I yodeled for an entire minute: heeerrre, mahimahimahiiiiii! (repeat).

Now, imagine this yodeled at the top of one’s voice, with the same intonation and cadence that is usually used in “soooweeee, here, pig, pig, pig!” when one is calling the hogs to feed.

A gorgeous "Bull" mahimahi and some happy fishermen!

mahimahi1 4

My crewman just looked at me like I’d lost my mind! I told him: “get ready”. About a minute later two mahi mahi, each about thirty pounds, hit our trolling lines, one on each side of the boat. I idled back the engine, went and pulled one of the lines in and gaffed the fish, while he did the same with the other line.

We had sixty pounds of fish in the boat, we’d made some money over expenses, and we hadn’t even pulled the shrimp traps yet.

We knew it was going to be a good day. And I used the mahi mahi call a lot, after that. My crewman had gotten used to it, after all.

Aloha, Tim....

Forward this message to a friend

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

Email: Friendly Aquaponics

If you no longer wish to receive these emails, please reply to this message with "Unsubscribe" in the subject line or simply click on the following link: Unsubscribe

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

Read the VerticalResponse marketing policy.

Try Email Marketing with VerticalResponse!