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Thursday, January 16, 2014

Aquaponics in Action

Wow!  It's been awhile since I wrote anything.  I've been busy working 2 jobs. 
So what have I been doing that's interesting?  I've been building a combination green house and outbuilding for aquaponics.  The building frame is of welded dimensional steel framing, with straw bales and stucco on the exterior.  That's right, that thing is a straw-bale building, including the knee wall around the base of the greenhouse.  The system will house multiple tanks of tilapia, as well as growing towers and grow beds.  My client presently has somewhere near 2000 to 3000 tilapia in tanks, as well as several grow beds above them with various species of plants.
I've recently finished putting the polycarbonite on the greenhouse, but there are many air leaks that need to be filled with some sort of sealant.  The temperature is very low these days down in the 20's and Fahrenheit.  Snow is falling most days, though on occasion the temperature gets up to the 50s.  today we installed a propane heater and discovered that it's costing about $30 for 4-5 hours in propane costs.  That's pretty prohibitive, but we have other ways and means of heating the greenhouse, including geothermal, natural gas, and other including solar.  We may also put in a a rocket mass heater system that burns wood.  That would have pex tubing running through it and run the PEX tubing down into the knee wall that the greenhouse sits on, in the concrete floor, as well as a sump underneath the green house that has the gravel in it.  We're hoping that the gravel and something will act as a heat sink.  Eventually we will put solar water heating on the roof of the larger building.
Here are some photos of the building I've been working on, with more to come:

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