Inside our Fishroom and Growroom

February 2015 Newsletter
Number 14
Table of Contents (first 7 are Sidebars)
A Word From Our Editor, Grace Sylke
Don’t miss our Pinterest Wall
Read our January 2015 Newsletter
Read our December 2014 Newsletter
The New To Grow
Visit our Aquaponics USA/World TV Channel
Happy Valentines Day, Yesterday!
All About Planting Seeds
Visiting the Tilapia Nursery
The 80º Vertical System Two Weeks Later

A Word from our Editor, Grace Sylke
We’ve once again delayed Part 2 of our new Series on“Obesity in America”to bring you this update about what’s been happening in our Fishroom and Growroom. You’re even getting a tutorial on how to start your own seeds from scratch.

Be Sure To Check Out Our Aquaponics World Pinterest Wall
Pinterest keeps growing like the weeds that are NOT in our Aquaponics Grow Beds. You can share your favorite images on a Wall you create. We recently created a Wall of Lettuce. Walls are Walls. We love sharing our Lettuce and Pinterest Walls.

It’s all about our ever changing Greenhouse and our newly installed 80º Vertical Food Forever™ Farm Growing System.

Get Access to all of our 2014 Newsletters from our December 2014 Newsletter, which is Part 1 of the Series, “Obesity In America”
All of our 2014 Newsletters are Linked Up in our December 2014 Newsletter. We don’t only talk about Aquaponics. We talk about important issues relating to our Food System like the “Food Revolution, Parts 1-4”, “The Organic Industry In The U.S. Parts 1-3” and other important Food System topics.

Watch For the new Food Documentary,The Need To GROW
This documentary, which is still in production is all about The Need To Grow healthy, local food and the need to change how we regard agribusiness turning it into “an ecological system that includes all of humankind, all the animals, the rivers, the oceans, and the microbes–rather than an industry artificially cut-off from nature.”
Quote take from The Need To Grow website.
Oh, and We’re In It.Click on the Trailer from the Home Page.

Go To Our

Aquaponics USA/ Aquaponics World TV Channel

Today we have 2,037 Subscribers and 343,801 Views. You’ll enjoy seeing what we’ve been doing since we started Aquaponics USA in 2009. It’s amazing how fast this field is growing. Watch for our up-coming Video of our new 80º Vertical System in our Greenhouse. We’ll show you how easy it is to harvest this new system.
Coming in early April.

Yesterday. Hope you Made it a Good One!
Valentines Day comes around every year. To some it’s a really special un-Holiday. To others it’s a day of remembering when it was special and you were with the one you loved. How about making it a “Love Everyone & Everything Day”. Now that’s special! Heck, let’s do that Everyday!
And don’t forget your fish.

This Paper is a must read for anyone interested in Food & Health. It’s a Daily so you can start your day taking in some of the most important information about these two important topics all sorted and gathered right out of the web for you.

Our Monthly Special
This cylindrical 4″ Airstone has a 2″ Diameter and is the best Air Stone we have found yet. It really pumps out the air; and we are now using it in all of our Fish Tanks.
For February through March 15, we’re offering this Air Stone with a 10% Discount exclusively to our Newsletter Subscribers. Just give us a call prior to ordering so we can lock in your Discount.
Inside our Fishroom & Growroom
 Where Things Are Moving Along Swimmingly

Dear Subscriber:
We’ve once again post-poned our Series on “Obesity in America” to focus on what’s happening with our Aquaponics Micro Food Forever™ Farm over here in the High Desert of California. This is a small Demonstration Farm built so we could do R&D on our system designs, learn what works and what doesn’t work before we put these sustainable, organic Farms into the marketplace.
Our January Newsletter, which you can read here, was all about our Greenhouse and the cutting edge new 80º Vertical System we recently installed within it. So we decided to make this Newsletter about the rest of our Micro Food Forever™ Farm, which are the enclosed areas that include our Fishroom and Growroom.
Food Forever™ Farms can grow vegetables and food fish in Greenhouses or Warehouses so we are demonstrating Aquaponics food growing technology in both of those environments.

Here’s Our Latest Evolution in Seed Germination

We were having a heck of a time getting our seeds to germinate past a certain size. They would sprout, grow and then when they got to be about one inch high, they would start to croak. We put them in the Greenhouse under natural Light. We put them in the Growroom under fluorescents and then LED’s; but the same thing kept happening. It was a real mystery.
We were able to save most of our seedlings; but we were being forced to plant them into the Growroom or Greenhouse Systems while they were very small causing them to take up precious grow out space for way longer than necessary.
Above, you see our solution and it’s working like a charm. This is a Shallow Flood & Drain Grow Bed full of seedlings. We’re calling it our Seed  Incubation Table (SIT™); and are having fun with the acronym because it’s all about putting them in the Bed and then comes the “Sit and Wait” part of the process. We quite literally don’t have to do another thing as the seedlings are being automatically watered with the system water, which eliminates daily watering.
This new system even allowed us to leave our sprouted seedlings in the SIT™ for longer than they needed to be there while we finished building our new 80º Vertical System.
While we’re talking about seeds, let’s go through a little lesson on how to plant them. You need a few things to germinate seeds starting with a Seed Starter Kit, which we sell on our Aquaponics USA website.
So the next question is what do you do with the Kit? You take the Seed Tray and the Seed Planting Cube with 98 Seed sites and soak them in your bath tub or in a tray that is deep enough to cover them with water.
But this is not ordinary water. This water has to have a pH of 5.5. Now we need to go further into the chemistry weeds on this subject because we need to explain what the heck is pH?


The “H” in pH stands for Hydrogen and the “p” stands for the power of that Hydrogen–the concentration of hydrogen ions in a solution. That Hydrogen concentration is very important for living things because Hydrogen ions are positively charged and can, therefore, alter the charge environment of other molecules in a solution by putting a force on the molecule causing it to change its normal shape. For a protein molecule this is crucial because the shape of a protein is related to its function. A low pH count corresponds to a high hydrogen ion concentration and a high pH count corresponds to a low hydrogen ion concentration. A substance that when added increases the concentration of hydrogen ions (lowers the pH) is called an acid; and a substance that decreases the concentration of hydrogen ions (raises the pH) is called a base. There are also substances that enable solutions to resist pH changes when an acid or base is added. These substances are called buffers. Buffers help organisms maintain a relatively constant pH.  Pure water is considered neutral with a pH of 7. Solutions with a pH less than 7 are said to be acidic and solutions with a pH greater than 7 are said to be basic or alkaline.
Tilapia prefer a pH range of 7-8, which is on the alkaline side of the scale. But most Aquaponic farmers keep their pH levels between 6.8 and 7.0, which is a compromise for the fish and the plants as the plants prefer a more acidic environment. Drastic shifts in either direction can be lethal to both the fish and the plants. So watching pH levels is very important in aquaponics.

So that means you also need to have a pH Meter, which it just happens we also sell on our site.
You start by calibrating your meter according to the instructions on the box. Then you measure what the pH is of your water as it comes out of your faucets. Your goal is to soak your Seed Cube in a pH environment of 5.5, which means you need to start your seeds in an acidic environment.
If your water is alkaline, meaning it has a natural pH of 7 or above, you have to make it acidic; and you do this by adding good old Distilled White Vinegar.
You carefully add the vinegar while watching your pH Meter until it goes to 5.5 and stays there. Then you place your seed tray with the seed cube into the water and let it soak for about a half hour.
Once your tray has soaked up the 5.5 pH water, you take it to the location where you’re going to plant your seeds into it; and perform a simple final act before doing that. You take a pen or pencil and open the holes in the cube so you can easily place your seeds into them.
I have my Humble Seed packages ready to be planted into the Seed Cube. We sell these great seeds on our website. Humble Seed’s premium herb, fruit, and vegetable seeds are packaged in re-sealable Mylar® bags then themed and bundled in FDA food-safe containers.
Once you get your seeds planted into the Seed Cube, you need to label them so you know what’s what when you plant them into your Grow Beds. We use large popsicle sticks that you can get in the Craft Deptartment of Walmart. We cut them so they don’t obstruct the humidifying dome when it’s placed onto the tray. We used a different Brand of Seeds here because it’s easy to see them in their seed sites. The company that sells these seeds is called Parmount Seeds; and they specialize in seeds for large Greenhouse operations.
The final step of seed planting is finding the perfect location for your seeds to sprout. You can actually leave them indoors in the dark for a couple of days before you place them in the sun or under Grow Lights. We’ve tried a lot of different places and lighting to start and grow our seeds ending up with the new SIT™ solution that is working so well for us.
But if you don’t have an aquaponics set up that warrants it’s own Flood & Drain Table, you can place them on a shelf in your Greenhouse, in an empty Grow Bed, on a table under a Grow Light or even on a window seat that gets lots of sunlight.
In this photo, we’re sprouting our seeds using Seed Kits with 6″ Humidifying Domes placed inside an empty Deep Media Bed in our Greenhouse. At that time, we were demonstrating 60º Vertical Growing instead of the 80º Vertical Growing we’re now demonstrating. Later, we moved that Grow Bed over to the other side of the Greenhouse where it’s growing 3 incredible Tomato Plants today and built a sprouting shelf where it sits.
In this photo we’re sprouting our very first batch of seeds to plant in the five Deep Media Grow Beds we originally installed in our Greenhouse. These seedling trays started with 3 inch tall Humidifying Domes and went to 6 inch Domes. A few days before planting, we simply removed the Domes because the seedlings got too tall for them.
And in this photo we’re using an LED Grow Light and a portable table to sprout our seeds. Believe me, we’ve tried it all; and finally landed on what we described above as our SIT™ system.
Notice the spray bottle under the table on the left. If you don’t have a self watering SIT™ set up for your seeds, you’ll need to hand spray them using system water a couple of times a day until you plant them.

So Let’s Go Into Our Fishroom where the Valentine’s Mood is flourishing.

In this room, we have five 120 gallon Fish Tanks with about 200 Tilapia including the fingerlings. Fingerlings are fast and skiddish so photographing them is a bit of a challenge. We would like to actually get them out of this tank and place them in a our new Fingerling Aquarium, which will sit on the wall next to the one above them; but that, too, is a major challenge as it would involve stressing every fish in the tank to capture them. Oliver often says he believes fingerlings have “Transporter Technology” as they seem to be able to traverse the tank in zero time. We do our best to not stress our fish as stressed fish easily become subject to disease and premature death.
Below is a photo of our installed Fingerling Aquarium, however these fish have grown past finger size and would more appropriately be called hand size.
This Aquarium is bolted to the wall at one end of the Fishroom; and we plan to add one or two more as we get more fry. You can see that the system water is running right through this aquarium as we learned a sad lesson when we tried to raise a couple hundred fingerlings in their own separate system with a small Grow Bed that wasn’t sufficient for their water filtration needs.
The two knobs you see at the top right are attaching theAutomatic Fish Feeder to the aquarium; and it looks like these guys have just been fed as they’re all gathered at the drop location.
In the photo below, we were actually able to get a shot of the fingerlings before they transported off camera.
We actually managed to sneek up on five of them. To give you an idea of how tiny they are, in the foreground is the tail of an adult Tilapia in their tank. These five aren’t even the size of a finger as their name indicates. If/when we take them out of this tank, we can’t put them in the Aquarium pictured above because the young Tilapia are protein lovers and carnivores and these little guys would be devoured. The large Tilapia, their progenitors, in this tank aren’t so interested in a new protein source so they leave them alone. They live on algae and Fingerling Crumble, which we sell on our Aquaponics USA website.

Back to our Greenhouse for a Quick Peek 
at what happened in the 2 Weeks since we sent out our January Newsletter.

The 3 kinds of Lettuce we planted into our new 80º Vertical System has grown out and is almost ready for harvest. What a sight it is to see. This is a 16 foot long wall of lettuce so thick you can no longer see the ducts that it’s growing in.
And there’s a Chef down in Palm Springs who can’t wait to get his hands on this pesticide free, organic lettuce. His name is Scott and he owns New Leaf Catering so if you’re in the area and have an event coming up, be sure to visit his website.

We Have a Great Daily Newspaper. It’s the . . .

If you want to keep up on what’s happening in the Food & Health World, just Subscribe to the Aquaponics USA Food & Health News. It’s a Daily Paper full of important articles, recipes and the latest scientific research on both Food and Health.

Consumer Alert!

A new company has just joined the dark side with Monsanto & Friends to get a GMO Apple approved by the Federal Government. The FDA has yet to weigh in; but it’s looking like a slam dunk. This is the Okanagan Company; and they are under the misguided opinion that we need an apple that doesn’t brown or bruise when it’s cut open.
What we need are healthy, wholesome Organic Apples and not more Franken Food by ego maniacs who think they can create nutritious food better than Mother Nature. Go to Politico to read the article announcing this sad day of birthing the poison apple for innocent, unaware consumers who aren’t allowed to know those apples are GMO because there is no mandatory labeling.
We got so disturbed by this diabolical announcement, we had to create three images to spread the word. All of these images are on our Aquaponics World Pinterest Wall so PLEASE have at them and spread this Consumer Alert far and wide.
These poison apples are not on the market yet. Maybe if we scream loudly enough, Okanagan will realize they took a wrong turn when they came to the fork in the road; and they followed the fork that leads to their destruction.
Thank you so much for following our Newsletters. We hope you had a happy, romantic and fun-filled Valentines Day.
If you’re a Pinterest Fan, you can find several of these photos on our Aquaponics World Pinterest Wall. So have fun sharing them. And if you’re just discovering our Newsletters, you can get Links to all of our 2014 Newsletters by clicking over to our December 2014 Newsletter. You can also read our January 2015 Newsletter here.
And don’t forget to Forward this Newsletter to your colleagues, friends and family who care about our Food System and how we’re growing our food.
Aquaponics USA/World
Get your 10% Discount on any of our Food Forever™ Growing systems from Aquaponics USA!
This Offer is good until April 1st, 2015. 


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