I’ve spoken before about how adding sophistication to one’s growing setup can be a recipe for more things that can go wrong. But lets say you do it right.. lets say you keep your balances checked and within a reasonable median of safety, then what? Well you might become exceptional at making an ultra-efficient growing setup. You might also be coming to a crossroads..
The one factor in any aquaponics setup that should be foremost in your mind is that you have living breathing animals that rely on your care. If you are aiming to produce huge numbers of fish, the means by which you achieve that goal can easily go from being a system that provides harmony with the fish, to something more like what you’d see in a factory farm. Granted the fish will be harvested in the end, so the idea would be, “What does it matter if the fish are happy or not?” Well, in the end, that bit is up to the grower. I’m personally of the belief that if you’re going to grow something, whether plant or animal, that you provide an environment that is the best it can be for them.
I’d like to provide this video of a commercial AP setup that is right on that bleeding edge. They are currently able to achieve 1lb of fish per 1 gallon of water through the use of high protein fish feed (which most likely is derived from fish-meal, i.e other fish) but also through the application of liquid oxygen being applied to the system. Its a spectacular setup.. a good deal of thought did go into this design. But if you look closely at the tanks you can see the density of fish is at a point of being nearly inhumane. At that density it becomes questionable as to whether the setup is environmentally sound or is primarily for profit at the expense of the fish.
I’ll leave it to your own judgement, but I just want to leave you with a final thought..
Just because a technique(s) impressive and it can be done, some Common Sense should come into play telling you that its pushing the boundaries of what should be sustainable, only to become what is artificially inflated and more for greed then striking a good balance with the natural world around you (or the one you help to create).
Well, the opportunity to finally get down to the fun part of building the greenhouse, i.e… actually building the greenhouse has come! No bushes to dig out, no irrigation to dig around for, no screening out river rocks. Just fun old, “Break out the power tools and grunt like Tim the Toolman Taylor building!!!” Arrrrghhh arrrgh aaahhhh!!! 🙂
Originally my thought was to just start adding in a few images as the build progressed, but by the end of the day I had realized that I had been quite the camera bug.. and so putting together just a few still frames wasn’t going to do this build the justice it deserved. After all, you plan a project for months, you need to give it the full blogging treatment. So, I decided to dust off what little knowledge I have about video editing and put together a nice little clip of the days progress… and yes, this all occurred in just one day! (The magic of the hoop house build.) All together about 8 hours of work.
After completing the first days work, I’d have to say the hardest part of the initial build was the 2x4x6 foundation. I was wanting that to be as level as I could get it, but realized that the ground was in no way level for my needs. I pre-drilled holes for each of the pieces on my back porch which I knew to be level, then moved them into the yard for assembly (the greenhouse’s dimensions are 12×40). I used scrap blocks to add support to the low lying areas. Followed that up with the sledgehammering of the 3 foot re-bar pieces (drove those half way into the ground.. my right hand is dead by the way from swinging an 8 pound sledgehammer).
As for the easiest part, that would be the assembling and installation of the PVC supports. Got a nice little 45 degree joint to mount the two 10 foot sections together, slid one end over the re-bar on one side, then bent and slid it over on the opposing side. That part took all of 20 minutes to complete the entire hoop!
Next weekend I will be receiving a large order of rock that will be applied to the foundation. The plan was to do that anyway and I thought it better to work with the rock in order to achieve a level base rather than trying to dig up the surrounding dirt and raking that around. But as I said.. next weekend.. right now the old bod is ridiculously sore, so I’m going to be giving it a breather before I put it back to work!
Enjoy the video!!! 🙂
Took a tour of a commercial grade Aquaponics farm in Chandler, Arizona.. Rhiba Farms.
In comparison to the previous tour with Garden Pool, this was obviously an order of magnitude bigger than what I had seen before. A considerable amount of time and funding was spent on putting these facilities together and it shows. But it should in no way detract from the accomplishment the McClung families achievement.
This is version 1.0 of Rhiba Farms. There are currently plans in the works to move their entire facility over to a 3 acre plot in the near future, effectively increasing their size by about a factor of six!
The biggest surprises I found at this facility was that everything is raised on a foundation of asphalt (the current facility was at one time a phone servicing business). Mosquitoes were out in force over the floating beds since there was no barrier to keep them at bay. They are currently experimenting with small fish and shrimp in the beds to work on breaking down wastes, but also to act as a curb on the mosquito larvae that seem to thrive in these beds.
Our tour guide was actually the owner of the facility and took his time answering everyone’s questions (the tour was topping 2 1/2 hours before we had to depart). So if you are ever in the area, they give these tours the last Sunday of every month.
Unfortunately, video was not an option as my batteries were getting low, so I stuck with still frame shots. They do however cover the majority of the facility.