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Aquaculture and Aquaponics are NOT the same!

aquaculture2

Aquaculture and Aquaponics are NOT the Same Thing!
– by Colle and Phyllis Davis 

The U.S. government is pushing for increased farm-raised fish production (in order to erase a seafood trade deficit). Estimates are that half the fish consumed worldwide will be farm/tank raised by the year 2025.

The main difference is that aquaponics’ tank-grown fish grows fish as a primary resource for the nutrients (primarily nitrogen) in the water to grow healthy vegetables. Portable Farm’s technology removes the heavy fish waste from the fish tanks before that nutrient-rich water flows through the grow tables.

Aquaponics is the growing of fish, or other water-based animals, along with land plants in a controlled environment, to maximize the use of the energy and nutrients in the system in order to harvest the greatest amount of vegetables and fish protein from the system.

Aquaponics raises Mozambique tilapia. They are a warm water, fresh water fish.

The word aquaponics comes from words ‘aquaculture,’ which is the cultivation of fish or other water-based animals, and the word ‘hydroponics,’ where plants are grown in a sterile medium or completely in water.

Aquaculture is about the aquatic farming of fish for food. 

“Fish farming has often been touted as an extremely efficient way to produce animal protein: the Global Aquaculture Alliance claims 100 kilograms of fish feed can deliver up to 15 times more meat than an equivalent amount fed to cows. The industry has gained international traction, with farmed fish surpassing wild-caught ones (pdf) in the global food supply in 2014. But traditional fish-farming methods come with significant environmental drawbacks. For example, salmon farmers in Norway and Chile—the world leaders in salmon production—typically use open-ocean cages that corral fish in suspended netting or pens. This setup allows waste to flow directly into the environment, along with pathogens and parasites that can infect wild populations. Open-air pond farms—found worldwide and representing the most common type of aquaculture in China, the top global producer of farmed fish—also have a track record of polluting local waterways with fish effluent and veterinary medicines that are used to keep disease at bay.” Scientific AmericanThe Future of Fish Farming May Be Indoors. New advancements in water filtration and circulation make it possible for indoor fish farms to dramatically grow in size and production, By Laura Poppick on September 17, 2018,

According to WikipediaAquaculture, also known as aquafarming, is the farming of aquatic organisms such as fish, crustaceans, molluscs and aquatic plants. Aquaculture involves cultivating freshwater and saltwater populations under controlled conditions, and can be contrasted with commercial fishing, which is the harvesting of wild fish. Mariculture refers to aquaculture practiced in marine environments.

 

Can the Oceans Keep Up with the Hunt? 

Monterey Bay Aquarium

The reported output from global aquaculture operations would supply one half of the fish and shellfish that is directly consumed by humans, however there are issues about the reliability of the reported figures. Further, in current aquaculture practice, products from several pounds of wild fish are used to produce one pound of a piscivorous fish like salmon.

Particular kinds of aquaculture include fish farming, shrimp farming, oyster farming, aquaculture (such as seaweed farming), and the cultivation of ornamental fish. Particular methods include aquaponics, which integrates fish farming and plant farming.

Raising fish in netted cages in coastal water is often promoted as a means of easing stress on overfished populations. But, just like large scale agriculture, it has its downsides.

The main concerns about aquaculture include:

  • Creating fish feed for farmed fish depletes other fish species and upsets the balance of the ecosystem.
  • Antibiotics and other drugs used in fish farming can seep into open waters.
  • Waste from fish farms can pollute and breed bacteria that are unhealthy to bottom-dwelling sea creatures.
  • Farmed fish are generally less nutritious than wild fish and can contain twice as much of the less-healthy omega 6 fats.
  • FDA studies have shown that wild salmon have a 20 percent higher protein content and 20 percent lower fat than farm-raised salmon.

Of course, wild fish often costs more than farmed fish due to the expense of harvesting. And environmental factors can make the availability of wild fish inconsistent.

But the health benefits are clear.


Grow and Sell Food with Commercial Aquaponics

Grow and Sell Food with Commercial Aquaponics 

Lettuce grown in Portable Farms uses 95% less water than traditional agriculture and grows in HALF the time as soil-grown lettuces.

 

Aquaponics 
Dan Burden, AgMRC Content Specialist

D. Allen Pattillo, Department of Natural Resources Ecology & Management,
Iowa State University; North Central Regional Aquaculture Center (NRAC)

This closed-loop system has many advantages over conventional “open-loop” crop production systems:

  • It uses approximately 10% of the land area and 5% of the water volume required by conventional vegetable crops.
  • Due to less water and land use, aquaponics is perfect for highly efficient use of existing space or for special applications like intensive urban gardening.
  • Crop production time can be accelerated.  For example, butterhead lettuce varieties can be produced in about 30 days, instead of the typical 60-day growing period needed for conventional production.
  • Production can occur year-round under a greenhouse or in a temperature-controlled enclosure.  This allows producers to market fresh produce during seasons when trucked-in produce is at their highest seasonal prices.
  • Aquaponics is an adaptable process that allows for a diversification of income streams.  High-value herbs, vegetables, and leafy greens, as well as fish, crayfish, worms, mushrooms, and a number of other crops may be produced, depending upon local market interest and the interests of the grower.
  • These systems allow agriculture to take large innovative steps toward environmental sustainability.  Because these are mostly-closed-loop systems, nutrient effluent leaving the facility is virtually nonexistent.  Additionally, fish, plant, and other waste solids may be captured and converted into value-added fertilizer products for wholesale or retail sale.
  • Growers can start small, with minimal investment, perhaps using scrounged materials to see if the venture is “right for me,” then scale-up as markets and expertise develops.

Read our book, Commercial Aquaponics GOLD.

  • This comprehensive information about commercial aquaponics provides you will all the facts you’ll need to make an informed business decision about commercial aquaponics growing in controlled environment agricultural (CEA).
  • We’re also offering TWO FREE BONUSES with the purchase of Commercial Aquaponics GOLD: 1) A formal ten-step strategy business plan template designed specifically for commercial aquaponics growing to present to funders and, 2) PFAS LLC’s Executive Summary showing production and operating costs, profits and best-produce choices to achieve the shortest Return on Investment.

CLICK ON our fun video by the Crazy Professor, aka, Colle Davis, Inventor of Portable Farms, talk about commercial aquaponics and explain what his book Commercial Aquaponics Gold offers.

Cheap Aquaponics “Startup Fish”

Cheap Aquaponics “Startup Fish”
– by Colle and Phyllis Davis

“Can we use goldfish or crayfish or something besides tilapia in our backyard aquaponics system?”

gowithflowThis is a frequently asked question and prompted a conversation with a new ‘aquaponist’ at my local Home Depot store which has prompted me to make a list of the fish that can be used in aquaponics for new aquaponics farmers to get started with because of choice or local regulations or restrictions.

The gentleman in the plumbing section of Home Depot had to help me find a component we use to manufacture the PFAS Kits and he asked me what I was using so many, I told him they were used in our manufacturing process. He said, (you will not believe this), ‘Oh, are you doing aquaponics?’

I nearly fell down from surprise. He explained that he had a small aquaponics system in his backyard and was using goldfish poop to raise the most amazing basil and peppers he had ever seen. It’s a small world to meet someone with an aquaponics system that actually guessed what I was building. His explanation was that another fellow builds hydroponic systems for people and uses the same item in a very different way. But back on topic. . .

The list of aquatic animals below includes enough species so you can get started today with a tiny aquaponics system to learn and grow with to see how amazing the technology really is at growing vegetables and fish. My original setup was a dishpan with aquarium gravel laid across an aquarium. The fish happened to be tilapia because it was my job at UC Davis (back in the early 1970’s) to clean the fish tanks, a nasty smelly job.

Each species has different requirements and are more or less hardy and easy to maintain. The list below is not all-inclusive, but is meant to be a basis for an inexpensive beginner aquaponics setup so you can get your hands wet.

By providing these fish with a clean water supply, aeration and food, you are ensuring a constant supply of the finest poop your system can handle.

Two caveats here:

  1. You will lose fish – this means some of them will die. Get used to it, its farming.
  2. Unless you are using the PFAS, you will have problems with sediment in the gravel so you will have to clean the gravel occasionally. Get used to it, its farming.

With the PFAS the #2 above is not true. Oh, and to use the PFAS you will need to complete the Aquaponics University Portable Farms Aquaponics Systems Course.

SpeciesPositiveCostNegative
GoldfishHardy, readily available, poop a lotCheapTough to find a constant market – not for eating
KoiHardy, readily salable as ornamentals, can be fed cheap dog food, do not have to replace very oftenRelatively cheapNo one eats them, limited market
CatfishHardy, grow fast, seasonally available, chow is commercially availableRelatively cheapSeasonal availability of fry and depressed markets
CarpReally hardy, fast growing, will eat almost anythingMay be tricky to obtain fryNo food market in US
Crayfish/PrawnsCan be raised in conjunction with any other fin fish or by themselves.Relatively inexpensive to obtainMost are cannibalistic and must be provided housing (short sections of PVC pipe) to keep any number to harvest size.
PerchNew candidate – Feed just becoming availableNot cheapRegional markets only
BassNot recommended because you have to feed them live baitRelatively inexpensiveFish and Wildlife regulations on sale for food

 


Here is The Difference Between Hydroponics and Aquaponics

Here is The Difference Between Hydroponics and Aquaponics
– by Colle and Phyllis Davis

  • A commercial aquaponics system creates immediate jobs and food for semi-skilled people trained in less than a week.
  • Permanent full-time jobs are created and year round food production is available in three months when grown in greenhouses or warehouses.
  • Aquaponics grows pesticide free food, table vegetables and fish, raised in a simple yet revolutionary new technology that replicates nature.
  • Installation can be solar powered.
  • Total sustainability can be achieved by selling most of the food production to local markets.

Hydroponics (image above of lettuces) is a very recent technology first noted in the 17th Century; the name itself was only coined in 1937 from the Greek words for ‘water’ and for ‘work’ by William Frederick Gericke of the University of California at Berkeley. He grew a 25′ tomato plants in his backyard using only mineral salts in water.

As amazing and productive as hydroponic is, there is a built in problem with the technology. The nutrient solution used in the growing of the plants eventually has to be ‘changed out’ or it will become toxic to the plants, even if the system is being run organically because some of the nutrients become concentrated in the water and even adding water to dilute it, there comes a time when it must be changed out. Therein lies the rub . . .

Hydroponics lettuce root.

The ‘liquor’ as it is called, is now designated by the EPA as toxic waste and must be disposed of properly by qualified personal using approved techniques. Another way to say this is that the waste disposal for hydroponics is expensive and needs to be disposed of by experts. This makes the hydroponic waste removal a much larger expense than most people realize and it’s a topic that’s almost never discussed by those selling hydroponic systems.

Hydroponics has a much older and more benign sister, aquaponics that has been around for over 4,500 years and is the exact same system that nature uses to break down waste to reuse the resulting byproducts to grow new plants and this process has been going on naturally for billions of years.

In aquaponics, there are no toxic chemicals used in the system. After all, chemicals would kill the fish.

Oreochromis Mossambicus Tilapia

The waste products in aquaponics are non toxic, usable on other plants and can even be dumped down a sewer system because they will not harm sewage systems. The waste from an aquaponics system is a valuable fertilizer for plants, shrubbery, trees, or grass. One owner of a small commercial Portable Farms® Aquaponics System even sells his Settling Tank waste as an organic fertilizer and gets US$25 per 5 gallon container and the client picks it up at his greenhouse. Considering that each Module of Portable Farms® produces approximately 50 gallons of waste water every six weeks which can become a nice extra source of income for the installation owner.

Insecticides that help control pests on the plants will nearly always kill the fish. Pesticide free-food creates a safer and healthier food supply. Portable Farms® Aquaponics Systems use NO dirt and no chemicals (insecticides or fertilizers) to grow the plants.

One Grow Table of blooming plants in a Portable
Farms Aquaponics System: tomatoes, cucumbers and beans.

Today, your family can enjoy one of the oldest food-growing technologies wrapped up in a modern, easy to build and operate system in your own backyard, patio or greenhouse.

  • There have been over 300 different varieties of plants  that have been tested and can be grown successfully in a Portable Farms® Aquaponics Systems. For example, lettuce is considered a variety but there are hundreds of variations of lettuces that grow well in aqupaonics. The same is true for peppers, beans, etc.
  • The major food groups that are not recommended for Portable Farms® are root vegetables (carrots, potatoes, onions, etc.) and field crops such as corn, wheat, soy or rice. Perennial plants (strawberries, blackberries, asparagus, etc.) are not recommended because the plants are dormant many months each year and do not produce harvestable food year round. Plus, we recommend growing all plants from seeds and not bringing in plants raised in soil into the structure which can introduce pathogens that can harm the other plants in the structure.

Get Rich With One Acre of Aquaponics

 

GET RICH WITH AQUAPONICS ON ONE ACRE
– by Colle Davis, Phil Estes and Phyllis Davis

GET RICH WITH AQUAPONICS ON ONE ACRE but first, begin with one small aquaponics’ system to learn how to operate it and see if it meets your expectations. Even ONE 5×40′ MODULE that feeds eight people is a realistic experiment to ‘get your hands wet’ as you learn to grow healthy vegetables and raise fish.

One module of a Portable Farms Aquaponics System.

 

With a ROI (Return on Investment) for a 10,000 square foot facility (one-quarter acre), over three to five years, and the possibility that by addressing a specific local market needed to produce a specialty green) crop such as kale, basil or bok choy, and reducing the ROI to less than two years, investors take notice. When a single commercial installation pencils out to yield a net-net in the low six figures and the output can match any wholesale supplier’s prices and still make money, serious investors are interested.

Commercial aquaponics installations are not subject to the normal vulgarities of the stock market, derivatives markets, political upheaval, drought, electrical outages, heat waves, unusually hot or cold weather or even state-sponsored corruption.

The most common request we receive from those who want to become commercial aquaponics farmers are from people who already have the land and want to install aquaponics installations on their property. Although they may own the land, they do not have the money to make a large initial investment.

One acre of flat, level land covered with four Portable Farms® Aquaponics Systems can make you a millionaire and with an ongoing income of over $300,000 from the full acre per year NET. To fund this size operation all at one time requires approximately US$1.2Million.

 

Oreochromis Mossambicus Tilapia. This is the male tilapia used in aquaponics systems in the Northern Hemisphere.

 

Here are several scenarios that demonstrate how to achieve this level of success is stages over time.

Everyone’s situations obviously differ from these proposed instances, but you can use these scenarios as examples and then adjust them for your unique situation.

Assumptions:

• Land cost is not a factor – meaning the land is owned or leased at a low rate already.
• You are willing to invest the time to prepare a quality business plan before you begin.
• You have access to $200,000 of capital or the ability to borrow that amount.
• You understand the meaning of hard work.
• Marketing is a passion and a way of life for you.
• You or your partners have successfully operated a growing business for more than five years.

Five Suggested Scenarios and Options for Beginning your Aquaponics Business

First Scenario:

  • You already own the land.
  • The property has access to electricity and water.
  • The land is mostly flat and level.
  • While solar power and well water are options, they may come with additional costs.
  • Your land is located near your potential markets for selling your food, and you do not have the investment capital to begin the project.  In this first scenario, your land is not currently paying you anything in return, but you are paying property taxes on it, and there are other normal expenses that you incur by owning it.

(Brace yourself, this following suggestion may hurt . . .)

Sell enough of your land to fund the first acre or even the first 10,000 sq. ft. aquaponics installation. That way, you are investing your own money in your own aquaponics business and you are paying yourself back with interest. For example, the average size of currently owned acreage of those we have talked with, is 10 to 12 acres (the range is from 2 acres to several thousand acres). If a portion of this land was sold, even most of it, your new commercial aquaponics project could be at least partially funded from the proceeds.

Second Scenario: 

You may consider refinancing your land and using the proceeds to build the first aquaponics installation(s).

This may or may not please your banker, but he will enjoy being paid back in a few years.

Third Scenario:

Find some partners who agree to fund the aquaponics installation on your land. Be the ‘land guy’ and be willing to structure the deal so you are the last to be paid off. After all, it is your land and the installation is on your property and it will be producing income far into the future. You may even want to structure the deal to pay off your partners in total, first, and then you will continue to receive all the income for yourself.

Fourth Scenario:

If you don’t own the land, but you know someone who does own it, and you are willing to do all the work to make this project happen then consider asking them for permission for you to use one acre of their land for aquaponics installations in exchange for a percentage of your business profits.

You may also consider approaching several other investors to fund the installations and then you would provide the hard work of operating the commercial aquaponics systems. This is the hardest scenario to accomplish UNLESS you have a proven track record running a business.

Fifth Scenario:

Research real estate listings and find a few existing greenhouses in your area that area available to lease, and then install the Portable Farms Aquaponics Systems Modules to fit into the greenhouse(s). Then use this installation to generate the capital needed to finance the expansion of additional units on your unused property. The upfront cost of doing this is a fraction of the cost of building a greenhouse from scratch.

Okay, enough with the options, let’s get down to the numbers.

  • A single 10,000 sq. ft. facility can hold approximately 30 Portable Farms® Aquaponics Systems Modules costing from $80,000 to $100,000, installed.
  • The ROI can be from 2 to 4 years depending on your markets and the crops you choose to grow and sell.
  • Payroll for two full time employees to operate a single commercial PFAS Unit (30 modules)
  • The Net-Net for this example is US$100,000 per year

  • Four PFAS Units (120 modules) are needed to be a millionaire
  • Four PFAS Units will require approximately US$1,000,000 of initial investment.
    Colle Davis, Lead Inventor, Portable Farms® Aquaponics Systems harvesting a PRIZE WINNING 17-lb bok choy. Oh the joys of aquaponics . . . the fun just never ends! 🙂

Colle Davis, Lead Inventor, Portable Farms® Aquaponics Systems harvesting a PRIZE WINNING 17-lb bok choy. Oh, the joys of aquaponics . . . the fun just never ends! 🙂

To start, do your homework, complete your marketing survey, talk to a local casino, high-end restaurant and resort hotel chefs to see how much of their weekly produce they are willing to buy from you. Talk to at least TEN chefs, add the numbers of different vegetables they are requesting together, divide by two (this gives you the built-in expansion for your business) and design your installation to fulfill that amount of produce by the end of your first year of production.

Yes, it’s a LOT of hard work, focus, managing yours and/or other people’s money and a dedication to bring the finest food on the planet to your market that can make you a millionaire in a few short years, but like all growers and farmers will tell you, there is a great deal of hard work ahead. PFAS LLC’s Portable Farms® Aquaponics Systems technology offers one way to grow healthy food and profit from your hard work.

A 10,000 sq. ft. greenhouse with Portable Farms Aquaponics Systems installed. Location: Botswana Africa.

Commercial aquaponics programs will change the face of aquaponics, make their investors very happy, create jobs for thousands of people and equally important, provide the highest quality, locally grown food for the growing middle class around the world. The technology of aquaponics, especially as a viable alternative to long-food-miles groceries is finally becoming a part of mainstream thinking.

As the acceptance of aquaponics moves from fringe idea to proven commercial production, there has been a profound shift in those who are interested in applying the technology and how they are affecting the industry. Now the moneyed people (the serious investors), the visionaries with immense deep-pocket connections and the people who can make a difference in the world are stepping into the food growing arena as investors.

Aquaponics is at least 4,700 years old and has been practiced in various forms in many places in the world, especially where great amounts of food were needed for large for areas with large population and the land or water was limited. Maximizing the nutrient stream (fish effluent) is critically important when land is restricted. The use of animal’s waste to encourage the growth of aquatic plants and animals is an elegant solution to a wastewater management problem. 

Modern aquaponics offers a locally based, extremely high yield, food production facility that also provides permanent full-time jobs for semi-skilled workers. When a concentration of modern aquaponics installations occur an increasingly sophisticated and broader administrative function is required to run them effectively.

Another benefit of these installations is the creation of many secondary jobs. These additional jobs normally add four to seven additional local positions in the support-function businesses. 

Precision Growing in Aquaponics Systems

Precision Growing with Portable Farms® Aquaponics Systems
– by Colle and Phyllis Davis

Precision growing is defined as ‘delivering the exact nutrients and other requirements necessary for growing  healthy plants with the required amounts of food, nutrients and light.’

Aquaponics uses grow tables in a much more efficient and effective manner. The water’s pH and carefully timed delivery system as well as the addition of macro-nutrients and micro-nutrients are all very important to successful growing results. So are the available light level and intensity and the temperature and the air flow in the building. Delivering each requirement at all times results in maximum yields in record growing times. The added expenses of these high tech growing systems are very quickly offset by the dramatic increases in yields.

  • Controlled environment agricultural growing is very quickly becoming the state-of-the-art production because of the multitude of advantages. These include:
      • Extended growing season – often year round
      • Greatly reduced consumption of water even with in-ground growing methods
      • Less expensive and more accurate pest control – often pests are eliminated as a problem
      • Growing is placed much nearer to markets in many cases
      • Less chance for crop losses due to weather, pests, water loss and theft
      • More efficient use of fertilizers and nutrients used for maximum production
      • Custom and high-value crops easier to grow for local markets.

Portable Farms® Aquaponics Systems actually deliver a slight excess of everything the plants need, even the light, so every plant always have the perfect conditions for maximum growth. PFAS also has other advantages:

      • Less water use than any other type of commercial growing system available today
      • No pesticides are ever used
      • The waste water is a valuable fertilizer that can be used on other crops or sold at a profit
      • Waist high work area
      • No single point of failure
      • No weeding – ever
      • Watering is automatic
      • No soil or dirt inside the building.

For maximum production/yield, PFAS LLC recommends the following ENHANCEMENTS to a regular PFAS installation:

      • The addition of micro-nutrients that include  iron, magnesium, calcium and potassium and 53 other vital minerals are supplied with organic FF-Mineral Rock Dust
      • High performance greenhouse coverings that protect from weather extremes.
      • Insulation of all walls and roof that do not contribute direct sunlight to the grow trays
      • Grow lights capable of providing maximum full spectrum lighting for both greens and blooming plants.
      • Inert growing medium for planting seeds
      • Trellis installation for maximum vertical growing for blooming plants (tomatoes, cucumbers, beans, peppers, etc.)
      • Full monitoring system of all functions within the building that notify operator of any necessary adjustments required
      • Low cost fish tank heaters
      • Automatic water leveling system for fish tanks.

These controlled-environments-precision-growing-systems are capital intensive on the front end, but they produce income very quickly and continue to produce income over long periods of time with only operational expenses needing to be covered. The ROI on the Portable Farms® Aquaponics Systems is only three to five years. Investors really appreciate these advantages and the new ‘farmers’ appreciate the opportunity to reap huge rewards for their efforts.

Feeding the Hungry with Portable Farms®

Feeding the Hungry with Portable Farms®
– by Colle and Phyllis Davis

In today’s world of chaos, fear, hunger, poverty, dishonesty and crushing bureaucracy, there is a way to help those as close as your family or as inclusive as your community or even a larger section of the earth by installing an aquaponics system. Now you or your organization can really make a difference in people’s lives, forever, by feeding people and providing employment to those who need it most.

Our article on the Portable Farms® website, Feeding a Family of Five, went around the world in 24 hours and drew interest from readers in over 140 countries. After all, our loyal readers are looking for immediate solutions to their own food needs. They want to avoid worrying about the cost of food, relying on coupons, tainted food, and staying current on sales from local grocery stores; they’re interested in creating a never-ending supply of fresh, pesticide free food near their kitchen so they never have to buy their table vegetables at their grocery store again, EVER.

Please note: The majority of the food grown in Portable Farms® that is not consumed by the owners MUST be sold and not given away to those in need. Why? Because the focus of donor funding always shifts, over time, to various causes and if (for whatever reason) the funders or donors who are supplying the money for the ongoing costs of labor, water, electricity, etc., required to operate a Portable Farm decide to reallocate that funding to another cause, the aquaponics system will eventually fail. While good deeds are encouraged in the world, nothing (not even funding) lasts forever. However, if food grown in Portable Farms® is SOLD to pay the necessary operating expenses for the Portable Farm, the operation has a chance for long-term survival in that community.

The question we have received most often about community aquaponics installations is:  “How can a larger group use an aquaponics system to become more locally self reliant?”

Here is our answer: “By using the same formula of 25 sq ft to feed one adult, any group can sit down and figure out what size system they need to feed their members or target audience. For example, if a group wants to feed 240 people, they would need 6,000 square feet of grow space which fits perfectly into a 10,000 sq ft greenhouse in ¼ acre. That will provide them with most of their table vegetables and fish, a regular source of healthy protein, forever. It would not include root vegetables like potatoes. carrots nor legumes and grains.”

If your organization is focused on ways to help the children in your community or somewhere else in the world, the same formula can be applied. In many cases, part of that help can also include jobs for their parents and help teach the children about ‘the cycle of life’ and the value and benefits of healthy nutritional habits. 

A religious organization can very easily address the needs of their congregation or a target group that they are assisting by using the same ‘people to grow space’ formula. For a group of one hundred persons in need, a PFAS Unit containing only 4,000 sq ft of enclosed space will do the job. That is a greenhouse only 50 x 80 feet. Nearly every religious organization has that much space in their parking lot or in an open area next to their main church building. This size will provide all of the table vegetables and some of the fish needs for the 100 people or it will also help supplement the needs of nearly twice that many people.

Community groups can also start a locally supported installation and be able to leverage their resources to a much greater degree with an investment in a permanent food-production facility run by local semi-skilled labor. The opportunity to serve the community and actually have the system help pay for itself over time is a huge advantage over nearly any other source of food items. Plus, it offers employment to a few of the locals ‘in need’ for a permanent full time job.

Even nonprofit organizations can step in and serve their community in a way that outlasts the original donor’s money. By using donor money, they can erect one or more Units, perhaps under the name of the donor, and the system becomes an income-generating fixture to the organization, or at least self sustaining investment, as it serves the target group. Even programs that are designed to provide ‘in-home help’ can benefit from having an aquaponics system on site or close by to provide food for the recipients.

For those who wish to give to, and to support those who are less fortunate, our aquaponics systems are a way to leverage their giving. By setting up a foundation or charity which actually owns the installations, an individual, or family, or organization can dramatically impact the lives of those they wish to help and insure their money is put to work doing the most possible good.

 


FISH POOP IS NOT ENOUGH!

FISH POOP IS NOT ENOUGH!
– by Colle and Phyllis Davis

Kale and Bok Choy grown with FF Mineral Rock Dust by Phyllis Davis, co-inventor, Portable Farms.

Our Fish Friendly Mineral Rock Dust gives your aquaponics system a HEALTHY KICK for growing health plants and fish without the use of chemicals:
– Iron
– Magnesium
– Calcium
– Potassium (vital for blooming plants, tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, etc.)
– It also includes other trace elements for successful growing in your aquaponics or hydroponic system and it is FISH SAFE. 

One head of tokyo bekana (a mild Asian green) and one head of Swiss Chard grown with FF Mineral Rock Dust by Colle Davis, lead inventor, Portable Farms.

Just sprinkle FF MINERAL ROCK DUST ROCK on your growing medium, water the medium and then plant your seeds. It’s as easy as that.

PFAS LLC is making available our FF (Fish Friendly) Mineral Rock Dust that enhances the health of your plants and your fish and adds the trace elements vital to your system for encouraging healthy green plants and prompts your blooming plants to continually blossom in your aquaponics system!

FF (Fish Friendly) Mineral Rock Dust. It looks like chocolate talc.
It’s very light and powdery.

(Photo above shows FF Mineral Rock Dust spilling out of a salt shaker onto a dinner plate)

To Order FF Mineral Rock Dust: CLICK HERE. (Ships from San Diego, California)

FF Mineral Rock Dust provides aquaponics growers the perfect balance of many trace elements not consistently available from just plain ordinary fish poop. Now you can grow consistently blooming plants with the addition of FF Mineral Rock Dust, as your plants and your fish poop will now contain adequate levels of calcium, iron, magnesium and potassium, just to mention four of the vital elements for successful growing in aquaponics.

mineral rock dust sprinkle

Just sprinkle FF Mineral Rock Dust on your planting medium, plant the seeds and water them. That’s it!  It works like MAGIC. 

The use of FF Mineral Rock Dust keeps you from playing the ‘chemical numbers game’ and constantly guessing whether you’re doing it correctly.

  • Question: What trace elements should I use to solve a variety of growing and blossoming issues in aquaponics?
  • Answer: Calcium, iron, magnesium and potassium

  • Question: How much FF Mineral Rock Dust should I add to my aquaponics system?
  • Answer: We recommend one pound per 200 square feet of growing space.

  • Question: Is it safe for my fish?
  • Answer: YES, if used as directed in the instructions sheet that accompanies the FF Mineral Rock Dust.

  • Question: How often should I use the FF Mineral Rock Dust in my aquaponics systems?
  • Answer:

Sprinkle FF Mineral Rock Dust on your growing medium and wet with water before planting your seed.

When the plant has grown 1.5” to 2” (and becomes a seedling), simply sprinkle the FF Mineral Rock Dust on the area and wet with water in your Grow Tray prior to planting the new seedling.

Sprinkle the FF Mineral Rock Dust again on the base of any plant that stays in the Grow Tray for 60 days (for example, tomatoes, etc.) and wet with water. 


  • Question: What is the cost of the FF Mineral Rock Dust? Is it affordable?
  • Answer: YES, It is extremely affordable. A minimum order is a 5 pound bag is $29.95 (plus applicable taxes) plus shipping. Again, we recommend using one pound per 200 feet of grow space in an aquaponics system.

FF Mineral Rock Dust is easy to apply and it’s very affordable for both backyard farms and commercial aquaponics growing.

  • FF Mineral Rock Dust does NOT contain nitrogen which is already being generously supplied by the fish waste from the fish in your fish tank(s) so the combination of the freshly produced nitrogen from the fish waste and the many macro and micro mineral elements in the FF Mineral Rock Dust provides the perfect combination for growing healthy plants in aquaponics systems.
  • The FF Mineral Rock Dust that we recommend is an amendment or addition to a system that is safe and effective to use in all types of aquaponics systems (medium base or raft systems). The pristine mineral product is used by Certified Organic Growers and is 100% Natural. These minerals are vital to growing both green plants and blooming plants in every stage of growth: Seed planting, root development, plant growth, plant health and plant blossoming. The use of this FF Mineral Rock Dust produces plants that are healthy during every stage of growth and development. This product is also environmentally friendly and does not pollute nor does it ‘burn’ plants.

One of the expressions we use frequently regarding planting in our Portable Farms Aquaponics Systems is, “If a plant has a ‘happy childhood,’ it will grow to be a healthy plant.” And it’s so true. If you take care of every stage of planting your seed, growing a seedling and placing it into your Grow Tray, you have a far better chance of growing a healthy plant. If any step of this process during ‘childhood’ is neglected, you will be disappointed with your growing efforts.

One head of india mustard, an Asian Green grown with FF Mineral Rock Dust grown by Phyllis Davis.

Below is the ordering information for FF Mineral Rock Dust. Please note minimal order size for shipping outside the US.

To Order FF Mineral Rock Dust: CLICK HERE. (Ships from San Diego, California)

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Code

Product Name

Size

Price

FF – MRD 105 FF Mineral Rock Dust for Aquaponics

5 lbs.

$29.95

FF – MRD 110 FF Mineral Rock Dust for Aquaponics

10 lbs.

$39.95

FF – MRD 150 FF Mineral Rock Dust for Aquaponics

44 lbs.

$109.95

FF – MRD 2200 FF Mineral Rock Dust for Aquaponics Export Minimum Order outside US is 2200 lb./1000kg   tote

Call for more information about price and shipping   costs

Start a Hobby Farm for Family Fun 

Start a Hobby Farm for Family Fun
– by Colle and Phyllis Davis

Start your own hobby farm and invite your entire family to care for the fish and plants to grow your own food. A small farm requires only five-minutes a day to feed the fish and tend to the plants.

For most people, having a built-in cushion of almost anything provides a really great feeling of comfort. The topic of ‘food security’ for families is in the news today especially in cold climates where fresh food must be imported up to eight months per year instead of being grown locally. Aquaponics offers the choice for growing fresh food grown near your kitchen and available year round.


To have a few months of money that you’ve saved safely tucked away, or a full tank of gas, or cupboards stocked and supplies in the house makes us all feel much more secure. Now, add to that a nice garden, some survival foods tucked away and the means to obtain more food on short notice and you begin to feel that you and your family are ready for whatever might happen in the future. And something will happen, let’s all hope it is something nice.

Assuming you have some of the items (listed above) taken care of and you can afford to create a real survival farm/garden, consider an aquaponics system inside a weatherized greenhouse, basement, garage or even an outbuilding. To size it properly, use the formula for a highly efficient aquaponics system (think Portable Farms® Aquaponics Systems) of 25 sq ft of grow space which is necessary for each adult. This ‘small acreage’ will feed that adult all of their surface vegetables year round forever and provide a source of protein: fish. You may want to increase the total area slightly to insure you can feed those who show up at your door if times do become more difficult.

Lanai Aquaponics in the tropics. This tray feeds four people.

Lanai Aquaponics in the tropics. This tray feeds four people.

Ah yes, the cost. To build a greenhouse (10 x 30′) to house a single PFAS Module for feeding four adults will cost somewhere between US$3,500 and US$5,000 depending on many factors. Cost of greenhouse, climate considerations, floor covering, local lumber costs, etc.

There you have it. If you put the PFAS in your basement or garage there is no cost for the greenhouse, only the PFAS Module materials and some grow lights for indoor growing. Neat, elegant, practical and affordable and the best part, it’s AVAILABLE TODAY.

 

Aquaponics for Beginners

Aquaponics for Beginners
By Colle and Phyllis Davis

There are literally millions of pages on the Internet about the topic of aquaponics.

JOIN THE PORTABLE FARMS FAMILY.

PFAS LLC’s website has been visited several million times over the last 12 months, and we are only one of the many other sites available. To start the journey of having a working aquaponics system, the best place to start is to begin to search the Internet and devote several hours of time to do the research and then assemble your own unique aquaponics system.

Begin with one beta fish or gold fish in a bowl to support one lettuce plant. Grow your interest to feed your family and then if the stars align, install a community garden. BEGIN SMALL and grow from there.

If you’re interested in owning your own aquaponics system, your first goal is to select the size aquaponics system you’d like to operate for your own unique purposes. We always suggest to our customers that they learn how to successfully operate an aquaponics system and if it fits their needs THEN expand to multiple aquaponics modules (the sky’s the limit).

There are literally thousands of websites that can show you how to set up a small workable open-source backyard hobby-aquaponics systems without paying for the information. For those who are not able to purchase our systems, we suggest you START TODAY by working with online/open source information so you can learn about aquaponics and build your own farm. We also suggest you visit online aquaponics forums so you can ask questions you may have from other aquaponics enthusiasts. 

Please do all the research you need to feel comfortable moving forward with your aquaponics project. Some quick numbers that will be helpful:

  • IF you place your small system inside, as in garage or basement, be prepared to spend a few hundred dollars on the very smallest system that will be a joy to show off to your friends and enjoy a few vegetables each year. Indoors, if you build a larger system (4 x 8’ grow tray size) be prepared to spend a little over $1,000 and that will help feed one and a third people. More fun and more bragging.
  • If you go absolutely crazy and put up a greenhouse or ‘big’ installation to feed 4 to 8 people then you are looking at an investment in the US$3,500 to US$8,000 range (depending on your choice of greenhouse).

farm 8 18 2012 aquaponicsWe call this process of starting small and expanding the size of your aquaponics system ‘getting your hands wet’ because even if one possesses all the knowledge in the world about a topic (in this case aquaponics), it will not feed a single person; only ACTION GROWS FOOD and in this case several steps are required before it creates food that nourishes someone and that action has an impact.  Start with research, build a small aquarium and dish pan system, move up to garbage cans or IBC totes, go crazy and build a ‘real’ system so you can kill fish and plants. Oh, sorry, you may not want to hear that, but that is what will happen. That is how one learns, by making mistakes.

aquaponics back yard farmIn the world of makers and successful businesses there is a motto: Fail fast and fail often. This means you will try things and if they work, keep them, if they fail, try something else. Side note here: we have killed thousands of fish in our 45 years in the field of aquaponics. Some we ate, some were our own dumb mistakes coming to bite us and some were out of unintended consequences.

Back to getting a running start in aquaponics. Start somewhere, at some level, now. Modern aquaponics is a brand new field because it encompasses recent technology and innovation along with successful techniques from the past. Aquaponics is evolving rapidly and slowly becoming main stream. The commercial side of aquaponics may take another ten or twenty years to accept on par with hydroponics, but it will happen.

It is the hobbyist, gardener, cook and home owner who are leading the charge on this ‘new’ technology, not the big companies, governments or NGO’s. Aquaponics is up close and personal as only eating can be and it is the opportunity to eat the best food on earth, every day, for a long as you live.

The important part is to get started NOW. Have fun, make mistakes and eat great food.