Sunday, August 18, 2013

Our Eccentric Projects - Aquaponics and Fish Farm

Hubby got fired up for his aquaponics project after taking a tour of a local fish hatchery at the Southeastern Correctional Facility.  You can read all about the new hatchery by clicking on the Columbus Dispatch link, Inmates raising fish to feed Columbus Zoo’s penguins

I didn't visit the prison since it is an all male facility, but dear son took some pictures for me, so I am sharing them with you.
Southeastern Correctional Facility

Biofilters - algae cleans water and converts ammonia to nitrogen.
Final gravel filtration tank.
Happy fish tank, look how clean that water is

At our house:

Twenty minutes before dinner, Hubby cut his finger on a small alcohol burner he was making.  He was experimenting with the holes the flames would come out of on the burner and smashed a sharp edge into his finger, OUCH!  He wants to turn his small burner into a mini-S'more maker.  I think it is an awesome idea, I hope he can get it to work.

Hubby and son have a few projects started, here is a picture of one. Can you guess what they are building now?  The start of an aquaponics system for raising fish and plants.

The excavation of hubby's aquaponics project.

My job, mixing mortar

The ground wasps are scary big!
Hi Mel, Mom and Rosie! Hubby put in some windows for the fish.
Partition wall to separate the fish and access/mechanical area.
Testing a waterproof coating for possible use on the fish tank.
Hi Nathan!

Storage Area = Dog Cave
Dear hubby made a jig out of an old ping pong table to bend pipe for his greenhouse.
Greenhouse is taking shape
Hubby and son made the greenhouse door with an old storm door someone was throwing away.  The glass door was laying in our yard for several years, so I am grateful it has found a re-purpose.

The trial run

Hubby was so excited when he came home with his new fish tank and goldfish.  This is a trial run for the big tank, and it all happened early this morning "BC", ("Before Coffee").

12-10-13 update: The water on version 1, (I'm affectionately calling it V1 now, because there's talk of V2 all ready), aquaponics tank is looking a  bit cloudy, so dear hubby is trying to build the plant and filtering mechanism, that monstrosity pictured below on top of the tank.

V1, view facing us
V1, view facing window with plants.  Hubby says he needs more plants, and round plant containers so they can swivel. 

Version 3 with the bell siphon is up and operational on the fish tank.  The smell from the fish tank was terrible!  It's getting better though, (I thought my clothes were smelling funny from the fish smell), and when the water clears up I'll take a picture for you.

Hard at work on the aquaponics set up, dear hubby made a bell siphon.

Version 4

Version 4 made of cedar and painted with a mixture of caulk and odorless mineral spirits.  After the last fishy smelly version, I am soooooo ready for odorless!

November 12, 2014 
Wow, where did the summer go?  Hubby's aquaponics project is humming along like a speeding freight train.  

What started out as a storage shed has morphed into 2 greenhouses for aquaponics.

I'm calling the hoop greenhouse the "new greenhouse" but it's actually an old one that was overgrown with trees and poison ivy.  I think a snake or two were living in it too. About 3 weeks ago Hubby was measuring the goldfish tank so he could make a temporary winter home for them. As I saw him measuring I said, "Why not move the old greenhouse?"  Hubby liked that idea, and lickity-split, the greenhouse was salvaged, moved and fixed.

During construction there was a Super Moon.
....and a really cute mushroom growing nearby. Yes, I'm easily distracted.

Ah, here you go.  See the solar panel on the roof of the shed?  Everything is solar powered. Hubby has one more panel to install.

"Temporary" goldfish housing in the new greenhouse.
Inside the new greenhouse.  Aquaponics version 10?  I think the goldfish like their new home.

While I was inside cooking hubby was out digging.  "WHAT'S THAT? OH NO! That's a big hole!"  Version 11?

Impulse buy.  Hubby is making it into a pellet stove.

The peppers love it in the new greenhouse.
Wow, fresh lettuce!

Check back to see how hubby's aquaponics project unfolds, or if you just want to stop by for a fish dinner, lol.


  1. Fortunes are made on eccentric projects and happiness is too! Looking great Mike. On the waterproof, they used to make a product called Benotite, probably missed spelled years ago that you put on the outside of earth-homes. As the moisture reached the benotite covered block wall it swelled and sealed the cracks. I don't know if they still make it or if the Feds have outlawed it along with a lot of other good products.

    1. Thanks. I'll check into Bentonite. - Mike

  2. Mike, that's awesome! You went big on a small project I'm going to try this year sometime. I was planning on Tilapia instead of goldfish. There are quite a few different coatings for concrete that you can find at Lowe's or Home Depot. Back when I was a kid, my neighbor used to paint his cement pond with exterior latex paint! Seemed to work great. I wish you great luck with your adventure!

    1. GreenGardenGuy, My latest aquaponics pond is 12 foot long, 4 foot deep, and 3 foot wide in my greenhouse. I made this new pond with ferro cement. It's portland cement and sand over chicken wire. I did not have to put any waterproofing coating on it at all. It's been a year now and so far - so good. I use solar panels to run my pumps because it's too far away from my house to run electric. I'm building a windmill now because Ohio doesn't get much sun in the winter to power all the pumps I have running now.

    2. Oh yeah - it's not mentioned here - not updated, but this past may I bought 200 tilapia. I strongly recommend the tilapia. They grow so fast!