Category Archives: Aquaponics

Aquafest Aug 6 FREE event

Aquafest is upon us again. We will be back again this year and bringing some of our farm animals. Pixie our Finn ewe and Blue our Oberhasli milking doe. You can learn more about our animals (and videos) on our animals page. We will be talking about homesteading with sheep and goats, plus all our other animals, and some generals about what we have learned along the way and how you can get started too. We will be on site with the animals so stop on by and ask questions and chat with us. Aquafest is hosted by Aquatic Designs and Supply.  Free, kids and family welcome,  don’t forget to bring some quarters to feed the koi, they sure do love Aquafest, they eat VERY well during the event.

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End of season garage sale Aquatic Designs

Our friends at Aquitic Designs are having a end of season garage sale. If you missed the open house party here is another chance to get some deals. Summer fish food, plants, and fish are on sale now and then the clean our the garage of parts, lights, pumps, fittings etc is another opportunity to save for the DIY systems.

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Aquatic Design Open House

Here is a great chance to meet new like minded people, ask questions, get some deals, get great ideas, and generally have a fun time. I will be presenting a class, have Q&A, so ask about aquaponics, ask about permaculture. ask just about anything. it is FREE

Aquatic Design and Supply

August 8th 10:30 AM -7PM

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Ponds, Pools, and Aquaponics

Other than water what do these things have in common? They are all now products and services offered by Aquatic Designs

Last week I had the opportunity to visit with Dan, Scott, and Jessica at the store. My behind the scenes tour as always. I talked with Dan (the owner) about offering classes out at the shop, upcoming events like the garage sale (getting rid of used, and older parts and supplies). I suggested he start offering natural pools to customers. He had indicated that this is something they have done, and will be doing more of int he future. Up until recently this wasn’t something that many people knew about, nor wanted. But more and more people want to get away from the harsh chemicals and have a more natural lifestyle. If you don’t know what a natural pool is think if a conventional swimming pool and a pond had a lovechild. It is clear water, has a pump, no chemicals, and uses nature and plants to keep the water clean. I know what you are thinking, stagnant, smelly pond with cloudy water. If installed properly this will not be the case. Dan and team already have the plants, equipment and know how to install these types of systems. Here are some examples of what natural ponds can look like.

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Now, who wouldn’t one of these? The bonus, no chemical checks, not testing, no adding of chemicals. Nature does it for you.

If this isn’t your style, they have the traditional ponds as well. But people typically stock ponds with Koi and other fish to look at, and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. But think about stocking with catfish, hybrid bluegill or yellow perch, all are cold hard, all will be equally happy to see you when you feed them. The only difference is, you can eat them when they get larger. You can eat koi, it is just a carp, but some varieties of koi especially the larger ones can go for big bucks. Aquatic Designs are working on programs to stock yellow perch and tilapia, and can get you a wide range of fish.

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Speaking of tilapia, because they are a warm water fish they will not survive here in Indiana over the winter and are better suited for aquaponics indoors. I have been very impressed with the speed and designs Aquatic Designs have developed their aquaponics programs and systems. They have everything you need from lighting, to pumps, to media, to fish. Not a DIY type of person, they have turnkey configurations or something custom to fit just your right spot. If you are having troubles with your system, they can help with that too. 5 years ago they were not offering such systems and I am glad I cam across them and opened up the dialogue. Now I have a local store to get parts. Before, I was having to order online and hope it would fit, or was what i needed. I am a hands on and visual builder. I usually go in with fitting and part asking “Do you have a fitting that works on this…?”. What I really like is they are hoarders like me and don’t throw anything away. I manage to find a part  I needed from a salvage they did on a customers in ground pond for my aquaponics.  Here are a few systems they have up and running. I need to do better about taking my own pictures when there. I am always so busy talking and checking all the new stuff out I forget. The last time I looked I think they have 12 or so DIFFERENT configurations. Scott is somewhat an experimenter like myself and always trying new configurations, designs, products. So they don’t just sell them, they test them and can give you great advice on what will work best for you. These are from their Facebook page.

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Here I am after a class I gave with the Indiana Koi group at Aquatic Designs this summer.

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They are located in Monrovia and is a pretty quick drive down 39 from 74 or 70 on the west side of town.

445 N Chestnut
Monrovia Indiana 46157

317-996-3106

Before you drive out, you may want to give them a call. During winter months they keep different operating hours than spring, summer and fall. They can be open by appointment and are usually on site, but in one of the back barns and operations center getting ready for spring or tending to the greenhouse so the main office isn’t open

They do have some opportunities available and check out the Projects and Opportunities page for details. We also will be having a tour date once winter is over, and a garage sale event.

I like the fact that it is both a place for the DIY and the installations spot. You can DIY and get your parts, then ask for help if you run into problems. At least for me, I can’t get everything i need in one spot, or it is a installation only company. I can get some parts here, some parts or supplies there, but not everything together so I can see how it fits. I love the DIY aspects of many of my projects. But for something like the natural pond, I think I will leave it to them, but help and assist as much as I can.

Disclaimer: I am not getting paid or advertising on Aquatic Designs behalf. I am recommending a business and staff I have repeatedly done business with over the years. I feel that not many people know about them in Monrovia, and many in my circle could benefit from their offerings.

New classes

Some great new classes are coming as spring approaches.

How to build a community through gardening Feb 28th

Details here $20 and lunch is included

Indiana Small Farm Conference March 5th-7th

Details here. $ to enter but varies depending on day(s) and age/situation (adult, student, under 12 etc)

Tree Grafting Workshop March 21

Brambleberry Farms is teaching how to graft. $90 for 4 hrs of instruction all materials provided, and you take home 4 custom grafted trees.

Register and details here only 5 spots left.

March 23 7-9pm

Free class on Aquaponics, Hydroponics, organic Gardening

Once confirmed, details will be here

New project/Opportunity available

Southside Project (NEW)

I have a client who is looking for assistance with physical build of raised bed boxes. Approximately 10, and all materials already onsite. There is also additional projects for large in ground aquaponics, removing trees for in ground vegetable garden, and removal of chain link fence. Property is on the Southside of Indy around the Stop 11 and Bluff Road area. Work to be started ASAP. Property owners on site to help, just lack of time preventing project completion. This is a multi phase project and the raised beds will be 1st, and later projects developed and may need further assistance

For a list of other projects see the Projects Page.

If any projects interest you use the Contact Us Page.

July 26th General “Farm” tour

People have asked to have another general farm tour. We are having another on July 26th 9am. It will again be $20/person.

If weekend tours do not work for you schedule, please contact us and we can try to arrange one that better fits into your schedule.

Signup and register here.

Come out see, ask questions, see what is going on. It is estimated 3 hrs but I like to talk, and if there are more questions we are not on a time constraint. Some areas may have more questions or information if people are interested.

Suburban “farm” tour. Come out and see what is possible on 0.2 acres of suburbia. We have ducks, chickens, 5000 gal outdoor aquaponics, 4000 gal frog pond, a new 50 gallon indoor aquaponic system, fruit trees, berry patches, edible landscaping, rabbits, grapes composting, vermicomposting, vertical gardening, rain harvesting, and medicinal herbs. The goats may be on property, if not we will discuss different aspect of back yard goats as well.

In addition to covering all of the above and lessons learned through “failing”

We will cover how to use an A-Frame level for finding contours on your property as well as how to make an A-frame level.

Anti-chicken tractors

Where to find materials for cheap or free

We will talk and show different aspects of permaculture we are practicing.

Talk about the many ways to use a aquarium air pump to benefit your property.

Making and using compost tea

Possibly have a plant exchange as well (please if attending put what you will bring in the comments so others may benefit/trade)

Seem like a lot? We are only using about 40% of our 0.2 acres.

This is our home, and please respect we do not let the public in our home, so no public restrooms are available. You may also park in the drive as we will have moved our vehicles to accommodate you.

We can/do accept PayPal/credit debit cards. However cannot do both cash and electronic payments on the Meet-up space. Our PayPal ID is wolfbeachfarms@gmail.com and we use both Square and Paypal Credit/debit payments. Space is limited.

Start time is 9am. If you need to make payments or otherwise, please show up a few minutes early.

 

Suburban “farm” tour May 18th

Suburban “farm” tour. Come out and see what is possible on 0.2 acres of suburbia. We have ducks, chickens, 5000 gal outdoor aquaponics, 30 gallon indoor system, fruit trees, berry patches, edible landscaping, rabbits, grapes composting, vermicomposting, vertical gardening, rain harvesting, and medicinal herbs. The goats won’t be on property yet, but we will discuss different aspect of back yard goats as well.

In addition to covering all of the above and lessons learned through

We will cover how to use an A-Frame level for finding contours on your property as well as how to make an A-frame level.

Anti-chicken tractors

Where to find materials for cheap or free

We will talk and show different aspects of permaculture we are practicing.

Talk about the many ways to use a aquarium air pump to benefit your property.

Making and using compost tea

Possibly have a plant exchange as well (please if attending put what you will bring in the comments so others may benefit/trade)

Seem like a lot? We are only using about 40% of our 0.2 acres.

This is our home, and please respect we do not let the public in our home, so no public restrooms are available. You may also park in the drive as we will have moved our vehicles to accommodate you.

We can/do accept PayPal/credit debit cards. However cannot do both cash and electronic payments on the Meet-up space. Our PayPal ID is wolfbeachfarms@gmail.com and we use both Square and Paypal Credit/debit payments. Space is limited.

Start time is 1pm. If you need to make payments or otherwise, please show up a few minutes early. Estimated end time is 4pm

RSVP required. Please use this site.

 

Aquaponic pictures

Here are some pictures from our current aquaponic configurations. The greenhouse system has been 60% scrapped.  Once redesigned I hope to make into a Chinampa similar to the pic below.

Chinampa

Current designs.

Grow Beds are fed from the pond though the radial filter

Grow Beds

Pond (approximately 5000 gal)

Pond

Creek adds oxygen and will have filter plants along the path

Creek

Return from grow beds (Recycled PVC pipe from Aquaponics V1.5)

Return from Grow beds

Radial filter (with bottom drain not shown)

Radial Filter

Indoor System (Stocked with 40 tilapia from BlueNote Farms)

Indoor System

New water feature

Over the winter I took down the aquaponics outside due to freezing temps. I let the pump run through a long pipe so that the fish would continue to get oxygenated water. One day while I was out and about I was able to snag a 20×25 foot section of roofing EDPM liner. The family was moving, and he worked at a roofing company and had it left over at his home. He needed it cleaned and I can always have a use for EDPM liner. Brainchild happened. I always loved playing in creeks as a kid, making damns, waterfalls, pools, and just listening to the water. All the kids like this as well, so I put in a new water feature. It served several purposes.

Current water feature 2014
Current water feature 2014
Water Feature 2013
Water Feature 2013

First, adding additional oxygen to the water for the fish in the pond. Having stagnant water hinders the fish growth. Having several waterfalls adds tons of opportunity to get more oxygen into the water. More oxygenated water means a higher stocking density is possible. It is not only good for the fish but also good for the plants and the beneficial bacteria breaking down the fish waste.

Second, the waterfall and associated mini ponds foster more places for bees and other beneficial insects to get water. Having lots of areas where the water is shallow allows bees, butterflies, frogs and toads to hang out. While cleaning out some of the winter litter off the bottom we will have tons of frogs over the next couple of years, due to the number of tadpoles I found.

Third, all the pools, and rocks it mimics more closely what is found in nature. Sediment and particles can settle and be filtered out of the water. I plan on adding more water loving plant species on my next trip to Aquatic Design. I want to plant in the pond itself and along the creek too.

Fourth, the sound is calming and relaxing. We can now sit on our deck (now that it is chicken proof) and listen to the babbling stream in the evenings while we eat on the deck.  Sorry for the “mess” I went out to get a quick video so I can publish. Sounds great. It will look much better once I clean up, finish laying rocks, and put in plants.

Fifth, it acts as a barrier to the creeping plants. Last year we added some mint and catnip to the area. These will get out of control if not in pots or otherwise contained. The creek will act as a barrier to keep them between the creek and the deck (we hope).

Sixth, the creek is an overflow from the water collection rain barrels. Once they are full the water will overflow into the creek.

Lastly, it keeps the kids entertained and is a learning opportunity. How does water flow? Making damns, making pools, boat races, currents, eddies all kinds of lessons can be learned. Once more wildlife sets in we can study what lives in the running water. Where do the frogs hang out and why? The kids and I can spend hours adjusting the waterfalls, where to place the bigger rocks, the smaller rocks, the pebbles, where to have a sand bar. When you move one rock the whole dynamic changes for that section. Who knows, maybe we will make a map like they do for white water rafters. Where are the good rapids, where are the large boulders, where is the waterfall, where are the deep pools. Let the kids name them. Then next year, make a whole new path.

Every year we have found new things to add to the yard, change or redo. What we learned and how to make it better, or change something around. In the five years we have been at this property the landscaping has never been the same from one year to the next.