Aquaponic Gardening

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I'm gathering information before building a Friendly Micro system, and I thought I'd decided on some kind of tilapia for my aquaponics' 'engine'  -- but then I read somewhere that catfish will survive in water that is iced over (not necessarily love it, but at least survive!).  I'm in Boulder, CO, and will be getting a 275 IBC tank for my fish -- and it has to go outside, since I don't have the capacity for a greenhouse! 

I am planning on using strawbale technology to insulate (as well as the fishhouse ideas from the Friendlies' website, and hoop tunnels to protect my troughs as much as possible) -- but do any of y'all have experience with cats in freezing water?  (Now THAT sounds like a bad idea, if you're talking about the furry kind!)  I've been exploring on the web, and one site said that "if the water freezes, then the outside temperature is 39 degrees" (sorry, don't remember where that's from) -- but here it gets a lot colder than that. . . . .  Thanks!   carroll


(I posted this on the wrong forum, so I'm reposting here . . . .)

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If you can keep the water from freezing, you can keep an aquaponics system sort of ticking over at a low ebb through winter but I fear keeping things from actually freezing over in your location will actually require some heating in your hoop house/fish tank house.

I wonder if that temperature for freezing has anything to do with altitude?


Here (near sea level) I've experienced water below 32 F that was not frozen and there were catfish surviving in it but I tell you it was painful to catch them (with a small aquarium net) and move them into my greenhouse at the time.

Thanks, TC (?) -- I've been looking into the christmas lights idea for heating during the winter (not LED, obviously) -- I have a feeling that I'm going to be spending the summer doing research and building things, and that I'll probably have to wait until spring to actually start the fish (because starting them in the winter won't be as easy, that's for sure!)


  Maybe the learning curve won't be as steep as that, but, given the altitude and the cold winters here, I don't want to kill my fish . . . . And I gather you meant "painful" as in physically painful?  Or was it mentally stressful for you and the fish? 


I didn't expect to have a year-round growing cycle, but that's another thing I have to think about:  what happens when the plants die, and the fish are still living?  Perhaps in a hoop tunnel, some of the lettuces will be fine during the winter.  In a raft system, it's the plants that are the fish's filter.  And neither Florida nor Hawaiian people will have much experience with that . . . although they'll have great ideas, I'm sure!


I've read Tim and Suzanne's manual a dozen times, now, and need to follow their advice to get a barrel of water and test its temperature outside both summer and winter -- that alone means I'd need to get more data before I start adding fish. I was just captivated by the idea that the cats would be swimming around in the water -- but they'd also have to still breathe, so the aeration would have to continue.  Maybe that alone would keep the water from freezing, but I doubt it.  (Anybody got any ideas about that?)


Supposedly, water does freeze easier at higher altitudes, but not by much.


Thank you so much for all the advice you give to people -- I've been reading the postings on this website for a couple of weeks now, and you're definitely one of the crucial mentors!  not-yet-even-a-newbie carroll



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