Originally published on coldweatheraquaponics.wordpress.com.

Cold Weather AquaponicsThis website and blog is devoted to helping those who live in zone five or colder to grow plants and fish together with a minimum of cost and energy use.

In case you were wondering, zone five is freeze-your-nuts-off cold! It corresponds to average winter minimum temperatures below minus ten degrees fahrenheit (not windchill). At these temperatures, with a mild wind, you get frostbite in thirty minutes.

Hard as it may be to believe, you can raise fish in liquid water and grow live plants in zone five without spending all your hard earned cash on heat, chopping wood all winter, or maintaining a twenty-yard compost pile like Jean Pain.  

Through the use of a variety of techniques I’ve read about or developed myself, I’ll show you how to keep everyone warm and alive when it’s cold-as-Pluto outside.  These techniques include the following:

  • Passive Solar Greenhouse Design
  • Insulated and Air-Sealed Fish Tanks and Grow Beds
  • Insulated Piping
  • Multiple Layers of Thermal Protection for Plants
  • Fish Selection for Cold Hardiness
  • Plant Selection for Cold Hardiness and Freeze/Thaw Tolerance
  • Efficient Water (Not Air) Heating
  • Programmable Temperature-Dependent Pumping Controls
  • Strategies for Maximizing Nitrification in Cold Water
  • Aquaponics-Integrated Hot Tubs (Seriously)

Don’t worry if some of these strategies go over your head.  I promise to explain them in accessible language with lots of diagrams, examples, and videos.

I’ll post blog entries about once per week, start offering products as soon as I can, and generally try to be as entertaining as I can manage on little sleep (baby on the way very soon).

You’re welcome to look, but based on my searching nobody else on the internet is actively trying to push the envelope on inexpensive and energy efficient cold weather aquaponic growing. Maybe that’s because it’s a little crazy. But heck, we’re already living in the frozen tundra, so why not make the best of it?

Feel free to contact me directly and post whatever comments you feel like on the blog. I’ve got skin like a astatotilapia, so as long as they’re not blatantly self-promotional, totally off topic, or personal attacks on other commenters I’ll leave them up.  

I’d welcome your feedback and debate about the best ways to pull off this absurd and wonderful goal. Together we can accomplish something awesome.  

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Tags: aquaponics, cold, weather

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Comment by Jeremiah Robinson on April 24, 2014 at 8:26am

Thanks Converse.  I'll be interested to hear how your systems progress.

Comment by Converse on April 24, 2014 at 8:12am

Will be following this with great interest.  I'm connected with some people who have expressed an interest in AP in remote parts of Alaska.

- Converse

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