This post first appeared on Cold Weather Aquaponics
If you recall, on the first post this blog ever made, I offered a list of techniques that you could use to winterize your aquaponics.  Today we start tackling these ten techniques, in no particular order.  We won't cover one every week.  There will be breaks and some will take more than one week. We also won't be able to cover them in the kind of detail you'll need to actually build a system - that would be next to impossible in a blog format.  For that you'll have to attend a class, such as the one I offer or the one here at AP Source.  But they'll get you started thinking about the issues you need to be thinking about to grow in the cold.

This week, we'll start with a simple technique.*

  • 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)

Insulate Your Pipes


Here's a video that explains the basics of how and why to install piping insulation on your aquaponics system.  It's not really all that complicated, but somehow I still managed to blather on about it for 3:51. Enjoy!

To make your system sing,
You've got to add some bling.
To get it right the first try,
visit your local plumbing supply.

 

*I sort-of started a couple weeks back, with an explanation of how to heat your water, but the main point of that one was to direct your attention away from the heating itself, and to the gathering and storage of solar heat.  The point is that a well-designed system will seldom need any heating, so it doesn't matter what you heat with.  We'll eventually loop back around to talk about efficient water (never air) heating techniques, to do a more efficient job of adding the small amount of heat you actually need.

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Tags: aquaculture, aquaponics, backyard, diy, insulation, pipe, piping, plumbing, winter

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Comment by Jeremiah Robinson on August 20, 2014 at 7:50am

Thanks Jim.  Great advice!  I'll post it on the blog if you don't mind.

I don't think I need to heat the greenhouse even at -20, at least not for spinach, which is all I grow in winter.  If I had supplemental lighting like I hope to put in this year, I would leave them on at night in the low tunnel just to be safe.

I do like your idea of making the greenhouse an enjoyable space to spend time.  Putting in a wood stove for occasional use seems like a great idea.  I also want to put in a hot tub to use for water changes.

Comment by Jim Fisk on August 20, 2014 at 7:38am

Wallyworld puts their 6 foot "swim noodles" on sale for .75 to 1.00 this time of year and they have about a 1" hole. (some have smaller center holes so ck that and don't assume. I have only found the larger ones at WWorld and never at places like the Dollar Stores) They are colorful (pink or blue) and have about 2 - 3 times the insulation that the plumbing covers you used which tend to cost more. I even use them in the house for the hot water lines although they are not fire rated but so much better I'll take a chance. Just cut down one side with a sharp knife to open them up. Takes all of 5 or 10 seconds to do if your knife is truly sharp. So ck that out as they sell out fast at that price. May be gone for this year already and the girl at the ck out told us that lots of people use them for their pipes at home. You need to ask a manager because they move them all over the store. Don't assume they are sold out.

Also Jer, cut those wire tie tails off for a much cleaner look. They too can be had in all sorts of bling colors. True Value sells a canister of all colors so ck that out as well. Also don't tighten those ties too much as those spots loose a great deal of btu insulative value at each tie. I often use electrical tape for that reason and that comes in all colors as well. Now that's more bling for the buck

I must add that at 20F BELOW ZERO you better heat the air as well. Just heating the water will only work if all your veggies are freeze proof. We enjoy our GH greatly in the Winter as a break from the cold so heating the air and the water with our woodstove is a pleasure.

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