BITs & PIECEs

THE TERROR OF THE DEEP..!

Posted by on Apr 24, 2016

Many of you, I’m sure, have possibly never seen a Dragonfly Nymph and know very little if anything about them. They are actually the terror of the deep when it comes to small fish and if you do not protect you fish tanks and other receptacles which are susceptible to being cruised by the adult Dragonfly, your fry and small fish will be their feeding grounds and you will never know what happened to them.  They, among other critters, are the reason that you never bring in plants you have gathered from the wild such as creeks and ponds. This video should give you a little incite into what they are capable of /li> A dragonfly is an insect characterized by large multifaceted eyes, two pairs of strong transparent wings, and an elongated body. Dragonflies are similar to damselflies, but the adults can be differentiated by the fact that the wings of most dragonflies are held away from, and perpendicular to, the body when at rest. Dragonflies possess six legs (like any other insect), but most of them cannot walk well....

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DIY-SELFERS 101

OFF GRID & SOLAR POWERED…!

Posted by on May 1, 2016

I live in central Florida near the coast where we get plenty of sunshine.  After completing my Aquaponics system I wanted to have a backup for when the power goes out. So I figured that solar power is a good way to go here. We have been lucky for the past six years with no major hurricanes but that is unusual. We have been without power for seven days, five days, three days and so on. Most times it is at least one day so I designed for three days without power. A lot of the following information can apply to wind power as well.  Let me say that working with solar panels and batteries can be dangerous. I have a background in electronics and have certifications from two tech schools and a solar design and installation certification. I think that it is worth it to at least get a certification in solar installation so you know the basics. http://www.sunpirate.com/ If you are unable to do that then please do a thorough study on the subject.  We need to have a...

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Veggies Galore

BASIL….THE HERB OF CHOICE

Posted by on Apr 6, 2016

Basil is a tender low-growing herb. Basil is a culinary herb prominently featured in Italian cuisine, and also plays a major role in the Northeast Asian cuisine of Taiwan and the Southeast Asian cuisines of Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos. Depending on the species and cultivar, the leaves may taste somewhat like anise, with a strong, pungent, often sweet smell. There are many varieties of Ocimum basilicum, as well as several related species or species hybrids also called basil. The type used in Italian food is typically called sweet basil, as opposed to Thai basil (O. basilicum var. thyrsiflora), lemon basil (O. X citriodorum) and holy basil (Ocimum tenuiflorum), which are used in Asia. While most common varieties of basil are treated as annuals, some are perennial in warm, tropical climates, including holy basil and a cultivar known as ‘African Blue’. Basil is originally native to Iran, India and other tropical regions of Asia, having been cultivated there for more than 5,000 years. When soaked in water, the seeds of several basil varieties become gelatinous, and are used in Asian drinks...

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The Fish We Grow

KOI LOVE ~ THE BEGINNING..!

Posted by on Mar 23, 2016

Koi are among the longest-living vertebrates, with some living over 200 years. The most popular category of Koi is the Gosanke, which is made up of the Kohaku (Nishikigoi), Taisho Sanshoku, and Showa Sanshoku varieties. Is there anything in nature more diverse or beautiful..? History The carp is a large group of fish originally found in Central Europe and Asia. Asian carps were originally domesticated in East Asia, where they were used as food fish. The ability of carp to survive and adapt to many climates and water conditions allowed the domesticated species to be propagated to many new locations including Japan. Natural color mutations of these carp would have occurred across all populations. Carp were first bred for color mutations in China more than a thousand years ago, where selective breeding of the Prussian carp led to the development of the Goldfish. Carp are known as Koi in Japan. Of the various domesticated carp species, the common carp is one of the more commonly used in Aquaculture. The common carp was grown as a food fish at least as far...

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Recent Posts

OFF GRID & SOLAR POWERED…!

OFF GRID & SOLAR POWERED…!

May 1, 2016

I live in central Florida near the coast where we get plenty of sunshine.  After completing my Aquaponics system I wanted to have a backup for when the power goes out. So I figured that solar power is a good way to go here. We have been lucky for the past six years with no major hurricanes but that is unusual. We have been without power for seven days, five days, three days and so on. Most times it is at least one day so I designed for three days without power. A lot of the following information can apply to wind power as well.  Let me say that working with solar panels and batteries can be dangerous. I have a background in electronics and have certifications from two tech schools and a solar design and installation certification. I think that it is worth it to at least get a certification in solar installation so you know the basics. http://www.sunpirate.com/ If you are unable to do that then please do a thorough study on the subject.  We need to have a great deal of respect for electricity and the dangers of batteries. Let me explain the basics. After getting a certification in solar design and installation I decided to do a small experimental system. I found a small photovoltaic (PV) system on Amazon made by Sunforce.  I added another kit from http://www.harborfreight.com/45-watt-solar-panel-kit-90599.html I just used the panels from the second kit because I didn’t care for their charge controller. It would drain the battery at night.  Before buying anything make sure that you have enough sun in the location of your installation. Six hours of sun without interference from trees or anything that will block the sun from reaching the cells. This is known as “Shading” In my location the panels are oriented to the south.  While I am talking about orientation, it makes sense to mention Azimuth here. The Azimuth is the angle at which the panel is aimed at the sun for maximum power. Watch the sun at different times of the day to see how it tracks across the sky.  In general PV solar panels should be mounted at an angle of...

THE TERROR OF THE DEEP..!

THE TERROR OF THE DEEP..!

Apr 24, 2016

Many of you, I’m sure, have possibly never seen a Dragonfly Nymph and know very little if anything about them. They are actually the terror of the deep when it comes to small fish and if you do not protect you fish tanks and other receptacles which are susceptible to being cruised by the adult Dragonfly, your fry and small fish will be their feeding grounds and you will never know what happened to them.  They, among other critters, are the reason that you never bring in plants you have gathered from the wild such as creeks and ponds. This video should give you a little incite into what they are capable of /li> A dragonfly is an insect characterized by large multifaceted eyes, two pairs of strong transparent wings, and an elongated body. Dragonflies are similar to damselflies, but the adults can be differentiated by the fact that the wings of most dragonflies are held away from, and perpendicular to, the body when at rest. Dragonflies possess six legs (like any other insect), but most of them cannot walk well. Dragonflies are some of the fastest flying insects in the world. In general, large dragonflies like the hawkers have a maximum speed of 10–15 metres per second (22–34 mph) with average cruising speed of about 4.5 metres per second (10 mph). Dragonflies are valuable predators that eat mosquitos, and other small insects like flies, bees, ants, and very rarely butterflies. They are usually found around lakes, ponds, streams and wetlands because their larvae, known as “nymphs”, are aquatic.A Dragonflies life span covers three stages; the egg, the nymph, and the adult dragonfly. Most of their life is lived out in the nymph stage. Male and a female dragonflies mate while they are flying, then the female will lay her eggs on a plant in the water, or she will just drop them into the water. Once the eggs hatch, the dragonflies life begins as a nymph. A nymph looks like a little alien creature. Dragonfly nymphs live in the water while they grow and develop into dragonflies. Dragonfly nymphs live in ponds or marshy areas because the waters are calmer than in a...

DO IT YOURSELF…WHY NOT..?

DO IT YOURSELF…WHY NOT..?

Apr 20, 2016

I was a little hard pressed for all the articles I needed to fill all seven slots for this issue but ONE (Rich Feiller came through for me, thanks Rich) so with this particular subject, I decided to do a visual of some of the ingenious ingenuity of others who have the “AQUAPONIC BUG”. Study each graphic carefully to see if you can find an idea therein that you can incorporate into your current operation or to add to your plans for your first project.             BarrelPonics anyone               Maybe the inhouse hobby setup.             Build it yourself inhouse or garage             Or throw up a greenhouse and go large.                   A Do It Yourselfer in action               I sure hope the neighborhood doesn’t miss their bathtubs!               Yes, your fish should definitely help with the watering of the house plants               An example of a well thought out outdoor unit.             Looks a little rough but very functional.  Never saw a raft system using wood as the raft but I guess it works.     I think my favorite of all the possibles displayed is this one.  It utilizes every inch of space which is important when it comes to economy of growing your own food. All graphics courtesy of...

AQUAPONICS OR HYDROPONICS…?

AQUAPONICS OR HYDROPONICS…?

Apr 13, 2016

This article is actually about hydroponics, however…hydroponics is one half of the Aquaponic system and needs to be understood in as much detail as the Aquaculture side of the equation. The two main types of hydroponics are solution culture and medium culture. Solution culture does not use a solid medium for the roots, just the nutrient solution. The three main types of solution culture are static solution culture, continuous flow solution culture and aeroponics. The medium culture method has a solid medium for the roots and is named for the type of medium, e.g. sand culture, gravel culture or rockwool culture. There are two main variations for each medium, sub-irrigation and top irrigation. For all techniques, most hydroponic reservoirs are now built of plastic but other materials have been used including concrete, glass, metal, vegetable solids and wood. The containers should exclude light to prevent algae growth in the nutrient solution. Static solution culture In static solution culture, plants are grown in containers of nutrient solution, such as glass Mason jars (typically in-home applications), plastic buckets, tubs or tanks. The solution is usually gently aerated but may be unaerated. If unaerated, the solution level is kept low enough that enough roots are above the solution so they get adequate oxygen. A hole is cut in the lid of the reservoir for each plant. There can be one to many plants per reservoir. Reservoir size can be increased as plant size increases. A homemade system can be constructed from plastic food containers or glass canning jars with aeration provided by an aquarium pump, aquarium airline tubing and aquarium valves. Clear containers are covered with aluminium foil, butcher paper, black plastic or other material to exclude light, thus helping to eliminate the formation of algae. The nutrient solution is either changed on a schedule, such as once per week, or when the concentration drops below a certain level as determined with an electrical conductivity meter. Whenever the solution is depleted below a certain level, either water or fresh nutrient solution is added, A Mariotte’s bottle, or a float valve, can be used to automatically maintain the solution level. In raft solution culture, plants are placed in...

BASIL….THE HERB OF CHOICE

BASIL….THE HERB OF CHOICE

Apr 6, 2016

Basil is a tender low-growing herb. Basil is a culinary herb prominently featured in Italian cuisine, and also plays a major role in the Northeast Asian cuisine of Taiwan and the Southeast Asian cuisines of Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos. Depending on the species and cultivar, the leaves may taste somewhat like anise, with a strong, pungent, often sweet smell. There are many varieties of Ocimum basilicum, as well as several related species or species hybrids also called basil. The type used in Italian food is typically called sweet basil, as opposed to Thai basil (O. basilicum var. thyrsiflora), lemon basil (O. X citriodorum) and holy basil (Ocimum tenuiflorum), which are used in Asia. While most common varieties of basil are treated as annuals, some are perennial in warm, tropical climates, including holy basil and a cultivar known as ‘African Blue’. Basil is originally native to Iran, India and other tropical regions of Asia, having been cultivated there for more than 5,000 years. When soaked in water, the seeds of several basil varieties become gelatinous, and are used in Asian drinks and desserts such as falooda or sherbet. They are used for their medicinal properties in Ayurveda, the traditional medicinal system of India and Siddha medicine, a traditional Tamil system of medicine. They are also used as popular drinks in Southeast Asia. Basil grows to between 30 to 130 cm tall, with opposite, light green, silky leaves 3 to 11 cm long and 1 to 6 cm broad. The flowers are small, white in color and arranged in a terminal spike. Unusual among Lamiaceae, the four stamens and the pistil are not pushed under the upper lip of the corolla, but lie over the inferior lip. After entomophilous pollination, the corolla falls off and four round achenes develop inside the bilabiate calyx. Basil is very sensitive to cold, with best growth in hot, dry conditions. It behaves as an annual if there is any chance of a frost. In Northern Europe, Canada, the northern states of the U.S., and the South Island of New Zealand it will grow best if sown under glass in a peat pot, then planted out in late spring/early summer...

THE LOWLY CUCUMBER…!

THE LOWLY CUCUMBER…!

Mar 27, 2016

The cucumber is a widely cultivated plant. The cucumber is originally from India, and there are 3 main varieties of cucumber from which hundreds of different cultivars have emerged on the global market. Flowering and pollination A few varieties of cucumber are parthenocarpic, the blossoms creating seedless fruit without pollination. Pollination for these varieties degrades the quality. In the US, these are usually grown in greenhouses, where bees are excluded. In Europe, they are grown outdoors in some regions, and bees are excluded from these areas. Most cucumber varieties, however, are seeded and require pollination. Thousands of hives of honey bees are annually carried to cucumber fields just before bloom for this purpose. Cucumbers may also be pollinated by bumblebees and several other bee species. Symptoms of inadequate pollination include fruit abortion and misshapen fruit. Partially pollinated flowers may develop fruit which are green and develop normally near the stem end, but pale yellow and withered at the blossom end. Traditional varieties produce male blossoms first, then female, in about equivalent numbers. New gynoecious hybrid cultivars produce almost all female blossoms. However, since these varieties do not provide pollen, they must have interplanted a pollenizer variety and the number of beehives per unit area is increased. Insecticide applications for insect pests must be done very carefully to avoid killing off the insect pollinators. Storage Cucumbers can best be stored sealed in shrink foil. Sealing a cucumber increases its shelf life considerably. Taste There appears to be variability in the human olfactory response to cucumbers, with the majority of people reporting a mild, almost watery flavor or a light melon taste, while a small but vocal minority report a highly repugnant taste, some say almost perfume-like. Various practices have arisen with regard to how bitterness may be removed from cucumbers. Among these a very common practice popular in India includes slicing off the ends of a cucumber, sprinkling some salt, and rubbing the now-exposed ends of said cucumber with the sliced-off ends until it appears to froth. Another such urban legend states that one ought to peel a cucumber away from the end that was once attached to a vine, otherwise one risked spreading the...

KOI LOVE ~ THE BEGINNING..!

KOI LOVE ~ THE BEGINNING..!

Mar 23, 2016

Koi are among the longest-living vertebrates, with some living over 200 years. The most popular category of Koi is the Gosanke, which is made up of the Kohaku (Nishikigoi), Taisho Sanshoku, and Showa Sanshoku varieties. Is there anything in nature more diverse or beautiful..? History The carp is a large group of fish originally found in Central Europe and Asia. Asian carps were originally domesticated in East Asia, where they were used as food fish. The ability of carp to survive and adapt to many climates and water conditions allowed the domesticated species to be propagated to many new locations including Japan. Natural color mutations of these carp would have occurred across all populations. Carp were first bred for color mutations in China more than a thousand years ago, where selective breeding of the Prussian carp led to the development of the Goldfish. Carp are known as Koi in Japan. Of the various domesticated carp species, the common carp is one of the more commonly used in Aquaculture. The common carp was grown as a food fish at least as far back as the 5th century in China. Common carp were first bred for color in Japan in the 1820s, initially in the town of Ojiya in the Niigata prefecture on the North Eastern coast of Honshu Island. By the 20th century, a number of color patterns had been established, most notably the red-and-white Kohaku. The outside world was not aware of the development of color variations in koi until 1914, when the Niigata Koi were exhibited in the annual exposition in Tokyo. At that point, interest in Koi exploded throughout Japan. The hobby of keeping Koi eventually spread worldwide. Koi are now commonly sold in most pet stores, with higher-quality fish available from specialist dealers. Extensive hybridization between different populations has muddled the historical zoo-geography of the common carp. However, scientific consensus is that there are at least two subspecies of the common carp, one from Western Eurasia and another from East Asia. One recent study on the mitochondrial DNA of various Common carp indicate that Koi are of the East Asian subspecies. However another recent study on the mitochondrial DNA of Koi...

BLOOD WORMS

BLOOD WORMS

Mar 16, 2016

Bloodworms are larvae of the mosquito-like midge family Chironomidae. Almost all chironomids have aquatic larval and pupal stages. They have a world-wide distribution and occur in a wide range of aquatic habitats from fast flowing to completely still and stagnant, and in waters that range from fresh to saline. There may be more than 5000 species but only a small number have been formally identified. There is little difficulty in recognizing the larvae; they are small, distinctly segmented worm-like animals. Although, they are not a true worm due to their exoskeleton and small clawed legs. Their color is variable; some common ones are white, green, yellow, or deep red. The latter is due to the presence of the red pigment, erythrocruorin in the blood of the larvae, the presence of which is of respiratory advantage in waters with low levels of dissolved oxygen (stagnant pools). Some are also transparent and are commonly known as glassworms. However, only those that contain erythrocruorin are red and hence the common name “bloodworm”. In some countries they are also known as red mosquito larvae. Food value to fish Chironomid larvae and pupae have a relatively high protein content with high digestibility, and constitute one of the staple food items of many fishes in their natural environment. Chemical analysis (% of dry weight) shows that bloodworms contain 71–93.6% moisture, 47.7–62.5% protein, 4.9–28.6% fat, 2.3–21% ash, and 4–23% carbohydrates. They are also a good source of iron for the fish since they contain hemoglobin. Bloodworms are a commonly used as a live or frozen food source for aquarium fish culture. Almost all fishes will greedily devour them when they are offered. Research has found that most fishes when provided with bloodworms as a supplementary food item have better growth and spawning rates. Frozen bloodworms could be used as a substitute for live tubificids as they have a comparable protein level. Life cycle Chironomidae go through a complete metamorphosis in their life cycle, egg, larva, pupa, and winged adult midge. Each stage having different characteristics. After mating in flight the female releases the eggs while skimming the water surface. The eggs sink to the bottom where, under tropical conditions, they hatch...