The Aquaponic Farmer: A Complete Guide to Building and Operating a Commercial Aquaponic System by Adrian SouthernThe Aquaponic Farmer: A Complete Guide to Building and Operating a Commercial Aquaponic System by Adrian Southern

The Aquaponic Farmer: A Complete Guide to Building and Operating a Commercial Aquaponic System

byAdrian Southern, Whelm King

Paperback | October 9, 2017

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Profitable cold-water fish and vegetable production. Join the aquaponic farming revolution!

Aquaponic farming-raising fish and vegetables together commercially-is the most promising innovation for a sustainable, profitable, localized food system. Until now, systems have largely focused on warm-water fish such as tilapia. A lack of reliable information for raising fish and vegetables in the cool climates of North America and Europe has been a major stumbling block. The Aquaponic Farmer is the game changer.

Built around a proven 120-foot greenhouse system operable by one person, the book distills vast experience and complete step-by- step guidance for starting and running a cold-water aquaponics business. Coverage includes:

  • A primer on cold-water aquaponics
  • Pros and cons of different systems
  • Complete design and construction of a Deep Water Culture system
  • Recommended and optional equipment and tools
  • System management, standard operating procedures, and maintenance checklists
  • Maximizing fish and veg production
  • Strategies for successful sales and marketing of fish and plants

As the only comprehensive commercial cold-water resource, The Aquaponic Farmer is essential for farmers contemplating the aquaponics market, aquaponics gardeners looking to go commercial, and anyone focused on high quality food production.

Adrian Southern is steeped in all things aquaponic. After years of urban farming and system perfection, he co-founded Raincoast Aquaponics and raises trout and vegetables for a living in the Cowichan Valley on Vancouver Island, BC.

Whelm King is a business manager, project manager, and entrepreneur who has worked in the arts, agriculture, publishing, media, and law. He is co-founder of Raincoast Aquaponics and lives in Nanaimo, BC.

Adrian Southern is an aquaponic farmer and entrepreneur from the Cowichan Valley on Vancouver Island, BC. After founding and operating an intensive urban farm and managing a local farmers market, he is currently steeped in all things aquaponics. After years of system perfection, he founded Raincoast Aquaponics and raises trout and ve...
Title:The Aquaponic Farmer: A Complete Guide to Building and Operating a Commercial Aquaponic SystemFormat:PaperbackProduct dimensions:304 pages, 10 × 8 × 0.75 inShipping dimensions:10 × 8 × 0.75 inPublished:October 9, 2017Publisher:New Society PublishersLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:086571858X

ISBN - 13:9780865718586


Table of Contents

Preface: A World Without Weeds
Introduction: The State of the World

Chapter 1: What Is Aquaponics?
A Primer on Aquaponics
A Very Brief History of Aquaponics
Aquaponic Ecomimicry
Aquaponics, Permaculture and Sustainability
Aquaponic Plant Systems
Deep Water Culture Systems
Drip Tower Systems
DWC or Drip Towers - Our Recommendation
Plant Sites and Light Availability
Bacterial Surface Area
Available Oxygen
Our Conclusion
Backyard vs Commercial Systems

Chapter 2: The RCA System
The Purpose of This Book
Avoiding Our Mistakes
A Note on Reading Before Building
A Note on Metric vs Imperial
A Note on Currency
A Note on North
Property Considerations
Sun Exposure
Characteristics of the Land
Access to Power and Water
Prevailing Winds
Waste Disposal
Long-term Land Rights
Living On Site
The Greenhouse
New vs Used
Types of Covering
Recommended Features
Heating the Air
Cooling the Air
Heating and Cooling the Water
Heat Pump
The Raincoast Aquaponics Greenhouse
Greenhouse Layout
Trough Design Principles
The RCA Troughs
Fish Tanks
Filtration Systems
Mechanical Filtration
Biological Filtration
RCA Filtration Systems
Radial Flow Separator (RFS)
Combination Filter Box (CFB)
Ultraviolet Sterilization
Supplemental Lighting
Germination Chamber
Seedling Area
Water: The Lifeblood of the Farm
Water Temperature
Water Quality Management
Tower System Pumps
The Sump
The Drain Down Effect
Power Consumption

Chapter 3: Principles of System Design
The Golden Ratio of Cold-water Aquaponics
Cold-Water vs Warm-Water Aquaponics
Using the Golden Ratio
Step 1
Step 2
A Note on Tower Systems
A Final Design Note

Chapter 4: Constructing the RCA System
Site Preparation
Greenhouse Construction
Foundation Installation
Arches Installation
Endwall Installation
Covering Installation
Roll Up Sides Installation
Hanging Components Installation
Circulation Fans Installation
Heater Installation
HID Light Installation
Electrical and Internet Installation
Internet Installation
Sump Construction
Sump Construction
Waste Tank Excavation
Trough Construction
Ground Preparation
Trough Construction
Side and Middle Wall Construction
Endwall Construction
Assembling the Walls
Final Placement of the Troughs
Trough Liner Installation
Trough Plumbing Installation
Inlet plumbing
Drain plumbing
Side to Side Plumbing (U-turn)
Estimated Parts List for Trough Construction
Raft Construction
Painting the Rafts
Source Water Installation
Aquaculture Subsystem Installation
Installing the Main Waste Pipe
Installing the Fish Tanks
Building the Standpipe Assemblies (SPAs)
Installing the Radial Flow Separator
Installing the Tank Manifold
Connecting the Tank Manifold to the Radial Flow Separator
Constructing the Combination Filter Box (CFB)
Installing the Moving Bed BioReactor (MBBR)
Installing the Filter Screens
Installing the Combination Filter Box
Installing the Underground Plumbing (Trough Side)
Installing the Aeration Pipe
Aeration Blowers Installation
Air Stone Installation
Pump Side Plumbing Installation
Installing the UV Sterilizers
Installing the UV to Fish Tank Plumbing
Calculating the System Head
Selecting the Pumps
Heat Pump Installation
Cistern Installation
Seedling Table Construction
Workbench Construction
Walk-in Cooler Installation
Germination Chamber Construction

Chapter 5: Tools of the Trade
Shade Cloth
Backup Oxygen and Power
Monitoring System
pH Controller
Dissolved Oxygen Meter
Water Testing Kit
Seedling Trays and Domes
Dibbler Plate
Net Pots
Salad Dryer
Knives and Scissors
Fishing Nets and Tank Covers
Cleaning Brushes
Washing Machine
Chest Freezer
Hot Water System
Stainless Steel Counter/Sink
Constructing the Wash Down Sink
Feed Storage

Chapter 6: Managing the Ecosystem
Nitrifying Bacteria
Mineralizing Bacteria
Bacteria and UV
Mineral and Nutrient Content
Ammonia, Nitrites and Nitrates
Other Plant Nutrients
Chemical Testing
Sample Water Location
Plant Observation
Nutrient Recycling
Water Quality and Management
Two pH Management Methods: Buffering vs Hydroxides
pH Management
Water Temperature
Dissolved Oxygen (DO)
Optimum Water Quality Parameters

Chapter 7: Cycling the System
Filling the System with Water
Cycling the System
The Importance of Calcium in Cycling
The First Cohort of Fish
The First Year of Operation
Full Capacity

Chapter 8: Raising Fish
Fish Species
Feed Conversion Ratio
Fish Sourcing
Record Keeping
Fish Transport
Fish Tempering and Quarantine
Fish Feed
Feeding Your Fish
Feeding Technique
Fish Tank Rotation
Tank Cleaning and Sterilizing
Fish Health
Hydrogen Peroxide Treatment
Salt Bath Treatment
Lab Analysis
Purging Before Harvest
Harvesting Fish

Chapter 9: Plant Production
Plant Selection
The Plants We Produce at RCA
The Growth Cycle
Direct Seeding
Multi-stage Production
Planting Seeds
Transplanting into the Troughs
Raft Placement and Rotation
Transplant Schedule
Thinning and Spacing Plants
Maturing Plants
Plant Inspection
Watering in the Greenhouse
Harvest, Packaging and Storage
Harvesting Methods
Washing Plants
Salad Mixes
Harvest Clean Up
The Production Cycle
Nutrient Deficiencies
Calcium and Potassium
High Ammonia

Chapter 10: Plant Diseases and Pests
Powdery Mildew
Fungus Gnats
Cabbage Loopers
Pill Bugs
Mink and Marten
Plant Disease and Pest Management
Cultural Controls
Environmental Controls
Heating/Ventilation Cycle
Sticky Traps
Predatory Insects
Using Pesticide and Fungicide Sprays
Lethal Concentration Calculation
Re-entry Interval
Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

Chapter 11: Standard Operating Procedures and Protocols
Daily Log
Weekly Tasks
Notes for Phase 3
Weekly Seeding Chart
Crop Log
Fish Sample Log
Cohort Log
Monthly and Seasonal Tasks
Replacing UV Bulbs
Logs and Protocols

Chapter 12: Marketing and Sales
Aquaponic Advantages
Year Round Production
Ethical Plants
Ethical Fish
Aquaponics is Sexy
Potential Markets
Farmers Markets
Restaurants and Retail Stores
Wholesale Distributors
Farm Gate Sales
Market Comparison
The RCA Sales Model
Promoting Your Farm

Chapter 13: Creating a Business Plan
Construction Costs
Property Acquisition
Labor Costs
Site Preparation
List of Initial Costs
Ongoing Operational Costs
List of Ongoing Operation Costs
Income Estimates
Income Estimate Table

Final Thoughts
About the Authors
A Note About the Publisher

Editorial Reviews

"Relying on their personal experience and experimentation, Southern and King have created a how-to manual that covers all aspects of cold water aquaponics, including design options, mechanics, fish and crop choices, system construction and management, plant and fish health, but also important aspects of marketing and business planning. The Aquaponic Farmer is the essential guide for people serious about setting up a commercial, cold-water aquaponic system." —Dr. Daniel Baker, Department of Fisheries and Aquaculture, Vancouver Island University "I highly recommend that anyone contemplating an aquaponics endeavor first read this text by Adrian and Whelm. The text The Aquaponic Farmer provides enormous detail on all aspects of designing, building, and operating an aquaponics operation. The text provides almost a step by step cookbook on all pertinent aspects of aquaponics and is based upon the authors' experiences from their own successful farm." —Michael B. Timmons, PhD & PE, Professor Biological & Environmental Engineering, Cornell University