Backyard Aquaponics

Wintering the system
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Author:  7hares [ Dec 25th, '20, 00:33 ]
Post subject:  Wintering the system

I am new to this and I am sure this topic has already been discussed but I don't see it.

I'm about to start my 1st system but I need some help knowing what to do in the winter.
I live in zone 6b in the USA.
-I have been reading about where to locate the system and at this point I will have to put it outside. My winters do get cold enough that the water running through the grow bed and trickling down will most likely freeze. Do I just shut that part down and add an aerator to the fish tank?
Thank you for your help.

Author:  scotty435 [ Dec 26th, '20, 15:38 ]
Post subject:  Re: Wintering the system

Really depends on how cold it gets there. Here in Oregon I can leave the system running with the grow beds fully exposed and it normally won't freeze (Zone 8b minimum between 10 and 20 F and it rarely gets down in the 20s for more than a week at a time in my location). The top of the grow beds may be iced or have snow but water is still flowing underneath. My system has gotten into the 30s F (but still above freezing) and that's when I get the stock tank heater going.

Depending on how your grow beds are setup you might be able to cover them with arches and plastic film (like a garden row cover). If you have enough sunlight that could keep it warm enough that it doesn't freeze. If this won't work then I'd shut down the beds and drain the pipes, leaving the fish tank as the only running part. An aerator might keep the fish tank from freezing completely or you may want to insulate it and get a stock tank heater just to keep it from freezing (some aeration is a good idea anyway - either by water movement or an aerator).

In really really cold areas (worse than yours), I would recommend indoor fish tanks and filtration (Basically a Recirculating Aquaculture System in some sort of heated structure) which you could run as a separate unit during the winter. When the growing season comes along connect this up to grow beds. The grow beds could be just raised beds that you use Aquaponics water on - this type of bed would warm faster in the spring than regular AP grow beds.

Author:  Poppa [ Jan 1st, '21, 23:32 ]
Post subject:  Re: Wintering the system

Hi Guys.... i just want to reply here as i am looking to connect with others in the USA for a local perspective. I hope to start building a new system this coming Spring. I have been away from aquaponics since 2013 when a blizzard took my greenhouse down and systems with it.


Author:  7hares [ Jan 23rd, '21, 22:46 ]
Post subject:  Re: Wintering the system

Thank you for your help.

Author:  LowCarbTNPer [ Jan 24th, '21, 12:19 ]
Post subject:  Re: Wintering the system

I did learn from my previous systems running water can and will freeze so I shut off my GBs when it was freezing out and had an aerator in the FT. I would run them when it was warm enough.

Author:  gnoib [ Jan 25th, '21, 23:35 ]
Post subject:  Re: Wintering the system

I do a on and off. I live in South West CO at 7500 altitude. We can get to -25F and up to 5 feet of snow. I use stock tank heaters for the fish tank. 750 Watts for 300 gallons is enough. When the temps are in the warm 20F I run the pump. Have to watch closely to make sure the frozen grow beds don't overflow. After 1 hour the warm fish tank water has melted all the ice and I am fine.
When the pump is of for a week I have to keep a close eye on the water in the fish tank. Make a partial water exchange.

Author:  chily [ May 4th, '21, 05:28 ]
Post subject:  Re: Wintering the system

Hi, I would like to ask more experienced advice about winterizing and cleaning the growbed system. How often do you clean the grow beds?

For the winter, the growbed system is completely shut down, we recently started growbed watering and the pond began to grow overgrown with algae. Could it be that the pond was saturated with nutrients from the growth bed?
We flushed the growbed before we started letting water into the pond, so it was a little rinsed.
Before the cycling of the growth bed started, the water was beautifully clean, now it's been a month full of algae.

Is it a coincidence or can it really be by start growbed after winter? Thanks for the help

Author:  A2Z [ Jun 15th, '21, 08:10 ]
Post subject:  Re: Wintering the system

Though I'm currently in FL., originally from the great white north. Below 0 Dec. Through Feb.
I can't imagine anything other than a complete drain for winterizing.
Although I've heard of some talk of wintering perinials such as strawberries. Which I figured out for my system.
"Unplug in the winter, plug in in the spring."

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