Episode-1912- Richard Hastings of East Texas Aquaponics on Stepping Off the Cliff — 17 Comments

  1. Someone asked me why I am covered in mud in this photo (which Jack lovingly scoured off my facebook profile) I think I need to explain it a bit, or it will just never make sense.
    This Photo was from May 2015. In that photo, I had just completed a tough mudder race. It is 10.5 mile, 22 obstacle course, with a lot of mud, ergo the name. I did this in order to prove to myself that I could, actually, do the impossible. It turns out that, in this event, the hard part is the preparation. I believe that this translates well into the rest of life. The original team was supposed to be ten of us. By race time, it was just me. Too many of us have dreams to do something huge. But we let it slide, we put it off. We fail to translate the dreams into goals and the goals into plans, and so our problem isn’t that our dreams are too big, but that we fail to have the faith in ourselves to make the jump towards fulfilling them. This is a problem with the human condition that we see ourselves as not being capable of moving forward, and we make excuses why we can’t. “I’m not smart enough” or “I don’t have time…” or some other lame excuse. Most of the time, it is because we are sitting on our hands feeling sorry for ourselves that we aren’t “winners”. I have been there, trying to figure out how other people seem to have all the luck. It sucks. But winners never sit there feeling sorry for themselves. They just put one foot in front of the other and ignore the pain and all the voices around them telling them that it is too hard to do. Then one day they look up and realize that nobody else has been able to keep up.

    • I meant to ask about it but forgot. Anyway FWIW that is the pic you submitted with your guest app.

  2. Hi jack, we started a aquaponics system 11 yrs ago( deep water culture using channel cats) , It started out as a home school project and got alittle out of hand. we built seven 1000 gal fish tanks, three grow beds 8’x96′ , greenhouse 45’x110′ , six tanks for solids removal, four filter tanks, two degasing tanks. sold our produce at a local farmers market and wasn’t so concerned about making money, however six yrs ago I lost my job and had no choice but to hit the ground running and really sharpen my pencil. since then I have made many modifications to try and get profitable, at best its a brake even proposition. this year I went over to the dark side and converted half the system to hydroponics and Iam lovin life. The lesson learned is keep it simple, simple. thanks George.

  3. Awesome interview, I really liked this one! How much solids does an operation that big produce per week or how often you need to clean it out? And I have a silly question, but is the solids not just more nitrates that could be used by the plants if it was blended or broken down into smaller particles? Or are most of the nutrients pulled from the solids by the time it settles?

  4. our system is decent size holds 5100 plants and three thousand fish, in the beginning we fed the fish two times a day and would clean the clarifiers two times per day and filter tanks two times per week. produced about two five gallon pails a day. If the solids build up it goes anaerobic and stinks,also disease is the result( root rot a big problem) now we feed maybe once a month and clean tanks every couple of months.

  5. Were you able to find AC solenoids or D.C. Timer? I was trying to set up my chicken door like this but had trouble finding reasonable priced ac linear actuator. Thanks!

    • I used AC solenoids. It makes the timers easy. If I were going to control it with an arduino or a raspberry Pi, I would have used a DC instead. Linear Actuaters are all DC, I think.

  6. Hi EricM.
    I’m glad you liked the interview. Jack made it easy.
    I seem to get about 10-15 gallons of fish fertilizer every week or two. I just drain it into a 5 gallon bucket until the water is clear again. Sometimes it takes two buckets per filter. But it is directly related to the amount I am feeding.
    A lot of the minerals become disolved in the water, but certainly not all. I suppose that you could take a stick blender, break it down further, and pour it back into the system. The reason that I separate the solids is to keep the media beds from clogging up. Eventually, the worms might keep up, but not until there are enough of them…

    I don’t know that there is a 100% right way to do this or that I am doing it the best, I am essentially stealing the design because other systems do this. And I love doing something new, but I am not trying to invent anything at this level. I need it to function, and so I steal ideas from others. If it works for someone else, it will probably work for me.

    If I do decide to sell fish #2, I will aerate it and add some molasses to it to turn it into a sort of aerobic compost tea. Honestly, this stuff smells really rank… It need some O2.

    • Thanks for the info! I definitely know what you mean about the stink… I have a pond on my new land with 55 years of old leaf-drop in the bottom. When my garden needs a bit of a fertility boost I’ll scoop a bucket of the muck from the bottom out and put it in the garden… Then stay inside for the rest of the day because it smells like death!

  7. Great interview by the way, Jack and Richard. Learned a lot, as typical, but also for motivation purposes too. Thanks!

  8. Richard,
    Your story is inspiring, and Re-motivating.
    We started a similar walk 5 years ago.
    Though we have come a long way, we are still not at our goals.
    My take-away was you don’t have to continually invest in a lifestyle that you don’t want, just because your already there. And as Jack says, it is your dash, make the most of it. Persistence and Planning seems to be the common theme.

  9. Wow, what a touching tribute to your grandfather-in-law. The last segment and song were very moving. Can’t wait for the article and video to come out.