Tag Archives: business

Exciting interview about Baltimore Aquaponics

I have officially been in business as Baltimore Aquaponics for about a year now, although I have been doing business for almost 4 years in the aquaponics industry. As a growing business in the Mid-Atlantic region, I have started to gain the attention of industry leaders. Just recently I was interviewed by The Aquaponic Source, a renowned aquaponic trainer and retailer in Colorado.

A little background: My start came when I got a call from a friend who wished to see an abandoned fish farm that had come on the market. (Being in real estate for 26 years, I had many friends and previous clients which contacted me anytime they wished to see or sell a property.) I didn’t think much about it at the time, but I did go through the process of securing an appointment to view the property. Little did I know that I was going to receive a very solid beginning education into this new-to-me concept of aquaponics, during the tour of the farm.

His education and excitement piqued my interest to further study the concept. In my research I came across Sylvia Bernstein’s book on Aquaponic Gardening: A step-by-step guide for growing fish and plants together. I became enthralled with the process and dove in head first to educating myself on all things aquaponic.

I have since had many conversations with Ms. Bernstein and her help as been invaluable in insuring proper setup and maintaining the mini eco-systems. Since her company was in Colorado, I thought extending her educational reach to the east coast just made sense, so I opened Baltimore Aquaponics to start an educational side to my business.

Teaching aquaponics has been fun and rewarding, watching budding enthusiast’s grow in knowledge and see how their systems evolve. I look forward to future classes as well as growing relationships with former students.

A few months ago, Ms. Bernstein contacted me and said that she would like to do an interview with me about my business that she could post on their website. I was all too excited to comply, since she was such an integral part of my business growth.

Although she has since sold the Aquaponic Source, she is still very involved in the industry. New owners JD and Tawnya Sawyer have been full time aquaponics researchers, educators and farmers since 2009 and have fully dedicated their lives to the development of sustainable food systems for our planet.

You can see the resulting write-up from the interview on their website:



Reduce personal energy dependence

Today’s economy is rising tide of expenses and debt for the average consumer. It seems to many that there will never again be a low tide where one can catch their breath before dealing with yet another increase or financial crisis. In previous posts, I gave several tips on ways to decrease your expenses and although we are soon starting a new year, those tips are still very pertinent today.

We have moved forward in our sustainable living model with the addition of rabbits, bees, tilapia fish, and a large aquaponics setup, which have all helped in reducing our need on outside sources to live a comfortable, frugal life.

I would like to take a moment to once again discuss the desire and need to reduce our energy consumption-initially to reduce our expense and be less dependent on outside sources, but since have noted how much a difference has been made in reducing our carbon gas emissions.We are taking our energy reduction one step further with the addition of a solar panel grid to our electric system.

In the past decade solar power was an expensive venture to install and maintain, but in just the last few years many new innovations have made solar power a very affordable opportunity to the average homeowner. In just the past few months, thousands have contacted us to see how affordable solar energy has become.


Through our program and partnership with one of the leading solar companies in the United States, it is as simple as:

  • Free installation
  • Included maintenance at no additional cost for the life of your contract. That includes any necessary repairs or replacements. (Which, you should know, are not a common occurrence: Today’s solar systems are designed to withstand extremes of wind and weather)
  • Locked-in low rates that can be significantly less than you pay your utility now
  • No paperwork: All permitting and arrangements with your utility will be handled for you

And with a completely FREE evaluation of the property, there is nothing to lose. Everything will be handled initially by phone and email, and only once you decide solar is the right choice will an engineer visit your home for an on site assessment and installation plan.

The truth is, going solar may be one of the smartest things you can do as a homeowner because it can increase your home’s resale value. And as utility prices go up, your savings grow.

There is nothing to lose and everything to gain by converting much of your power generation to green, clean, solar energy. Take just 30 seconds to request your no-risk consultation and you could be on your way to savings in your pocket, while making a huge difference on our environment. Currently available in limited markets, but quickly expanding, so if we are not in your market yet, check back soon.

For more information on Solar Power or how to save money over your current utility visit us at:


Want more information about how you can increase your income from solar?

Solar Opportunity

Doesn’t it always happen…..

On the coldest day of the year so far, we are awoken at 5am to thesmoke alarm shrill sound of our fire alarm system! Scary, but no smoke smell and the house was actually cold when I hit the floor. This is a hard-wired system with a battery back-up.

I checked the entire house and the breaker boxes and found no sign of any smoke or fire. So I reset the alarm system and turned my attention to the furnace, since the temperature of the house was down to fifty-nine degrees.

The furnace seemed to be running fine, firing, heating as it should but would not raise the overall temperature of the house. Then I noticed that it kept cycling, only running for a few minutes, shutting down and then restarting. That could not be good, something is amiss, but……

Again the fire alarm sounds! Could this just be a coincidence or are the two related somehow? I changed the battery backup but the alarm kept cycling and repeating it’s shrill alert about every 15 minutes. I kept resetting for a while but then decided to do a little internet research on our detectors.

I found a great site about maintaining and cleaning our detectors. I removed, cleaned, and reset each alarm in the house to no avail. Still the shrill sound. One of the detectors was malfunctioning which in a hard-wired system sets them all off. The detector heads  were 10 years old so replacing them made the most sense. I went on to Amazon and ordered the replacement detectors for our system.

As a side note I could not live without Amazon Prime and especially same day delivery from the local warehouse! I received the replacement heads within about 6 hours at half the cost of our local suppliers. This did resolve the issue, so my thoughts can turn back to the furnace.

Our furnace is only about 9 years old and is a high-efficiency system. (92%) Since I know nothing about them, I called a friend who is an HVAC tech. He was here within an hour, but almost wish he wasn’t with the news he brought.

Crack in the heat exchanger-this furnace is dome after only 9 years! What happened to the American business belief in quality products? The last furnace in this house was over 50 years old before it went out.

Oh, well getting upset does not heat the house, so they will be over tomorrow morning with our new higher efficiency system(96%) to install. Doesn’t it always seem to happen on the coldest day of the year?


Shipping Container Micro Farm

Dock to Home

urbanfarmunit01Developed by Damien Chivialle this micro farm, also known as an Urban Farm Unit (UFU), makes growing local produce possible in largely urban areas.  Urban Farm Units such as these seek to bring urban dwellers the opportunity to grow and cultivate organic produce with minimal interference.  This module, a shipping container with an over head greenhouse space, can be dismantled and relocated to any other location that will allow it.  Built to be a shared farm, each of these units are meant to supply local residents with needed organic supplies as well as improve the quality of available goods to the entire community.urbanfarmunit02The creation of these UFU’s has been made possible through increased growth technologies like aquaponics, which combines aquaculture and hydroponics in a symbiotic environment to enable food production.  The design of these specific shipping container units comes with all the technology in place, this includes the hydroponics…

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2015-Year of the EV?

I have to say that I am ecstatic about the advancements made in electric vehicle’s (EV’s). 2015 will see many improvements to hit the roadway around the globe.

Tesla Model S
Tesla Model S

I would have to say that my favorite is the Tesla Model S, with all the new innovations from the Tesla Motors. They seem to be light years ahead of the competition in this niche market.

I have followed Tesla since their inception in 2003 and love their innovation and desire to prove the performance and reliability of the EV. Plus with their innovation on storage capacity (lithium-ion batteries), they far exceed the competition in mileage between charges.

My hope for the future, as technology advances in solar power, is that an EV can be built that will be self-sustainable, eliminating the need to still use grid-power to charge! I believe that the group of genius engineers at Tesla can do just that.

For now,  with home solar capabilities, the option to plug in the car and charge from solar panels is a viable option to reduce the need to pull power from the grid.

I look forward to further innovation in this market, but for now, take a look at whats coming this year:

2015 Electric and Hybrid Cars from oreeko.com

Aquaponics: Breeding Tilapia

When we started our aquaponics venture almost 2 years ago, I was

Blue Tilapia
Blue Tilapia

only interested in raising a few fish to eat and fertilize our grow beds. I have never had fish in my life so I am surprised at how interesting fish are.

When we decided to build the greenhouse to start aquaponics gardening, we knew we would have to buy a few fish from a breeder and then breed them as our systems got larger and as we harvested stock for dinner. So I studied to learn more about tilapia breeding.

Our first breeding was by accident, as told in a previous post: Best Laid Plans: Our venture into aquaponics. Then we began purposely trying to breed, which yielded 300-400 offspring with each pairing. Thank God there is a market for tilapia.

Anyway we made a lot of mistakes, but I think we have now learned how to best breed when we need. Although accidents still happen in the big tanks-think hormonal 18 year old! Unfortunately most of the accidents end up getting eaten by the adult fish in the tank before we can extract them.

Here is a digest of what we have learned if one is thinking about breeding tilapia.

1) Have a separate breeding tank away from the aquaponics system so that the breeding can be better managed.

2) Start with about 5 fish around 5-6 months of age-say 2 males and 3 females. Be sure that the females are a little larger than their potential male mates. Male tilapia are very aggressive and will kill the females if they are not producing when the male is ready. Larger females can better defend themselves.

3) When the timing is right, a male and female will begin to pair. The male will be aggressive toward all other fish to keep them away from their fertile female. When this occurs, it is best to remove the other fish.

4) The female will then lay the eggs on the tank bottom in small piles.

5) The male will begin to hover over the eggs and fertilize each pile. This may occur 2-3 times until the female is satisfied that the eggs are fertilized. Once complete the male needs to be removed as he will be aggressive toward the babies and eat them.

6) Once fertilized, the female will scoop all the eggs into her mouth, keeping them warm and safe for around 7 days. Between day 7 and day 9, the female will release the new born fish into the tank. at release they are less than 1/16″ long.

2-3 day old fry
2-3 day old  fry

7) When the female feels safe enough to release the babies, now called fry, she can now be removed from the tank. We have had mothers eat their fry in the first few days.

8) Mother removed, the tank is now completely siblings-usually between 300 & 400. They are fed fry powder the first few weeks before moving into larger food or duckweed.

Process complete until we decide to mate again.

Tilapia approximately 1 week old
Tilapia approximately 1 week old from 1 pairing

Coming Soon: Largest Aquaponics Greenhouse in Maine

I could not pass up the opportunity to talk about this new greenhouse going up in Maine. Aquaponics is a solid hobby with me, but I am glad to see it going more mainstream in the commercial community.

Pleas take a moment to read their full story here:

COMING SOON: Largest aquaponics greenhouse in Maine

Another Year Ahead

Aquaponics is a growing trend. Many people looking for a little more self-sufficiency others looking to grow a business. Her is a post from a fellow blogger about just that.


Now that I’ve said goodbye to the year 2014 (you really sucked after the first three months), I can move on to the new year 2015. Let’s hope you do better than the year before.

Since it’s a new year, I decided to begin something new, or to be more precise, to bring that something back to how it was before. I’m talking about my current hydroponic system which I’ve used for growing lettuce and right now, basil and peppers. After meeting up with my adviser/professor/business partner whose idea it was to sell the herbs as produce rather than the plant itself, I knew I had to revert my hydroponic setup back to an aquaponic one. We agreed that being ‘organic’ as much as possible is a choice that is too good to pass up on, both as a practice and as a selling point. I realized that if we…

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Storage Lockers-Is there really money to be made?

The last few years have grown a proliferation of television showsStorage Locker showing “average” people making loads of money from buying abandoned or foreclosed storage lockers. It must be true since it is considered “Reality TV”, right?

Reality TV sent thousands to storage locker auctions nationwide to make what was considered “Easy Money”. Spending nearly a decade in the business, I can attest there is money to be made, but:

1) It is not easy-simple yes-but not easy

2) The larger crowds at auctions sent prices paid for lockers sky-high, reducing the profitability of everyone involved.

After the scandal surrounding Dave “Yup” Hester, from Storage Wars on A&E  the viewership of such shows declined some, but more so the attendance at auctions-at least locally-has declined. The decline in attendance has opened opportunity for those who have persevered to increase profits through paying lower prices for units.

Working storage locker auctions, through trial and error, we have learned the way to maximize our profits. This is easily done through smarter purchases and an increased network of buyers for individual or specialized products.

But that is only part of the story, as stated above, the work is not easy. There is a multitude of things to consider before pursuing a start-up business in storage locker auctions.

First do you have a little start-up capital?  Do you have a little money saved back for operating expenses until you start turning inventory? How much do you need to start? How quickly will you be able to turn product to get your money back-hopefully with profit to do more?

Before bidding on any locker, you should determine if you can handle large items like furniture, appliances, or should you stick with “Box lots”? This will be important to your bidding and could eliminate many lockers from your consideration.

If you are fine on money-even just a few hundred dollars-Do you have a way to haul the items from the locker and get it cleaned out? A truck? The manpower? Most facilities require you to be done in 24-48 hours-no matter what the weather is. If it storms for two days, you are still responsible to have that space empty. If not you could face a fine from the facility or worse be banned from future auctions!

Ok, so you have a truck and help to get the items hauled and the space clean, but where are you hauling to? Do you have space somewhere to go through everything, inventory, clean, repair if needed, and prepare for sales? This can be a garage, carport, shed, wherever you can store items to be processed for sale.

Then HOW are you going to sell items: storefront, flea-market, yard sales, online? Where can you generate the highest price in the least amount of time? What are you comfortable with-do you prefer selling face-to-face or would you prefer never meeting your buyer?

StorageFullWhat about the “trash” in the locker: paper, cardboard, non-repairable items? Do you have a way to dispose of the trash? Will there be a cost involved at your local dump? Do you have access to a dumpster or could get one where you store your items? I might add here that the dumpster’s at the storage facilities are off-limits-again you could be fined or banned from future auctions. You must haul everything out of the locker and off the facility property!

If you have been considering going to a storage facility auction but are a little apprehensive, that is good. Don’t plunge into something with little knowledge, become more professional by learning all you can. The “Pro’s” will do their best to intimidate you into quitting, before you really get started. But walking into your first and subsequent auctions with confidence will help keep them at bay.

Gaining confidence comes from knowledge. Knowledge is increased through studying the right materials, and the right materials come from someone who has already walked the path on which you are about to start.

I have seen many new people at storage locker auctions, but the majority disappear after 2 or 3 purchases because they were not properly prepared for starting their business. Don’t make that mistake and become a quitter statistic after just a few auctions.

I have prepared a 32 page report outlining the business and best practices for being successful in the storage locker auction business. This report takes the questions above and goes in-depth as to how to prepare yourself for an auction-going to the auction-how to bid-strategies on becoming the winning bid-how/where to sell-tracking your purchases and sales for profitability and more!

Ten years worth of experience and teaching others to be successful in this business packed into these pages. There is not a lot of “fluff”, it is information you need to be successful with stories from our personal experience as to why we do things the way we do. This report will help you to get organized to start and run a successful business with storage locker auction’s.

If you want to start a business that can be successful quickly (if it’s done right!) I urge you to take just a minute to read about my report and how you can get your copy within minutes. Just click the link below to read more:

Storage Locker Treasure Hunt

You will see that this report is essential to starting your new business venture on the right foot, take just a minute to read more about it at:

Storage Locker Treasure Hunt

You will see how invaluable this information is to anyone who wants to be successful with storage locker auctions.