Lighting for the Indoor Aquaponics System

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Growing plants indoors means you will need to provide them some artificial lighting.

For my set-up for now, I have one 4 foot long DuroLux T-5 florescent light fixture hanging.  This is more than enough for a 3 foot x 4 foot grow bed.

T5 Grow Light

This fixture came with four T5 bulbs, chains to hang it, an on/off switch that toggles so you can have 2 or 4 bulbs lit, and a nice, long power cord.  It produces 20,000 lumens.  It also has an outlet on the housing so you can plug another light into it and daisy chain them together, which is handy because you’ll have these on a timer.  Overall, I found this to the best value and it has a 4 Star rating.  It’s $81.99 with Free Amazon Prime Shipping.

The bulbs it came with are 6,500 Kelvin which means they are the right light spectrum for vegetative grown.   The 6,500 Kelvin spectrum basically mimics sunlight during daytime hours and has a slight bluish hue to it.  Leafy greens like lettuce, basil and green onions thrive under these lamps.

I also bought a 5-pack of spare bulbs for when one inevitably burns out.  Again I went with what seemed like the best value and had at least a 4 Star rating:  iPower T5 6400K Grow Light Bulbs, 5-Pack.  These are 6,400 Kelvin bulbs – basically the same thing as the bulbs that came with the DuroLux unit.  They’re rated to last 10,000 hours, so I think I’ll be good on bulbs for a while.  The 5-pack is $22.54 with Free Amazon Prime Shipping.

T5 Bulbs

If you want to grow fruiting veggies like tomatoes or peppers, you’ll want to get bulbs in the 3,000 Kelvin spectrum, like these:  Vivosun 3000K T5 Grow Light Bulbs, 5-Pack.  The 3,000 Kelvin spectrum is a warmer, redder light that promotes fruiting and budding.  $22.95 with Free Amazon Prime Shipping.

Vivosun 3000K

Since I have 2 of the 21 gallon mixing tray beds, I plan on getting another DuroLux fixture so each bed has their own:  one bed for leafy greens and one for fruiting veggies.

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Humidity Control in the Indoor Aquaponics Grow Space

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When I built this thing, I knew that I would have to come up with something to deal with the humidity in the room.  With just the quail in there I’d get frost on the windows when it got cold.  Add a 100 gallon tank of warm water….yeah, humidity.

There are two windows and a big sliding glass door in the quail house, so they get all wet from dew building up on them.  Wet wood is a long term problem so this needed to be addressed right away.

My solution was to install a vent fan (like a bathroom ceiling fan) in one of the windows and connect that to a dehumidistat.  I got the vent fan at an Ace Hardware store for about $18.  The dehumidistat turns the fan on if the humidity in the room is too high and turns it off when it’s low enough.  You can adjust the humidity level just like you do with your thermostat for temperature in your house – just turn the dial.  Very cool, and it works great.  Easy to install too and it came with great instructions.

I got a Broan-NuTone DH100W Dehumidistat to do the job, and it’s doing it well.  4 Star rating and $15.99 with Free Prime Shipping (it was $25 at Home Depot).

Broan Dehumidistat

Here you can see my sophisticated venting solution, LOL.  I just took some scrap wood and screwed the vent fan to it. Then I routed the vent out of the window and filled the gap with an old pillow.  I will fabricate a more elegant installation and insulate the plywood eventually.

vent 2

We had a week or so of below zero temps here and I had practically no dew build up – just a little in a few corners of a window.  We get that in the house sometimes when it’s really cold so I call that a win.

I have the unit set at 50% humidity right now.  In the summer months I’ll bump that up or even turn it off completely when I can have the windows open.

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Indoor Aquaponics in the Bird House!

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Veggies and Fish are Growing in the Quail House!

I’m building an aquaponics system in the bird house.  Here’s the progress so far.

Here’s some of the equipment that I’m using that you can get from Amazon. All have 4 Star customer reviews or better, and all ship free with Amazon Prime.

Rubbermaid 100 Gallon Stock Tank  $155.00
Practically indestructible and the perfect size for my system.  If you have a Tractor Supply near you, you can get these there much cheaper than at Amazon.  I added the link so you can see the description, dimensions, etc.

DuroLux T5 High Output Grow Light (4ft 4 lamps) $81.99
20,000 Lumens.  It comes with four 6500K bulbs.  See my post on Lighting for the Indoor Aquaponics System

Eheim Jager 250W TruTemp Submersible Heater 17” $37.48
This tank heater is good for tanks up to 265 gallons. Eheim Jager has a great reputation.

Active Aqua Submersible Water Pump, 1000 GPH $51.99
I decided to go with a bit more pump than I need right now since I may expand the system in the future. Better to have more pump than you need than not enough.

API MASTER TEST KIT (Aquarium Water Test Kit) $21.99
Excellent test kit. I’ll be able to use this for years before needing to replace any of the chemicals.

CPR Aquatic 4 Count Slip by Slip ABS Bulkheads for Aquarium Filters, 1-Inch $14.47
Four 1-inch bulkheads for less than $15 is a great deal. Similar bulkheads go for $8.00 EACH at Tractor Supply. 2 inch PVC pipe fits snugly over the top of these making them perfect for standpipes.

Just about everything else for the system I got at Home Depot, Lowes or Ace Hardware.

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IncuView Incubator Review

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I have been using the IncuView incubator since I started raising quail. I chose this unit based on reviews and recommendations and they were mostly good to great.


Would I recommend this incubator for quail? Yes. Here’s why.

What I like:
In general, the IncuView functions great and is almost a “set it and forget it” kind of unit. Once the temperature is set, you just need to keep an eye on the humidity and add some water when needed.

You program the heating unit (easy) to the temperature you want and it stays there.  The heating unit is easily adjusted to calibrate the heater to the thermometer (more on this below).

I love the clear lid that allows you to see into the entire inside of the incubator. It’s easy to clean as well since it’s all plastic instead of Styrofoam like other cheaply made incubators.


It turns the eggs for you, so you don’t have to open the lid and allow all of the heat and humidity to escape.  Just program it to turn the eggs every X number of hours and it will do it for you.

It’s compact and lightweight.

What I don’t like:
Like most incubators, the built-in hygrometer is total trash (at least the one on mine was). When I first started to incubate quail eggs I foolishly relied on the built-in hygrometer and my first hatch was disastrous, with only 3 eggs hatching out of the 50 that I put in the IncuView. The hygrometer read VERY low, so I had the humidity up WAY too high to compensate for the low reading. As a result, my hatch was terrible.

Now I use the IncuTherm hygrometer/thermometer combo unit placed inside the IncuView to be sure that my humidity and temperature are just right:


Most folks that hatch chicks have an additional hygrometer and thermometer in their incubators to be sure that conditions are just right.

To be fair, most incubators have unreliable thermometers and/or hygrometers built into them, so the IncuView is no exception. Get at least one additional thermometer/hygrometer combo unit like this to be sure you are set up correctly.

All in all, I recommend the IncuView incubator for anyone that wants to hatch coturnix quail.

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Moeller Primer Bulb

I keep an emergency supply of gasoline at the house “just in case”.  Right now I have six 5-gallon gas cans.  I will have 12 cans eventually – one for each month.

Each month I take one of the cans and pour it into my truck, then fill it back up when I go to the gas station.   It costs me no extra money.  I would have gotten that 5 gallons from the gas station anyway.  Read my Emergency Fuel Storage post for more on my storage system.

I got really tired of trying to use the new EPA approved spouts on the new gas cans.  Have you seen these things? They are worthless and you spill a lot of gas.  So much for being good for the environment.  I ended up just using a funnel, but that was a pain too.

So I got one of these:moeller-primer-bulb-pic

It’s a Moeller Fuel Primer Bulb.  It’s $20.78 at Amazon with Free Prime Shipping.  Here it is in the packaging:

There are cheaper primer bulbs out there but based on reviews, I just thought a few extra bucks was worth it for this item.

You will need to buy some 3/8″ fuel line and 2 small clamps as well ($10 or so).  I would just get these at your local hardware store.  I got 6 feet of fuel line and cut 2 feet off.  The short piece is attached to the inlet side of the primer bulb and the long piece is attached to the outlet side.  Put a clamp on each line to secure them to the primer bulb and you’re done.  It took me about 2 minutes to do this, if that.

It works like this: stick the short end of the fuel line into the gas can.  Stick the long end into the gas tank of your vehicle.  Squeeze the primer bulb a few times and it primes the fuel line so the fuel will just gravity feed into you gas tank.  Your gas can has to be above your gas tank, of course.  I’ll post of video of me doing this soon.

This works awesome!  No more spilled gas or trying to hold 5 gallons of fuel while pouring it into a funnel.  I just prime it and when the fuel starts to flow I walk away and do something else.  When I come back later – done.  And no mess.

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An Introduction to Product Reviews

“Oh shit, he’s gonna push products on us now….LOL”.  No.  If you’ve seen my posts, I really haven’t “pushed” anything.  If I have a product link in a post to Amazon, yeah it’s an affiliate link.  And you don’t pay any more for it if you decide to click and buy this item than you would if you found it yourself, so why not?  Every penny helps support the birds.

I will not post a product review of ANYTHING that I have not tried and used myself.  If I try something that is garbage, I’ll share that too.

And a lot of this won’t even be quail related, but my guess is that anyone raising quail for meat and eggs will understand.

If you are like me, you are prepared for sudden losses of power, communication, food distribution, etc. – like from a hurricane, an ice storm, a tornado, an earthquake, a forest fire, etc.  We all live in areas that are vulnerable to some sort of short term (and maybe long term) disturbances that can make life difficult or at least uncomfortable.

If you are not prepared for these things, you should be.  I’m not talking about building an underground bunker that can withstand an EMP blowing up the entire power grid of the United States, a global pandemic killing 90% of the population or storing 20 years worth of MREs.  That crap is for the “Doomsday Prepper” bullshit reality shows on TV.  What garbage!

Look.  I live at high elevation in the mountains and have had 7 foot snowstorms that socked me into my house for 7 days with no chance of getting anywhere on foot or by vehicle and -50 (50 below zero  F) spells that last for days.  It’s September right now and I have been going crazy building my firewood stack so I am SURE that we have enough wood to get through the winter comfortably.  And by “comfortably” I mean that we have more than we need, just in case.

Does that mean that I’m a “crazy prepper”?  I think not.  It means that I am a responsible husband and father that wants to ensure that his family is safe and comfortable.

Being prepared for other things just in case of an emergency is vital as well.

Anyway, I’m rambling.  I just thought that I’d show you guys some things that I am using around our place to make our lives easier and some “just in case” products.  Some quail stuff too.

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