plants and garden tips


How to Get Started with an Aquaponics System

greenhouse pic

What does an aquaponics system actually entail? This system combines the best of traditional aquaculture and the best of hydroponics to give you the ultimate system to grow produce and fish. Aquaponics is simply the best of both methods with none of the disadvantages.


The system needs to be balanced any eco or bio system must be balanced for everything within it to thrive. A balanced system includes plants, fish and bacteria. Bacteria is typically thought of as bad but it is necessary to complete the system; if there is no bacteria, it will be about 10 times harder to sustain the system.


About the aquaponics system in one tank which is holding about 1,000 to 2,000 liters of water, you will have freshwater fish, like tilapia. When the fish are fed, the fish produce waste which creates ammonia. The unused feed will also become waste. In time, this water will become dirty due to the waste and ammonia.


Microbes being growing in the dirty water; this is when bacteria are beneficial. Bacteria can break down the ammonia and help to clean and filter the water. There are numerous good bacteria, and one good bacterium is called nitrobacteria.



The bacteria will work on decomposing the waste which is simply toxins in the water. The result of the bacteria’s job is that beneficial nitrates are created. Nitrates are good for the water, however too much can be bad. Nitrates encourage vegetable growth and too much nitrates will create unwanted vegetation in the tank.


An aquaponics system must be balanced so having the right amount of plants is essential; plants are the second part of your system. Plants will use the nitrates as food, a natural food. As the plants absorb the nitrates, the water is filtered and cleaned. This water will then drain into the fish tank so that the fish again have clean water. The fish are fed, the fish dirty the water, the dirty water goes back into the plant tank and the cycle continues.


Your aquaponics system has fish producing ammonia (nitrates) in one tank. Then you have plants which use the nitrates as food and other toxins in the water as food in another tank. The fish and feed dirty the water and the plants clean it. The water must circulate from the fish tank into the plant tank several times each day so that the cycle continues. This maintains a balanced system.


Organic Filtration

Probably the biggest benefit from using this type of system is that everything is organic and the filtration system is a simple but complex biological filter. This filter works naturally every second of every day. It is considered a closed system in which the fish always have everything they need and so do the plants. The dirty water is removed from the fish and the plants are given food. In time, this cycle will create a natural and balanced eco or biological system.

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In a closed system, there is nothing for you to do other to ensure the water levels are maintained and that the fish are not overcrowded. An aquaponics system is easy to operate and the harvest is certainly worth your time and minimal efforts.

The Sad Reality of Personal Trainer Failure



Personal trainers – the truth

I love personal trainers and sincerely admire their skills and the work they do for society. But the sad reality is that there is a tremendous turnover in the profession, almost like a revolving door.

It reminds me of the real estate profession, which I was a part of for many years. You have a few top producers at the top of the heap that have a waiting list of clients; a somewhat larger group in the middle who are solid performers and good practitioners; and then a huge pool of part-time and full time newbies that are just entering the field and trying to survive. Many, if not most of the newbies do not make it and are out of the business within a year or two.  The classic 90-10 or 80-20 success pyramid.


What separates the cream from the crop?

As an observer of the profession (not a member thereof), I have my own opinion. Interested?

Pull back the curtain, remove the smoke and mirrors and what it boils down to is one issue: results, as defined by the client.

It’s not education, certifications, sales ability, interpersonal skills, teaching skills, appearance, etc – all of which they could have learned by using but that’s a completely different story. While these intangibles are important and certainly contribute the long-term success of a personal trainer, they pale in comparison to the RESULTS the client thinks they are achieving. And perception is reality.

Most clients of a personal trainer in general practice have one major objective in mind…to lose weight. They may verbalize other goals like improve health, improve flexibility but their main goal is to lose that belly fat and get thin. Period.

And when they quit using their personal trainer, they will usually say it’s about money, the economy, employment situation, family or similar issues. It sounds good and in a face to face or over the phone interaction, it removes blame from the personal trainer. But trust me, if they were losing weight, they would walk over hot coals to continue training!


Focused attention

The problem of course, is that the typical personal trainer focuses their attention on teaching their client how to exercise. It’s what they know and they do that very, very well in most cases. Nevertheless, as anyone who has lost a large amount of weight knows, exercise is important but only contributes 10%-15% to the weight loss equation. After all, many people lose weight and never exercise.


Weight loss success is primarily attributed to caloric intake, as managed by a variety of mental toughness techniques. If a client does not know how to deal with stress, hunger, emotional eating, excuses, portion control among other issues, the client will fail at weight loss; and the personal trainer will pay the price by eventually losing a client. Some have even tried different methods such as dancing to lose weight just to achieve their desired goals for clients. From the viewpoint of the client, why should I continue paying my personal trainer when I’m not losing weight…what’s the point?

Are you a personal trainer or fitness professional? Imagine what your business would look like if you were able to help your clients overcome the mental obstacles that are preventing them from losing weight… epic!

Tips on Painting over Wallpaper


It can be a difficult task removing wallpaper. It never just peels off. Wallpaper removers are messy and don’t always work. So you start thinking, maybe I can just paint over it. Well you might be able to, but there are things to consider.

First think about how well the paper is attached to the wall. If it is hanging off or bubbled in sections, you need to glue it back onto the wall. If it is peeling or falling off in many areas, you should probably remove the paper entirely.

After you have glued any loose areas, you must apply a joint compound to the seams. This will keep it from unraveling at a later date. After the joint compound has dried, you will need to sand it to give you a smooth wall. If the wallpaper you are covering is textured or scratched, you may have to apply a coat of joint compound or float the entire wall.

If the paper was of a dark color, you will now need to apply a sealer like Kilz to the area. This will keep the color from bleeding through. If necessary, apply 2 coats of the sealer.

Now it’s time to apply the texture and paint. You have many different options here. You can apply a plaster like texture, orange peel, knockdown etc., etc. Visit your local home improvement store to view your options. Let the texture dry thoroughly and then paint your walls. Remember, you get what you pay for with paint so choose a quality product.

Sound like a lot of work? It can be. Consider calling a local painter in to give you an estimate. You might be surprised at how affordable it can be.


Painting FAQ


Do I need to use paint primer?

If you have a previously painted surface in good shape, you probably do not need to apply primer. If you have a porous surface or are using a paint that is incompatible with the previous paint (like latex paint over an oil based paint), then you should use a primer.

Should I paint the trim or the wall first?

Paint the trim first. Chances are that you will need to sand the trim to get it perfect. It will be easier to do this first. After you have finished painting the trim, mask it off and paint the walls.


Which is better a brush or a roller?

Use a roller as much as possible. It will put down a more even and smooth finish than a brush.


How do I fix a run in the paint?

If the paint is dry, the only way to fix it is to sand the paint run off and repaint it. Use caution to avoid ruining the texture or sanding too far down.


What type of finish should I buy?


  • If you have many defects on your walls, go with a flat finish. Its lack of gloss will mask imperfections.
  • Satin and Eggshell finishes will have a light sheen and are washable
  • Semi-gloss will have slightly more shine and hold up well in bathrooms and those areas subject to moisture.


What is Alkyd paint?

Alkyd paints are also known as oil based paints.

General Kitchen and Curtain cleaning


General Kitchen Cleaning Tips

Kitchen cleaning tips to make your clients’ kitchens sparkle.

The kitchen is the heart of the home and the most important room in most homes. This is where food is prepared; this is where the family gathers.

Depending on the number of days a week you will be servicing a home which I am working on mind you and you can see my progress at where I don’t hold anything back and I will determine what needs to be done and when. After a very thorough cleaning and scrubbing, you can move on to a more general cleaning routine in order to maintain the maximum cleanliness with a little less effort than an extremely detailed cleaning.

There are a few kitchen cleaning tips to creating the perfect routine.

Kitchen Cleaning Tips — Clean From Top to Bottom

  • Clean above the cupboards.
  • Wash the cupboards and handles with a cleanser safe for the surface of the materials used in the cupboards.
  • Clean and wash the countertops including the backsplash and sinks.
  • Before moving lower, clean the stove, turn on the self-cleaning oven if that is an option and wash the outside of the refrigerator.
  • While the self-cleaning oven is working, wash the windows (which you can find in this post) and the dining table and seating.
  • Always make sure the pillow inserts are out of the kitchen (you don’t want to know)
  • Sweep the floors.
  • Mop the floors and let dry.
  • Once all of that is done, the oven is likely finished.

Kitchen Cleaning Tips — The Details

  • Cleaning light fixtures adds brightness to the room by keeping dust and grime off.
  • Light switches can be carefully cleaned but be sure to avoid the paint on the walls so as not to damage it.
  • Window sills should be dusted every time as should the blinds if they are present. This, in addition to the window washing, adds to the natural light that can come into the room by reducing dullness that dust can cause.

By remembering these often overlooked details, the routine by which the home cleaning professional cleans on a general basis is easier and faster.

Now that you’ve established a routine, the question becomes what kind of cleaners are the best to use in an everyday routine plan? After the initial thorough scrubbing, it isn’t always necessary to use the harshest of cleaners, you can make some in the DIY section as well. It is possible to only utilize much milder cleansers for all of the cleaning needs at that point.

Since cleaners range from highly scented to no scent, from high chemicals to near zero chemicals, it is important to discuss options with the clients.

It is widely believed and even more widely desired that the less scent there is the better. Many, if not most, people prefer not to have any scent. For these families, the scent of nothing says clean.

There are, however, some families that enjoy some scent. It can make them feel like something was actually done if they can smell that it has. Again, discuss this with the family you’re working for. The scent should match what you did in the DIY pillow insert section that I had mentioned earlier, that it should be kept out of the kitchen and also contain the same scent. It’s a full overall smell around the whole house, it’s worth your time, trust me.

The bottom line is that no matter which the family prefers as far as scent, the ability to get to the point of being able to do a more general cleaning rather than a heavier cleaning is the place that the home cleaning professional strives for. The faster a routine can be established, the faster another client can be taken on. Adding to the customer base is the ultimate goal of the home cleaning professional.


Keeping a set time and your word

So when this site came out, I had mentioned that we would have it done within 2 months. Unfortunately I fell short of that goal, quite a bit short actually, but that’s not the problem I have with it. The problem was that I didn’t communicate with you guys on my progress and that I was running behind, a complete lack of conscious effort on my part to keep you in the loop. I didn’t keep my word and eve worse, I didn’t follow through with what I said. With that being mentioned, I will keep you up to date on all changes as they come forward.