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I watched a little NATGEOTV this afternoon.  I really enjoyed seeing the aquaponics system in this video episode:

Too bad I don't have a swimming pool. Catching supper in the pool every night would be pretty cool, but I don't think I could eat the duckweed shakes like they are doing.

I have to question the chicken manure falling into the fish tank. I'd be a little queasy about the raw manure personally. The only reason I can see for it (and I don't think I agree with it) is as a means to dispose of the chicken manure in a highly populated urban area.

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I would keep the chicken poop out of my system. Do you want to eat a fish that ate chicken poo? One of the great things about aquaponics is controlling what goes into the fish and what goes into you. I've seen the show too. In my opinion their system is gross. There is no need for the chicken poop.



I agree Todd.

These are the folks.  They are doing some cool things, but agreed about the gross factor on the chicken poop.  Plus one of the great things about AP is that is is free from diseases like salmonella and e. Coli. Not sure about that claim still standing when the chicken poop enters the scene.

This topic has been getting some airplay on a few of the forums - unfortunately not the best representation of AP.

The subject is certainly not a new one, rather those folks have been doing there thing for generations waiting for the big event. What I find interesting is the replies - some folks are seeing the value in being prepared, while others treat them as freaky militia types.

Regardless, I don't think AP will be of much use should the "big event" occur as there most likely won't be any power to drive pumps. What power is generated would probably best be used for refrigeration, etc. I think there are better farming techniques for a survival-type scenario.

My wife and I sat down to watch the debut episodes on Tuesday night expecting to be amused, but after watching for about 5 minutes our attitudes changed. We do see value in what they are doing, although it's a little more extreme than I expected. Being a former resident of Florida, I definitely agree there is a need for preparation in the event of an emergency. I missed hurrricane Charley, but my wife had a front row seat. The movers actually packed and loaded the day after Charley passed through our neighborhood.

Don't be squeamish. Poop is good! Maybe America has become too developed? Is good enough for over two billion people. China, SE Asia and India use integrated bio systems. Sustainability relies on recycling. Please read some of my stuff.


Sorry man, I've spent too much time in China and I currently cover 7 countries in SE Asia for my job. "Poop" is a big problem and many people in Asia are regulalry sick. The hospitals are packed with people having misc. stomach ailments. I had a doctor in Bangkok explain the high percentage of population with active Hep A antibodies (who have never received an inoculation) - it was very high, it was due to repeated exposure to fecal matter throughout their lives. It can be spread through contaminated water, flies on food and who knows how else.  Another major problem is parasites in the food and water.

When I first came to Asia, I might have agreed with you on Americans being "too developed." Now that I've experienced it, to include my own (Thai) family members being sick, I understand that "poop" has no place in my food chain.

Well Chip, I would rather put the poop back in my food chain rather than have it get "flushed" away. 

However, poop should be properly composted before it is allowed back into the food chain or more accurately, Proper Composting is an important part of the food chain!!!

The Humanure Handbook is a good read for anyone who wants to learn about reducing pathogen problems related to poop!!!!!

It is also a good read for anyone who actually things "flushing" the poo away actually makes it safe or non-polluting!

Humanure would be the option that is "less developed" yet solves many of those ailments that make people sick in places that use night soil or have less than perfect sanitation.

I don't want any warm blooded (or even lizard) poop in my Aquaponics.  But I'm not fecophobic, the poop should be recycled to contribute to soil fertility in the dirt gardens since "flushing" it away doesn't work and pollutes our water while mining our soils of their minerals and we are eating less and less nutritious food because we have been flusing that nutrition away to pollute and kill off life in the oceans and lakes or leach excess nitrates down into our ground water supplies under our septic leach fields.

(Guess what, I discovered Humanure long before I learned of Aquaponics.)

Good comments but I am still "fecophobic"!




I"m sorry, I didn't go into enough detail in my comments on the subject. I use properly composted manure in my dirt gardens. I also use guano and worm castings. I think that aspect of "poop" is great. I believe TC commented the she thought I might actually be a "compost whacko" as I enjoyed working with the stuff. I kinda liked that description.  

The situation I am addressing in both China and SE Asia (I cover Bangladesh, Myanmar, Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos and the Philippines, but not China now) does not involve properly composted anything. Exposure to raw human waste is possible in a number of ways. I'm not sure about all the programs Carey Ma is engaged in or where he is operating, but my job takes me to rural locations as well as populated areas all over the region. Do Americans (and all "western" people) have weak systems? Well, when it comes to ingesting the stuff we are discussing, I don't know that I care to develop an iron stomach.

I was serious about the widespread Hep A and another big problem here is Typhoid (which is also feces related). The WHO puts out information on the subject, but many people get pretty relaxed about it. One of the wonders of traveling in this part of the world is the amazing street food. I enjoy it myself, but the longer I stay and the more I see (a casual traveler doesn't see or hear about most of the health issues), the more critical I've become. SE Asian people are sick a lot. Hospitals are packed and there are so many hospitals in the cities. My own mother-in-law nearly died last summer as a result of eating some contaminated food and she has 60+ years practice. The hospitalization and deaths often occur because diagnosis and treatment either don't come soon enough or don't come at all. In the US, we would be able to pursue treatment much more quickly and at much higher level of competency than rurul doctors in this region.

My reply to Carey Ma might have come off a little strong, but it's no laughing matter over here. My comments now and before relate to SE Asia region, not one country specifically. Here in Thailand, we just experienced a very dangerous situation related to fecal exposure and parasites as a result of the floods. The water was high, mixing treated water with sewage and to top it off, the water was standing for over a month in some cases. Probably why I'm borderline paranoid about the stuff.

I don't expect this to be a big problem in the US, though we've had some serious fertilizer based events over the years. My concern is that this "Humanure" thing kicks off and becomes popular, then people get a little too comfortable with it, there could be problems. How many folks do you know who've come back from Mexico with a nasty case? It's often related to human waste used as fertilizer.

Anyway, sorry for the rant, it's probably an apples to oranges comparisome.

Obviously some education has to be done on how to handle this stuff, night soil straight on the fields is hazardous, and as Chip said it can be really bad with floods. In India more than half of the population poops directly on the ground and when monsoon comes it all get mixed with the waters. But I totally agree with TC on the necessity of recycling human wastes, not doing so is as dangerous as night soil, even if in a bit more delayed manner, and is a loss of billions of dollars worth of fertilizers, which have to be mined instead in a non sustainable manner. This fecophobia thing is kind of childish and irresponsible I think. There's a passage in the Humanure Handbook on the historical origin of western fecophobia that is quite revealing. Basically it shows that western phecophobia is a result of a cultural trauma from the great plagues from the 1300s onward, which were caused by NOT composting humanure. Kinda ironical.

I think that nowadays it's our poop that gets contaminated by our poisoned food and medicine rather than the other way round.  ;)

But I'm not blind to the fact that SE Asia is way to carefree about it either. The only serious disease I ever had has been Hep A contracted in India 3 years ago, probably in a restaurant. I cleared it off my system in about 3 weeks without any medicine but 3-4 liters of fruit juice a day.

Hi Alexandre,

I initially replied to this thread after Carey Ma's comment about "billions of people in China, SE Asia, India, etc doing it." Yes they are, but it's taking a toll. I'm also troubled by your comment about contracting Hep A - personally, I think it is a very big deal. Yes, it can be treated, but some infections are much more serious. What if the initial attack comes in a remote location without adequate drugs and treatment?

The  point I want to make is that the health concerns ARE real. I haven't read the Humanure book yet, but my guess is that it explains the proper system to manage and utilize human waste. Excellent, good information. Attributing a phobia and making light of what I would consider a "healthy respect" for a historical killer, is not good information. I'm not squeamish in the least or "phobic" in any way. When see the illness first hand, it creates a respect (which maybe some confuse with a phobia?). I'm not going to look up the numbers this minute, but there are deaths every year in the Western countries related to human waste exposure as well.

I hope those who engage in the practice follow proper procedures. I see it as a big issue when a few don't and the Heath Dept. gets involved. I see regulations, restrictions and the gov't all up in your business. Nobody wants that.

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