Aquaponic Gardening

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Has anyone found a source of feed for their tilapia that doesn't have fish meal in it?  I"m not having any luck finding anything I consider sustainable so far, and I'm too busy / lazy right now to start up a duckweed system.  Thoughts?

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I just bought and fed some Aquamax 4000 dense culture feed for the first time. In 13 months I went though two 40-pound bags of a made-in-Texas catfish fingerling pellet which was costing me $19 a bag (48 cents a lb).

I couldn't get by that dealer so went to the Purina dealer that's by my fiddling gig, they had some 4000 that had just come in this week and the 50-lb bag is $29 (58 cents a lb).

The channel cats rip through this feed like they had been waiting for it their whole lives! It looks less dusty than the "Lone Star Feed," that's good.

Same protein at 36%, more Crude Fat at 6% (I was giving them 3.5%). I obviously like reading labels... says here after Soy, Corn Wheat and Fish meal, it's Pork fat!

Well that explains it. The fish think Emeril's cooking for them now.

I've tried a few different fish feeds in a pinch when I couldn't get the Aquamax 4000 and so far the cheaper price on the others is not good enough for me to give up on the dense culture feed.  I'm not yet willing to pay for the stuff that is over a dollar a pound though to see if it gives any better water quality or growth (plants or fish)  The catfish don't seem to need more than 32-36% protein and most of those really costly feeds are like 40-50%

Found this article tonite.


Found it interesting did a test of using Moringa leaves for the diet of fish for a source of protein.    Conclusion it could fill 10% of the food with good results.    Found it interesting.

I picked up an old book at a used book store, Getting Food from Water by Gene Logsdon. Copyright 1978.

There's a few sentences about making homemade feed i thought i'd share. "Homemade blends of 50 percent high-protein food scraps, 25 percent high-carbohydrate food scraps, and 25 percent moist, vitamin and fiber rich vegetable trimmings made a good fish food after being run thru a food grinder.... You might want to add a balanced vitamin feed supplement,...".

I like the wide open possibilities for making fish food. i wonder if anyone's tried rigging taste tests. On the north side of the tank you could have Aquamax 4000 on the south side of the tank homemade or something like that. Bon Appetit.

To be truly sustainable, we should emulate nature.

"The natural diet of the Nile tilapia is insects, crustaceans, algae, detritus & also fry making this fish an omnivore."

We simply need to raise/grow these species.  BSF, crayfish, algae, duck weed, water hyacinth/lettuce and mosquito fish are all very easy to cultivate....makes me start to think about designing an aquaponic ecosystem with these in mind!  =)  Now what do I feed those critters?  (compost, scraps, garden waste,...)

Well the algae, duckweed and water plants, you just need some form of fertilizer.  I think I would try to raise those pee ponically.


Then you coul probably dry algae and other veggie matter into flakes that would make good feed for some of the other water animals.  And there are ways to cultivate insect larva that live in water to feed your smaller fish and even feed your bigger fish.  Then you might make a mixture with the bsf larva and dried algae/duckweed and other things into something you might make pellets out of.


All probably doable but it will be challenging and take a lot more space than one might expect.


I want some solar algae ponds like new alchemy used to use.

Hi Averan. please read my post and tell me what you think.



I like the living food supplement ideas - My crawfish just weren't heard from again after the Channel Cats were added. I'd like to set up a condo arrangement for some more of them, in a constructed "shallows" (the adults would be out of reach of the cats) so the babies could swim out and become catfish snacks. Like bean sprouts are for us hoomins.
I'm hoping I can get a shrimp colony going in my raft bed and scoop from that to give my catfish/bluegill some treats.

Oh yeah, since shrimpys and crawdads eat cr@p, literally as far as I can tell, it's exciting to have another possible "loop" to add to our "eco-circle" of a system to get closer to what happens in nature.

Wait, a raft bed might be Too Clean actually! What'll they eat, flakes or just whatever particles float by?

I was thinking "mud-n-muck" when visualizing a crawdad condo...

Well, my raft bed has been accumulating lots of leaves and junk since the cover over it seemed to cause too many aphids to colonize the plants I took the cover off but that let the leaves fall in.  so, I think my raft bed is slowly converting over for things like duckweed, shrimp, minnows, water cress or who knows.  Small floating wicking beds?


Shrugs, the raft bed has not done all that well for me in my high pH system so I'm looking for whatever alternatives seem to work.

@Rick - Most crayfish are herbivores and need plants or algae to eat.  They are also scavengers and will consume dead things, but they don't literally eat 'crap'.

@TCLynx - yes, in order to really emulate nature we need a lot more space than we're comfortable using in our little tidy systems.  Some hydrologic and ecologic cycles only work at certain scales and need a minimum volume or surface area to be effective.  But it's a fun challenge to see how much we can condense those functions down into our backyards!  =)

@Carey - yeah, great stuff.  I had read that thread before, but was trying to keep this thread more focused on commercial feeds you could purchase.  I personally lean more towards natural solutions whenever possible.

Back to my earlier post about the more natural feed I purchased from Foster & Smith......

Since I started on the new feed a few weeks ago I've noticed my plants really starting to surge!  Growth is dense and luxurious with none of the signs of deficiencies that I was plagued with before.  I might just be imagining things, but it also appears that the plants are more robust and better able to fend off the aphids.

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