Aquaponic Gardening

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Hi friends just wanted to say i'm thoroughly enjoying all the discussions on the Aquaponic Gardening site.I'm fortunate to be resident on a small island in the Caribbean with an abundance of seaweed that comes ashore..I've got some mixed messages on the net about the manufacture of seaweed extract and was wondering if anyone has any additional information on the subject. I am almost ready to commission a small aquaponic system, (taking forever to deliver an imported a water test kit.), and thought i would use the time available to prepare some concoction in advance, to help with and to maintain plant growth after cycling.

Best Regards

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Lucky you! Pretty great to have a supply of fresh seaweed. You probably won't need an extract for your plants once you have cycled - your fish will do all that work - however, I'm wondering if the seaweed might be a nice feed supplement for your fish. I've taken to feeding my tilapia the stringy algae from our decorative water feature, and they love it. You would need to wash off the excess salt but, depending on the fish you grow, it might be something you can use to extend your feed dollar and round out their diet.
I lived 16 years in total in the Caribbean on three different islands and visited many others. Which one you live on? Most of my family is still in St. Barth, but I'm in Montreal now. I'm trying to interest my son, who is still there, in trying aquaponics.
Thanks for this feeding tip Sylvia, it will go a long way in aiding my somewhat meager finances.

Sylvia Bernstein said:
Lucky you! Pretty great to have a supply of fresh seaweed. You probably won't need an extract for your plants once you have cycled - your fish will do all that work - however, I'm wondering if the seaweed might be a nice feed supplement for your fish. I've taken to feeding my tilapia the stringy algae from our decorative water feature, and they love it. You would need to wash off the excess salt but, depending on the fish you grow, it might be something you can use to extend your feed dollar and round out their diet.
Hi Larry, I'm from The last island in the Caribbean chain called Trinidad, it's about six miles north of Venezuela.My son seems very interested and we always have long running conversations on any topic concerning AP, sad to say both of us are AP-Addicts. Why don't you go visit him for a couple weeks and rig up a small barrelponics system?.You get a vacation in a nice warm place and visit your son as well,at the same time sparking his interest! You know how it works Larry,when you see it going,the fish swimming, the plants..........addicted!

Larry Rooney said:
I lived 16 years in total in the Caribbean on three different islands and visited many others. Which one you live on? Most of my family is still in St. Barth, but I'm in Montreal now. I'm trying to interest my son, who is still there, in trying aquaponics.
I am planning to go this winter. I have financial considerations these days. I am well aware of where Trinidad is. I lived not far away in St. Lucia for three years from 1969-1972. Before the Caribbean changed forever with the influx of tourism.
Depending on the type of fish, you might not need to wash much of the salt off the seaweed. I know of people who add sea water to their systems on occasion for the trace nutrient content. Tilapia can take quite a bit of salt though strawberries don't like salt. If you have good clean sea water at your disposal, you might not need sea weed extract at all since most of the things we get from seaweed extract can also be gotten from sea water or really high quality sea salts. Just keep the salt levels low enough that your plants stay happy.
Glad to have this very valuable information TCLynx, and since the locally available fish is Tilapia i'll probably give it a try when i'm up and running.
You're quite right Larry lot of changes since you were here during those days,even the oceans here are no longer what they used to be. I guess the progression towards AP was inevitable and I'm glad to be onboard with you guys at this time.Hope you enjoy the time with your son this winter.

Larry Rooney said:
I am planning to go this winter. I have financial considerations these days. I am well aware of where Trinidad is. I lived not far away in St. Lucia for three years from 1969-1972. Before the Caribbean changed forever with the influx of tourism.
I always wanted to see carnival in Trinidad too. Is that still a big deal?

St. Barth is a dessert island that depends on a desalinization plant for fresh water for the community that is within the range of their pumping system or else you pay trucks to ship it to you. It is a tiny millionaire's playground where everything is imported. Fresh fruit and vegetables are notoriously expensive. Because of sigitara (sp? fish ailment) many fish are dangerous to eat. During the second world war the island was not touristic at all and very poor. If the islanders had not traded with the German subs they would have starved to death. I can imagine those times coming again. Many little Caribbean islands are like ST. Barth in that they are not high enough to catch the clouds and make the rain fall with any consistency. I think the people that live there year round should be thinking about AP.
Larry Rooney said:
I always wanted to see carnival in Trinidad too. Is that still a big deal?

St. Barth is a dessert island that depends on a desalinization plant for fresh water for the community that is within the range of their pumping system or else you pay trucks to ship it to you. It is a tiny millionaire's playground where everything is imported. Fresh fruit and vegetables are notoriously expensive. Because of sigitara (sp? fish ailment) many fish are dangerous to eat. During the second world war the island was not touristic at all and very poor. If the islanders had not traded with the German subs they would have starved to death. I can imagine those times coming again. Many little Caribbean islands are like ST. Barth in that they are not high enough to catch the clouds and make the rain fall with any consistency. I think the people that live there year round should be thinking about AP.

Definitely, anywhere that good water is scarce, Aquaponics suddenly makes really good sense for growing food from a water conservation point of view and where food can be scarce, all the more reason to invest in a local means of producing food.
It's definitely something to experience at least once in your lifetime, maybe you can plan a trip for next year, around February, just let me know a little ahead of time.
As for St. Barth, and especially since you mentioned some financial constraints....Well, sounds like fate to me! It's and ideal situation, don't you think? You'll be supplying low cost food, making a living, and not to mention spending quality time with your son!
The API kit finally arrived in the mail today and i'll be starting a fish-less cycle tomorrow (Talk about excitment!). I'll keep you guys posted as it progresses, and would very much appreciate any corrections or advice offered.

Larry Rooney said:
I always wanted to see carnival in Trinidad too. Is that still a big deal?
St. Barth is a dessert island that depends on a desalinization plant for fresh water for the community that is within the range of their pumping system or else you pay trucks to ship it to you. It is a tiny millionaire's playground where everything is imported. Fresh fruit and vegetables are notoriously expensive. Because of sigitara (sp? fish ailment) many fish are dangerous to eat. During the second world war the island was not touristic at all and very poor. If the islanders had not traded with the German subs they would have starved to death. I can imagine those times coming again. Many little Caribbean islands are like ST. Barth in that they are not high enough to catch the clouds and make the rain fall with any consistency. I think the people that live there year round should be thinking about AP.
For those who might want to make their own seaweed extract.I have tried three methods to prepare the liquid.

1. Sun dry.Spread it loosely on the floor in the sun.The seaweed dries up in a couple of hours to a dark brown color.This can be mixed with water ( i used about a 20 water to 1 dried seaweed ) to make a tea.

2. Juiced. Fresh seaweed in a juice extractor with water.This was 40 water to 1 seaweed. This has to be refrigerated unless you add some preservative.

3. Brew. Filled a 5 gallon container with a tight seal 3/4 with seaweed and the rest with water and about 1/2 cup of molasses.Mix and aerate for a minute each day.This brew will have to "cure" for approx. 4 months.It depletes nitrogen if applied before the curing process.

The first 2 work just as well as each other.Threw away some of the juiced solids in my garden and noticed great improvement with the surrounding plants! I'll update this post when i finally try the brew.

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