Aquaponic Gardening

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How safe is neem oil for fish?  This is my first year to have an aquaponics green house with a 300 gal tank.  I started with 50 Tilapia fingerling 2-3 inches long, including two alpha males for breeding when mature.  Everything was going well at first.  My system was fully cycled before adding fish and I have checked the water regularly.  Everything has remained in normal range.  I also used maxicrop seaweed and cheleated iron to help the plants to get a good start.  After a month of healthy, growing fish, they began to die off two or three a day.  I had no clue what was causing this.  My breeder thinks it may have been the neem oil that I was spraying on pepper plants to kill aphids.  After losing half my fish I made a swirl filter to clean the water and did a near 50% water exchange.  The water had been murky from the Maxicrop, but was now crystal clear again.  The remaining fish have survived and are doing well.  So my question is how safe is neem oil for Tilapia?  My search for information on this has been mixed.  My aquaponics book recommended Neem Oil.  Otherwise, I would not have used it.  Anyone else have experience? 

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Excellent link to an informative article on Neem Oil.  I have been suspicious of this being the cause of my tilapia die-off.  Sylvia needs to remove this item from her book.
 
Randall Wimbish said:

This link says it is toxic to Tilapia and carp.

http://www.essentialoils.co.za/neem-oil-precautions.htm

 

Yes, live and learn.  I should have just pulled out the infested plants and sprayed them off clean.

Randall Wimbish said:

For aphids in the system. Just blast them off with hose water for a brief moment. A little tiny bit or chlorinated water won't hurt anything.  Repeat every day or two until they are gone. Also, sometimes you can remove the plant and take it outside and blast it then return it to the grow bed with out too much harm.

Hmm, for some reason I recall her mentioning in her book that neem oil is not safe for fish and if you use it, you need to be careful in applying it to your plants ONLY.

Daniel (Nick) Sengstacke said:

Excellent link to an informative article on Neem Oil.  I have been suspicious of this being the cause of my tilapia die-off.  Sylvia needs to remove this item from her book.
 

 

Page 170, Sylvia recommends NeemOil and there is a paragraph dedicated to explaining how Neem Oil works.  No mention of toxicity to fish.

Alex Veidel said:

Hmm, for some reason I recall her mentioning in her book that neem oil is not safe for fish and if you use it, you need to be careful in applying it to your plants ONLY.

Daniel (Nick) Sengstacke said:

Excellent link to an informative article on Neem Oil.  I have been suspicious of this being the cause of my tilapia die-off.  Sylvia needs to remove this item from her book.
 

 

any oils can suffocate fish by getting onto their gills..

Hi guys.  Sorry about the confusion in my book.  The reference to neem was removed in the fifth printing this past winter and we also stopped selling any products with neem in it.  It is toxic to fish, although obviously I didn't know that when I wrote the book.  Like any spray, however, even if it is deemed "safe" like insecticidal soap you should never be spraying over your water.  I now recommend the "just spray them off" method, or beneficial insects, or if neither of those are doing it for you then insecticidal soap.  If you have rafts, remove them from the channel before spraying.  And if you are in media just don't spray so much that it runs down the stem and into the wet zone of your bed.  And if the media bed is over a sump tank then cover it with a tarp.  If you did this with neem you would probably also be ok...but I'm not willing to take that chance!

I released 500 ladybugs in my grow room. I had some Aphids on my lettuce and my bell pepper plants and strawberries. those ladybugs ate them right up. My grow is indoors in a 15 X 25 lake storage room...The ladybugs work!

This is the best way I found to rid myself of pests in the green house...I tried many different brews and they always seem to come back.....Ladybugs knocked them right out. I thought for along time that some of my starters I bought had the aphids in them then I read ants will bring in aphids to a green house to make a sap they love....If you have ants get rid of them... :)

sherrie p cockram said:

I released 500 ladybugs in my grow room. I had some Aphids on my lettuce and my bell pepper plants and strawberries. those ladybugs ate them right up. My grow is indoors in a 15 X 25 lake storage room...The ladybugs work!

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