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has anyone used worms in there media bed ?

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Almost everyone uses worms in their media beds Mike... in fact they're a vital component of a media based aquaponics system...

 

Worms breakdown any fish poop, uneaten pellets, root structures that remain after harvest etc.... and by doing so.. release the trace elements into the media bed....and make them available to the plants.... mineralisation....

Oh yes.  Composting worms are a great thing to have in the media beds, or in the media towers too.

Just make sure the worms you add have not been fed manure or anything else that might carry pathogens for quite a long time before you put them in your aquaponics system.  If the worms are from your won bins then you know what has been fed to them so make your own call.  If you get the worms from a trusted source that doesn't feed the worms manure or only ships worms from beds that have been aged for 4 months before harvesting worms then they are safe.  But if you don't know the source of the worms, you should probably quarantine them in a bin with clean bedding and food for a time before putting them into your Aquaponics system.

Has anyone found an efficient way of harvesting these worms, besides rooting around in the bed?

i have found if you put a piece of black plastic on the gravel, they tend to come up to the surface for the warmth, i guess, but they are easier to get a lb or two off the top. ill try to get a picture of it today.

Thanks Rob. 

I've put a plant pot with some compost sunk down into the gravel a few inches to collect the worms in the compost before.

  There are quite a few 'tricks' to use to attract redworms to an area for easier collection.  What you have read in the previous posts are great ways to do it.   These are all tricks some people who have large scale redworms farms use too.  On the show "dirty jobs", one worm farmer put pieces of bread on the surface of his worm beds and then after a time he picked the bread up and there were worms writhing under the area where the bread had been.  You can do this with any type of melon, squash too (but in our AP systems please note you may also attract gnats/fruitflies/ants).  Cardboard on the bed surface is a great attractant too.  Black plastic can work, but be aware that if you live in a hot sunny area, and the area the plastic is in is in the direct sunlight, you may well end up cooking your redworms. 

    Taking one of those plastic berry baskets you can buy that come in flats works well.  You can add food for your redworms, sink the basket into the bed for a day or so and then lift it.  YOu will have redworms crawling in and out eating. just be cautious about what is in the besket for a food source, since you want to be cautious about introducing bacteria in your AP system.  

   Really the best way to have redworms to harvest is to operate a separate vermicomposting bin.  Then you do not have to disturb the root systems of the plants in your media beds, and you can manage the bin for high worm and/or worm casting output. You'll have lots of great worms to feed yor fish too!  A worm bin does not need to be fancy or expensive.  A 5 gallon bucket with holes in it, a one gallon plastic jar, a kitty litter bucket, or a plastic tote of any size you want all work ( add holes)...so do garbage cans.

  You really can just add your redworms to your AP media beds and leave them alone.  There is really no reason to harvest any while you have plants growing...But of course you are not breaking any "rule " by harvesting them from your media beds either.

   The benefits of having redworms in media beds are very worth having them there, which is what so may of us do.

- Converse

Thanks Converse.  I have heard from a few people that are growing worms about the shear numbers they have in the media.  I also am looking for alternate/additional revenue streams for hybrid systems.  At bait prices, worms might add a few more bucks. 

And at Bait quantities you might be able to harvest a few bait containers from a bed every few weeks seeing as it's usually by the dozen isn't it?

matthew ferrell said:

Thanks Converse.  I have heard from a few people that are growing worms about the shear numbers they have in the media.  I also am looking for alternate/additional revenue streams for hybrid systems.  At bait prices, worms might add a few more bucks. 

Red worms might be 2 dozen a contain due to size.  But I am thinking commercial size hybrid system, and having some sort of sorting system to pull out just the biggest.

in that case, if you want to sort worms I expect that a commercial aquaponics system would provide enough waste that you could run separate worm bins.  I fear that mechanically trying to sort the media to pull out only the larger worms is more likely to kill lots of worms and disrupting the entire bed to run through a worm screening rig isn't going to be all that practical.  And I don't think most of the worm screening rigs are very good at separating the medium size worms from the big worms.  What they are best at is screening the castings from the large worms and chunks of unfinished stuff.

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