Aquaponic Gardening

A Community and Forum For Aquaponic Gardeners

In an attempt to become more sustainable, on my farm, I have started researching how to make my own fish food. I live in Hawaii and we are totally dependent on imported food for both humans and animals. I am looking for alternatives to Aquamax and the other available fish feeds. I grow mainly tilapia for my systems. I am interested in any recipes for fish food that anybody has. Does anybody make their own food?
I have many potential sources of  ingredients(for fish food) that are by-products of current aquaculture operations in my area. I would like to use their waste to make fish food for Hawaii. Any input will be help full.
Coastview Aquaponics

Views: 4484

Reply to This

Replies to This Discussion

Hi all,

I am not as yet an Aquaponic farmer, I have just moved to a location where I will be setting up my first system this next summer.

I have been raising worms for worm tea as well as worms.  I am experimenting with using lawn grass clippings to feed the worms.  I then pass water through the worm bed to extract the tea for plant growth.  Go Here for more very interesting test information on what is in the worm tea. ; in order to view the posts, you will have to register at no cost.

I make a slurry of the grass clippings and mix in some Essential Micro-nutrients. I then let the slurry sit covered for a week before feeding to the worms to get happy. 

I say all of this to mention that you could use the foliage by-products of a growing operation to grow food for worms, which then could be fed to the fish.

Thanks for letting a rank amateur chime in. 

I live on Oahu and for the past couple months we have been feeding our tilapia several different things.  We were feeding just fish food with a little duckweed.  When I noticed the fry and fingerlings begin to eat the duck weed.  We started on a program of feeding what ever we could get our hands on with a lot of exceptions to that statement.

 We started a BSF program which is producing good but not to its max.  We are making new bins all the time.  Kyle my WWOOFer painted the one he maid today .  We figured the net cost was <$1.00.  If it works thats a savings.  The only thing we paid for was the screws.  We got 50 loaves of bread for $10.  We get free veggies each week from eco foods.  Most are organic.  So this past 2 weeks we only feed bought food once a day. In the morning we feed BSF larvae to all big fish, the small fingerlings get fruit fly larvae.  We feed everybody lettuce either from our beds or from eco feeds.  We break up the bread in small pieces and drop it in.  We started them out slow and they are now trained to come and get it.  They all eat most of the things we give them.  Some one said tilapia are top feeders.  I was told that early on but after keeping some in an aquarium for observation for several months I noticed the spent the whole day picking things off the bottom.  The eat off the top because the food floats and for no other reason.  They feed asian catfish the same food and they are definitely not top feeders.  People often feed too much and it will sink to bottom and rot.

At night we feed reg fish food but someday that will go also.  The fish are happy with their variety.  My neighbor feeds his calamongi leaves after they dry. 


I feed Kio and tilapia +-4 times a day.

1st feed would be Kio pellets = +-22 grams
(Amount of pellets I can take in one hand…I weighed the 1st hand full)

2nd feeding will be worms

3rd feed would be Kio pellets = +-22 grams

4th feeding will be worms


sometimes a 5th feed.....pellets again

Then in the fish tank I add duckweed all the time and they love it
(Adding every +-2 days = 1 cup)



Hi  Francois,

I am sure you have indicated the answers to these questions in another thread.

How many fish?  What size of tank? 

How do you keep the duckweed out of your pumps and system?

Have you tried establishing worms in your grow beds if you use media?

I ask these questions as I am in the learning mode, trying to avoid some of the problems I have read

about on other posts.


Hi Paul This is Raychel from Oahu I have 20 tanks that are from the smallest 160 gal to the biggest 300 gal.  I am not sure how many fish that is but it is a lot.  I have no problem with duckweed because they eat it.  It sometimes gets in the troughs under the rafts but never in the pumps.  Duckweed and azola float  anf the pumps are down on the floor or ust up from the floor of the tanks.  I use worms in my grow beds but not as many as others.  The things that mess up my system have been the lettuce so we take the rib of the lettuce out before putting in tank.  The fish wont eat that anyway.  Of course I do live in Hawaii where I don't have to deal with cold weather like most people.  That is a big help.

Hi Raychel,

Thanks for the info.  I have had Great success with the slurry system I use for the worms.  Worms don't eat the vegetable leaves, they eat the bacteria that is produced by the the veggies decomposing so the finer you can make the worm food the better.  It is the surface area that is important.

I am wondering, and will experiment this spring and summer, with feeding the fish, in our decorative fish pond, the slurry and see how they fair. 

The thought just occurred to me, I am going to have the grand-kids help me build a geodesic dome over the fish pond. We live in Western Washington so we don't have real cold weather for too long but it would help the fish keep warm; besides it will make a great project for the grand-kids.  I will have the kids research the dome on the computer this afternoon after school!!  I love being a Grandpa with live-in grand-kids; grandma and I live with our daughter, son-in-law and 3 grand-kids.



    I love hearing things like that, I mean that you will get the kids to research the dome and help to build it!  Extended family can be so advantageous in education.

Please join my group making feed. I'll be posting this years result soon.

Chris, I like the way you think and believe you have a wonderful opportunity.
Finding ways to convert bio waste into nutrients for other species has been my goal too for these past years. I am very interested in working closely with you to develop ecologically and economically sound businesses (if you are interested).

I think the best way for us to communicate in public is through either my group or TCL's group on making feed so we don't have to duplicate.

As for specific formulas, I can only make suggestions after I know exactly what you have available around your location. To me, it sounds like you have a wonderful smorgasbord of concentrated compounds that may fit well to produce feed while lightening the ecological load. Is it possible for you to find out exactly what waste are produced where? If funding permits, a chemical breakdown would from each would be fantastic. However, this may be better suited for universities to study. Maybe check with the local Uni's to see if studies have already been done or the possibility of adding this as a topic of study.
Its not an easy road you are on. A lot of leg work. A lot of dead ends. But if it were easy, everyone would be doing it already so keep up the good work and march headstrong.

Hi Paul
In my tank I have+-12 tilapia + 15 Kio
In the duckweed trays I added another 15 30mm Kio...I found three dead...+-12 left
So in the system I have a total of +-39 fish of various sizes except for tilapia...all more or less same size
My tank holds 500 litres water...

with the design of this system the duckweed stays in the ducweed trays and almost nothing gets to the pump sump..not a problem

Worms in grow beds yes it works


Paul Smith said:

Hi  Francois,

I am sure you have indicated the answers to these questions in another thread.

How many fish?  What size of tank? 

How do you keep the duckweed out of your pumps and system?

Have you tried establishing worms in your grow beds if you use media?

I ask these questions as I am in the learning mode, trying to avoid some of the problems I have read

about on other posts.


Hi Paul


I've got tilipia and they won't eat duckweed.  I feed them Tetramin (our guppy food), they love that but of course that will get expensive.  I've got lots of duckweed cause they won't eat it.  

How do I get them on the duckweed?  Do you think by feeding them the Tetramin guppy food it is making them "spoiled" so they won't eat duckweed? Should I stop the Tetramin and offer duckweed everyday until they take to it?

I just put duckweed over the top of my fry and thin it out so it doesn't get too thick.  They learn to eat it.  One day it starts to disappear.  Try feeding them nothing else for the day They will eat the good stuff unless they have to look for something else.  Mine eat lettuce, Black Soldier Fly larvae, bread, ung choy.  now that is their morning food. 

I once threw about a dozen tilapia into a duckweed pond.  If I fed them any commercial feed at all, the pond stayed covered in duckweed.  But then I went away for a week and wasn't throwing them a small hand full of feed each day and I got home to find I had no more duckweed at all.  I think it probably took them a day to get hungry enough to eat the duckweed and then probably 5 days to eat it all up.

They definitely like the complete feeds better (full of tasty fish oils and things to make the fish like it.)  I went and got more duckweed for that pond and again, if I was feeding them any commercial feed, they left the duckweed to cover the pond and again when I went out of town they were hungry enough to eat all the duckweed again.

Reply to Discussion


© 2024   Created by Sylvia Bernstein.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service