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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.
Aloha
Chris
Coastview Aquaponics

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Yes algae will grow on fish waste but what are you feeding the fish to create the waste?  Basically all I'm saying is there has to be input some where if you are going to have enough nutrients to feed all your plants as well as algae to feed the fish.  You can't expect to harvest from a system without ever giving something back. 

In Asia they do things like throw manure into the ponds to cause algae blooms to feed the fish but we shouldn't do this as it would introduce pathogen vectors that we don't want involved in growing salad greens.  (Ya cook the fish from a pond but It is really hard to make people cook their lettuce before making a salad.)

 

An algae pond separate from the main system sounds like a handy way to perhaps grow algae to feed the fish.  New Alchemy used to use clear tanks that were 5' high by 5' wide to grow algae and they actually used them for heating and thermal mass too.

However, There still needs to be some nutrient input to get a really think algae bloom that would be enough to feed the fish completely and provide enough nutrients to also feed all the plants in the aquaponics system.

I was suggesting encouraging balancing algae growth (from the sunlight) to feed the fish, I have another large tank I'm adding to the system soon, so wouldn't have crowding in the tanks..What I was unsure about is why do we need additional input when blue green algae is so nutritious. I am feeding catfish chow, and I really don't like the idea of feeding them that even though I won't be eating them, I still want them to be the healthiest they can be.

TCLynx said:

Yes algae will grow on fish waste but what are you feeding the fish to create the waste?  Basically all I'm saying is there has to be input some where if you are going to have enough nutrients to feed all your plants as well as algae to feed the fish.  You can't expect to harvest from a system without ever giving something back. 

In Asia they do things like throw manure into the ponds to cause algae blooms to feed the fish but we shouldn't do this as it would introduce pathogen vectors that we don't want involved in growing salad greens.  (Ya cook the fish from a pond but It is really hard to make people cook their lettuce before making a salad.)

 

An algae pond separate from the main system sounds like a handy way to perhaps grow algae to feed the fish.  New Alchemy used to use clear tanks that were 5' high by 5' wide to grow algae and they actually used them for heating and thermal mass too.

However, There still needs to be some nutrient input to get a really think algae bloom that would be enough to feed the fish completely and provide enough nutrients to also feed all the plants in the aquaponics system.

Why do we need additional inputs.  Well if you want to be able to remove veggies from the system, you are going to need inputs to replace those nutrients you are removing.  Algae doesn't simply grow on sun light, it uses nutrients from the water to grow.  Sunlight does not create nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium or any of the other essential nutrients plants and fish need to grow.

 

If you were to stop feeding the fish all external feeds and just let algae grow and the fish eat the algae, you will probably run out of nutrients to support your veggies.  Both the veggies and the algae need nutrients to grow and normally that comes from feeding the fish in an aquaponics system.

 

If you were to set up a separate algae tank and add some alternative nutrient source to it, you may greatly reduce the amount of commercial feed you need to give the fish by feeding them the algae but if you system is already roughly balanced with your plants taking up most of the nutrient (as in if your nitrate readings are in a readable range and not way off the charts) then simply growing algae on the nutrients in your system will probably rob your veggies of the nutrients they need.  Now if your system has nitrates in the dark read unreadable range on the API test kit, then perhaps you could use some of those nutrients to support algae culture as well.

Michelle, sustainability is an interest of mine and of many of us so I hope you'll keep us posted on what you're doing.  You might want to try a self-harvesting system for your BSF to make it less gross.  You probably know that you can buy a ready-made BSF composting bucket or make one yourself.  Another option for feeding your catfish would be feeder fish such as minnows or crayfish. The Moringa and BSF alone may sustain and grow out your tilapia but the catfish may need more - they get really big.  This is probably a bit of a stretch but I wonder about the feasibility of pelleting a fish/moringa/BSF mix?  On the other hand, perhaps pellets are unnecessary since all of those components can be fed separately,  either fresh, frozen or dried.

 

Can anyone share experience with Moringa and Tilapia?


Michelle Silva said:

With everything pretty much all set with my system, I'm ready to work towards my initial goal of getting off commercial fish feed for the tilapia (and goldfish). 

As one who believes humans don't need animal protein to be healthy, I don't believe our fish need to eat grains or other animals, especially commercially processed "food" to be healthy.

I have 7 new little moringa trees (they supposedly grow really fast!) and is an amazing "miracle" superfood! I am hoping they will just eat the little leaves. I have some BSF larvae that I froze too, but they gross me out and would be too much work to harvest regularly!

 

I've tried feeding moringa to my tilapia.  They didn't tend to go for it right off and probably need to go hungry for a while to get them to really take to it.

 

Also, tends to block up the plumbing grates or pump grills.

I've had no luck w feeding Moringa straight to my tilapia.  It just sat there for 3 days with a few leaves torn off.  I was thinking of removing all the leaves; blending w some BSF larvae; freezing; and then feeding them.  I'll let you know how it works.

I expect that if dried and then powdered it could be blended into a mix with some other ingredients and baked into a feed of some sort but how much work do you want to put into feeding the tilapia and will your family allow you to be rendering worms and bsf larva in the kitchen to make your fish food?

 

To be grimly practical about it, rather than do that you should be processing the worms and larvae into something YOU can eat. They're high protein. Why take that protein out and around through fish and then vegetables, unless you can do it with very little work?

TCLynx said:

I expect that if dried and then powdered it could be blended into a mix with some other ingredients and baked into a feed of some sort but how much work do you want to put into feeding the tilapia and will your family allow you to be rendering worms and bsf larva in the kitchen to make your fish food?

 

High in protein but also high in fat.  I have read some recipes for cooking worms though.  I'm not sure I feel like going there when it is easier to let my ducks and chickens harvest the worms/larva for themselves.


Now there's an idea.  Be sure to let us know how you like it.


Kate Mink said:

To be grimly practical about it, rather than do that you should be processing the worms and larvae into something YOU can eat.

 

I make the decisions in my house as to what happens in the kitchen,lol..but that sounds like way too much work

TCLynx said:

I expect that if dried and then powdered it could be blended into a mix with some other ingredients and baked into a feed of some sort but how much work do you want to put into feeding the tilapia and will your family allow you to be rendering worms and bsf larva in the kitchen to make your fish food?

 

hhhmm, that sounds great,sunlight and fish poop would be enough to grow the algae and then that can then just be used as fish food after harvesting it..have you done this? But would still have to set something up separate with additional aeration.

so the reason to do it separate from the system, (i/o of adding an additional empty tank that would be aerated into the system) is to not have the whole system be a green with algae...maybe it's just easier to have a duckweed tank incorporated into the tank to avoid setting up additional aeration pump tank.
still thinking..thanks for the tips.
Ryan said:

What you can do is set up a seperate tank to grow the algae in. Take your waste fish poop that you collect in your filtration and toss in it an aerated tank full of water that is in direct sunlight (the more light the better).
In a few days you will notice a green tinit to the water, in a couple weeks the tank will be full of algae. Planktonic algae can be harvested using a low micron filter sock(5 microns will work) and just let the algae water slowly percolate through the sock until you have a large mass of algae. Then you can put it all in a bucket, let it settle, and dewater unitil you have a thick algae. From there, you can dry it out, mix it with other food etc.

You can also grow string algae in the same area. Throw a bunch of netting or ropes or any kind of easily movable structure into the algae tank while the algae is growing. planctonic algae wiull still grow in the water collumn but different species of hair algai will grow on the walls, bottom and and other material(ropes, etc) you stick in there. When you have a nice mass, pick up the rope/netting and gently place it in your fish culture tanks. Bam. Free fish food.

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