Aquaponic Gardening

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I have just started considering what exactly I should be feeding to my tilapia...  for instance what type of pellets would be recommended, and what else in addition to pellets do they need to be fed?  I am also unsure of how much/often I should be feeding the tilapia.

I am planning on feeding them some combination of duckweed, pellets, and worms.  Does this sound balanced? How much variety is needed in the tilapias diet to create a balanced fish waste with all the nutrients my plants need?

I am planning on putting worms in my grow bed and will feed the tilapia some extras.  Should I be feeding the worms other things besides the plant matter and fish waste?  Or will they do fine on just that?

I would like to do black soldier fly larvae but I am not able to raise them, would there be a suitable substitution?

I just started considering all these things at once and now I feel very confused

 

Any ideas?

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I've been feeding my fingerlings Premium Spirulina Max Flake & Ken's Chicken Liver Flake. Growth is crazy. 1 inch to 4 inches in 2 months. I'll swap over to cheaper food when they get a lil bigger.

 

Ken's Fish Food

I did ok feeding mine mostly Aquamax 4000 with the occasional bug, duckweed, lettuce treats.  They like sweet potato leaves if there are enough fish in the tank to work together to eat bites off them.

I have a separate worm vermacomposter but I would like to incorporate them into my system when I add gravel beds. I have rafts and verticals now. I read somewhere that the fish waste and dead matter from roots is enough for them.

Re: BSF- I was planning on building something specific, but they came on their own in the compost pile..and in the vermacomposter.

Oh yea the worms love living in gravel beds (and would probably even do well in the vertigrows if they are being fed fish water.)

Roots and fish waste can keep a nice population of worms going.  If there is not enough food for a larger population the worms just won't reproduce as much.

I wonder if the pots would insulate the worms enough with all this cold weather we are having here in Florida! I forgot to cover the vermacomposter last week..will do that today for sure.

TCLynx said:

Oh yea the worms love living in gravel beds (and would probably even do well in the vertigrows if they are being fed fish water.)

Roots and fish waste can keep a nice population of worms going.  If there is not enough food for a larger population the worms just won't reproduce as much.

I don't know but worms can often survive even through they will really slow down in our cold.  It isn't like we are letting the media freeze solid like a worm bin would up in Milwaukee or something.

Michelle Silva said:
I wonder if the pots would insulate the worms enough with all this cold weather we are having here in Florida! I forgot to cover the vermacomposter last week..will do that today for sure.

Do the worms require any maintenance?  I feel like I read somewhere that their castings can become toxic to them after a while and that you need to harvest them... is this only in vermaculture where the castings are not constantly being circulated around and refreshed with oxygen and water etc.? 

wow, I haven't heard that before, I hope not as I haven't done much with them except feed them nice organic veggies and leaves that fall into my system! Mine aren't constantly being refreshed with oxygen and water.

Will Sch said:

Do the worms require any maintenance?  I feel like I read somewhere that their castings can become toxic to them after a while and that you need to harvest them... is this only in vermaculture where the castings are not constantly being circulated around and refreshed with oxygen and water etc.? 

If you were to put two pounds of worms into a bin with bedding and feed and then keep feeding them until all the bedding had turned to castings and then let the bin sit till all the feed becomes castings, you will probably have a vanishing worm population because they will slowly vacate if all that is left in a regular worm bin is castings.

 

Now if you have a tray or stacker type worm bin system when a tray is mostly full you would put a new tray on top with bedding and start adding food there and the worms would move up.

 

In my worm bins, when a large % of what is in the bin is looking like nice castings or dirt, I'll lay a screen on top and add some feed/bedding on top to let the worms climb up or if I'm feeling impatient I'll do it sort of the other way around and lift out the old stuff with the worms, place new bedding/food in the bottom of the bin then lay a screen on top of the new stuff and put the old mostly casting vermicompost and worms on top and leave the moisture/light cover off so the worms will migrate down into the new bedding/food and I can harvest the castings without having to pick through it all to rescue my worms.

 

If your regular worm bin looks like mostly castings, it may be time to harvest castings and put in some new bedding for them.  Only real care the worms need is to make sure the bin is moist but not wet, feed them, add bedding and occasionally harvest the castings.  Ya don't want the bin to get too hot or too cold but how much care that requires will depend on the size of the bin and your climate.

 

However, I think Will might have been referring to worms in an Aquaponics system.  Worms in a gravel grow bed require no special attention.  Their castings automatically become worm tea and feed the plants and provided there is enough flow and aeration in the system, they can even live completely underwater (I've got some living in my sump tank even) and in a flood and drain gravel bed, they are happy campers.

Thanks TC for all the info!! I have had my vermacomposter for a few months now and was wondering when I would be able to get all nice black castings..seems to be  taking a long time. I tried putting a new tray on top, but the other still had a lot of stuff that wasn't eaten yet.  I did mistakenly keep it too wet at first. There's a bucket that was underneath that I'm sure had gone anerobic, as the leachate would just sit in it without any aeration. I didn't read up a whole lot on it at first.I also mistakenly thought that would be good to use dilute and use as  a foliar spray!  That was a mistake..anyone thinking of this, better to make a tea with the castings..or use an aerator and add molasses to the leachate. I think it created the powdery white mildew..it washes off, but couldn't think of what else could have caused that as that was the only thing I did different.

I have a pretty good size 2' x 2' wood stacker type (5 trays)w/ plastic square screening. It would have been easy to make, but at the time I was so busy still building my AP system that it was worth paying a friend to make it w/ the materials I had on hand.


sorry this if this is getting too off the topic of this thread.

 

TCLynx said:

If you were to put two pounds of worms into a bin with bedding and feed and then keep feeding them until all the bedding had turned to castings and then let the bin sit till all the feed becomes castings, you will probably have a vanishing worm population because they will slowly vacate if all that is left in a regular worm bin is castings.

 

Now if you have a tray or stacker type worm bin system when a tray is mostly full you would put a new tray on top with bedding and start adding food there and the worms would move up.

 

In my worm bins, when a large % of what is in the bin is looking like nice castings or dirt, I'll lay a screen on top and add some feed/bedding on top to let the worms climb up or if I'm feeling impatient I'll do it sort of the other way around and lift out the old stuff with the worms, place new bedding/food in the bottom of the bin then lay a screen on top of the new stuff and put the old mostly casting vermicompost and worms on top and leave the moisture/light cover off so the worms will migrate down into the new bedding/food and I can harvest the castings without having to pick through it all to rescue my worms.

 

If your regular worm bin looks like mostly castings, it may be time to harvest castings and put in some new bedding for them.  Only real care the worms need is to make sure the bin is moist but not wet, feed them, add bedding and occasionally harvest the castings.  Ya don't want the bin to get too hot or too cold but how much care that requires will depend on the size of the bin and your climate.

 

However, I think Will might have been referring to worms in an Aquaponics system.  Worms in a gravel grow bed require no special attention.  Their castings automatically become worm tea and feed the plants and provided there is enough flow and aeration in the system, they can even live completely underwater (I've got some living in my sump tank even) and in a flood and drain gravel bed, they are happy campers.

Has anyone out there tried growing and feeding bent grass to your Tilapia?  I was thinking about this today since bent grass grows very quickly, likes to be trimmed on a regular basis and loves moisture.  Thought maybe it would be a good fit (supplement feed) in Tilapia AP systems.
Actually we're using soil heating cables to make sure that doesn't happen!  And even in the dead of winter we have worms actively chewing their way through our outdoor compost piles. 

TCLynx said:
I don't know but worms can often survive even through they will really slow down in our cold.  It isn't like we are letting the media freeze solid like a worm bin would up in Milwaukee or something.

Michelle Silva said:
I wonder if the pots would insulate the worms enough with all this cold weather we are having here in Florida! I forgot to cover the vermacomposter last week..will do that today for sure.

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