Aquaponic Gardening

A Community and Forum For Aquaponic Gardeners

 so i have to switch out the media in my gb's and i was wanting suggestions for a media that my worms will be happy in.

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Converse---I found a statement today I'm hoping you will comment on, please.

"The concern centers around the fact that many of the pathogenic organisms about which we're concerned are anaerobes. Oxygen rich environments are hostile to them and they don't survive long."

I googled salmonella and found it is anaerobic and e. coli 0157:H7 is a faculative anaerobe (can survive in both conditions).

Uncle Jim

sells 5000 Red Wigglers raised on corn meal for $94.94 including free shipping.

E.coli can live in the system, but it has to be introduced. It comes from warm blooded sources (manure). So introducing worms that were raised in fresh animal manure could be a problem. If your compost is strictly vegetation based, it shouldn't be a concern.

Here's a previous discussion about this issue:

Or you can collect manure worms and raise them for a time only on corn meal and veggies that will flush them out as I understand what I was told.

My interest was more about whether or not the relatively high level of dissolved oxygen in an aquaponics system would be a factor in combating introduced pathogens. 

Elsewhere on the forum, the idea of the ammonia in the water being able to combat e. coli was put forward......

The oxygen rich environment along with lots of microbial competition is probably what makes aquaponics possible at all.  That said, I wouldn't go adding bacterial contaminants into an AP system and expecting the nature of the aquaponics to eradicate them completely in any given period of time.  The best bet is to keep the bad bacteria out as much as you can.

 that is where i got my first worms for my bin. the worms in my AP r a mix of mostly EH's and there r some worms from the compost pile. they have never tried to escape and they have been in there for almost a year now. when i switch my media i will let ya'll know about the pop. i am excited to find out too. it almost makes the trouble worth it, lol.

Phil Slaton said:

I have a 2 yard pile of man mixed top soil that is very heavy in cow manure.  It is full of some sort of worm, will they work?  The price is definitely right. this guy says that microbes are harmed when passed through a sprayer. to be fair though he says that it does not make a significant difference. i know that microbes are small, that is why they are called microbes, but like i keep saying any damage done to these orginisms that i spent so much effort to breed is bad, in my mind. that is if it can be feasibily avoided.

 i hear all kinds of bad things about uncle jim on my vermicomposting forum. i get my worms from bentley it is a few bucks more, but it is worth the peace of mind, esp. if u r on the west coast since the worms come from CA. i live in IN and it takes 5 days for them to get to me and they were fine. i have spent 300 dollars in worms from him and have not had a bad experience. he also answers his emails immediately. Also he has a ton of worm info and research on his site for free and that database is priceless so i am more than happy to support him in any way i can.

Thanks Christopher, good information.

Rebecca I think that if check into it most pathogenic organisms are not obligate anerobes but facultative aneorbes.  Which when defined means they can live with or without oxygen.  The most famous of the anerobes are the Clostridium .  They can not live in the presence of oxygen.  This genus causes Tetanus, gangrene, and botulism.  Thjey normanly wouldn't be found in an aquaponic system.  Most contamination with pathogens will be introduced by outside influence just as it is in ground vegetables.  People, birds, toads, and most of all humans.  The bottom line is food sasfety.  Washing of hands and washing of your food no matter where you get it.


      I believe in keeping things simple yet, accurate.  In order to keep some of you from worrying abot negative effects of making worm castings tea, and then straining out all the good stuff , or damaging it as you apply it, let's look at some of the research and respected and educated sources for our information.

   Tim Wilson is well known on the internet.  Anyone can be.  Just get typing. He is the guy that is sited above in a post that states that you don't want to damage the microbial population by using a sprayer.  I read his research at the website posted above.  Lots of stuff, volumes of stuff, impressive looking photos.  His credentials?  Not so impressive, well, as compared to the people he chooses to criticize..  But that does not necessarily make one a reliable source or not. ( I am not discrediting Tim, just putting him into perspective here.)  I was a bit concerned when I read his critical comments in Dr. Elaine Ingham scientific procedures. This makes me wary of his assessments, methods, etc.. This is one lady who has world-wide respect  in the world of soil science - current research and soil microbiology. Dr. Elaine Ingham is a world-renowned soil microbiologist who continues to study the microbial life of the soil, which in large part explains why organic “works.” She currently is the chief scientist for the Rodale Institute. She is the  scientist pioneer who put her entire career on the line and managed to save the world from a horrible genetic engineering experiment backed by a big name companies.  She is dedicated to keeping research current and helping farmers worldwide learn how to manage soils organically to better feed populations...  I digressed from the reason for my post..I'll get back to it.

   Tim Wilson on a post  admits he knows little about spraying rigs.


   On to the filtering of your worm casting tea. According to Dr. Elaine Ingham, the best filtering for tea is to use mesh alteast 400 micrometers.  At this size you will let microbes pass and still hold back particulates.  One of the concerns about filtering is that fungi (there is beneficial fungi) tend to form in strands.  These strands can be damaged or held back in fine straining.    If you look in the book "Teaming With Microbes, The Organic Gardener's Guide To The Soil Food Web" on page 158 this same issue is addressed and the same answer is found.  By the way, this excellent book is available on Sylvia's online store here.  An extremely valuable source even for Aquapons, since the microbial/biochemistry aspect of AP is much the same as it is in soil.

  What about using sprayers?   Both Dr. Elaine Ingham and the authors of the book ( also respected, educated scientists, who  Dr. Elaine praises) above, state that using hand pump sprayers is a good way to apply teas.  Backpack sprayers can be used too. But they also recommend concrete sprayers for large volume application, since they are designed to handle particulates.

   Go ahead and spray or use a watering can.  The point here is that you NEED to coat the entire surface of a plant leaf if you wish to have the beneficial microbial population at work for your plants. Coating completely is necessary if you are using the tea for fighting off plant maladies or pests.  A watering can cannot do this.


 I hope this is somewhat helpful.





Thanks, Converse. I've learned a lot from your posts!


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