Aquaponic Gardening

A Community and Forum For Aquaponic Gardeners

There has been some (much?) chatter on other AP forums about using redworms in your media beds to "process" your solids.  I love this idea!  Not only are the solids removed, but the plants benefit from the vermicompost.  I added about a pound of worms in my six beds a few weeks ago, and I'm hoping that they are happily going to town in there.

So here are my questions...

Do you use worms in your system?  How many to use per square ft of bed?  When do you add?  Do you feed them something (food scraps) besides the delicious fish solids?  

Views: 4313

Reply to This

Replies to This Discussion

While I don't have worms in my beds yet I do have a worm bin. For a while I was playing with filtering solids, including using a sock and some aquarium filter wool. The wool stuff ( not really wool, poly fiber ) turned very brown from the small solids my goldies are dropping. When time came to clean the stuff I just threw it in my worm bed, right on top. The worms were in it within 20 minutes. They loved it. They almost turned it white again, with the exception of little worm castings throughout.

I changed my system some and no longer have the filter going, but recently soaked the wool, with castings, in my top-up water for a couple days. The nutrients from the solids are now back in the system .
Oh and Sylvia, that seems like alot of worms. If they have enough food worms can double their population in three months. The good thing is that they are also self balancing, they won't make eggs if food supply is low :)
I recently got the "Secrets"DVD from Murray. http://www.aquaponics.net.au/product/prod138.htm
In it he shows how the worms live in the bottom few inches of his drain and fill beds. I also have the DVD from Omloana gardens in Hawaii. http://www.olomanagardens.com/Sales.html
They are a huge worm farm. He uses the worm castings for seed starter pots. They also put worms in their drain and fill beds. I have a Worm Factory and I am now fighting fruit flies. I bought Beneficial nematodes and Pyrethrum spray. I will let you know how that goes.
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0012BGXXY/ref=oss_product
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000MRD5JO/ref=oss_product
So the red worms reside in the grow beds? They don't drown?
yes. I was amazed also. Especially in the Hawaii system as they take 90 min to fill and drain.

Greg Hershner said:
So the red worms reside in the grow beds? They don't drown?
It defies common perceptions about worms, but they do not drown....they prosper and do what worms do for any garden. The grow bed floods and drains so the worms can easily travel up and down in the bed to stay ahead of the water if they so desire, but I don't think they bother.
Worms are the "secret weapon" in an Aquaponics system.
Regarding solids removal in a home aquaponics system. Most home systems are lightly stocked with fish by comparison to a full-on commercial setup, so we can get by quite well with the correct number/balance of gravel based grow beds to do the solids collection and processing for us. Keeping it all in balance is the thing, and worms play a large part in that process. Worms reduce the volume of solids that they process by more than 60%.
If we were to seek high fish stocking levels we would need to take a different approach.

Greg Hershner said:
So the red worms reside in the grow beds? They don't drown?
Greg Hershner said:
So the red worms reside in the grow beds? They don't drown?

People commonly assume worms drown in water because they see dead worms in puddles after rain...

They didn't drown.... they suffocated.... as the "puddle" warmed in the sun... and the oxygen depleted...

Worms actually require moisture to breath... oxygen is exchanged through a thin layer of water surrounding their skin...

Compost worms not only survive in highly oxygenated flood & drain growbeds, but as Murray says... they thrive...
All of my grow beds are water troughs at this point. I do not have gravel beds. The roots of my plants are just in water. I have not put any worms in my system but I have worms in my system. The are red and very small at this point. The are not like the composting worms. They do the same job of breaking down solids. I had them in my catfish tank bottoms when I was doing aquaculture. I also have the little and I do mean little macroinvertebrate of the genus Gammarus. Susanne Friendly told me about them in their class. They get in the system on the plants in the muck and clean it up. When I pick up duckweed to feed to my fish I can feel them crawling on my hand. They are wonderful to have in your system. They go a long ways to help your system become ecologically balanced. Susanne and Tim found that they completely cleaned their nets in the net tank. I have found that to be true in my systems also.
whoah sweet. where did you get your scuds at? I want.

Raychel A Watkins said:
All of my grow beds are water troughs at this point. I do not have gravel beds. The roots of my plants are just in water. I have not put any worms in my system but I have worms in my system. The are red and very small at this point. The are not like the composting worms. They do the same job of breaking down solids. I had them in my catfish tank bottoms when I was doing aquaculture. I also have the little and I do mean little macroinvertebrate of the genus Gammarus. Susanne Friendly told me about them in their class. They get in the system on the plants in the muck and clean it up. When I pick up duckweed to feed to my fish I can feel them crawling on my hand. They are wonderful to have in your system. They go a long ways to help your system become ecologically balanced. Susanne and Tim found that they completely cleaned their nets in the net tank. I have found that to be true in my systems also.
So I haven't played with worms at all, but I'd like to try some in my towers. . . What do you guys think? I usually clean my media inserts by drying them and then spraying them out. naturally this wouldn't be an option unless I wanted to reintroduce new worms to towers every time i planted (i'm on a 5 wk. planting cycle). I guess I could just re-plant my freshly-pulled inserts, but I don't know. . . Would there be a way to sweet-talk the little buggers out of my matrix- material inerts? Light, heat, soaking, music? Anyone know how to get 'em out?
Really neat, learning lots about worms here. Are they all the same? How do we tell them apart? My girls and I usually go and "rescue" the worms off our dirt road driveway (nearly 1 km long) after the rain. Those worms are about 5cm long and skinny. The worms in our vegetable garden tend to be a little longer and fatter. Are either of these suitable?
Hi Kristen. Generally what is being talked about here are redworms, which have super-powers when it comes to composting. That said, I'll bet that there are other worms that will do the trick almost as well, and worms rescued from the driveway by you and your girls are probably especially great.

Reply to Discussion

RSS

© 2019   Created by Sylvia Bernstein.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service