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Does anyone have any experience making their own compost?  And using fish remains?

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@Sheri, (and yes I did notice you called me bob ;-)
There are some designs that have holes in the hose, so that the larva can access the inside of the hose at various fill levels, and then they are harvested from inside the hose. This seemed like more work for me, and less efficient than a simple ramp, so that's why I opted the way I did. At the top of the ramp, they fall through a hole cut in the side of the black bin, and into a corrugated white pipe that hangs limply over a pool of sinister sunfish, waiting in ambush. I don't have any collection bucket. By letting the fish feed as the BSFL drop, it's sort if like a timed fish feeder. And it saves me the step of gathering and distributing. Seems more natural, too. The fish eat when nature feeds them, not when I'm available to feed them. And in really unreliable about feeding fish. I've never seen a grub last more than a second in the water. Bluegill take no prisoners, and there are crappie an green sunfish in there, all damned aggressive. I regularly sweep the bottom with a fine pool net, and never have found a grub, so overfeeding is not an issue. I do also feed them pellets, and sometimes they are not interested. Those must be the heavy grub days. Other days they attack the pellets, so I feed them a little more. Mmmm. Grubs

Doggone, you weren't supposed to notice the mane typo! LOL!

I think we'll be building ours for the chickens, so we'll have the larvae fall into a feeder of some sort. I like that yours is so simple. Did you use a specific slope for the hose?

We've run across masses of BSF larvae in various places, including, of all things, a bag of sand. So I know they can produce prolifically.  Yes, grubs. Mmmmm.

I've read 30-35 degrees is max incline, but I didn't pay too much attention. The spiral like I did is less than that for sure, and a loop ramp naturally comes out at this, especially if the bin is not taller than the width. If there is humidity inside, which is often, then the grubs can climb ip a vertical wall. My bin in the chicken coop didnt have any collection box either, and for the same reasons. During the light, a grub doesn't make it two inches from the exit tube. Chickens devour BSFL no matter how hungry they are. Those larva that escaped at night get to procreate. I don't mind losing a few midnight runners, and that insures the future generations of BSFL.

I'm definitely interested in composting for my soil based growth, not for my AP.  But if you throw worms in your growbed, wouldn't there be a leachate in your grow bed at some point?  I am interested in adding worms to my growbed for the benefit but these seem like contradictory ideas based on your previous posts.  Please recognize I am a newbie on this and I am in AZ.  At this point any outdoor composting will suffer when the 105+ heat hits us, which is soon.  So for me to start vermicomposting I would have to use my garage or my home, which is fine.  But with the kids, noise and TVs blaring I would figure that the vibrations would be a disturbance.  I really like Sheri's indoor composting, I guess I'd add more holes which is fine.  But is it so sensitive that if i have a bin I'd have to put it in a quiet place?  I guess I could wait and just use normal composting until the summer season ends. I do have time....     

What do you do with your BSFLs when they turn from larvae into actual flies?  I know their adult life is short and they don't tend to invade homes but still...curiosity...

BSFL larva get fed to fish and chickens immediately, no chance to turn into flies. If you are collecting them in a bucket, as most people do, then you can measure out a certain amount to use immediately, and save any surplus for later by freezing or drying, or by adding to a homemade pellet recipe. BSFL bins don't work in your home, because they need access to free-flying mated adults in order to perpetuate. They do work in greenhouses, as long as they are nice and spacious, and an allowance is made for a few grubs to pupate. I live in a mild clime, and I have BSFL activity all year long, outdoors without a greenhouse.

 Hi "J" ,

 Mainly the redworms in an AP growbed are consuming the fecal matter of the fish, not rotten parts or peelings of  veggies/scraps you add to feed them as you would in a redworm composting bin.  The redworms will also be consuming any dead roots that are in the media.  Different things going on here. You do not add stuff to your beds to feed your redworms in your media beds.

   Redworms are used in many areas where items that are compostable need to be broken down to safe matter.They are employed to dispose of farm mortality, manure piles, yard debris, and to create a planting medium that is amazing.  In 3rd world countires they are used in open sewers to combat the diseases associated with these.  They consume  and kill the pathogens that cause human diseases associated with these sewers.The worm castings they leave behind are completely clean. In a redworm composting bin you need to let the matter be thoroughly run through the gut of the redworms, and it is then "clean" and turned into worm castings.  If you read the thread on this forum called  "Aquaponics, worms and E. Coli" you will be able to see more detail that will, I am sure, answer your questions.  No need to repeat that series of posts here.  Those are good questions you ask, and knowledge beginners need to have to make safe decisions for their set-ups. Redworm composting really is easy though.

   Noise and kids walking around will not disturb your redworms.  Now if you put the speaker to your stereo on top of your redworm composting bin and had to going constantly, yes, this would be a problem.  Having the bin or bucket right next to the furnace in the winter or next to the A/C unit in the summer would be a problem if you use these.  Sitting a vibrating air pump on the bucket or bin would be a problem.  Many schools have similar bin set-ups like you were mentioning doing (totes).  Kids clomping around all day, scraping chairs on floors....no problem. We have a bin in our livingroom behind the recliner.  No one ever knows it is there unless we tell them .Noise (volume) is not a problem at all.

   I am sure Sheri's indoor system works great for her. But what has happened is that by not putting holes as I mentioned she has created an unnecessary problem for which she had to add an air pump to solve it.  An added unnecessary expense, which limits where you can place your vernicomposting bucket, and also have to pay the elctricity to run. Just add the holes, and use only one bucket or bin.  No air pump needed.  The air pump may also cause problems in being able to keep the bedding in the bin/bucket at conrolled levels of moisture, drying it out in some areas.... 

 Hope this clears up some of your reservations about starting a vermicomposting bucket/bin.

- Converse
 
J Shocklie said:

I'm definitely interested in composting for my soil based growth, not for my AP.  But if you throw worms in your growbed, wouldn't there be a leachate in your grow bed at some point?  I am interested in adding worms to my growbed for the benefit but these seem like contradictory ideas based on your previous posts.  Please recognize I am a newbie on this and I am in AZ.  At this point any outdoor composting will suffer when the 105+ heat hits us, which is soon.  So for me to start vermicomposting I would have to use my garage or my home, which is fine.  But with the kids, noise and TVs blaring I would figure that the vibrations would be a disturbance.  I really like Sheri's indoor composting, I guess I'd add more holes which is fine.  But is it so sensitive that if i have a bin I'd have to put it in a quiet place?  I guess I could wait and just use normal composting until the summer season ends. I do have time....     

What do you do with your BSFLs when they turn from larvae into actual flies?  I know their adult life is short and they don't tend to invade homes but still...curiosity...

Thank you!  I appreciate all the help.  The vermicomposting process has been so simplified now.  I can set this up immediately.  Thanks again.

The BSFL construction is very interesting.  I like the idea of not having a collection bin and just letting them fall into the tank.  I'll have to wait for this summer season to pass before going forward on this.  I don't have a greenhouse yet.

@J

I'm going to assume that the reason that you are going to wait for fall is the summer temperatures in Phoenix are too high for the BSFL to survive.   I read on this website to "try to keep the temperature inside your BSF unit roughly between 70ºF and 100ºF", which would seem to be a problem for us.

I have an idea, and I am very interested in comments.

I have a sunken fish tank which is currently running at a temperature of 74ºF even after a ambient temperature of 106ºF yesterday.   I realize that this temperature will rise over the summer and probably get in to the 90s, but that's OK.

The grand ideas is: Could I float/install the BSFL bucket in my fish tank water and keep the temperature to a level where the grubs don't die?

There are a couple of things about this:

  • Maybe no need for a harvesting bucket.  The grubs will fall directly in to the fish tank.
  • BSFL bucket will add heat to the fish tank.  Will this be a problem?  To be tested
  • My fish tank water level fluctuates, so I'd have to be creative about mounting it.

This is straight out of my 'wild ideas' collection.  Feel free to shoot it down.  Thanks


Absolutely John, it's going to get too hot and I don't have any shade in my yard except for my patio.  I'm in the middle of dropping a tank in the ground, like a pond, because of the temps.  My tote is on the patio in the shade and it's already at 84 degrees. 

Your BSFL idea is very interesting.  I have an old, broken refrigerator.  We've removed the electrical guts and in the middle of sealing holes and laying down a pondliner in it.  It's a fridge with the side by side freezer so there's a partition in the middle that gives me two separate areas to work with.  I wonder if there's a way I could turn the smaller side into a BSFL bin and the grubs can tunnel their way through a tube that drops them into the other side where the fish are.  I can keep their area cooler if I can make this work.  Anyway, thanks for sparking some ideas.  I'm interested to see where this discussion goes. 

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