This topic was started due to the prompting of Kobus and TC Lynx. Aquaponics as it is, relies on high quality fish feed as the main nutrient source for fish and plant production. As we all know fish feed was developed mostly for farmed fish(aquaculture), and while we use it out of necessity today, we are becoming increasingly aware of its limit for the long term. Fish feed production, utilizing aquatic animals is simply not sustainable, and i believe it is a science like AP which will create overwhelming demand for a land produced equivalent to this, in the likes of Duckweed, BSLF, Red worms, Amino Acid producing algae. In the near future AP operations will call on the operator, be it backyard or commercial, to learn to produce his own feed and develop his own self sustaining AP. This information gives the operator the freedom to feed his AP with the inputs of his choosing, toward growing healthy fish and vegetables.
Apart from AP, the growing of duckweed, algae, worms etc. are disciplines within themselves and warrant separate discussion on the formulas, techniques and skills needed to successfully produce them. So how does each of us do it?.............................
One more link. Here is open sourced Algae production with directions.
I have been part of the algae yahoo group for some time, but finding something small scale seems to be problematic. I have seen one youtube video of a guy cycling water over a screen to make algae for his aquaponics setup.
I would love to see others who have done this here in Florida.. I found out about this plant in Orlando via the yahoo group, I have high hopes for it.
Agrisys announces plan for algae refinery
By Luke Geiver | December 30, 2010
Agrisys plans to produce biodiesel, JP8 and other algae oil-based products at the Florida facility.
Photo: Agrisys...After several years of algae-based research including work in cultivation and electromagnetic energy technology, Agrisys, a Florida-based algae developer, has plans to break ground on a new algae refinery on the shores of Lake Apopka near Orlando. "We've been very quiet about Agrisys," said Thomas Brozkinski of Agrisys' science staff said. "We wanted to make sure it works." The announcement for construction comes as the culmination of three other companies, all formed to develop various pieces to the Agrisys system, each completed self-imposed milestones, said Brozkinski. Now, the company intends to build an end-to-end system that will perform every step of the algae-to-fuel process.
A research institute founded in part by Agrisys creator, Nick VandenBrekel, along with another venture called Petrogreen Corp., worked to develop cultivation and algae strain strategies that the company will now use at the future facility. The "center of the universe" for Agrisys, however, was formed by work on the Proton Pulse, an electromagnetic system based on the principal of what Brozkinski calls photo disassociation. The system allows Agrisys to extract nearly 30 percent oil from a wet slurry (leaving almost 70 percent as protein). Because the process doesn't require drying the algae, the system can be run continuously. "The molecular compound is broken down by photons, and the photons of course are electromagnetic waves of energy of visible light," Brozkinski said. "It's a very specific technology that we've worked very hard on."
The process is similar to ultrasonic cavitations, but is less expensive according to Brozkinski. "Imagine a big chamber made of steel fiber component. There are pulsating mechanisms as the algae flows through the chambers and it creates electromagnetic energy," he said. The resulting energy creates disruption in the algae and separates the oil from the biomass. Using the Proton Pulse, Agrisys can extract oil for roughly 21 cents a gallon, Brozkinski said. "To put it in perspective, today we can make a barrel of crude oil (42 gallons) for $69 per barrel."
While the extraction technology is arguably the main component of the Agrisys system, Brozkinski also points to the farming practices. "This is a platform that is all about farming," he said, a platform that uses raceway ponds fed by a mixture of feed he was unwilling to discuss and, instead, related it to the formula for Coca-Cola.
"For the last three years we have been able to grow algae with lipid content of 36 to 39 percent," he said.
The future facility will feature two growing ponds per acre, totaling close to 2,000 ponds. In the past, the company has experimented with pumping carbon dioxide into the ponds but has found that the algae, nongenetically modified strains found in the U.S., grow fine without it. "I think the management system is highly proprietary," Brozkinski said, "but no real rocket science. It's not like the Proton Pulse."
The privately funded company plans to break ground in 2011 and the refinery will produce biodiesel, JP8 and other products like Omega-3 and Omega-7 oils using a 40,000 gallon per day version of the Proton Pulse. The system, originally developed by Agrisys founder VandenBrekel for other applications, has already been used to produce nearly 7,000 gallons of algae oil. "We've been working on it for years," Brozkinski said. "It's only now coming out in the news. When finished, there will be no facility like it."
AP is actually more than 2000 years old with examples found in Egypt (Tomb of Thebaine), middle eat (Babylon~ Hanging Gardens), central/south America (Inca/ Maya) and China. China has long practiced a three or four tier nutrient stream (or IBS- integrated bio system) but personally I find distasteful and as mentioned above, not with out risk.
Their stream goes something like this: rabbits> ducks> fish> plants. Rabbit pellets are fed directly (literally on) to dicks living on the side of a pond. Duck droppings fertilize the water to grow blue-green algae with some sort of raft system directly on the small lakes/ponds. The down side is that this is usually toooooo rich and soon (2- 5 years) becomes unmanageable and the pond has to be drained and another pit dug. This new "field" is left fallow for a year then a cycle of crops are grown starting with heavy feeders like sweetcorn and pumpkins then at the end only wheat is grown. When the field is drained of most of its nutrients, they add water and the cycle starts over again.
As for sustainable ways to feed our fish, I advocate obtaining and cooperating with a source/s of commercial waste.
Here are a few examples of our global efforts.
(1) the pig-biogas-duckweed-cassava IBS in Vietnam
(2) brewery wastes-duck-insect larvae-aquatic plants-earthworm IBS in Samoa
(3) compost toilet and graywater garden system in Fiji
(4) the St. Petersburg Eco-house, Russia
(5) Pozo Verde Farm in Colombia
(6) Sewage-duckweed-fish-banana IBS in Bangladesh
Ref: Foo. et al, 2000, Islam, M.S., et al. 1996, Iqbal, Sascha. 1999, Bakker, N. et al . 2000, just to start.
Looking at these examples clearly shows that AP is only a part of an IBS. What we need to do is not look at one way of closing the nutrient loop, but to find a system that is appropriate for each location in regards to factors like; what is available to recycle, local customs, climate and even religion.
At this point in time I think it is probably not viable for most APers to make their own feed due to all the logistics involved esp. in smaller operations unless they can communally cooperate. However for those of us with resources must continue to try different methods, systems and approaches for our local conditions.
As Carey mentioned Spirulina is just one way of closing the loop, however i think it should appeal to AP farmers as it resembles the AP process somewhat in that it requires similar nutrient inputs and water testing already familiar to AP practitioners. It is for that reason TC has taken the initiative to open a new discussion on it here
Great to hear from you, I know you're probably very busy with the large GH of yours, how's that going by the way. I saved your entry book, looks like a great resource, good material for me to digest Thanks!