Welcome Sylvia, interesting timing as I'm leaving tomorrow for a aquaponics construction course with Murray Hallam in Oregon. Just a quick question? Have you done any experimenting with homemade fish food. I'm thinking one could reduce costs be examining the diet of the species chosen then providing soldier fly larva, insects, duck weed, worm castings, veg scraps ect.
How about excavated greenhouses? I'm in Canada and planning to incorporate aquaponics into the greenhouse of the future. Thanks for your time. I'm looking forward to all the questions and responses.
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Hi Kevin. Supplementing your fish feed is a great plan, especially if you are growing an omnivorous fish like tilapia. They love any garden waste that we would eat - bolted lettuce, buggy strawberries, old tomatoes - but won't go near things like leaf trimmings and stems. Duckweed and water lettuce are also great, but should be frozen before being thrown in the system so they don't overpopulate and create a clogging problem. Worms (not the castings) and black soldier fly larvae are also much appreciated. Some people even put bug zappers over their tank for fish snacks!
You will enjoy the class with Murray - he is a lot of fun.
When I was a kid in the western Rockies, our family had a very small ornamental fish pond out back, with about 25 or so goldfish. We never fed them bought food; they ate what bugs found their way into the water, and occasionally we kids would catch grasshoppers and chuck them in. Those goldfish would tear them apart like little pirahnas--sometimes those grasshoppers were bigger than the fish!
We lived in that house for a few years, and the fish stayed in a tank in the basement over winter (the pond was so small it would freeze solid)--we didn't feed them there either. Maybe we were bad fish owners? But we had a very low fatality rate (I think the only fatalities occurred in the tank not the pond, and were probably due to lack of oxygen), and after the first year, they began breeding, so we had even more fish.
This wasn't an aquaponics set up by any means, but if you have a couple of kids handy, I bet you could recruit them to collect a jar of grasshoppers/catepillars/other bugs once in a while to feed your fish. In fact, I have a little goldfish pond now, and I'm trying to convince my husband they don't need commercial fish food; the one we've got is soy-based and totally unnatural for a goldfish.
It depends on what type of fish that you plan to have. Some will eat things like crickets, meal worms, blood worms, beef heart (makes the water rather dirty very quickly). In the way of veggies, there is zucchini & sea weed. And of course other fish. One of the things that I learned over the years is that a few things when given to fish will act as a "cure". Peas helps with swim bladder and constipation.
At one point in time I had 22 tanks going. I found that duck weed will take over your tank/pond but is it easy to skim out & makes great compost.
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