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Jorge Fonseca

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since Jan 03, 2015
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Recent posts by Jorge Fonseca

Hari Shankar Thivakar wrote:
I am facing the problem of Spirulina clogging in my filters. After three tenth day. I am using the 50 micron mesh. Three of these placed in a wooden frame. My ph shot up to 10.7 from 10.1 the day before.



Hi Hari, I'm not entirely familiar with your setup, but if you have a pump and the filter you mention is in that pump, I usually just remove the filter. I had a brushless pump in one of my tanks a few months ago and I stopped having clogging problems by just removing the filter. The pump breaks the clump of spirulina into many small pieces and pumps it up into the harvest mesh and I feed the lowest quality (from the first filter) to the animals, the second one for skin and beauty products and the third one for human consumption.

If, however, the filter you mention is the harvesting filter/mesh, I usually just scoop it out, crumble it to pieces and drop it again into the tank to be harvested next time.

This is the best advice I can give since I rarely ever had clogs or clumps in my tanks since I started growing spirulina.

In terms of pH, I aim towards 9 or 9.5 when I begin a culture and naturally expect it to rise to 10 and 11 over the period of many months before it becomes too alkaline for the culture and I have to remove half the growing medium and replace it by fresh new one.

However an abrupt change from 10.1 to 10.7 in less than 24h is reason to be worried about, so please monitor the culture carefully for the next few days, and start preparing a backup culture in case something starts going wrong with that one.
3 years ago


An envelope with soursop and knifebean seeds to which I took the liberty of also adding some guava, loofah and cotton seeds as gift. Enjoy and check your mailbox this Christmas.
4 years ago
So, just wanted to point out a few assorted uses for spirulina...

I'll start with the animals, who eat it fresh by the mouthful and cry for more:



And it's also very useful to reduce mortality in newborns by supplying extra protein, vitamins and minerals during the first days of life of fish hatchlings or cubs where mothers do not give milk and fathers do not give heat.

For instance, from two twins, the first died during the second night after being born of hypothermia without milk or heat from an adult, while the other twin, after two weeks, is still growing strong even without the help of the parents just by eating spirulina.



And not just for the animals, but also to put at my table:



a slice of bread with a thick layer of freshly harvested spirulina also fills my stomach at every breakfast. In terms of texture it's kinda like a spongy and very light thick cream... almost reminiscent of butter... very bland pleasant smell and very bland taste. But I like the smell... it smells like nutrition and it definitely smells like freshness... and the ants agree with that too and the stock needs to be tightly closed.

The mix of the kefir and spirulina also went well:



I already liked kefir as it was, but now it fills much more the stomach and I usually drink it evenly spaced throughout the day and have to say that fermented spirulina is actually a nice carbonated drink filled with fizzling bubbles:



bottoms up.

And lastly, thank you to all the people who participated and got me interested in this topic... I definitely did not regret it.
4 years ago
I apologize for the late reply, I've been kinda busy since it's my wife's birthday in a couple of weeks and my birthday the following day.

Ben Johansen wrote:it looks like Rama tulsi.



All I know is that I buy it in Thailand and this is the exact plant I am harvesting at the moment in order to send you a teaspoon of fresh seeds.

Ben Johansen wrote:Is that a banana tree in the background too?



yes, it's the tropics... bananas and coconuts everywhere... kinda like orange and apple trees in the northern hemisphere.

Now, one thing that I loved when I was in the northern hemisphere was sunflower but I forgot to bring when I moved to the tropics and I already had some big ones with edible seeds here, but the children vandalized everything, since they didn't knew what they were doing, and now I have an inferior low producing variety... you wouldn't happen to have some edible sunflowers would you? Or perhaps soybean? Even cucumber, which are some of the plants I'm trying to improve at the moment.

Regarding the hibiscus I hope you understand that I have to wait for it to give seed... but I can very well send you the others in the meantime since next month I will have to go to the post office to pick up some packages, it doesn't cost me much to send you an envelope.
4 years ago
So, I've been dealing with pond overflow, contamination, pH balance, processing, pests, etc, etc, and something curious happened...

I grabbed a healthy culture at pH 9 and divided it. The ones that get most sunlight all rose pH to 10 and changed color to light green with a tint of yellow and grow at 5% with 90% straight filaments and mild contamination, while the ones in partial shade remained at pH close to 9, around 9.5, and dark green color with a tint of metallic blue and grow at around 40% with 95% spiraled filaments and no contamination... I think now I know why the cells were breaking down.

I have been also trying to deal with those odd looking skins that sometimes are brown, other times green and I've even seen them pink and usually float to the top when the culture gets vigorously agitated after the temperature has risen enough around the middle of the day, but alas, when the night falls they sink back again... they do not compromise the culture, but better agitate only the surface.

Beyond that I was also testing yesterday at sunset the viability of some five year old kefir grains and decided to put a bottle in the garden with fruits, minerals, water and the respective kefir and in the morning at sunrise when I go to grab the bottle, the grains not only became totally rehydrated but they were also working at full speed and when opening the bottle it had become a naturally carbonated drink full of bubbles like this:



So, at the moment I have the fish and animals already being fed fresh and dried spirulina, respectively, and they actually like it. I extrude it with some kitchen utensils in the shape of a rod, kinda like spaghetti, dry it under the sun and the animals eat it like that, and even call it a snack and ask for more...

But the thing is that, even though spirulina does not have that thick cellulose-like cell wall that you see in chlorella and others making it hard work to digest and extract the nutrients, it still would be better to let the bacteria in the kefir do that work so that later it would be easier for me to digest, therefore resulting in a much higher nutrient extraction.

So, that's what I'm gonna try to do... I'm gonna try to mix the kefir and spirulina tomorrow.

Now, as a side note I just wanted to mention that this stuff that looks like pond scum has a prodigal growth rate... every day that passes is 40% bigger than the previous day and each square meter gives a teaspoon a day.



Now, I know that looks like nothing, but let's do the math to be sure...

I grow many plants for food and none grows that fast... for instance, one soy bean that I stick in the ground today gives a beanstalk with around 5 pods with 2 seeds each, four months from now and needs watering every day... the spirulina after making the nutrient solution and waiting one week to stabilize and grow, I harvest daily the top layer and get 5 grams per square meter a day, which after pressing and drying should reduce it to half.



If my math is correct, 36 beanstalks per square meter × 5 pods × 2 seeds × 0.15 grams per seed ÷ 4 months × 37% content of protein = 0.17g

and 2.5 grams of spirulina × 65% content of protein = 1.62g

So, from each square meter in my garden I am getting daily 0.17 grams of protein from the soy and almost 10 times more from the spirulina.
4 years ago

Ben Johansen wrote:Do you know which permutation the Holy basil is?



I'm afraid it totally beats me... you're the expert... but since I have some growing outside, I suppose a picture would be appropriate to clarify that.

This one is a month old:



And this one is a year old, going into seed:

4 years ago

mark buxton wrote:HI There - an interesting thread. Forgive me if i've missed it in a previous post - but how would you kill these?


I do like rabbits... a big whack in the back of the head... or grab by the legs and hit against a corner.

Burra Maluca wrote:

Ernest Rando wrote:we are crossing a Guinnea pig sow with a Kune Kune/Guinnea hog boar

Is that even possible? Or are you talking about a different speices that happens to share the same common name?


Perhaps what he's trying to say is something like this:
4 years ago

Ben Johansen wrote:would you send me some seeds?


Of course... and while at it check what else you like because an envelope has space for quite a few more seeds...

Right now I got these:

⦁ Amaranth (goes well in soups and omelets like spinach)
⦁ Carob (smells and tastes like chocolate mixed with coffee, some people make flour, others chocolate, others use for animal fodder)
⦁ Castor bean (for castor oil)
⦁ Coriander (miss parsley so much so I use this to replace it)
⦁ Cotton (my top recommendation, I harvest and two months later it's full again, have ten years of cotton in a bag and had to stop planting)
⦁ Eggplant (not the long violet one, this is egg shaped and yellow when ripe)
⦁ Fig (indian variety and very small)
⦁ Foxtail Millet (birds love it)
⦁ Ginger (color yellow for ginger beer or mixed with kefir)
⦁ Holy basil (for tea, incense, pizza and Mediterranean dishes)
⦁ Marigold (to repel pests in the garden)
⦁ Mung bean
⦁ Peanut (sometimes can be hard to find them non-roasted)
⦁ Sorghum sugarcane (grains for the birds and flour, molasses and some people even ferment the seeds to make a mild beer)
⦁ Sword bean (just for the wow factor with pods the size of a forearm, young shoots edible but beans are poisonous and have to be cooked twice)
⦁ String bean
⦁ Sunflower (great snack roasted in the oven with salt)
⦁ Toothbrush tree (for teeth and gum inflammation)
⦁ Water spinach (for soup like spinach and also helps purify water in the fish pond)

I'll also include tropicals since I already saw people eating guavas grown in a permaculture garden in northern Europe... might only fruit once a year instead of continuously, though.

Right now I got these:

⦁ Avocado (mixed in smoothies with milk and honey is great)
⦁ Bitter melon (I don't like but people say it helps keep some diseases at bay)
⦁ Cocoa (for a hot cup of cocoa)
⦁ Dragon fruit (like papaya but paints hands and clothes pink)
⦁ Durian
⦁ Guava (not impressive taste but smells good beyond belief)
⦁ Soursop (very good sweet juicy taste and fleshy texture)
⦁ Henna (ink tree for dying the hair in different colors and temporary tattoos)
⦁ Jackfruit (kinda like durian and huge seeds that can be roasted like chestnuts)
⦁ Langsat (bland acidic fruit)
⦁ Loofah (great replacement for a sponge in the bath with a hard side for hard skin and a soft side for soft skin)
⦁ Mango (my favorite fruit of all)
⦁ Moringa oleifera (to increase breasts lactation )
⦁ Okra
⦁ Papaya
⦁ Pomelo (big bland orange)
⦁ Rambutan (bland fruit with some sweetness)
⦁ Rattan (vine for making baskets and fruit for acidic drinks)
⦁ Sandorica (very acidic with hard to eat jelly)
⦁ Shikakai (shampoo tree popular in India for strong lustrous hair and hairfall)
⦁ Sugar apple (low acidity with hard to eat jelly)
⦁ Sweet potato (potato with sugar)
4 years ago

Hester Winterbourne wrote:a vet once, and he pronounced it blind because it "didn't have a startle reflex" as he poked his fingers at its eyes


Nooooo, really? lol...

"Menace response"/"startle reflex" is one of the standard tests when assessing blindness... in dogs.

What you need is a specialist. You got two options:

1) Either you find someone who is really, really, really good and is the best veterinary in the place where you live

2) or you have to find a specialist... a qualified veterinary ophtalmologist.

I had guinea pigs with partial blindness from cornial injuries since they have that habit of walking and pushing obstacles out of their way by using their heads, and sometimes the eyes pay the price.

Someone might bash me for derailing the topic since we shold be talking about guinea pigs for meat, but I really liked the conclusion "Let's agree to disagree, my friend", so comical... I would say that you are both right in your own ways.

Hester Winterbourne wrote:He said "all animals have a startle reflex"


Technically they do have "startle reflexes"... so the phrase: "guinea pigs have a startle reflex" is absolutly true... but if you wanna startle a guinea pig better use accoustic stimuli since they are extremely sensitive even to the faintest sound, but visually they have an incredibly horrible depth perception that makes them seem almost blind. Last time I checked, ophtalmology was common in a veterinary curriculum, but psychophysiology is a totally exotic area and I cannot imagine where anyone would fit that, maybe in semiotics or medicine of company pets... most times those things are learned when you specialize or through experience in internships. Bottom line, guinea pigs are not that vet's specialty.

Hester Winterbourne wrote:Their natural reaction to danger is to imitate a small furry brick


Still remember the first time I saw a guinea pig immitating a "furry brick"... and I was moving around him looking from every angle... 15 minutes without even blinking... after the first 10 minutes I was beginning to get really worried... it was super odd... not even a blink... totally petrified... and sometimes the neighbours also see that and ask: "Is it a stuffed toy or is it real?"

Oh, and by the way, kadence thank you very much for the recipes... the sauce is the really important thing.

kadence blevins wrote:cuy with a hot sauce
Cuy Picante Huanuqueño Style
Picante de cuy
Cuyes en salsa de mani
Fried Guinea Pig (Ayacucho-style)CUY CHAQTADO

4 years ago

Riva Gustafson wrote:and nine years is a reasonably serious pet. sure, it's a rodent, but... it lasts longer than most relationships



Holy smokes... I almost stopped breathing with the scare you gave me... I really wonder what would be of your existence had the previous generation (aka dad and mom) condoned such practices... I'm still a little light headed from reading that but let's go to what matters...

Since this old topic was already dug out and I ended reading through the whole thing better leave a few gems for posteriority.

Riva Gustafson wrote:the operating isn't like if they have cancer or kidney failure or something, it's mainly the bladder stones



you mention surgeries, right? I've done cesareans and necropsies, surgeries, stitches, filing down of teeth, castings (it"s not castings, but I don't know the exact english for that) and such in guinea pigs... but then again that was decades ago while I was part of the veterinary hospital... nowadays in my home many times I stitch ugly wounds of fighting males and sometimes even have to improvise cesareans to keep the whole lot alive in cases of late breeding and countless other minute things, but that's me, because in my case I can. I hope none of my colleagues read this, but if I had to pay someone else to do it, I don't think I would... my wife's guinea pig that she keeps as her pet, maybe I would, but the others raised for meat, sorry to say, but no... only if it was justifiable.

kadence blevins wrote:sadly frank passed away (last year i believe) but elisabeth is still going strong (...) Like any livestock kept for meat- they need high protein feed to pack on the muscle and a bit of grain or pellets will help with the protein boost too



Frank was great guy... he did incredible things in his property, and the couple's luxurious mansion was built almost for free just by making the right decisions. And he also did those things with the fish and livestock and plants and so on and so on... wonderful environment to raise a family... And I know it because I was raised in a place like that.

But Elizabeth mentions feeding them high protein to pack up some muscle and most people do that through pellets since hay and similars have very low protein levels, mine are not very fond of artificial food but I used to give them corn for that effect and recently changed to spirulina.

R Scott wrote:Their free ranging capabilities are really interesting


I release mine in the garden and they know where the fence ends and even though they can pass trough it they never go to the neighbour's property and only go to the street if I put them there. The street in front of my home is littered with stray cats that glue their eyes to them like laser beams but don't get close nor touch them. The small ones are a different story of course... they would become a cat's meal, but adults are roughly the same size as 80% of the cats here except no tail and miniaturized legs... and then me or my wife call them and they come back home to sleep in their hutches. That and other things that they learned took only a couple of months of training and when the dominants are trained the others learn from them.

Grant Fulcher wrote:they are able to be free ranged in herds no cages or seperating b/c of fighting


Well, males fight and can kill each other... might not be through direct attack but through infections, especially in my case since I'm in the tropics and it's a highly boiling bacterial soup in here, besides their teeth are long and can open deep holes when they bite... Last time I put my hand between fighting guinea pigs the animal thought it was his rival touching him and bite my finger deep to the bone on both sides.

kadence blevins wrote:guinea pigs rarely jump and not high


Mine don't have the habbit of jumping for no reason either and are very quiet animals, but when they jump, they jump. The adults I have jump everyday 30 centimeters without problem just to get back into their raised hutches... And my wife's pet can jump even higher when under life threatening situations such as fire, earthquakes, landslides or escaping bath time.

Abe Connally wrote:If you could get the big ones (cuy), they might be efficient enough for folks that can't or won't raise rabbits.


The biggest problem raising guinea pigs for meat is not much their reproduction but rather their size, but they can be bred to become bigger...just like they can be bred to have the fur of a chosen colour... but they're not much bigger... 20% approximately.

I see all these pictures and most are of american guinea pigs which is a small breed of course, so it's obviously better not to start with them. When I started, I started with the absynian breed and if I take an adult and compare it to an adult sold at a pet store it's immediately noticeable that it's 20% to 30% bigger... in fact I have a store bought american outside... I'll go snap a picture of two fully grown adult males with approximately same age side by side just so you can see:



Just for reference, the piece of wood that guinea pig is leaning over has close to 30 centimeters in height, so bottom line... yes, the potential to grow exists but you have to do what has to be done... I look at guinea pigs like I look at relationships... they are not gonna get anywhere by comfortably sitting on a chair with arms and legs crossed... like most things in life, takes some sacrifice.

Abe Connally wrote:they are very good at keeping rats and mice away


And cats also... rats are not my problem but at night I always had stray cats opening the windows from the outside of the house while we sleep to sneak into the kitchen and destroy and steal food and if I let the guinea pigs around the house it wouldn't stop a determined cat but it does scare most of them away and I stopped having such problems because they see something moving... which is one of the most intriguing things about guinea pigs because I never saw one sleeping... I've never even saw one with closed eyes... and I put enphasys on the word never.
4 years ago