A Community and Forum For Aquaponic Gardeners
Helping each other to learn and grow big nutritious plants and fish to help feed the world.
Latest Activity: on Thursday
Thank you all for joining my group, I hope to do a lot with all anyone interested. Please tell me any event suggestions you would like us to do.
Started by Dr. George B. Brooks, Jr.. Last reply by Ryan Chatterson Feb 11.
Started by Robert Rowe. Last reply by Robert Rowe Jan 23.
Started by Robert Rowe. Last reply by Jeff Sullivan Feb 17.
Re: your worm bin. I have found the best worm food to be fish waste, which slowly accumulates in my sump. I remove it with rectangular fish net, and store it in a plastic jug. My worm bed is a styrofoam ice chest. I have several sponge filters on the surface. I pour the fish waster on top and cover with the foam filters.
I keep the worm chest in my office. There is not much odor and the worms like the indoor temperature.
Hail storm and new seedlings.
Pea sized hail did some minor damage to the garden and finished off the remainder of my seedling that hadn't been planted out. That's OK, I didn't have a use for them anyway. Started some new seeds on paper in plastic bags. 2 days and the cucumber and basil seeds were ready to plant. The coriander is being somewhat more stubborn.
About your worm bin and fruit fly issues. There's over 500 species of fruit flies in the world. I am sure right now you could do without one of those species...a few things could be going on... All food matter added to a bin should be buried in a minimum of 2" of bedding. That means surrounded by 2 inches of bedding top, sides & bottom. Entomologists studies show that the gases given off by degrading vegetation (fruit) is dissipated/dampened some by this added bedding and fruit flies will not penetrate 2" of bedding to get at a food source. You don't want the flies getting at the food sources because they will lay eggs there and then you'll have an establishes fly population that is difficult to get rid of (which sounds like where you are at right now). All food that is destined for the wormbin should be protected from any chance of flies landing on it prior to going into a bin. Flies land and lay eggs and then if that food is added to the bin, the hatching maggots will think they've just emerged in "fruit fly heaven". Keep food matter in a container before adding to a bin, or in the freezer before adding it to the bin (to kill any eggs and/or flies).
The design of your bin could also be an issue in dealing with fruit flies...
So how do you get rid of the fruit flies? A simple way is to just start over. Start with the same worms but new bedding. This may also be the most sure way if you have done any "stirring" in your wormbin, since stirring will just mix the establishes fruit fly eggs/larva in the bin deeper. A wormbin should never be mixed/stirred.
If the fruit flies have not been there long and you can pin-point the exact food source the fruit flies are invading for, remove that. Then put a jar lid or other shallow container in the bin, set on top of the bedding. Add some vinegar or wine to the lid. Fruit flies will be attracted to the lid & dive in. Dump out the accumulation and repeat. You'll need to keep this up for the time it takes for eggs to hatch and change to adult form, and average of 7-11 days. (I'd keep this up as long as the flies keep landing in the lid). Keep in mind that fruit flies can live an average of 20-40 days depending on the species and environmental factors. The sooner you get on top of this, the easier it will be to stop the infestation.
Redworms can consume 1/2 their body weight in food matter a day. 24 redworms does not weigh much (about .384 of an ounce, using the average of 1000 redworms weighing in at 1 lb.). You do not want to get way ahead of your redworms by adding lots of food. Food that sits in large amounts and is moist (worms need moisture) begins to ferment, and then an anaerobic process starts (which will serve also to attract fruit flies).
Once worms are put in a newly prepared worm bin it take an average of 1 - 3 weeks before they settle in and begin their normal eating and reproducing habits. During this time they need to be fed lightly, so you do not get the bin way too full of food. Redworms are secondary decomposers. They are in a symbiotic relationship with other beneficial microbes that also live in your bin. The microbes start to work on the food you add to the bin and then the redworms get to work after that. Once you notice the food you have added to the bin begins to look like fine coffee grounds (these are worm castings), it is time to begin to feed more, since your worm population is now "up to speed".
If you have any questions about dealing with your "herd" of worms, & the infestation, I'll gladly help out. We run a worm farm, and we are always glad to help out a fellow aquaponics enthusiast. Go ahead and send a private message if you wish. In any case, I wish you the best in getting on top of this fruit fly issue, and the best with your redworm bin!
@ Arron: good to hear! I have more fish if anyone needs them.
@ Matt: not sure if the tubes are a good thing or not. I had a couple of fish in the aquariums get just torn up by getting ripped against the side of the tube as they darted in there to avoid an attack. The worst one lost 3" of skin on both rear flanks and his his tail never grew back. I put him (Stubby) in the pond, haven't seen him lately however. I removed the tubes and move fish when they can't play nice. Sometimes they get moved all the way to the frying pan...
@ DJ: I agree with Matt, don't waste your money. if you want to kick start your system come and get some water from my system. I have about 3000 gals. 480.257.5214
Matt, I've had goldfish in with 5 Tilapia almost 9 months and have had no problems. They share a half filled IBC so maybe with all that room they don't get territorial.
Don't waste your time with it, if you want to boost you system get some water from an established system and use that.
Looking to speed up the start up. Has anyone used this product?
Well, I've had 6 fish die in the past week. Tested my water each time and all the levels are normal. I noticed that most of the fish that died were goldfish that I started my system with, they are about 4 inches long. I'm thinking that the Tilapia which are much larger are just screwing with them and getting territorial. My wife thinks that the tank is to crowded. What are peoples thoughts of putting the goldfish in the sump tank, so they don't get killed off. I'm thinking of buying some aquarium fake plants to let the fish have some hiding places as right now I have a few 4 inch pvc tubes in there but don't think that is enough.
Here is a picture of my small 250 gallon system. The plants are thriving. I have 5 of Jim's tilapia that have been raised from fry and 20 goldfish. The Tilapia are about 6 inches long now.
My GB has Purple Basil, Anice, Iris, Marigolds, and Cherry Tomatoes. I will add a shade this summer. Last year my plants struggled with the heat.
Wormbin.. if you're having fruit flies, its usually do to there being too much refuse being tossed in the system at a given time and not enough worms, too much moisture can also play in to that. A good rule of thumb is to let the worms work thoroughly before adding in more scraps. Another good idea is to add a piece of cardboard on the top of your scraps, which can act as a good barrier to the pests but still provide a breathing layer.
Heat.. evaporation happens.. especially here in the Valley. In comparison to dirt based farming, it still remains true that only 10% of the water is used in an AP. That same degree of evaporation happens to dirt farmers as well.
I wouldn't recommend the idea of covering your beds, your water would heat up tremendously in a short time (during the summer).. the beds act as heat exchangers and work both to heat and cool your system. If that's a road a person wants to take, then they should design around a floating raft system versus one using a siphon based setup.
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