Ya can't start an aquaponics system without some free fish food!

Discussion in 'The Green Patch' started by Asia-Off-Grid, Sep 6, 2016.

  1. Asia-Off-Grid

    Asia-Off-Grid RIP 11-8-2018

    August 10th: I asked "The Boss" and our trusty helper Tha, to head about 1.5 hours from Battambang. They were on a mission - a mission from God.
    Okay, maybe not. But, it sounded cool, anyway.

    They went to pick up some Black Soldier Fly Larvae, that a guy I met online had been raising. A few days before we were to pick up the larvae from him, I learned he had some empty ponds. I asked if he would like some Tilapia fry to start stocking one of the smaller ponds. He was happy to receive any I sent his way. So, I divided our brood almost in half (about 52 fry) and sent them, along with The Boss and Tha, to their new home.

    They later returned with BSFL in hand, and with the fish fry (that doesn't sound quite right) safely delivered. Our journey with BSFL had begun.

    Tha had been shown how the fellow had constructed his compost bins. He was easily able to duplicate the build. In the mean time, I was working on another one from images I found online. Long story short, my version didn't work very well, so I scrapped the idea. Tha's version, however, proved to be quite a fruitful venture. We will continue with this style for all future compost bins.
    IMG_2712_r. IMG_2715_r. IMG_2714_r. IMG_2718_r.

    August 23rd:
    Later images, with food, invasion from house flies (small, white maggots), and cardboard for eggs to be laid in.

    A side note. I have read where the BSFL will secrete a fly repellent that keeps other flies away. While house flies were prominent in the bin at first, they have since completely vacated the premises, leaving the BSFL to their own devices. :)

    We also have eggs being laid in the cardboard hanging from the top of the compost bin.
    IMG_2741_r. IMG_2742_r. IMG_2743_r.
    For those who do not know, BSFL are self-harvesting. That is, when they have reached the stage where they need to pupate, they start trying to find a way out of the compost bin. They crawl around the edge of the bin until they are able to find the ramp. They go up the ramp, out through the PVC tubes and fall into the milk bottles. Doesn't get much easier than that.

    Oh, I can not speak for other parts of the world, because I have only seen other BSF compost bins making direct contact with the ground. But, if we were to do that here, millions of ants would attack the bin and completely destroy the colony. Hence the reason for the moat around the outside of the compost bin.

    This lead us to another issue to sort. We had to protect a given number of the pupa stage larvae, in order for the colony to continue to grow strong. So, we fed some to the fish, while saving the others in our ant-proof-pupa-protecting-devices - aka 5 gallon (19 liters) buckets. The buckets stand stacked on top of one another, in a large bowl of water. IMG_2737_r.

    IMG_2738_r. IMG_2739_r.
    The buckets allow the larvae to dig in for their two week pupa stage, prior to becoming mature, adult Black Soldier Flies. Then, they can easily escape to nearby trees where they mate over the next few days.

    Below are some larvae that are about to enter their pupa stage and will bury themselves in the mixture we have provided, until they mature.

    September 5th: Yesterday, we got a chance to view an adult BSF emerging from it's pupa state. I got a few seconds of video during this process:

    So far, it is working out great. All is well in the land of the Black Soldier Fly.
  2. tacmotusn

    tacmotusn RIP 1/13/21

    Somewhere around here I am pretty sure I posted a maggot making machine. It was a 5 gallon plastic bucket with the bottom cut out, with a handle to hang it from, a removable hinged 2 piece lid, some holes 3 inches or so above the bottom, with metal rods stuck thru bucket crossways to support a 1 x 2 hardwire cloth grate, with a 1/2' x 1/2' hardwire cloth bin about 1/2 the diameter of the bucket and 6 or 8 inches tall. Last Item helps deter birds and squirrels and other vermin is a canvas or vinyl skirt attached to the bottom outer sides of the bucket with some wire or a large tie wrap. You load this maggot maker with some road kill chopped up and dropped in hardwire cloth bin. Or you can use stuff from your gutpile. flies will find it no problem, lay eggs, maggots hatch and fall out the bottom. Hang this maggot maker over your fish ponds or chicken coop. fish and or chickens will eat well and enjoy it. free food!!!
  3. chelloveck

    chelloveck Diabolus Causidicus

    Nice set up.

    Does the compost bin have a lid?

    Having a lid on it would help keep vermin out of the bin, keep BSF predators out of the bin (like birds etc.) and keep the composting materials from drying out. I would imagine that moist conditions would be optimal for BSFs as well as the composting process.
    Asia-Off-Grid likes this.
  4. Asia-Off-Grid

    Asia-Off-Grid RIP 11-8-2018

    Major difference between house flies and Black Soldier Flies, though. BSF's don't bother humans. In fact, they try to avoid us. The Larvae, during their eating stage, secrete a repellent that keeps house flies from coming anywhere near the compost bin. So, fewer (irritating) house flies end up in the area.

    Adult BSF's do not eat. They only drink water during their short lived adult lives of about six to nine days. Just before beginning the pupa stage, a BSF's mouth becomes more of a hook, to help it crawl out of the compost bin. (I have read they can crawl up to about 100 meters seeking a place to bury themselves during their pupa stage. (I can only imagine what sort of distance that would be for a human to walk.) So, they, unlike house flies, are not interested in our food, certainly not in landing on it.

    Thanks. Yes, it does. Funny. I have never taken any images of the compost bin with the lid on it. Just never really thought about it, actually. They make a round concrete lid that goes on top of the concrete ring. The concrete ring used to make the bin is usually for septic or water storage tanks.

    Most foodstuffs we throw in the bin is damp, at least. Lots of green leafy veggies and such. In fact, she usually has to put a bit of saw dust in the bottom, to absorb some of the smell and liquids. Does a pretty good job of it.
  5. Seacowboys

    Seacowboys Senior Member Founding Member

    I hang a bug lamp over my fish pond in my aquaponics system
  6. Sgt Nambu

    Sgt Nambu RIP 4/19/2018

    That was very interesting! Thanks OP!
    Asia-Off-Grid likes this.
  7. Asia-Off-Grid

    Asia-Off-Grid RIP 11-8-2018

    Fair enough. But, I am trying to stay under 150 watts (but, preferably 100 watts) total continuous consumption, so I can go with solar for this system.

    Quite welcome. More to come.
    chelloveck likes this.
  8. Asia-Off-Grid

    Asia-Off-Grid RIP 11-8-2018

    September 8th: Some updated images.

    We are now seeing adults emerge every day. They are starting to show up on the doors and windows - everywhere except on our food and drinks! The best part of it is, we are seeing fewer and fewer house flies!

    A clutch of eggs laid recently. To really get an idea of their size, view the thumbnail immediately below this image.

    IMG_2854_8x6. IMG_2856_8x6. IMG_2858_8x6.
    Last edited: Sep 9, 2016
  9. AxesAreBetter

    AxesAreBetter Monkey+++

    Some good info here.
    Asia-Off-Grid and chelloveck like this.
  10. Asia-Off-Grid

    Asia-Off-Grid RIP 11-8-2018

    Thank you.

    The larvae have come a long way since we first began with them back in August. Running my hands through the food in the bin, I easily turn over thousands and thousands of larvae, through all growing stages. This was definitely a smart idea and a free food source for our chickens. They have reproduced by leaps and bounds - and continue to do so daily.

    Any homestead / bug out location / off-grid home, where chickens and such are grown, will benefit greatly from these guys. Quite literally, a free, high protein food source that your fowl will look for every day.

    I feel even more fortunate, being able to live in an environment where the colony will never freeze. (I am not sure how to maintain the colony through a winter anyway, since cold weather research was not necessary for raising them in Cambodia.)

    I have decided to construct at least one of these concrete compost bins in each of our chicken house fenced in areas, under covering to keep out of the weather.

    IMPORTANT: If any of you plan to go this route, make sure you keep the inside of the concrete bin as dry as possible. This will not only keep the larvae healthier, but it will also keep the odors to a minimum, inside the bin.
  1. Asia-Off-Grid
  2. Asia-Off-Grid
  3. Asia-Off-Grid
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  6. janderson
  7. AxesAreBetter
  8. Asia-Off-Grid
  9. natshare
  10. Ganado
  11. Ganado
  12. Yard Dart
  13. azrancher
  14. Asia-Off-Grid
  15. Ganado
  16. Mindgrinder
  17. ditch witch
  18. Brokor

    Backyard Composting II 2014-06-18

    Provided by the University of Wyoming. [img]
    Posted By: Brokor, Jun 18, 2014 in category: Agriculture
  19. Brokor
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