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Black soldier fly larvae as sole food source?

 
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Are there any types of fish, or seafood, or chickens etc that can live solely on black soldier grubs?  And still develop into healthy critters, meeting all of their nutritional needs?
 
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Jeremy Watts wrote:Are there any types of fish, or seafood, or chickens etc that can live solely on black soldier grubs?  And still develop into healthy critters, meeting all of their nutritional needs?



I don't know the answer to your question but here's what I do know.  In aquaculture, BSF larvae are regarded as a dependable source of protein.  Some studies on traditional farmed fish (perch, tilapia) have determined that BSF larvae lead to 8% more muscle growth than fishmeal, which is the industry standard protein.

In none of those studies was BSF larvae the sole food source, and IMO that's because it would be a bad idea to feed fish solely on this food source.  For one thing, BSFl are mostly protein and fat.  If BSFl make up, say, 40% of the diet, that fat isn't quite as bad. 100%? Bad.  And because of the singular nature of the food source you are missing flora-based compounds that are necessary for growth and nutrition. Forget micronutrients.  BSFl don't even have macronutrients.

Diet is not the only reason for concern.  What if you forget to put out meat to feed the larvae?  What if the BSFl feeder falls into the pond?  What if a badass dragonfly makes it her personal mission to devour all black soldier flies in the area?  You're screwed.

I don't know the impetus for your question, but i'm inferring that you want natural, sustainable, simple food sources for livestock.  If so, you're in luck because there are ways to supplement BSFl in an aquaculture diet.  One thing you can do is stock the pond with duckweed.  It is a highly nutrative, fast growing, easily digestible source of  flora-based compounds.  Spirulina is another possible foodstock.  Algae of course. If you are doing aquaponics, you can seed the growbed with redworms, and a reliable stream of those will be swept into the fishtank.  You can also shine a light across the water surface at night.  This will cause all manner of insects to fall into the water, supplementing the diet.  

You can also economically make your own fishfood.  There are tons of recipes online. It's basically kitchen scraps in a blender with binding agents.

The combination of BSF larvae, duckweed, bonus insects, and your own food will provide a rich diet for fish.  It will not rival the commercial feeds that are 100% dialed in for muscle growth but it will provide for happy, healthy fish that you can harvest.  I imagine something similar will be true for chickens.
 
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I'm no expert on anything and so keep that in mind as I ponder publicly.... Any diet consisting of a single source of nutrients is INHERENTLY limited, and will create health problems down the line. For any creature. Even carnivores get some vegetable matter, and herbivores find proteins in a wide range of their choices. Domesticated critters are given a variety of food sources, even if it's in a pelleted form, because they need the nutrients from a variety of sources.

I've seen a couple of plans for a "self-feeding" version of a BSF setup for chickens that would likely work well for fish too. But as mentioned above, if you forget to "feed" the larvae, you will destroy the system.

Duckweed does grow fast and can easily increase it's mass very quickly, being a good source of food for many critters. How would one keep this population of food from being totally eaten in just a short while with a minimum of time input? I might keep a separate small pond (or kiddie pool) to replace the stuff eaten. I do know that it can double itself in a day or so. It's amazing stuff.

I've been turning a bit of brain power lately to the creation and maintenance of an artificial pond in West Virginia where I will be going. As the average rainfall there is nearly 5 times what I'm accustomed to, I might need to install some kind of barrier to keep fish in but let overflow out. And I probably won't use any sort of in-ground set up. This will almost certainly create other hurdles that I've not even thought of.  But I almost certainly will use both BSF and duckweed in my plans, and include some crawdads, and possibly a smaller-sized "feeder" fish population. Thinking about this on-the-fly, perhaps another "feed" growing pond up stream?

As you can see/read, I'm not there yet. Everything is a process.

Also, this thread hits on some of these ideas I have, just found it so adding an edit here!!  permies.com/p/954952
 
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