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4 questions for Sylvia

Posts: 73
Location: North Carolina, near Raleigh
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---Jade pearch seem to be the most amazing aquaponic fish....(omega 3 that dwarfs even wild salmon,easy to raise,very palatable)Any idea when we will get jade pearch in th U.S.

---In my experience, once a well designed aquaponic system is set up and running, the system will practically run itself and whatever "work" needs to be done was actually fun and enjoyable,,, the pump could easily be run on solar and was curious on your thoughts about running a pump only when the sun was shining so a battery was not necessary..... can a pump take a rest over night?

---The only input (elephant in the room)that I think would be a point of contention among permies is the fish feed... do you have any best guesses on a fish species that could be fed without commercial feed and possibly a good choice of fish to try it with? could tilapia be raised on mostly high protein soldier flies?? I have heard carp will eat almost anything...even nuts from a perennial based system .

---Do you have any experience in using your aquaponic water on plants or trees in the yard?....it seems to give the soil food web a huge boost in activity and have heard similar accounts from others with amazing tree growth results,,,is the biology similar to compost tea?

hope I didn't over do it...thanks for your time and all you do Sylvia!

Posts: 1985
Location: Big Island, Hawaii (2300' elevation, 60" avg. annual rainfall, temp range 55-80 degrees F)
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I'd be interested in the answers too.

Christian, I live where I can grow food year around for the tilapia. I only have a few fish, but I feed them entirely out of my garden. No commercial feed at all.

Posts: 18
Location: Boulder, CO
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Hi Christian and Su. Here are my thoughts on your questions

1) I agree 100% about Jade Perch, and hopefully we will see them here soon! I've heard of a few people in the past who have looked into importing them and starting a hatchery, but never seen it actually done. The big problem is that they are extremely difficult to breed. Apparently in the wild they only breed when certain flooding conditions occur, which is mighty tough to replicate in captivity. But given how awesome these fish are someone, someday is going to bring them to the U.S.!
2) The main issue with the pump only running when the sun is available is providing 24/7 oxygenation to the fish. But you could certainly use a solar panel to charge a battery, then run a DC pump off that battery. We are actually teaching a course at our Longmont facility on Nov 7&8 on Off Grid Aquaponics that you may want to consider taking - http://theaquaponicsource.com/event/grid-aquaponics-weekend-workshop/
3) This is a tricky one. Yes, you can absolutely supplement your fish's feed with feed you grow yourself in an aquaponics system. But remember that you are responsible for the optimal health of that animal, and that the feed is what is supplying the nutrients for your plants. So if, for example, you just feed your fish duckweed you will have malnourished fish and malnourished plants. I wrote a blog post about this topic that you might find interesting - http://theaquaponicsource.com/aquaponic-fish-are-not-garbage-disposals/
4) Water from a fish tank is absolutely great for terrestrial plants - no question. But understand that that it technically not "aquaponics" because the water isn't being recirculated back to the fish. But if you don't really care about fitting within that technical definition then go for it!

And thanks for your thanks, Christian. It is much appreciated!
It's in the permaculture playing cards. Here's the link: http://richsoil.com/cards
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