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Rob Lineberger

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since Jul 01, 2018
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urban woodworking homestead
I've been interested in these topics for a long time. I've built a 5000 gallon aquaponics system with 13 tons of gravel plus a cob pizza oven, both with only a wheelbarrow and shovel. So I'm not exactly a newbie but I also have not fully delved in. Currently considering buying a lot and building a monolithic dome house.
Durham, NC
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Recent posts by Rob Lineberger

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.
3 hours ago
Since it is impossible for me to accumulate 10 gallons of kitchen scraps, I will do this in chunks.  In order to not spend weeks doing this to find out I'm doing it wrong I'd like some early input.  I see from the directions that I need to include a picture of the bucket next to the hole, which I didn't remember when I was out there.

The area in question.  If you look closely you'll see the reason why I'm starting over in this area.

A 2.5 gallon bucket with kitchen scraps.  Its not completely full so let's call it 2 gallons.

Dug a hole:

Put scraps in the hole:

Covered the hole back up:

Is that the right track? Thank you.
4 hours ago

Cindy Haskin wrote:

bruce Fine wrote:small wood inferno

Is that anything like a "disco inferno"? Maybe not.

Bisque-o Inferno?
4 hours ago
Ok, so, I peed on my sage plant.  Also the marigold got some.  

Douglas Alpenstock wrote:Rob, that's pretty cool. I have vaguely heard of it.

Can you recommend a good  link to learn more? I keep my goldfish indoors for 6 months, in a warm space with south facing windows, and maybe with a few LED grow lights ...

There are two I really like.  

Backyard Aquaponics has so many small-to-medium scale tips you can read for days.  It's based in Australia, though, so if you are North America based like I am watch out when they say "winter" or "summer" or "prawns."  

Another is Practical Aquaponics.  A little more basic but still great info.  

Someone who emerged from forums to start her own blog is TCLynx.  She has a wealth of experience and insight.  

I hate to show you this because it is not running at the moment and looks like crap but here's a 40 gallon fishtank I had feeding an approximately 2 foot by 4 foot bed:

The important things to note are the pump line (the black arc in front of the cat) and the drain tube (white PVC under the growbed.)  This runs 24/7.  I had basil, parsley, peppers, cilantro, green onions, and I forget what else in there.  It won't feed your family but it is great for filtering the fish waste and also giving you some fresh herbs through the winter.

BTW I just remembered the tower thing I was thinking of is called zip towers.  Although I'm partial to growbeds in a zig zag pattern (like donkey kong) that drain into each other, right to left, left to right.  

I see the issue on Firefox version 79.0 on Ubuntu 16.04.  I do not see it when I use Chrome on chromeOS.  I also don't see it when I use Chromium on Ubuntu 16.04.

Like I said, if this is a niche problem no big deal but I thought I'd point it out since I had the issue isolated.
I love what you've done already.  If you have access to power, I highly recommend aquaponics towers.  One fish tank, one pump that circulates through towers filled with substrate such as gravel.  You can plant lettuce, brassicas, spinach, peppers, tomatoes, etc. Aquaponics helps the fish and the plants be healthy.  Its about as far removed from the natural world as you can get but in an artificial environment it works wonders.  

Greg Martin wrote:I kind of like the Radiant Masonry Heating, Douglas, since it's still RMH :)

Thats pretty solid logic.  Hats off to you.  Unless the point is to distance from the old name.  In which case gimme my hat back.
6 hours ago
I'm always impressed by how this forum looks and behaves, from a web design perspective.  I've moderated forums before and I see the work that goes into that user experience, so nice work on all the little touches you have in place that make this your own.

The FAQ says this is where to go for technical suggestions. Since Inge got me to do these PEPs I've noticed that the CSS for the wiki pages differs slightly from the CSS on the forum posts. On my browser (Firefox on Ubuntu) the body text of the initial post is sliding over into the left panel, like the attached image.

I think it is from the margin-left declaration in the .rcwrapper.wikiFx class at line 1614 of topic-show.css. I think if you overrode that with an empty declaration it might clear up what I'm seeing.  

Now if no one else is seeing that and it's an isolated problem, then by all means don't worry about it.  Forum still looks good, love it! :)

Inge Leonora-den Ouden wrote:Rob, I can tell you you are right about the smell. With that basket of used 'pee-rags' my toilet never is without smell, even when it is clean.
Mold doesn't grow on the stainless steel, but what about the cotton rags themselves?

Never heard of pee rags but I love the idea! Your rags probably are giving off ammonia fumes.  I suggest that you attach a filter to the lid of the container.  Activated Carbon would be almost useless for ammonia odor but zeolite (a volcanic rock) is perfect for adsorbing ammonia gasses into its own pores. I get mine from aquarium supply stores but I think they are also sold in pet stores for controlling litter box odors. The nice thing about zeolite is you can put it in the sun for a couple days and it will recharge itself.  I bet a pouch of zeolite would do wonders for you.

My stainless cannister (actually an ice bucket from an out-of-business hotel) has almost no detectable smell.  I say "almost" because I also use one for compost and if I have banana peels in there a scent will come out as the banana off-gasses.  But generally speaking, no odor.

The cotton rags will mold if left too long.  So I don't leave them too long.  :)

Nicole Alderman wrote:
I have my rags in a washable, semi-breathable bag made from diaper-cover cloth (PUL) that I already had lying around. I wash rags/towels/napkins every 3 or 4 days (sometimes more frequently--I have messy kids!). So far, I haven't noticed any stink, and I can always just throw the bag in the wash if I need to.

I also use a bag made from the PUL fabric for my washable pads. That one gets thrown in the wash when I wash the pads.

Ahh I remember the cloth diaper days. They were so expensive so we made our own.  I still have flashbacks of hammering those little pastel snaps into the snap anvil through three layers of cotton fleece.  The thrill of anxiety: will it take? Or will it slide off all crooked and I have to start over? *shudder* I'll see if I can rig up a permeable liner that will keep the rags away from the floor and sides of the cannister.  Thanks!
10 hours ago