Paul Nickerson

Archive for August, 2012|Monthly archive page

FshyPlnts Welcomes 14 New Fingerling

In Aquaponics on August 29, 2012 at 2:23 pm

Today I decided to remove the spent tomato plants from the system and was met with a wonderful surprise. Cleaning the sump tank is a fairly standard procedure. Remove the plants, then the mats. Skim the water to remove any debris or plant matter, and then replace the rafts and plants. That is what I planned on doing this afternoon. Aquaponics teaches you to be flexible and to go with the flow.
While removing the mats I realized there was a small fish in the sump tank. The tilapia reproduced a few months back, but since seeing the initial eggs, there have been no signs of progeny. Determined to get that little fish back into the main tank, I grabbed a net and headed to work dredging aimlessly in the murky water.

When I pulled the net from the tank, two fingerlings emerged. Confused, I began to drain the tank while hunting for other fish. After about 40 minutes of splashing around in the sump tank I relocated 14 fingerlings, all healthy and well-developed, into the main tank. We now have evidence that on a diet consisting entirely of sunflower press cake, tilapia can effectively survive and reproduce. Furthermore, fingerlings are capable of living healthily in a system entirely fueled by sunflower press cake.

Summer Recap: Aquaponics at Messiah College

In Aquaponics on August 25, 2012 at 8:56 pm

As students begin to gather again on campus, it is time to get the system up and running at full capacity so we can began determining crop output per unit fish. Over the summer the fish were fed a diet consisting entirely of sunflower press cake. All of the tilapia are still healthy, some are soon to be dinner.

During the summer the Gro-tech gutter system was taken offline for a short amount of time to be cleaned and re-caulked. It is recently been planted with Thai Basil seedlings. Small pieces of paper towel were used as wicks to keep the seeds moist until they developed sufficient root systems. This was done to combat the drying problem we faced last semester when planting lettuce in the system. (I’ll explain more about the wicks in another post).

Over the course of the summer we also noticed an increase in the amount of solid waste in the water. This is likely due to the nature of the press cake we are feeding the fish. We recently figured out a way to filter this out (which again, I will elaborate on at another time). We are also currently working on building a view box that will allow us to survey the bottom of the fish tank to determine how much food is not being consumed, but is building up in the tank.


Amazing Talk by Pam Warhurst: Edible Landscaping

In Alternative Agriculture on August 16, 2012 at 9:08 pm

I don’t usually repost things here, but I recently watched this talk and thought it was amazing!

Edible Landscaping TED Talk

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