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gavinl

Plant suggestions - reusing hydro water

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Hello all:)

I always feel wasteful when draining hydro water after 7-14 days. I've found larger water/nutrient reservoirs able to handle longer periods of time before needing a change, however it still feels incredibly wasteful just to drain out the used hydro water on my grass.

I was hoping someone might have some suggestions on how to reuse the this 'waste' water and what plants might enjoy the extra nutrients - from experience, natives seem a bad choice. I would like to grow citrus and guava trees, extra cayenne peppers and australian garlic. Just wondering if some of these plants might like the hydro waste water.

Any suggestions would be great.:)

Thanks and all the best

gav:)

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My wife uses the AP water on every plant she has. Even the orchids get AP water. And our orchids are the envy of all the neighbors they wonder why our orchids bloom so well and longer than anyones else's..

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Hi Pugo:)

Thanks for the reply mate. It's nice to hear that AP is your secret ingredient. I could be wrong, but I think AP water is more 'balanced' in regards to it's nutrient mix than hydro waste water - definitely not an expert though mate. I am hoping that I can also find some plants that will enjoy the waste water - especially vegetables or fruit trees.

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Hi Gavin,

G'day mate.....great to hear from you again. You still in Japan?

Using hydro water at the domestic level is as easy as diluting it and feeding it to your non-hydro gardens, shrubs and trees.....or for any non-potable purpose for which you'd normally use fresh water.

For example, if you wash your car, use the diluted hydro water to do the washing and initial rinsing and then give the car a quick rinse with fresh water. Same with washing the dog, the driveway or the house.

Gary

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Hey Gary:)

Really good to hear from you too mate.:) Unfortunately, had to move quickly from Japan after the nuclear damage - very sad business. Have relocated back up north (around Mackay) and am enjoying it. Was doing a bit of study in integrated agriculture in developing nations, but it ended up impossible to find a supervisor who wasn't a reductionist and in the pocket of the wto....so am having an extended break from it.

The good news is more time for a new hydro system lol ...pretty much a DWC. The last one we planned worked great. This one is just bigger and a simplified version.

Thanks for the info on the hydro water. I will dilute the unused hydro water and put tit on my soon-to-be fruit trees and cayenne peppers.

Talks more soon.:)

PS: I know you like reading...if you want some extra reading material, let me know and I'll send the articles...there are a few.:) In all honesty, I reckon you have covered the stuff anyway, it will just be in specific regions. I was particularly interested in fishmeal and the mess that will unfold with the nuclear pollution of the fish stocks predominantly used for fishmeal. I reckon it's time for a local producer to come on the scene...quickly...especially a concern for those using fishmeal in aquaponics.

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Hi Gav,

I was particularly interested in fishmeal and the mess that will unfold with the nuclear pollution of the fish stocks predominantly used for fishmeal. I reckon it's time for a local producer to come on the scene...quickly...especially a concern for those using fishmeal in aquaponics.

Tell us more.

Gary

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Hi Gary:)

Looking into fishmeal production is a bit too eye-opening when using it as the main source of fish food in aquaponics or chicken/pig feed - not many people will feel real good about it. Fishmeal for me is an interesting subject when talking to people in aquaponics as it usually highlights the reasons people choose to be aquaponic practitioners i.e. environmental, self-sufficiency, health or a combination. It's unfortunately, a nasty exploitive industry that is unsustainable and environmentally destructive. I've included a bit from my study below if interested.

I suppose one very small positive of the nuclear disaster in Fukushima is that Australian industries will hopefully invest in sustainable, local fishmeal production (ie. using head, bones from trawlers/processing plants - bycatch is a whole other kettle of fish....sorry couldn't help myself:)) as the chemical (debris) and nuclear pollution (http://www.spiegel.de/images/image-191816-galleryV9-nhjp.gif ; http://www.zamg.ac.at/pict/aktuell/20110315_fuku_Cs-137-glob_12.gif http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2011/03/16/science/plume-graphic.html?ref=science) from Japan, will impact the small fish caught for fishmeal - including those from Chile and Peru where most fish is caught for fishmeal processing. The radiation plume caused by untreated cooling water from Fukushima's nuclear reactors, has not diminished (http://www.wyden.senate.gov/news/press-releases/after-tour-of-fukushima-nuclear-power-station-wyden-says-situation-worse-than-reported) since the tsunami - actually it seems to be totally unregulated and unreported in mainstream media. At least most media sources now show the plume, even if they trivialise the actual danger and amount of nuclear pollution. Usually, the Southern Hemisphere is protected by ocean currents (http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/453262/Peru-Current and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/California_Current). El Nino however can cause disruptions in the Humboldt (Peru) current (http://geography.about.com/od/physicalgeography/a/oceancurrents.htm http://www.nature.org/ourinitiatives/regions/southamerica/saving-the-humboldt-current-ecosystem.xml), which intern can affect the normal upwelling of nutrients that phytoplankton and plankton enjoy so much (http://www.bom.gov.au/climate/glossary/elnino/elnino.shtml http://www.dfg.ca.gov/marine/elnino.asp). I am definitely not an expert in ocean currents (hopefully someone who is can clarify this), but it would seem that the two hemispheres (air and water) are not as mutually exclusive as commonly represented.

In any case, the pollution from Fukushima will have long reaching effects on all marine life and subsequently on humans, so an ethically sound, environmentally sustainable (not economically sustainable) local fishmeal industry would be a big step in the right direction for health, self-sufficiency and environmental protection.

The sharp end of the stick is that I have a problem with using fishmeal, so hydroponics (although not perfect) is a better choice for me at the moment….but I will look into the source and harvesting of minerals used before getting too high on that horse..:) Even if aquaponic practitioners aren't too concerned about the environment or the negative effect that fishmeal production has on people from developing nations, the health concerns are worth investigating. I'll stop there, before getting into gmo vaccines and other nasties commonly used in the aquaculture industry … personally, I would be very careful about eating any farmed seafood from anywhere….lol….have more on gmo if interested too.:)

Just my 20c worth….feels like old times, eh?

_________________________________________

Aquaculture: fishmeal

Although aquaculture has been positioned in many contexts as the fish food protein replacement to capture fisheries, aquaculture’s dependence on fishmeal originating from capture fisheries, means that an expansion ceiling exists that at present, can not be overcome. As Bengsten (2003, p. 7) notes, “it appears that partial or complete replacement of fish meal in the formulation of diets for some species will be necessary or desirable if the industry hopes to grow to the degree necessary."

The commercialisation of aquaculture incorporates industrial farming techniques based on intensive feeding regimes. In order to maximise profits, large numbers of fish are grown in relatively small areas. A substantial and reliable fishmeal supply is vital to commercial aquaculture programmes to maintain optimum stocking rates. The supply of wild captured fish used in the production of fishmeal is under threat at current levels of global aquaculture (in conjunction with the large amount of fish meal used in livestock feed) does not allow for the expansion needed in aquaculture to fulfill the predicted shortfall of fish protein from overfished and exploited wild fish stocks. As Naylor et al. (2007) state, “recently, however the aquaculture industry, as well as environmental groups, have questioned whether the projected growth of the industry over the next 30 years is possible in the light of fish meal availability even in the best of times†(Bengtson, 2003, p. 7).

Due to fishmeal accounting for the highest production cost in commercial aquaculture operations (Naylor et al., 2000, p. 1022) and the unsustainability of using wild captured fish as its major component, alternatives to pellet fishmeal have been researched, including live feed such as artemia, rotifers, algae, zooplankton and copepods during the larvae stage (Bengtson, 2003). No complete alternative to formulated fishmeal at the larvae stage has however been found due to: the technical and economic bottlenecks of larviculture; the level of difficulty in sustaining live fish culture fish feed; and, the ease and convenience of using pelleted diets with preferred commercial species (Bengtson, 2003, p. 13). Most common commercial fish species (salmon and trout) are categorised as precocial larvae and have fully developed fins and a mature digestive system (after the yolk sac is exhausted) (Bengtson, 2003), which allows them to ingest and digest formulated diets as first food. Similarly, the most valuable commercial species (shrimp) have larvae that can also grow well on formulated feeds.

Attempts have also been made to substitute fish protein with a higher level of vegetable protein in fishmeal during fingerling and other growth stages. Trials however have shown that many commercial carnivorous fish species cannot metabolise vegetable proteins efficiently, due to inappropriate amino-acid balance and poor protein digestibility (Naylor et al., 2000, p. 1022), leading to reduced heath and growth rates.

Fishmeal production is a globalised industry that accounts for a substantial percentage of total global fish capture. As Naylor identifies, “between 1986 and 1997, 4 of the top 5, and 8 of the top 20 capture species were used in feed production for the aquaculture and livestock industries. According to the FAO (1999, p. 64), the majority of the fish used in fishmeal originates from the coasts of Chile and Peru (Thilsted and Roos, 1999, p. 64). The main species used include anchoveta, Chilean jack mackeral, Atlantic herring, chub mackeral, Japanese anchovy, round sardinella, Atlantic mackeral and European anchovy (Naylor et al., 2000).

Unlike extensive, self-sufficient integrated aquaculture which normally utilises local inputs to feed omnivorous, indigenous fish species that have beneficial low feed conversion efficiencies (Naylor et al., 2000), commercial aquaculture is constrained by market forces in regard to the fish species grown. The main commercial species are carnivorous with poor feed conversion efficiencies sometimes requiring 2.5 - 5 times as much fish biomass as feed produced (Naylor et al., 2000, p. 1018).

In an attempt to reduce costs and secure local fishmeal alternatives, some commercial aquaculture programmes have started the practice of using local, small pelagic fish in local fishmeal production sites (Ahmed, 1999, p. 46). Proponents of this practice have highlighted the socioeconomic benefits to local communities regarding the creation of manufacturing jobs in fishmeal production sites and the positive environmental advantages of reducing their reliance on global fishmeal supplies. Protagonists to these intensive aquaculture businesses have however highlighted the environmental damage created through the destruction of local fish supplies and breeding sites (Ahmed, 1999; Folke and Kautsky, 1992), in conjunction with the detrimental impacts on the food security of local poor people dependent on these fish to provide necessary micro-nutrients and animal proteins in their diet (Naylor et al., 2000, p. 1020). This dichotomy highlights the ongoing struggle between the two clashing ideologies present in aquaculture programmes in developing nations – the maximisation of profit versus the maximisation of food security for poor people (Kent, 1997, pp. 398-399).

Edited by gavinl (see edit history)

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Hi Gavin,

The use of fishmeal in rations is arguably the main sustainability issue around aquaculture.

If fishmeal is further impacted by events like Fukushima then we ought to know about it.

I've moved this discussion of fishmeal and its issues into its own thread....here.

Gary

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