velacreations

Mushroom biofilter?

75 posts in this topic

I've been researching greywater biofiltration, and I stumbled on an interesting use and method for growing mushrooms. It's basically using wood chips/straw as a water filter media with mushrooms growing on it to consume/process the nutrients in the water. These are for lighter loads, or polishing off after using another filter (earthworms?).

I was thinking that it might be a good addition for filtering hydro-fodder water.

Here's one example from a bathroom sink:

http://katherineball.com/Indoor-Greywater-System

2%20Indoor%20Greywater%20System%20-%20lr.jpg

An outdoor system using King Stropharia (Stropharia rugosoannulata):

20100309water.jpg

Where else could we find a place for mushrooms in water cycling systems?

There are varieties of mushrooms for just about every substrate and growing conditions.

Here's a warmer weather variety of oyster mushrooms that I grow on corn fodder. They could just as easily grow on sunflower or amaranth stalks.

They like temps in the 80's, might be good near a Tilapia system:

8713368489_61f4df3b57.jpg

Oyster mushrooms are really easy to grow, in fact, I often forget about them, only to pass by a week later to a beautiful bouquet of mushrooms.

The spent substrate and mycelium has a lot of protein, and might be useful for fish or earthworm food. My pigs love it.

Here's how I grow them: http://www.instructables.com/id/Oyster-Mushrooms-in-a-Laundry-Basket/

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I was only yesterday evening thinking of the best place on the forum to start this thread. Have been using mycelium to break down Lignin and the idea dawned on me for micro filtration, so the search began... A chap Paul Stamets seems to be the leader in the field and produced an excellent book - Mycelium Running, well worth the read if you have not got it already. I was thinking of inserting a container with hessian/burlap sack under my new systems grow bed and diverting a couple of liters every cycle through the Mycofilter, testing the water after a few weeks and see what it does. I have Oyster and shiitaki seems a good place to start.

thanks for starting this and the great pics

regards luke

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Yeah, I have a few of Stamets books, including Mycelium Running. Another great book of his is Growing Gourmet and Medicinal Mushrooms, it is very detailed, and gives an overview of conditions for most common species.

I think colonized straw could fit in a lot of situations for what we do. For my hydro-fodder system, the water gets nasty after a few days because of the free starch from the seeds. If the mycelium could filter that out a bit, it would extend the time between changing water and reduce the chance of molds on my fodder.

It might be good for Wicking bed systems, like Gary's ultimate system, too. Or as a filter for an aquaponics systems, put right after a sediment filter or a grow bed. There are so many places where it could be useful.

And don't forget the financial side to all of this. Oyster Mushrooms, and many other species, are worth a lot of money. In my area, they cost around $20 /lb, or $44/kg. I tend to grow about 1 kg of oysters for each 1.5 kg of corn stover. Corn stover costs me about $3 for a bale that weighs 15 kg, or enough for 10kg of shrooms ($440). They don't travel well, so are perfect for trading/selling to neighbors and farmer markets.

Medicinal species are worth a lot more. Turkey Tail (Trametes versicolor) is worth upwards of $200/kg, and is one of the most common wild mushrooms in North America. It grows on wood, and would do really well on prunings from an orchard.

The spent substrate and leftover mycelium has been reported as an excellent food for fish. It is high in protein and contains a lot of nutrients. I feed it to my animals, and they like it a lot. Typically, big mushroom farms sell spent substrate to cattle or pig operations, as a low cost protein source. Fish operations could benefit from that, too.

If you had yard waste, tree trimmings, straw, cardboard, paper, coffee grounds, or just about anything in bulk, you could grow mushrooms.

I think it's about time that we include these amazing organisms in our systems.

Edited by velacreations (see edit history)

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I think it's about time that we include these amazing organisms in our systems

i completely agree, i am planning a 1m x 4m Oyster mushroom "filter" under the grow run in my latest trout system (have 1,2m space to play with). i figure i can tap off several liters every cycle to filter through the mycelium, what depth would you recommend? the system flushes for 4minutes every 15 minutes.

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i completely agree, i am planning a 1m x 4m Oyster mushroom "filter" under the grow run in my latest trout system (have 1,2m space to play with). i figure i can tap off several liters every cycle to filter through the mycelium, what depth would you recommend? the system flushes for 4minutes every 15 minutes.

I would think 6-12 inches (15-30 cm) deep of substrate would be enough, depending on what species you use. If you can divide the space into large trays, you could grow several species on different substrates and find the best one for your situation.

Make it like a flood and drain, so that the water completely drains between each cycle. They don't like to be sitting in water.

and most importantly? TAKE PHOTOS AND DOCUMENT EVERYTHING!!! We need this information out there, people don't realize how easy this is.

And since you are into making your own feeds, try feeding the fish some of the spent substrate and see how they do. Tilapia should do well, not sure about trout.

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heading into winter, so thought Winter Oyster spawn.

very much like the idea of divisions to experiment with.

I was thinking to get as fine a spray with every cycle as possible along the top and perforations underneath, so it can filter through the substrate. create an even rain effect to break the surface for the Trout.

i use spent brewing yeast for my Tilapia fry and was thinking to use the substrate as it is essentially a yeast, i then feed the fry to the Trout. Brutal i know but its how it works in nature!

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you might try King Stropharia (Stropharia rugosoannulata) as well, people have used them for filtration. Elm Oysters are another alternative.

Feeding to Tilapia and then to Trout is a great way to incorporate these things! Of course, adding the substrate to your methane digester is good, too.

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TAKE PHOTOS AND DOCUMENT EVERYTHING!!! We need this information out there, people don't realize how easy this is.
I'm one of those folks ignorant on growing mushrooms and would love to learn more and add this to my efforts. Will follow this thread intently.

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Thanks Vela. Seems simple enough, but does require a fair amount of intervention - fresh air 3x day, and the temp/humidity requirements would seem tough to achieve on my end. I assume that these are ideal conditions, but would you still get decent results in other than ideal conditions? I would set something up in my AP room, which is 70-80F, with humidity in the 50-60% range.

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Thanks Vela. Seems simple enough, but does require a fair amount of intervention - fresh air 3x day, and the temp/humidity requirements would seem tough to achieve on my end. I assume that these are ideal conditions, but would you still get decent results in other than ideal conditions? I would set something up in my AP room, which is 70-80F, with humidity in the 50-60% range.

I don't think I have ever met ideal conditions. :)

For your AP room, you'll do better with Pink oysters than whites. Whites like the temps in the 60's. I wouldn't worry about the fresh air thing, if you are putting them near plants. Mushrooms need Oxygen, and if you have them in a humidity tent, the CO2 builds up. But, if they are in a big room with plants and other things, it doesn't matter.

You have to realize that they grow in the wild all by themselves without anyone caring for them!

The real big thing is to try and control the light. When the mycelium is growing, you want it fairly dark. It won't hurt it to be in the light, but when you expose it to light, it triggers the mycelium to start fruiting.

If you notice on the growth parameters, there are differences in temperature and air for fruiting, too. Basically, you are trying to replicate a forest growing situation. the mycelium typically grows udnerground or under cover. CO2 and humidity are high, not much light. Then, it breaks the surface, and is exposed to fresh air and light, meaning it is at the surface of the ground, and it should start fruiting.

So, you need a fruiting trigger, and you can do that with light, air, or temperature. Most of the time, light is the easiest thing to control.

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I assume that these are ideal conditions, but would you still get decent results in other than ideal conditions?

i think ultimately you must put the concept of failure out of your reality. Experiment without boundaries! experiment with your unique set of circumstances. Failure is your greatest teacher, your specific environment is unique embrace it. Velacreations, myself, Gary can offer advise based on our own reality yours is unique... go for it

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Thanks Vela and luke. Now I've got another project, and potential food source. Hot dang!

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Looked up some pink oyster spawn online, and it seems that a few places sell it for around $20 for a kit. Just wondering if one is able to propagate the mushrooms (saving spores?) after one purchase, or do you have to rebuy spawn after you have grown the mushrooms out a few times.

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Hi,

Excellent thread gents, keep it coming.

Im not personally fussed on mushrooms, take them or leave them... though after reading this I am inspired to give them a go.

Cheers

Joe

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Looked up some pink oyster spawn online, and it seems that a few places sell it for around $20 for a kit. Just wondering if one is able to propagate the mushrooms (saving spores?) after one purchase, or do you have to rebuy spawn after you have grown the mushrooms out a few times.

a few ways to propogate: cutting or spores. With cuttings, you get mushrooms faster, but with spores, you can grow them out for more generations.

Really, to start, you can take a chunk of mycelium off your kit block and start a big block of pasteurized straw. Just break it up real fine. Follow the instructions like we do with the cardboard spawn.

Leave the majority of your kit mycelium intact, and let it fruit. Eat the caps, but with the stems, dice them into small pieces and put them on moist cardboard in a trash bag. They will cover the stack of cardboard, and then you can break this apart into pieces and make a straw block for more mycelium.

You can't go on cloning forever, so you can collect spores from each batch, and one day, when your clones no longer have vigor, start some spores on cardboard or grain.

So, yes, get the kit, and it will give you mushrooms fast and also enough material to clone for a long time.

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Thanks again vela. I'll give that a go shortly and will document progress and results. I told my wife that I was going to grow mushrooms thanks to the encouragement of my friends in mexico and south Africa and she didn't even bat an eye. Guess she's getting used to my shenanigans.:D

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Hey Vela, been putting a lot of thought into the Katherine Ball design. If one used kitchen sink waste through a small 180L digester before the mushroom filter i am pretty sure you could boil a kettle or two a day on it.

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Hey Vela, been putting a lot of thought into the Katherine Ball design. If one used kitchen sink waste through a small 180L digester before the mushroom filter i am pretty sure you could boil a kettle or two a day on it.

it would depend on the amount of your waste. We currently catch ours in a filter, and it doesn't amount to much. It's less than a handful a day.

How much gas are you getting per kg (or other unit) of waste?

I think a multi-stage filter is better. First stage could be a worm bin (google worm greywater filter), then a mushroom filter, and then a wetland/wicking bed.

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i have a farm, my better half is an over active cook... there is always something on the go, especially preserving. She also feeds the workers and we also have loads of students around- pigs, chickens, rabbits, worms and compost heaps benefit a lot; there is still plenty action going the way of the sink, i really think it could work.

I have two digesters one is for toilet waste.. i don't bother with the gas, just use the nutrient water in the Orchards. The other is my test one for the lignin break down of Acacia Longifolia, it has only just started making gas so i need to let it run a bit before i can deduce effectiveness.

i am doing the worm bin along with rabbits, barley etc. will fill you in when i am finished it

I consulted the Oracle (google) and a guy claimed he was able to boil a kettle on three liters of sink waste a day... would like to do a mythbuster on it.

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