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GaryD

iAVs.info - the Integrated Aqua-Vegeculture System

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Gary - Sorry to hear you are leaving and thanks for everything you've done.  I have really enjoyed this site over the years and I don't think you need to worry about APN's future.  I have been here since 2009 and IMHO it is better than ever and the moderator leadership and member knowledge and conduct is without doubt better than any other aquaponics forum I have been involved with.  There are always some bad apples anywhere but this place is the best.  Good luck Mate!

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3 hours ago, early said:

Gary - Sorry to hear you are leaving and thanks for everything you've done.  I have really enjoyed this site over the years and I don't think you need to worry about APN's future.  I have been here since 2009 and IMHO it is better than ever and the moderator leadership and member knowledge and conduct is without doubt better than any other aquaponics forum I have been involved with.  There are always some bad apples anywhere but this place is the best.  Good luck Mate!

Hi Early,

Don't be too concerned....I'll still be nearby.   Time is finite so I'll be spending more of it on my own projects....and linking to those where appropriate.

My issues are not with my fellow moderators.....and I agree that most of our members are great people.  My principal concern is for the volume and quality of discussion.  Obscurity is death for a forum and that's where leadership comes in.  The notion that you can lead from the back is a flawed one.  You have to be upfront - starting and managing discussions......otherwise people just drift off somewhere else. 

Anyway, a bit less of me around this place will be good for both of us.

Gary

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On 5 September 2016 at 8:41 AM, phri said:

I disagree (on the calculation thing). Yields should be specified for fish growth area not total water volume of system. Otherwise you can not compare systems sensible which due to their design, have different external water volume; think of: NFT vs raft for aquaponics & moving bed vs trickling filter for RAS. This would also implies that for open water systems like floating cages very large water volumes would end up in the equations.

Thus for me:1 kg growth in 100 litre per year equals  10 kg /m3/year

btw I don't imply that external volumes in systems play no role; of course they do, and the most obvious one is the impact of concentrations of waste/nutrients in the water.

Hi Phri....thanks for your input - and for delaying your response until others had had a chance to respond to the question.

I'm not surprised at your answer....it seems to be the way that many people view it.  I should also have qualified my "correct" observation to say that the lesser figure was the way that Mark and I viewed it.

It's your observation that "the impact of concentrations of waste/nutrients in the water" that confirms our view.  How can you make any useful comparison of systems that does not take full account of the waste/nutrients in the water column.....not just the fish tank/cage?  The nature and volume of those wastes and nutrients is the main factor when designing any aquaculture or aquaponics system.

Gary

Edited by GaryD (see edit history)

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On 09/09/2016 at 6:51 AM, GaryD said:

Hi Phri....thanks for your input - and for delaying your response until others had had a chance to respond to the question.

I'm not surprised at your answer....it seems to be the way that many people view it.  I should also have qualified my "correct" observation to say that the lesser figure was the way that Mark and I viewed it.

It's your observation that "the impact of concentrations of waste/nutrients in the water" that confirms our view.  How can you make any useful comparison of systems that does not take full account of the waste/nutrients in the water column.....not just the fish tank/cage?  The nature and volume of those wastes and nutrients is the main factor when designing any aquaculture or aquaponics system.

Gary

I am aware, in reality you can not isolate one particular aspect of an operation. Obvious we are all part of the cosmos and influenced by all sort of things, and impacting the world around us. 

Therefore we work with models, and these by nature simplify things; which on it's turn enables us to get some grip on situations around us, be it the weather or predictions of production figures / yields of systems used in primary industry. I recently picked up that Einstein's model on the universe is proven to be wrong, so who am I to comment on this....

Practically you concentrate on production targets fish and or plants, probably take other parameters in consideration where they are of major importance either because you feel like it or have to (law). Right or wrong is more an opinion then a fact in this context.

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From earlier videos from him, seems he has a large gravel based system already working. He found out the hard (expensive ) way about the need for filtration for long term operation.

  Going to be interesting to follow how he manages to have an iAVs system running alongside his gravel system.  I would think he's going to have to build an entirely separate system.  

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2 hours ago, ande said:

Hi

Seems to be some iAVs trials on the way here

Will be exciting to follow

cheers

Good to see Peng's video here.  

"I watched your post in Aquaponic Nation and I was impressed by your success. Could you confirm that you have NOT added any extra nutrients into your system during the entire process of growing your crops?"   AUG 29TH, 5:14PM

I got sidetracked and could not answer this old question.  Adding it here for discussion, if any.

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6 hours ago, ande said:

Hi

Seems to be some iAVs trials on the way here

Will be exciting to follow

cheers

Yep, he seems like a doer......I was thinking of his common problems, problems we have all faced as we designed and built systems...and it came to me that perhaps a hybrid system that runs a dual loop and a iAVs system may worth building. One (Dual loop) to keep the majority of the grow beds clean and the other (iAVs) to filter the fish tank.  Let's face it not all crops grow well with out additives. That is where the dual loop comes in. But those things that do grow well in sand would need no additives....Gary, please don't scream at me that I don't understand iAVs because everything grows well in that type system...lol

The experiment continues....

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Help me understand what you're calling dual loop.  Do you mean running his gravel FD and an iAVs from one FT at the same time?  Or am I oversimplyfing things?  Thinking about his situation, seems routing the raw FT water through an iAVs before his FD might work.  Might rob some of the nutrients, tho, that would be beneficial to his FD side.  On second thought, the iAVs timing issue might present a problem.  

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4 hours ago, Strider said:

Yep, he seems like a doer......I was thinking of his common problems, problems we have all faced as we designed and built systems...and it came to me that perhaps a hybrid system that runs a dual loop and a iAVs system may worth building. One (Dual loop) to keep the majority of the grow beds clean and the other (iAVs) to filter the fish tank.  Let's face it not all crops grow well with out additives. That is where the dual loop comes in. But those things that do grow well in sand would need no additives....Gary, please don't scream at me that I don't understand iAVs because everything grows well in that type system...lol

The experiment continues....

If you watch his videos on the construction of his greenhouse, you will be in no doubt that Peng is a doer. 

Mark spotted his video and was impressed by his perseverence and hard work so, about 12 months ago, we introduced him to iAVs.

Peng's arrival on the iAVs scene coincided with increased interest in iAVs from China.   Mark discovered (through one of the document services that host his research papers) that there had been a sharp increase in demand for his documents and that it was all coming from China.  This was accompanied by increased email traffic from Chinese people.

While Peng lives in Australia, he is an language interpreter - and he visits China - so we hoped that, as his own iAVs system unfolded, he might also be able to act as a point of contact for Chinese people who wanted to know more about iAVs - and to see it at work.  I think Peng might still be in China as I write...so I'm going to be very interested to hear from him as to his future plans.

Jim...if we build iAVs as it was designed, not only is there no need to keep the beds clean, it may actually be counterproductive since it's the decomposition of the detritus layer and its interaction with the soil microbiology in the sand that provides the nutrients for the plants.

Let me remind you that iAVs is essentially about plant production - the fish are simply the means to an end - so we only keep as many fish as are needed to grow the vegetable crops.   Fish production in aquaponics (particularly at the small-scale) loses money so it makes sense to confine it to the bare minimum needed to grow the plants that actually make aquaponics viable.

Quote

Let's face it not all crops grow well with out additives.

Which plants do not grow well without additives...in iAVs?

I understand the desire to improve things....and I'm affected by that desire to the same extent as anyone else.  I've also applied that inclination to iAVs.  I've spent hundreds of hours thinking of ways in which it might be improved.....and each foray into improvement has brought me right back to the basic system.  I'm not saying it couldn't be improved; I'm just saying that I haven't come up with anything.....and nothing that I've seen from anyone else has come close to convincing me that they have either.  

Lest I be misunderstood, let me make it clear that when I talk about improvement I'm talking about the system fundamentals.....the sand specification, the furrows, the detritus layer and the intermittent irrigation regime.   These are the pillars of the iAVs design and, in my view, you tamper with them at your peril.

Optimisation is another matter.  Mark makes it clear that his work was never about optimising the performance of iAVs.  He did what he did and he got the results that he did and he faithfully reported all of it.    Boone Mora produced far more than Mark's trials did.....and Mark is adamant that other people will improve on Mora's outcomes.

People may tire of me saying that iAVs is the perfect system (and that's their problem) but they haven't come up with anything to counter the suggestion.

One thing is certain.  No-one can say that anything is better than iAVs without building an iAVs - and whatever it is that is claimed to be better - and comparing their performance side-by-side in the same conditions.

Gary

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21 hours ago, Aufin said:

Help me understand what you're calling dual loop.  Do you mean running his gravel FD and an iAVs from one FT at the same time?  Or am I oversimplyfing things?  Thinking about his situation, seems routing the raw FT water through an iAVs before his FD might work.  Might rob some of the nutrients, tho, that would be beneficial to his FD side.  On second thought, the iAVs timing issue might present a problem.  

Yes, both systems simultaneously from one fish tank. Yes, trying to use one connected to the end of the other would present problems.  Understand that I am not comparing the two systems as some inevitably do with each post they make, I am just suggesting another way to build. As Gary has said, fish production is not the goal of iAVs but why not run another system where fish production is the goal. Best of both Worlds...?

Edited by Strider (see edit history)

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4 hours ago, Strider said:

Yes, both systems simultaneously from one fish tank. Yes, trying to use one connected to the end of the other would present problems.  Understand that I am not comparing the two systems as some inevitably do with each post they make,Not a problem.  was just asking for clarification so I could visualize. I am just suggesting another way to build. As Gary has said, fish production is not the goal of iAVs but why not run another system where fish production is the goal. Best of both Worlds...?  Unless I'm missing something, I don't see why fish couldn't be a goal in iAVs.  A minor or secondary goal, maybe, but why not?  I understand not having more sandbed/biofiter than the FT could support, but why not more FT than needed?  Seems to me oversized FT = more fish = more fish stuff for the beds = future expansion with minimal effort.  I'm not suggesting going overboard with anything, but from what limited experience I have with my  iAVs, the system is a forgiving and versatile system as long as one sets up their iAVs following the basic prescriptions listed.  I may have to eat my words a couple years down the road, but for now I am quite pleased with my iAVs. 

  What I gather from Mr. Peng's video (and a few earlier videos posted by him), he is unhappy with his gravel based FD system and is going to trial an iAVs system.  I would think in order to do a true comparison a separate system is necessary.

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5 hours ago, Strider said:

Yes, both systems simultaneously from one fish tank. Yes, trying to use one connected to the end of the other would present problems.  Understand that I am not comparing the two systems as some inevitably do with each post they make, I am just suggesting another way to build. As Gary has said, fish production is not the goal of iAVs but why not run another system where fish production is the goal. Best of both Worlds...?

There's nothing wrong with comparing aquaponics systems (or indeed any other food production systems).  In my view, it's the failure to compare properly that is the issue.  I believe that one of the problems that attends commercial aquaponics is that the wrong production model (the raft system) predominates......not because the operators have compared it to other systems but because everybody is doing what everyone else has done.....without comparison.

The reason that I speak about fish production in iAVs being the means to and end is that small-scale fish production presents a financial problem (at best, you break even and, at worst, you lose money), so it makes sense to do just enough of it to accommodate the plant production that will swing the whole proposition back into viability.  The only sensible way to grow more fish, in such circumstances, is to create a bigger iAVs....or more smaller ones.

Boone Mora established that many more fish could be produced than Mark established as necessary in his research trials.   If your goal is simply to produce more fish, any iAVs will accommodate that (up to a point) but, if you are losing money on every fish you grow out, it makes no sense.  

You would be better to take the money that you are going to spend on the fingerlings and feed and buy some Maine lobster or albacore tuna instead.

Don't get me wrong.....I love the sight of a tank full of fish at feeding time....and I love them on the table at dinner time.....but, if you are buying fingerlings and buying feed, there's a high probability that you're losing money.....unless you can somehow add value to the fish or you have a niche market like Cecil does.

 

Gary

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1 hour ago, Aufin said:

  What I gather from Mr. Peng's video (and a few earlier videos posted by him), he is unhappy with his gravel based FD system and is going to trial an iAVs system.  I would think in order to do a true comparison a separate system is necessary.

I agree.....and, the quicker that such comparisons come into play, the faster we can put the whole unfortunate gravel-based experience behind us.   Sadly, the world's most widely recognised face of aquaponics is still telling peole that gravel is a superior filtration media to sand - and the only way to stop that is with evidence derived of such comparisons.   For some reason, people seem unwilling to accept the history, available research data and rational thinking that tells us that this unfortunate mutation is inferior to its progenitor.

Gary

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3 hours ago, GaryD said:

 For some reason, people seem unwilling to accept the history, available research data and rational thinking that tells us that this unfortunate mutation is inferior to its progenitor.

Gary

That all may be, but for me to accept, I need the "research data" which seems to be the BIG missing factor for any system of the comparison trials. And that is what people will have a hard time doing without guidance from you and Mark. And the trouble is that its not hard to do. Measure and record what goes in, compared to what goes out.

Edited by Old Prospector (see edit history)

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On 10 October 2016 at 10:42 AM, Old Prospector said:

 

That all may be, but for me to accept, I need the "research data" which seems to be the BIG missing factor for any system of the comparison trials. And that is what people will have a hard time doing without guidance from you and Mark. And the trouble is that its not hard to do. Measure and record what goes in, compared to what goes out.

If you're speaking about research data for the basic flood and drain system, all of the "evidence" is anecdotal and makes no comparison with other systems.  iAVs has, by contrast, no shortage of research data.  In any case, you don't need research data to separate iAVs from its mutation......simple logic will do that easily enough.

What is it that you have yet to understand about iAVs?  Or the basic flood and drain system?

Gary

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Hi, 

This post is in response to a post by JeffH on another thread.  It was moved here in response to a request from VKN.....for what reason I'm not clear since it addressed matters raised by JeffH....but then I live to serve.  ;)

6 hours ago, JeffH said:

I would say that the iAVs info is being treated with cautious interest. It's great to hear intelligent questions about the system since these guys certainly have lots of aquaponics experience.

Interest around iAVs is gradually mounting.....across the world.  Notwithstanding the tide of misinformation that has been directed against iAVs, in some quarters, the logic and science that underpins the concept is gaining traction.  

This is not the first time that I've experienced this phenomenon.  There's a curious sense of deja vu involved in my work with iAVs.  When I first began to challenge the hyperbole that attended the basic flood and drain system, I was branded an heretic.....but then, as now, logic and science was on my side.  Gradually, the tide began to turn.....and so it is now with iAVs.

Initially, the discussion of iAVs was largely confined to APN.  It has gradually spread to other forums because of APN members who were also members of other forums....but it is through Facebook that the bulk of discussion has occurred.  The misinformation has continued but, unlike other AP forums (most of which have banned me for my contrarian views), my membership of several Facebook groups has allowed me to address the misinformation.....and insert the iAVs agenda into various discussions.  That, coupled with the efforts of our small band of intrepid pioneers - and the updated iAVs website - has allowed us get the ball rolling.

At the end of the day, iAVs (and the research that underpins it) only needs to be exposed to intelligent people for its efficacy to become apparent.  Interestingly, we're already seeing how those people who follow our directions most closely, are those who seem to enjoy success most readily.  A very recent example of this is Remout's success in sourcing suitable sand.....using the ASTM C33 specification.   That experience has put paid to the idea that suitable sand is difficult to find.

VKN's experience has demonstrated the resilience of iAVs.....where even when the prescriptions are not followed exactly, useful results are still possible.....is also of significant interest.

Also of interest (but no real surprise), is the unwillingness of AP's "gurus" to acknowledge iAVs.   Once again, this is not new.....and nor will it make any difference in the longer term.  

Jeff.....there are still a few positions available to become an early adopter of iAVs.....and to bask in the future glory that accrues to such people.  ;)

6 hours ago, JeffH said:

The biggest question is around how effective the sand environment is in terms of removing the waste without excessive buildup.

You can tell people what happens 'til you're blue in the face but this will persist until there are hordes of people that have experienced what Mark's research - and Boone Mora's commercial trial - confirmed.   One of the good things that has happened in the past decade or so, is that (given that so many of them were duped into believing the lies about the basic flood and drain system) people are questioning things more closely.  There are some anomalies....like the raft system which is so widely accepted as being the duck's guts.....in the absence of any real comparative data.  But that, too, will change over time.

6 hours ago, JeffH said:

I don't have a good sense of how much the fish stocking density affects overall performance since it seems that iAVs is more about growing the plants rather than optimizing fish sales.

In the overwhelming majority of AP situations, you will, at best, break even on growing fish and, at worst, lose money.....so the focus on plants is essential if you are going to make money......or grow your own food cost effectively.  If you want to grow more fish, you just increase the total volume of sand bio-filters/growbeds.  The consequence of this is to maintain the filtration necessary to deal with the increase in fish biomass.....and to increase the amount of plants that can be grown.

It's also helpful to re-visit the ratio studies on the iAVs site for a better understanding of the impacts of more or less fish in an iAVs.

Gary

Edited by GaryD (see edit history)

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2 hours ago, GaryD said:

Hi, 

This post is in response to a post by JeffH on another thread.  It was moved here in response to a request from VKN.....for what reason I'm not clear since it addressed matters raised by JeffH....but then I live to serve.  ;)

Interest around iAVs is gradually mounting.....across the world.  Notwithstanding the tide of misinformation that has been directed against iAVs, in some quarters, the logic and science that underpins the concept is gaining traction.  

This is not the first time that I've experienced this phenomenon.  There's a curious sense of deja vu involved in my work with iAVs.  When I first began to challenge the hyperbole that attended the basic flood and drain system, I was branded an heretic.....but then, as now, logic and science was on my side.  Gradually, the tide began to turn.....and so it is now with iAVs.

Initially, the discussion of iAVs was largely confined to APN.  It has gradually spread to other forums because of APN members who were also members of other forums....but it is through Facebook that the bulk of discussion has occurred.  The misinformation has continued but, unlike other AP forums (most of which have banned me for my contrarian views), my membership of several Facebook groups has allowed me to address the misinformation.....and insert the iAVs agenda into various discussions.  That, coupled with the efforts of our small band of intrepid pioneers - and the updated iAVs website - has allowed us get the ball rolling.

At the end of the day, iAVs (and the research that underpins it) only needs to be exposed to intelligent people for its efficacy to become apparent.  Interestingly, we're already seeing how those people who follow our directions most closely, are those who seem to enjoy success most readily.  A very recent example of this is Remout's success in sourcing suitable sand.....using the ASTM C33 specification.   That experience has put paid to the idea that suitable sand is difficult to find.

VKN's experience has demonstrated the resilience of iAVs.....where even when the prescriptions are not followed exactly, useful results are still possible.....is also of significant interest.

Also of interest (but no real surprise), is the unwillingness of AP's "gurus" to acknowledge iAVs.   Once again, this is not new.....and nor will it make any difference in the longer term.  

Jeff.....there are still a few positions available to become an early adopter of iAVs.....and to bask in the future glory that accrues to such people.  ;)

You can tell people what happens 'til you're blue in the face but this will persist until there are hordes of people that have experienced what Mark's research - and Boone Mora's commercial trial - confirmed.   One of the good things that has happened in the past decade or so, is that (given that so many of them were duped into believing the lies about the basic flood and drain system) people are questioning things more closely.  There are some anomalies....like the raft system which is so widely accepted as being the duck's guts.....in the absence of any real comparative data.  But that, too, will change over time.

In the overwhelming majority of AP situations, you will, at best, break even on growing fish and, at worst, lose money.....so the focus on plants is essential if you are going to make money......or grow your own food cost effectively.  If you want to grow more fish, you just increase the total volume of sand bio-filters/growbeds.  The consequence of this is to maintain the filtration necessary to deal with the increase in fish biomass.....and to increase the amount of plants that can be grown.

It's also helpful to re-visit the ratio studies on the iAVs site for a better understanding of the impacts of more or less fish in an iAVs.

Gary

From some of your continuing semantics above and serial bluffs elsewhere (at FB groups and all) I continue to feel your tones were at me Gary.  

Correct me please if I perceived you wrong.  Sorry, Mark once again.

First of all, Boone More's results were much better if you compare the research ratio studies of Mark's and results of Boone's commercial work 

Anyone else out there getting greater than than 100 kg m-3 yr-1 from 'sex-reversed' Tilapia - or even close?  That was a very good question I was trying to challenge (for now with a better fish than tilapia).

I am yet to publish our trial results working with iAVs for over an year which I hope would change yours and others theoretical perceptions on fish, media, and other things once for all. Give us some more time please in finalizing things.  I am looking out for a decent research format as well to publish such things and to compare stuff.

For now, please go and read... Sanders, Doug, and Mark McMurtry. 1988. fish increase greenhouse profits. American Vegetable Grower. February. p. 32.33, where the focus was on fish.  There are several such documents to bring your attention on.  

I do not understand why you continue to worry too much if someone's focus is on fish and plants, 50/50.  Why does it matter if fish/plants focus changes to 75/25 or 25/75?  Or, to divert 20% of fish waste to go and nourish organic soil plants such as bananas, onions, or yams?  Run-to-waste?  What is the issue if you have some water to spare and use for that? 

There are several questions but the most basic questions I think you, I, and those adapters would want to focus on are,
1. Do you have a ‘balanced’ fish load and sustainable feed input rate?
2. Are you growing nutrient demanding crops?

Over to you.

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Hi VKN,

I didn't perceive Gary's comments to be derogatory at you in any way.  He was actually acknowledging  and complimenting your successes with your early systems that had less than Ideal sand and pH, but performed well anyways.

 

On a different note and a matter of curiosity at the moment.  When composting or using mineralization tanks, the operator has to monitor and add carbon to reach the right carbon to nitrogen ratios.   Would there be any benefit when doing this with IAVS?  

When I ran the sand bed as an add on to my existing system, I had a flood and drain media bed out of wood block charcoal I had been trialing and that may have supplied some carbon in the system other than just the fish food.   If we don't need to add carbon (this would seem the case from the other systems shown and Dr. McMurtry's work)  what is the difference?

Edited by Ravnis (see edit history)

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7 hours ago, vkn said:

Anyone else out there getting greater than than 100 kg m-3 yr-1 from 'sex-reversed' Tilapia - or even close?  That was a very good question I was trying to challenge (for now with a better fish than tilapia).

VKN, what is the oxygen consumption of your tilapia density at 100kg/m^3? What is the Dissolve Oxygen concentration at the water inlet upon entering your fish culture tanks? What level of dissolve oxygen do you believe you are obtaining from the CFM from your air stones/diffusers?

This is not a trick question VKN. Please do not impune ulterior motives on this question due to my past. Please, just answer the questions. If curious, these are a common questions within high density aqauculture in calculating oxygen demands within a system.

Edited by crsublette (see edit history)

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5 hours ago, Ravnis said:

On a different note and a matter of curiosity at the moment.  When composting or using mineralization tanks, the operator has to monitor and add carbon to reach the right carbon to nitrogen ratios.   Would there be any benefit when doing this with IAVS? 

Ravnis, as far as I am aware, this is not true at all. Did you monitor carbon while you were doing aerobic mineralization? Considering your efforts in the past, I doubt it...

Chatterson does not add carbon, yet obtains complete mineralization of his waste. Adding carbon is not necessary to maintain necessary carbon to nitrogen ratios. Fish waste provides the carbon well enough.

Adding carbon only accelerates the process due to growth of particular microbials, which must be verified via microscrope. If there is doubt in this, then this doubt is a refutation of Dr. Elaine Ingham's entire work as a lifetime microbiologists. There are benefits to culture microbrials to crop growth. Period.

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56 minutes ago, crsublette said:

Ravnis, as far as I am aware, this is not true at all. Did you monitor carbon while you were doing aerobic mineralization? Considering your efforts in the past, I doubt it...

Chatterson does not add carbon, yet obtains complete mineralization of his waste. Adding carbon is not necessary to maintain necessary carbon to nitrogen ratios. Fish waste provides the carbon well enough.

Adding carbon only accelerates the process due to growth of particular microbials, which must be verified via microscrope. If there is doubt in this, then this doubt is a refutation of Dr. Elaine Ingham's entire work as a lifetime microbiologists. There are benefits to culture microbrials to crop growth. Period.

1.  No I did not test for carbon levels, but was adding sugar to my mineralization tank as per information from Paul AKA EarthenGroup at the time and noticed a foam that indicated a major change in composition.

2.  This is confusing as one expert states it's needed and another not...

3.  Dr. Ingham's book/guide on compost tea brewing does specifically state to add carbon in the recipe for bacteria culture in a specific ratio.

Edited by Ravnis (see edit history)

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Hi Charles,

The growth of fish or vegetables at those extremes is going to require a controlled environment of some kind......either a greenhouse or a grow room.

My choice would be a sun-facing greenhouse (aka Chinese greenhouse).  The link provides some useful information about these structures.

A grow room enables complete control over the growing environment but you have to provide lights.

How do you get on currently with your koi?  Do you have to move them inside?

Gary

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