Sunday, 6 October 2013

System gone mad

We 're been away as you know. Things have really grown. No dead fight but the system seems to have stabilized and the plants are loving it. A picture tells a thousand works is so true in this case. The blue pipe work is 55mm diameter so you can say the fish are about 110 to 140mm long. Couple of more months before Bar B Q time.


Wonderful trip to UK. One of the real highlights was catching up with David, Fred,Chris and Mario. Fanatic Aquaponic"ists..... Not to sure of the terminology. Anyway we called round and were planning on having 15 minutes looking at their system and going on our way. We have been in numerous email contact with David and so you can imagine our excitement in meeting up and chatting about all this. His system is great. Smart, economical, and he used his air pump both to ingest DO and as the circulating system. I.e. as a lift pump. Wonderful idea. Made our system look cumbersome. Already I've been sketching out the modification required when I get back home in November.Suffice to say the 15 minutes ended up as 2 hours + and a non stop discussion on fish, veggies and general 'stuff'. We had taken along a bottle of wine which was forgotten in the excitement. However we did have time to wash down a  few beers. What can I say it was a great and definitely one the high points of out UK trip. We'll be back, but they to were invited to Thailand so lets see who visits who first... (David thats a hint.... :)  )
Photos below show the system and us having our discussions....


Been a while so thought this one would wet your appetite...
Actually Wanna took this photo and I suspect it is a catch of fish from our pond. But it did make you look.

We're been busy travelling and working so our project has taken something of a back step. Photos in next  posting...

Saturday, 20 July 2013

Progress Update

We've been away for the last few weeks leaning Wanna's niece to feed fish and top up the water etc. During our absence we  did have a  power cut.. She managed to cope and I happy to report both Fish and plants doing well. You can see from the attached photos that we are getting a good crop. The veg is morning glory used a lot in local cooking. Wanna only cuts the tops and leaves the stem to regrow.  So far so good. And the fish continue to grow. We've got some fungus on the leaves but Wanna will be sorting that out in due course....
I can see on next trip home my adding another tank for more starter fish… Will be fun just planning it….Should not be such a big think to add it on.

Wednesday, 26 June 2013

Progress and Shade Cloth

Not much to report at this time except we seem to be making steady and positive progress. Wanna sent me a few photos and tells me all going OK. She has installed a shade cloth over the fish tanks. Looks like she has done a good job.

No more dead fish since last report and she has been harvesting the morning glory. She did this by cutting the leaves rather than remove the whole plant roots and all. She also added some more small plants. Their growth should give us a good indication of how much we can grow as a ratio between fish weight and plant  numbers.

Shade Cloth to Fish Tanks

Fish Feeding

Sunday, 16 June 2013

Real Progress

All going well.  Wanna sent me a couple of photos.  Fish are healthy and eating well. Morning Glory is growing. So very happy with progress.  I’m beginning to  enjoy this remote farming……

Tuesday, 11 June 2013

Fish Feed Rates

Just added a few tables on the other page "Our Feed Rates"to keep track of fish feeding and growth rates.

Wednesday, 5 June 2013

Progress 5th June 2013

Quick update.  Things are improving.  Must be Wanna doing it and me being away.  Sure a good logic to that as I keep adjusting everything in sight....

Still no complaints.  I've also been working on updating my feed calculations.  Should be done tomorrow. My main problem/delay is messing round with the files to get them uploaded.
Fish looking good. Plants improving and only down side is the shard cloth.  Could be I installed it a bit tight at the beginning. More slack with the wind etc. Still all coming right slowly. Will start to weigh fish a bit more often now.  We'll check on dead ones as well but they have already lost some weight. So not so accurate.

Thursday, 30 May 2013


Been a difficult few days. The supports to our deep water channels subsided at the far end. We had concreted most of it and expected the remaining few were on good enough ground to cope with the rain. Not the case.  Seems if shit is going to happen to our system it will!!!

So we lost water and obviously nutrients etc. Added drama was the shade cloth split in the wind.
Being away and leaving it all to Wanna seems a bit unfair but what can I do!!! She did a great gob and got it all sorted. Needless to say it has had some effect on the fish. Fresh water etc.  We have also continued and had a few of the small fish die. Roughly one a day this last week. The bigger tank is fine and they have got back into the habit of jumping up for food. Good sign. However given the mortality rate for the smaller ones and looking at the waste coming from the tank (see below) I suspect we are giving them to much food. Wanna (again down to her) has reduced the feed on the small ones by 50% yesterday and the waste/return looked good with little to nothing rising to the surface in the big tank. So all is beginning to look positive.

We're (royal we) have also planted "Morning Glory', an easy fast growing hardy plant with does take up a lot of nutrient but gets everything up and underway in what I hope will from now on be a continuous manner.

Thursday, 23 May 2013

Additional Works

Wanna has just installed the shade cloth and this covers the seedling area and the tanks. Very pleased with it all.

Friday, 17 May 2013


We've been busy. New setup is beginning to settle down. Tank 2 with larger fish I suspect is not so good as we used tap water to fill it. So fish not happy and suffering a bit of a shock. Hence a few fatalities. Why we did this I do not know. Just stopped thinking while trying get so much done.

Anyway I've used Dr Racoky feed tables as a guide. (Reproduced here in separate page).

Also finished realigning the airlines, all over head and compressor in the shed. Saves exposure to rain etc and possible theft. Yes still a bit shaken by that incident. And now all left is to add some more plants and sit back with a coffee or two and see it develop....Oh yes and feed the fish....

Thursday, 16 May 2013

Major Upgrade

Well we've been at this for some time. Problems with insufficient fish mass, some stolen and resulting poor crop growth.

We decided (Management decision) to expand our system. Several reasons, first being there was next to no cost involved as we already owned several concrete water tanks which were not in use and secondly to allow for two tanks giving a bit more flexibility  for faih amanagemtn. i.e. two tanks better than one.  If we have more spare we would have used them as well. Anyway thankful for what we've got.

In expanding we used the existing fish tank as our main settlement tank and continued using existing settlement tank as well.

Results for water quality. Testing scheduled for this afternoon but this mornings visual observations, water in fish tanks is clear, settlement tank a bit of floating debris but not much. Think it is some of the first fish food after relocating the fish and also poo.  Bio tank is cristal clear.

Small tank has two dead fish yesterday and three today. They only went in 2 days ago so thats not so surprising.

System is now 2 X 1000 litre tanks.
Settlement Tank 1  1000 litres
Settlement Tank 2  250 litres
Bio Tank  Tank 1 250litres
Deep Raft Grow beds 12 meters x 0.9 x 0.3 Approx 3,000 litres

All go.

Very Rough System Diagram......

Bio Filter Tank

Secondary Settlement Tank

MAin Settlement Tank

Fish Tank 1  Feeding Time

Sunday, 5 May 2013

Water Testing

Just tested the water. Results look OK. I've put them all on a separate page.  Much easier to review. But plant growth is poor. Not sure where I am going wrong with all this. Will need to get some expert advice.

Wednesday, 1 May 2013

Stolen Fish

Stolen. Yes you read right. We've been away for a few days and when we got back I went to say hello and no reply. Some Bastard has taken out fish. I will find out who. Wanna keeps going to check but... So move on. Buy some more. Which we did this morning. Bummer...... Food for thought anyone with an open fish area.

Friday, 26 April 2013

Added Misters/Sprinklers

Just added 5 mist sprayers on a timer to help with keeping the salads a bit cooler and hopefully disrupt the insects. Had a few leaves start to get chewed already so this must stop....'ll give it another 24 hours then check the water quality.

Must also let you know. Having reduced the flow through the system the 99% of solids are now dropping out in the first settlement tank. Such a big difference.

Thursday, 25 April 2013

GM Fish

Super Sized GM Fish

Just came across this article in the UK Guardian. Not sure what to make it it. Clearly fish protein is going to be big business in a few years.  Comments?....

Copied below.

GM salmon's global HQ – 1,500m high in the Panamanian rainforest

Supersized genetically modified salmon grown fast and fat and after years of wrangling, are ready for market – but is the market ready for them? And why is the firm hidden away in Panama?
Aquabounty's GM salmon fish farm in Boquete, Panama
AquaBounty's GM salmon fish farm in Bajo Mono, near Boquete, western Panama. Photograph: Sheena Rossiter/Avaaz
It is hard to think of a more unlikely setting for genetic experimentation or for raising salmon: a rundown shed at a secretive location in the Panamanian rainforest miles inland and 1,500m above sea level.
But the facility, which is owned by an American company AquaBounty Technologies, stands on the verge of delivering the first genetically modified food animal – a fast-growing salmon – to supermarkets and dinner tables.
The US government this week enters the final stages of its deliberationson whether to allow commercial production of the GM fish, with a public consultation on the issue ending on Friday . Separately, a committee in Congress on Monday took up a bill that would outlaw GM salmon entirely – essentially destroying AquaBounty's commercial prospects in America. If approved, the salmon could be the first of some 30 other species of GM fish under development, including tilapia and trout. Researchers are also working to bring GM cows, chickens and pigs to market.
In Panama City, government officials are upbeat about AquaBounty's prospects of getting its fish to market. "From what we know it is very close to being approved. There have been tests for many years and the last thing we heard from the FDA is that there is a very good probability that it is going to be approved in the near future," said Giovanni Lauri, the director of the Aquatic Resources Authority of Panama, Arap.
Aquabounty's GM salmon fish farmAquabounty's GM salmon fish farm in Boquete, Panama Photo: Sheena Rossiter
AquaBounty must still overcome formidable opposition from supermarkets and consumer organisations, environmental groups and commercial fishermen to sell its fish, however. The prospect of introducing GM fish into the food supply has generated enormous passions, with the FDA receiving 36,000 comments on the fish so far, most of them opposing the move. But after 20 years, AquaBounty's efforts to bring GM animals to the table are getting closer to reality.
There was little outward sign of history in the making – or of the enormous controversy surrounding GM salmon at AquaBounty's remote Panamanian location on the banks of the Calderas river in the western highlands of Chiriqui province. At the premises, visitors can see a fading green industrial shed and four large above-ground pools behind a high wire fence. On the site are up to 5,000 salmon,according to Arap officials say.
The only evidence of AquaBounty's presence is a small round company decal next to the front door of the shack. Signs warn: "No pasar". The place seems deserted at first, then a guard suddenly emerges when visitors approach the wire fence.
The facility is leased from a commercial fish farm that produces non-GM rainbow trout for export to the US. Access to both farms is by four-wheel drive across a river bed or a rusting footbridge, kept padlocked to keep out intruders. It's a strange arrangement; the non-GM fish farm also raises organic trout for the upmarket supermarket Whole Foods. But the chain is deeply opposed to genetically engineered salmon, and said last month it would boycott the fish if it came to market.
Luis Lamastus, the owner of the trout farm and AquaBounty's landlord, has a different view: "These kind of fish are the future."
It was not entirely clear why Aquabounty chose this out-of-the-way location to raise GM fish for market, or indeed why it chose Panama at all – the company refused to comment for this article.
A genetically modified salmon, rear, and a non-genetically modified salmon, foreground. Photograph: A genetically modified salmon, rear, and a non-genetically modified salmon, foreground. Photograph: AP
AquaBounty has had a long and difficult journey trying to develop GM fish in the 20 years since researchers at a university in Newfoundland first hit on the idea of making a faster-growing salmon.
The researchers injected growth genes from a Chinook salmon and a seal eel into an Atlantic salmon. The new genes made the fish produce growth hormone year-round, enabling the altered salmon to grow twice as fast as farmed salmon, bringing the fish up to market size in 18 months instead of 30.
But despite the commercial potential, Panamanian government officials at Arap said AquaBounty had difficulties finding a place to grow their salmon to market size. Arap's Giovanni Lauri said he understood AquaBounty had approached a number of other countries seeking to set up a research site.
"They tried many countries but they were afraid to start something new," Lauri said. After multiple refusals, the company eventually turned to Panama, where the project won a warm welcome from government officials. Lauri said officials had few concerns about the potential health and environmental risks of growing GM salmon in Panama. "We were not afraid of something new," he said.
The first few years brought mixed results. A storm in 2008 destroyed part of the facility, according to a filing to the FDA. In 2010 an entire batch of fingerlings died in transit to the Panama facility, according to Franklin Kwai Ben, research director of Arap. The company then switched to importing eggs from a research lab in Prince Edward Island in Canada, hatching them at the Panama facility, according to officials. All the while AquaBounty worked to navigate the American regulatory process and win approval for the GM salmon, while trying to fend off financial pressure. The company has run through more than $60m waiting for the FDA. Last year, its main investor, the Georgian oligarch Kakha Bendukidze, sold his shares to a synthetic biology firm, Intrexon.
With the FDA nearing its decision, Panamanian officials began to hope their hospitality to AquaBounty would help gain the country an entry to the biotech industry.
"We have been talking to them. We want to be the first to have different farms," Lauri said. His clear expectation was that this approval would clear the way for production of other GM fish, such as tilapia or trout, possibly at facilities on Panamanian soil. "Once they have salmon then I am pretty sure they are going to look for some other species," he said.
Under the law, however, FDA approval would only allow AquaBounty to produce salmon at its existing facility. Other GM fish, or a move to a full-scale commercial facility would require additional approvals, according to Theresa Eisenman, a spokeswoman for the FDA.
The Obama administration has been weighing its decision on GM food animals for at least three years, after the FDA produced its first detailed study on the effects of consuming the animals on human health, essentially concluding it was as safe to eat the genetically engineered fish as conventional Atlantic salmon. Some campaign groups still dispute the finding, saying that GM salmon potentially has more allergens.
But the study that brought GM fish closer to market, published late last year, focused on the environmental impact. The main concern of the FDA was whether the genetically engineered salmon could escape and because of its superior size conceivably take over wild Atlantic salmon. The study concluded that even if the fish did slip through the net and escape the above-ground pools, it is unlikely they would travel far. The nearby waters would be too warm for them to survive.
But those determinations came under attack from campaign groups and upscale supermarkets, as well as members of Congress concerned about the threat to wild-caught salmon industry.
Opponents of the fish argued America's regulatory system was ill-equipped to deal with new technologies such as GM foods. Unlike Europe, America has no specific laws for GM products, but regulates them as "animal drugs".
Emma Ruby-Sachs, campaign director at Avaaz, said: "The approval of transgenic salmon could open the floodgates for genetically modified meat everywhere, yet the science behind its safety has been sloppy at best. If the FDA approves this GM salmon, it risks undermining its mandate to protect public health."
Campaign groups said the current review process did not take adequate account of the sweeping changes in store for the global food supply, once GM food starts hitting the market.
"You have GM corn and soybeans," said Patty Lovera, assistant director of Food and Water Watch, which has campaigned against GM foods. "But this would be the first food animal. You are taking it to a whole other part of the food supply," she said.
There were specific concerns raised about the use of a facility in Panama for the launch of the first GM fish.
Supermarket chains said there was no need for GM salmon, andannounced a boycott. "Whole Foods Market will not sell genetically modified salmon as our quality standards prohibit the use of genetically modified animals," Beth Krauss, a spokeswoman for Whole Foods said in an email.
The company also said it was unhappy about the proximity of the GM salmon to its own trout. The two facilities are separated only by a shallow trench. Krauss indicated she hoped that AquaBounty would be forced to leave once it lease expires later this year.
But Lamastus said he would renew the lease. "They are a very good company," he said. "The salmon is something unique, growth faster, but is the same like the Atlantic salmon, producers will use less feed probably, and less feed means less pressure on our seas, to obtain more fish for consumers, and for feed; therefore, it is good for the environment!"
In their temperature-controlled waters, kept at a constant 16C, the salmon in the Panamanian rainforest are oblivious to the ferocious debate about the future of GM animals. The 5,000 or so fish now reaching maturity at the AquaBounty site are the biggest GM salmon ever raised by the company, weighing in at 5kg a piece. Under the protocols put in place by the FDA, the fish can not enter the food supply. They are due to be slaughtered in September and buried in a pit on the banks of the nearby Caldera river, according to Franklin Kwai Ben, who heads the research division at Arap.
But it could be the last time such a mass disposal is carried out. The Panama site got a shipment of about 25,000 eggs from their lab in Prince Edward Island last month. By the time those fish reach maturity, some 18 months from now, they could be bound for American supermarkets instead.

Wednesday, 24 April 2013


All seems to be going OK. Checked the water today. Reduced the flow rate to see if I can capture more solids. Hope this has some positive result. Nitrates up and so are the ppm hydroponic truncheon test. Ph steady.  See side bar for details. I think this is all good. Let me know if I'm wrong.