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    Thread: Converting compost into koi food

    1. #1
      bravetang8 is online now Junior Member
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      Converting compost into koi food

      I wanted to share a fun project to farm live treats for koi. Black soldier fly larvae (bsfl) are pretty commonly used in aquaponics and chicken feeding so I was surprised not to find anything about it in the forums here.

      Bsfl are grubs that will eat almost any low-cellulose organic waste including meats, manure and citrus fruits. They are 42% protein and 34% fat. They are self-harvesting: abandon the waste when they grow to their prepupal stage, and they crawl out into a collection bucket which you can dump into the koi pond. They are not associated with disease transmission because the adults don't have mouths and only exist for breeding, they send pheromones to repel houseflies, and they produce antimicrobial enzymes.

      Compared to redworms, they are extremely fast eaters. From http://blacksoldierflyblog.com:
      "Each day BSF larvae can digest over 15 kilograms of putrescent waste per square meter of feeding surface area (3 lbs/ft2). In the case of putrescent waste of a low cellulosic content, we also witness a reduction in weight and volume that reaches as high as 95%, and under normal conditions, all of this takes place within a period of less than 24 hours."

      Anything left over, which is usually anything high in cellulose, gets sent to the normal compost bin to be processed by the redworms.

      In April, I built a bsfl bin over a weekend using the instructions here (http://www.northwestredworms.com/all...n-instructions), which I highly recommend. It is one of the best designs in my opinion, compared to some of the bucket and tote based designs that I've tried. It uses two ramps which funnel the prepupae into a hole dropping into two totes.

      I seeded it with 200 larvae. During the first several weeks, there were many fruit flies, but afterwards I started noticing adults visiting the bin to lay eggs. Today I get a bucketful of larvae every week which I use to supplement the pellet food. It's still not enough as a sole food for my hungry koi though. It only works during the summer months because the larvae are inactive below 50F. Let me know if you have any questions!

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      One day harvest from the designer of the bin:
      Last edited by bravetang8; 06-07-2018 at 07:58 PM.

    2. #2
      lukef's Avatar
      lukef is offline king of the lilliputians
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      you get my vote for a cool thread, and thank you for taking the time to photograph and explain...
      Now some conversation...we do something similar in my neck of the woods... we suspend a bucket of fish heads and guts in a bucket with holes punched in the bottom directly over a corner of the pond. It can't be done in a backyard. But is done over a farm pond.
      "Those aren't poodles. They're Dobermans with afros."

    3. #3
      rainblood's Avatar
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      Neat idea however I don't think I have the stomach for it
      -Rain

      :I CAN'T BRING THIS SHIP INTO TRTUGA ALL BY ME ONESIES, SAVVY?:

    4. #4
      OCkoiFan's Avatar
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      I fed silkworm as snack for my koi
      These are nice but dunno if any benefit to skin like silkworm pupae
      For sure ton of fat/protein for growth
      Loves your chics family
      M.Nguyen


    5. #5
      My2butterflies is offline Senior Member
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      Very cool I could see my fish loving it. They already go crazy for snails, worms, and grubs.

    6. #6
      OCkoiFan's Avatar
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      Quote Originally Posted by rainblood View Post
      Neat idea however I don't think I have the stomach for it
      Girlie
      Are you gonna cry touching em bro?
      M.Nguyen


    7. #7
      bravetang8 is online now Junior Member
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      Compared to other bugs, I'm surprisingly not too squeamish about these bugs. Knowing that they don't have the mouthparts to bite, and that they are slow moving and dry, really helps.

      Quote Originally Posted by OCkoiFan View Post
      I fed silkworm as snack for my koi
      These are nice but dunno if any benefit to skin like silkworm pupae
      For sure ton of fat/protein for growth
      Loves your chics family
      I've read that fibroin in the silk of silkworm improves liver function which is good for shiroji. So bsfl probably doesn't have the same benefit.

      I didn't get a chance to take a video yet so the posted video with the chicks is not my setup, but the owner of northwestredworms.com, who sells bsfl and the build-plans for the DIY bsfl bin. I hope to have chickens of my own someday.

    8. #8
      kimini is offline Senior Member
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      So we get this working, then have to be out of town just long enough for all those things to hatch. I guess it's not that bad because they'll fly off to the neighbors, and when they exclaim, "what's with all the flies?", we'll just say, "yeah we noticed that, isn't it crazy?"

    9. #9
      BWG is offline Senior Member
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      Very interesting and informative.

      If you you grow more than the koi can eat they can be prepared into tasty meals.
      Attached Images Attached Images  
      Last edited by BWG; 06-08-2018 at 03:01 PM.

    10. #10
      bravetang8 is online now Junior Member
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      Quote Originally Posted by kimini View Post
      So we get this working, then have to be out of town just long enough for all those things to hatch. I guess it's not that bad because they'll fly off to the neighbors, and when they exclaim, "what's with all the flies?", we'll just say, "yeah we noticed that, isn't it crazy?"
      They are actually surprisingly hard to find as flies. They only live for up to 8 days as adults and spend most of their lives as grubs. Since they don't have mouths as adults, they live off the fat that is stored in their bodies as grubs.

      Quote Originally Posted by BWG View Post
      Very interesting and informative.

      If you you grow more than the koi can eat they can be prepared into tasty meals.
      It's interesting that the entire animal class of insects have been wiped off the western diet, as well as from our animal feeds. Most animals have evolved to eat insects, making them highly digestible. It will be interesting to see how they can really become a part of koi or human food in the future, seeing how fish and fishmeal prices have always been rising.
      Last edited by bravetang8; 06-08-2018 at 05:46 PM.

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