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Worms for Aquaponics system grow beds

Discussion in 'General Aquaponics discussion - Aquaponics system ' started by Mr. Mik, Oct 28, 2011.

  1. Mr. Mik

    Mr. Mik New Member

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    I think it might be useful to start a dedicated thread about worms, rather than leaving the important information about this rather important part of the Aquaponics eco-system scattered in bits and pieces in other threads.

    My only question at this stage is this one:

    Would the "Worm booster packs" that you can buy at Bunnings be suitable for adding them to three growbeds of a tote-ponics kit?

    I think they have 2kg of worms in them, meant as a "booster" for a plastic container worm farm if the stocking density is not high enough.

    These packs look just the right size to me to initially stock a toteponics kit, but I might be wrong. Any suggestions?
     
  2. Murray

    Murray Site Admin Staff Member

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    That would be heaps.
    Remember, the worms have to have something to work on in order to prosper. The fish solids are just so good, and of course we want to retain all that great nutrient in the system.
    Worms reduce the volume of solid material by 60% to 80% all the while, by their activity, releasing minerals and nutrients into the system.

    Your worm population is directly proportional to the food/material/ available to them. It is of little value capturing all the solid material and removing it from the system. The worm population will be minimal and therefore very little will be achieved.
     
  3. Castaway

    Castaway Senior Member

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    2 kilos of compost worms is probably an overkill in a new system. Why not set up a normal worm farm in the backyard and throw in a small handful of worms into each growbed. They will breed and self regulate depending on nutrients as Murray says. I haven't added any in a long time and always see a few baby worms usually buried in the rootball of the plant.
     
  4. cncventure

    cncventure New Member

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    I bought some worms from Bunnings recently and I think their booster packs are 2000 worms, which actually only has around 0.5kg of worms as the red wriggler varietyt they sell are normally marketed as being 4000 worms to the kilo.

    That said, the number of worms you buy isn't a HUGE issue given that if their is enough for them to eat they will multiply naturally. My understanding is that the compost worms that Bunnings sell are very capable of double in biomass every 60 - 90 days and they will regulate their population once it has reached the sustainable capacity of the given area.

    From memory I think worm populations within dedicated worm farms can get up 10 - 20 kg per m2 (but I'd imagine this is very unlikely for an aqauponics system) but even if the sustainable capacity within aquaponics was a couple of kgs per m2 of grow bed the most cost effective thing to do would be to still just seed the grow bed with a starter pack and let them populate the grow bed naturally over time as buying 5kg of worms is probably going to set you back at least $400.

    That said, I'd be fascinated to know how many kgs of worms there are in the average mature aquaponic grow bed. Anyone feel compelled to dig up a section in the name of science?
     
  5. jonot

    jonot New Member

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    Sorry if these question have been covered before, but can you add worms to:
    1) a brand new AP system?
    2) a flood and drain system?
    3) what is the best grow bed media to use?
    4) can I use normal composting worms? (the old girl has heaps).
     
  6. Murray

    Murray Site Admin Staff Member

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    Hi Jonot,
    Yes you can add worms to a new system, but they will not prosper because there will not be very much solid material for them to work on. Just add a few and they will take care of themselves.
    Worms will live very well in any flood and drain system.
    Add the garden worms, it will work out.
    Best grow bed media is 20mm drainage gravel (make sure there is no limestone in it.
    Volcanic cinder lumps are successfully used in many parts of the world such as HI
    Clay pebbles such as CANNA or Hydroton are fine but are a little on the expensive side.
     
  7. bigdaddy

    bigdaddy Super Moderator

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    Hi Jonot,

    Composting worms should work well. The trick will be pinching a few when she's not looking.:D

    Cheers.
     
  8. jakesebastin

    jakesebastin Guest

    Worms are one of the most important factors in the grow of the plants. The worms play a vital role in the plant's growing. Specially in the aquaponics systems where there are grow bed it is very important.
     
  9. Yabbies4me

    Yabbies4me Administrator Staff Member

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    Jake... You do realise your link has been disabled for days now?
     
  10. Unclesherwin

    Unclesherwin New Member

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    Murray,

    I built the DWC/Media bed unit from the Green Acres training, how many worms to start with as I am cycled and adding fish this weekend?

    Thanks
     
  11. Yabbies4me

    Yabbies4me Administrator Staff Member

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    Any amount is better than nothing. They breed very quickly, I put half a dozen composting worms (red wrigglers) into a 1.2m² grow bed... about 8-9 months later when we emptied out the GB to move it there were dozens and dozens of mature worms and even more tiny ones, we also found heaps of worm eggs.

    :p
     
  12. Unclesherwin

    Unclesherwin New Member

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    Thanks for info:)
     
  13. aur_d

    aur_d Member

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    What about SALT and WORMS? ... would 6 ppm of salt in the system harm worms?
     
  14. RupertofOZ

    RupertofOZ New Member

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    No................ unless you were to keep that concentration for weeks....
     

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