Backyard Aquaponics

adding plant nutrient supplements like Fe and P to fish food
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Author:  bcotton [ Jan 17th, '17, 03:56 ]
Post subject:  adding plant nutrient supplements like Fe and P to fish food

Has anyone had experience with or used a fish food that adds supplements directed at plant health to their fish food like iron and phosphorous.

I am assuming this would require in system mineralization for the nutrients to be plant available?

I had never seen this before but a company called "optimal" here in the states has recently released a product like this. I actually use the original optimal formula for bluegill as it came to me highly recommended by the pond community forum i frequent. But being a pond community they had no feedback on aquaponic formula (except that they like the company.)

I sent the company an email asking for more information about the nutrient availability of the plant supplements and any information they can give me about testing and trials. They seem very responsive to the pond community so i would be surprised if they dont answer my query, i will share any appropriate information to this thread at that time.

Optimal Aquaponic Feed is a specialty feed that utilizes the same unique formulation approach as our other Optimal feeds – designed for superior health, performance and water quality. In our Aquaponics feed, we add several critical modifications targeted to promote more rapid plant growth, improved plant budding and fruiting, as well as preserving organic standards.

We achieve this through the use of essential chelated minerals (copper, manganese, iron), as well as optimized phosphorous and potassium supplementation that assist in plant performance without adversely affecting fish growth and health. Optimal Aquaponic Feed is designed to satisfy the specialized needs required for growing healthy and sustainable fish and produce in your aquaponics systems.

Guaranteed Analysis
Crude Protein - not less than 38%
Crude Fat - not less than 8%
Crude Fiber - not more than 4%
Phosphorous - not less than 2%
Ash - not more than 8%

I cant imagine i wont try this but i am hoping to find more information about this and if it could reduce the amount of supplements i add to my aquaponics system. (today i ONLY add iron) and perhaps even provide better plant growth.

Thoughts? experience?

Author:  scotty435 [ Jan 17th, '17, 04:21 ]
Post subject:  Re: adding plant nutrient supplements like Fe and P to fish

It will be interesting to see how this goes if you try it Brian. I would expect the iron to be processed somehow in the gut of the fish so what you put in may not be what you get out (might not be chelated anymore or might be taken up by bacteria...). That wouldn't matter too much if the pH is low in the system water but you might have lockout if it's high. I wonder if this affects the taste for the fish :think:

Author:  Yavimaya [ Jan 17th, '17, 07:04 ]
Post subject:  Re: adding plant nutrient supplements like Fe and P to fish

I wonder if the chelated copper is really as safe as they say, i suppose it has to be if they are selling it and not being sued, etc..... but it sounds bad to me.

Author:  bcotton [ Jan 17th, '17, 08:21 ]
Post subject:  Re: adding plant nutrient supplements like Fe and P to fish

there is arsenic in the vegetables you eat, "that sounds really bad to me"... it's all quantities and context, right? plants need copper and so do humans.

Optimal responded to my direct email in the matter of a few hours. They seemed very open and transparent about the questions i asked, so long as the answers do not give away any IP (intellectual property). They even asked question of my questions (a real dialogue as opposed to a canned response)

I dont think it is appropriate to cut and paste the whole email but here are the main takeways.

1) They not only focus on fish growth but also the effects the food has on the health of organs, deposition of fats, levels or parasitism, etc.
2) They pointed me to their online university (blog) which has articles about organ health in fish as it relates to food as well as other topics
3) The 38 protein / 8 lipid Aquaponic formula was designed specifically for tilapia. (they can and do make aquaponic formulas targeted at other types of fish for large commercial customers who buy "multiple tons at a time"
4) their background is in aquaculture so the feeds are targeted for full fish diet, "designed for optimal nutrition, digestibility, AND pellet characteristics which is a good match for aquaponics"
5) what type of performance data would you(us consumers) want to see?
6) I tried to summarize this last block but i cant really shrink it down much and i dont think i could say it better than it already was.... so i will just quote it

"Optimal Aquaponics feed is designed specifically for aquaponic systems. Since our feeds already concentrate on what we call “micronutrients”, with small adjustments in our baseline mineral formulations, we are not only able to continue to produce optimal growth and health of fish fed our feeds, but also can significantly impact downstream plant growth in aquaponic production systems. This is because we use a proprietary combination of organic (chelated) and inorganic minerals in our baseline mineral premixes. In our Optimal Aquaponics formulation, we enhance specific, key minerals necessary for increased plant growth and budding , but also focus upon optimal phosphorus supplementation as well. This increase in mineral supplementation in no way impacts the growth and/or health of the fish since our supplemental levels are well below harmful concentrations for the fish. These levels are, however, significantly above the minimum required levels that some feed companies believe support optimal growth. Our company’s philosophy is that the old ways of the old feed companies simply are incorrect, hence our attention to micronutrient fortification in all of our Optimal feeds, and particularly in our Optimal Aquaponics feed. In the end, the fish simply utilizes the levels of minerals they need for optimal growth and health, and the excess are excreted into the water column, and thus, available for enhanced plant growth in aquaponic production systems."
- Dr. Steven Craig.

Author:  CaliAP [ Feb 9th, '17, 11:23 ]
Post subject:  Re: adding plant nutrient supplements like Fe and P to fish

Does anyone want to split a bag of this?

Author:  boss [ Feb 9th, '17, 13:27 ]
Post subject:  Re: adding plant nutrient supplements like Fe and P to fish

I'm following this. Sounds perfect.

Author:  CaliAP [ Feb 18th, '17, 01:07 ]
Post subject:  Re: adding plant nutrient supplements like Fe and P to fish

I just got this yesterday and here are some initial observations keeping in mind that this is the first time I am using commercial feed.

First I am feeding this to ornamental fish. Goldfish, guppies and sword tails. It floats well and the fish took to it very quickly. I am also in the process of expanding my system and will provide feedback on plant growth later.

Author:  bcotton [ Feb 18th, '17, 11:00 ]
Post subject:  Re: adding plant nutrient supplements like Fe and P to fish

nice, thanks for sharing your experiences.

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