1. Rich Feiller says:

    Barry, i believe i have found a way to make it work. if it continues to work i will write an update. i am fairly certain that the problem arouse from hand watering only once or twice a day. this allowed the drainage still remaining in the drain tubes and piping to become anerobic.
    it is accepted that the drainage from the worm boxes is toxic to the worms, as are the worm castings. the build up of worm casting will curtail reproduction and the existing worm population will start to die off. this same drainage is known to kill plants. i will add references later to this fact.
    worm tea is using the worm castings pouring water through them and aerating the water from the castings. this increases the microbes in the water because as the circulation introduces oxygen. this is different from the concentrated runoff that drains into the drain pan.

    as i would water again, with water from the biopond, it would push out the now toxic drainage. the fish were attracted to the incoming water and would suffer the consequences.

    i no longer have that problem. the drip system is now turned up to a “pour” system and the water circulated through the Biopond that comes out of the buckets is very diluted. i believe the plants in the containers are utilizing at least a good part of it by the way they are growing.

    also even though it is purported to be a closed system, i am replacing about 150gals or one fourth of the volumn of the biopond every week. how much is due to the heat wave, the plants uptake of water and how much the three dogs are drinking i am not sure. the dogs account for between 25-30gals a week based on how much they use to drink out of the 5gal water buckets. (now if that isn’t scientific, i don’t know what is!:-)

    looking forward to hearing how your experiment goes. i think if you avoid the handwatering mistake that i made you will be ok. but, i certainly would proceed with caution.

    thanks for the comment


  2. Barry Schaffler says:

    Hi Rich, I’ve been procrastinating doing just such a project, but my current focus is on expanding my current system. I’m interested to know how the run off is toxic to plants. I too have a worm bin that gets buckets of water every day or at least when I remember. I noticed the more you “wash” the system, the weaker the “Tea” looks. But my herbs and plants have loved it. Is it a concentration issue? Should we avoid have too concentrated a mixture. I have a stack of worms in my aquaponic grow beds already, but with a high grow bed and plant ratio to fish, I’m not sure. I don’t register hardly any nutrients when doing tests. I figured it’s safe as long as the water is good.

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