Brisbane Local Food

Growing local

GREENLEAF AQUAPONICS 71 Murphy's Road, Beerburrum 5496 0448 

Report from Darren James. Thank you Darren :)

Welcome everyone to my report and pictures on our visit to Greenleaf Aquaponics I do hope I give justice to how good it really was.

Greenleaf is located in the midst of a rich poultry farm and pine plantation area and his property is overlooked by a pomegranate orchard and other crops making you feel at ease straight away for an edible grower anyhow.

We all met and although a small group it was typically BLF friendly. Wayne, our host, then explained the complexities of his setup and lots of his trials and tribulations.

Starting up initially as a Redclaw farm for a few years a disease swept through and after starting up again and the same disease revisiting he sought other options. It was then a partner offered to help him farm fish instead and soon after utilising the rich effluent growing crops in his grow tube.

We started our walk with the fish that were undercover first and he showed 2day old silver perch hatch-lings from a batch of 50000 but we didn't bother to count them all. I was amazed to see how my future fish, sorry his fish, were so tiny.  Small amounts of oil are released from the eggs and must be scooped off during this cycle.

Wayne explained that roughly 30 kg of fish per thousand litres would be a reasonable capacity and with more control and monitoring even more fish could be grown.

To the next tank and we fed mature silver perch which he does well with in the live fish trade to the local chinese buyers.

In another tank I'm sure we all got a little spray of water from a group of very healthy silver jade perch during their feeding. When asked about why golden perch were not commonly used in aquaponics his reply was that they relied a lot more on natural food and were more difficult to work with in an aquaponics situation.

Located near his tanks was a multi filter system in use with special particles used to help keep his water and nutrients system in check. His PH is obviously of most importance and this can change with his feeding routine and amounts fed. Different compounds are used to help with his PH levels as this is one of the many critical features of an aquaponic setup.

Before entering the grow tube we were told of his problems of insects and to be prepared. Once inside I'm sure we all asked ourselves what insects and I was gobsmacked at how healthy and lush it really was.

Wayne uses wasps which he buys to attack his aphids, nematodes for fleabeetles and Dipil to conquer the ever present white cabbage moth. Interestingly Dipil is not harmful to aquaponics as aquaponics will only work in a complete organic environment there is simply no other way.

He is now trialling milk thistles for another crop not to mention his great edible flowers Nasturtiums, Dianthus, Johnny Jump Ups and Marigolds which looked so terrific amongst the other produce.

The watercress is still a really popular crop amongst the kiwis for him and says he could grow lots more.

It was in his grow tube I discovered a true triffid, actually a spinach, and I think he should enter into the Guinness Book of Records and then perhaps put in a cage lol. All the crops flowers herbs etc just showed how on top of this system Wayne and his business partner Doug really were. They are indeed great ambassadors for aquaponics.

I do thank them both for such an enjoyable and educational morning and not forgetting the friendly hospitality. I do feel there is an upcoming project in my home involving fish ideas anyone? lol

Beware of the giant spinach......

The produce really did look great it put my kale to shame and look at those flowers.

This is part of the filtration system couldn't help thinking about drum gardens.

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Replies to This Discussion

Great report Darren ~ 

I have read that Golden perch is difficult because they tends to prefer live feed, and difficult to get them onto fish pellets.. Wish they were closer ^^

Might be worth a visit for you despite the distance.

Hi Florence yes your spot on,As Wayne said they are happy in a dam like set up but that natural food is a real problem for them in a tub or tank aquaculture  set up.I was really sold on those jade perch for aquaponics.

How are you going with adding those extra pics Darren?

You can either send them to me via PM and I'll put them in the body of the report or add them in here yourself in "Reply to This" (above).

Let me know if you need any help. Phone me when I'm at home and I can talk you through it if need be.

Everyone I know who is into aquaponics tends to favour the Jades.  They are hardy and not fussy.  The silvers I found very timid and I know Christine did as well.  Rob Bob at Ipswich is giving them a go this season but he's been doing this a long time.  Silvers are more popular in the market place just because they look better and are less oily.  Bearing in mind salmon is an oily fish, I'm not put off that in the slightest (Omega 3 is good!)

Surely there must be a subculture of rebels who are growing tilapia?

Probably - like there's folks are still growing Cavendish bananas - it's illegal but who is checking?

Actually, most of us like to think we are environmentally conscious.  I'd never do it because I know what they'd do in our waterways.   Good grief - I've turned into some kinda greenie. 

I'm of the opinion that they're already wherever they can survive in South East Queensland since the floods. I've been considering doing my honours thesis on the potential for a tilapia aquaculture industry in Queensland, although I'm an economist rather than an ecologist.

I think Macdowall is in the Nundah Creek catchment, and I know there's tilapia in there because I've seen them.

Hi Rob a couple of months ago Forest lake on the sth side actually had an open fishing day to target tilapia and all natives released..Im sure they would work really well in an aquaponics situation.Some countries they are a real delicacy and they actually sell them in the inala fish markets and big ones ,only god knows where they come .

Yes, Tilapia are in a lot of aquaponic systems overseas.... 

I don't agree with legalizing the raising of noxious fish at home (sorry Rob), because they can escape into the wild in events such as flooding that's beyond the control of the keeper, but I do agree that the law should be relaxed for keeping the dead ones if they're caught since they're suppose to be good eating.  Even if it's not, they'll make good fertilizer! (same goes with Carps)

Here's the link to fisheries for those who's not aware 

But my point is that once they're in the waterways, no harm can come from a few isolated individuals escaping and adding to the already naturalised population.


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