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

Doode, you just broke my heart.  They certainly are very successful in aquaponics. 

Great report Darren.  Let me know if you want help looking at aquaponics.  

Excellent report, Darren! It's great that you got so much out of it. Do they grow their own fish food?

Hi Elaine Thank you for that, anything involving growing food ,organics, sustainability and all my little projects designs  etc I am really happy to share with all my like minded gardening friends.  Jade perch will eat just about everything lettuce duck weed etc but  they  were all fed a commercial fish food currently made in china .Good news though he is going to be buying from an Australian company soon.

One of my great concerns was that I read it takes more than 3 times the protein to make the food than it gains in terms of protein value on the fish.  While I mostly use commercial food, I happily throw in whatever protien sources I can find.  Let's not forget the vege pests like catapillars and little grasshoppers - fish love them... and the chickens love them too.  

My very cursory research indicates that herbivorous fish are more efficient at converting grain into protein even than chooks, so provided the feed is mostly grain, you're probably doing better than anyone except a vegetarian. If it's high in fish meal, the moral high ground probably still eludes you.

I reckon most cheap commerical stuff is exactly that Rob. 

Yes you are right Elaine after watching Mathew Evans shows.Do hope its sourced locally from our waters and not trash trawled although cant believe it would be legal to do in our waters.

Better news would be a system of growing your own. From compost flies to duck weed and whatever else the fish eat. Who knows where the Australian company source their 'trash fish' to make the meal? If it were for example waste from abattoirs, then there may be a good reason to buy in.

Oh... it's a floating raft system.  Much cheaper than the backyarders' clay balls. 

Hi Andrew the floating raft system what actually stops those roots rotting ?  I was actually thinking about that later on .I wont be throwing any of those foam boxes out looks a cheap way to go about it


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