Monthly Archives: December 2011

Worm Juice added to Aquaponics




Worm Juice added to Aquaponics








One of the more contentious issues surrounding aquaponics is the mineral density of the plants and vegetables that are grown in aquaponics. Critics say how can plants grown in Aquaponics be really nutritionally balanced with all the minerals and vitamins necessary for you if the nitrates they consume basically boil down to just processed fish food pellets? Even though most people that run an aquaponics system also add seaweed fertiliser in the form of Seasol or Maxicrop – you are often left wondering if that is enough to supply your growing plants with all the mineral elements that they require?



Recently working with Geoff Lawton on his “Permaculture Soils” documentary we came across this very issue with industrially grown food based on the three fertiliser ingredients that most farmers use. Nitrogen, Potassium and Phosphorus or NPK as it is commonly known. NPK will grow your plants quite well – but all the other trace elements will be missing.

The question was raised, How do you grow traditionally dense food? Food loaded with all the minerals that the plants naturally require?

This is where Compost Worms come into the equation. Compost worms love aquaponics systems and grow vigorously large and swift moving deep in the grow beds. They tend to also hang around the water inlet pipes near the surface and dive around in the plant roots feeding on fish poop and bacteria, remineralising the fish waste. But if the compost worms are only fed a constant diet of processed fish pellets – where do the extra mineral elements come from to grow dense food?

The solution we are experimenting with is worm juice.

If you haven’t already done so, building a bathtub worm farm to process all your household vegetable scraps is a great idea. Putting a diverse mixture of waste into your farm means that your compost worms can reprocess all the complex number of minerals added to your bathtub and allow it to pass through their gut and collected in your bucket as worm juice.

Worm juice is a light brown liquid that many gardeners use to boost growth in their vegetable gardens. Worm juice is said to provide a wealth of nutrients and minerals with over 60 different elements. It is the enzyme in the worm’s digestive systems that allows all the nutrients and trace elements to become water soluble. Therefore the water soluble nutrients are easily absorbed by the plant roots. Having over 60 mineral elements in your aquaponics grow bed processed naturally for free – is the way to go!











In a standard bathtub system you will collect about a litre of worm juice every couple of days.

Worm juice analysis is a complex mix of vital ingredients with an increased number of mineral elements that are easily digested by the plant roots. We’ve been using it regularly by pouring it directly straight into the grow beds undiluted. It cost nothing to produce and is harmless to the fish. In fact we use it as a tonic to really turbo-charge the aquaponics system.

Doing a little research on what is actually inside a litre of worm juice reveals a powerful cocktail of necessary biological ingredients.

Silver Beet grown in Aquaponics


Worm Juice Contents Analysis

  • Healthy bacteria 100,000 CFU/ml
  • Nitrogen(N) 64 mg/L
  • Phosphorus(P) 21 mg/L
  • Potassium(K) 940 mg/L
  • Sulphate 82 mg/L
  • Calcium 62 mg/L
  • Magnesium 150 mg/L
  • Sodium 120 mg/L
  • Copper 276 ug/L
  • Zinc 105 ug/L
  • Manganese .26 mg/L
  • Iron 1.5 mg/L
  • Boron .41 mg/L

Growing good food at home that is nutritionally dense with the full compliment of nutrients and minerals for health and vitality should be number one on everyone’s list. Adding a compost worm farm to your aquaponics system is a smart move and worth looking into.



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Koi Pond Winter Care Tips


 Koi Pond Winter Care Tips


Koi and other hardy pond fish require special care during the fall months. If you live in a region that experiences extended periods of freezing temperatures, pay particular attention to water quality during fall to help ensure over-wintering success.


The question is often asked…. How do my pond fish survive without eating much during the cold parts of the year or even under the ice? How can I help them?

Pond Fish

Koi and goldfish are poikilothermic (cold-blooded) and thus their metabolism is determined by the temperatures of their surroundings. As the temperatures drop, koi and goldfish slow down and their nutrient requirements are greatly reduced. A lot of the needed energy is derived from fat reserves built up during the warmer waters temperatures. Pond fish DO eat during the cold weather periods; however, it is very infrequent and can stop when temperatures drop into the 40’s. As the temperatures drop below 60 degrees, koi and goldfish can benefit from an easier-to-digest diet containing a higher level of plant materials such as wheat germ.



As the water warms up in the spring, your pond fish will become more active and look for food. They will tell you when they are ready, as they will roam the pond sampling tidbits of pond edges and greet you for a feeding.

Preparation for cold weather is the key. Many steps will ensure your wet pets get the best conditions possible.

  1. Proper feeding keeps them in shape.
  2. Cleaning pond bottoms and filters will reduce ammonia build up over winter.
  3. Addition of sludge eating/fall winter bacteria will help ensure the best fauna in the bio-environment.
  4. Checking and repair of pumps etc prior to the cold ensures a hassle free cold season.
  5. Ensure proper aeration and degassing by keeping holes open in the ice using a de-icer when the pond surface freezes.
  6. The best-case scenario would be to bring your pond fish into an aquarium or indoor pond of adequate size so you can enjoy them throughout the cold season.

The best thing about koi and goldfish is the fact that they are easy to care for and very hardy. They have the ability to thrive in a variety of environments.



There are some things we will be doing different next year to improve our present design.

  • Because of the width of the pond, we had to use two pieces of the green house plastic to get a complete cover. I intended on splicing the two pieces but as we began to complete the cover, I was worried about the splice failing with the weight of a large snowfall. Instead, I ran the second section of plastic under the first covering about 6 feet of one side of the dome.
    The pond was covered in October and condensation inside the dome was heavy without any freezing weather. What we didn’t realize was the condensation was running down the inside of the first sheet of plastic and pooling on top of the second piece near the edge of the pond. Before I could do anything about it, a 4-foot section of the dome collapsed and rested on the surface of the pond. The next couple of days were bitterly cold and the pooled condensation froze. Hoping it would be ok, we left it and just kept a close eye on it. The weight of the ice from the condensation and a couple heavy snowfalls made this section of the dome collapse even more causing me to enter the dome and cut away the section that had collapsed in order for the pvc ribs to regain their original placement and keep the rest of the structure from failing.
February and lots of snow!February and lots of snow!

  • Placement of the aerator was also an issue this year. I had placed the aerator inside the dome about 2 feet away from the edge of the dome walls. As snowfall after snowfall came and went, the amount of snow that piled against the walls of the dome eventually pushed in enough to cover the aerator causing it to burn out.
  • Structurally, the support ribs had been placed every four feet.

The sand bags worked great and we will use this method again next year for securing the cover. The cover will be removed this weekend to open the pond for spring, details to follow!


In smaller or shallow ponds where the water freezes solid, all plants will need to be brought indoors and stored for the winter. You are able to pack these plants in dampened peat moss and then they can be placed into the bottom of a refrigerator or root cellar for winter storage.

Non-hardy plants will need to be brought indoors for storage and some tropical plants may be able to be kept over the winter indoors as houseplants. When storing non-hardy plants, you will need to trim all of the plant to about 2” above the soil. You can then place the plant in a bucket, cover it with damp peat moss and store it in a cool dark area such as a refrigerator or root cellar for the winter. Make sure to hydrate the peat moss several times during the winter.

Tropical Water Lilies and floating plants will not survive the winter in the pond if the surface of the water freezes. These types of plants will need to be housed indoors during the winter. An aquarium with plant lighting and a heater set to about 70ºF is recommended for wintering these plants in your home. Plants should not be fertilized during winter storage, as the plants will need this time to remain dormant.


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The history of Koi

Today Koi are bred in every country and considered to be the most popular fresh-water ornamental pond fish and are often referred to as being “living jewels” or “swimming flowers”.

Koi are a variety of the common carp, Cyprinus carpio.

Contrary to belief, Koi are not indigenous to Japan. They are believed to originate from eastern Asia, in the Black, Caspian, Aral Seas and China. The earliest written records of Koi were found in China. Koi were believed to be introduced to Japan with the invading Chinese and a first account of them being kept by an emperor in Japan, apparently dates Back to AD 200.

Carp fossils have been discovered in South China dating back about 20 million years. Some varieties are known for their hardiness, which records claim can live for long periods of time if simply wrapped in wet moss continuously kept damp.

Koi, or Nishikigoi. – Japanese for “brocaded” carp – were first described in writing from a Buddha in Kyoto, JapanChinese book written during the Western Chin Dynasty, 265-316 A.D.  At that time they were described as white, red, black and blue.

What happened to Koi between the 2nd to the 17th century is still a mystery, but many suspect Koi gradually spread through the orient, possibly by way of trade caravans to and from the middle east.

The farmers in the rice-growing region of the Niigata Prefecture started raising magoi (carp) to supplement their winter diet. They raised these carp in the ponds they used to flood their rice paddies.  About 200 years ago one of the farmers noticed a carp with some red color.  Some of the farmers started separating the fish that had different coloration’s, and breeding them together.

The interest in this pastime grew and more color variations were developed. It wasn’t until 1914 that some of the most beautiful varieties were shown at an exposition in Tokyo.   Some of these colored carp were presented to Crown Prince Hirohito.


The Varieties of Koi. 


1.KOHAKU The Kohaku is the most popular variety of Nishikigoi. So much so that there is an expression, “Koi avocation begins and ends with Kohaku.” It is also the most abstruse. There are various tones of “red” color – red with thick crimson, light red, highly homogeneous red, blurred red, and so on. And there are all sorts of “Kiwa (the edge of the pattern)” -scale-wide Kiwa, razor-sharp Kiwa, and Kiwa resembling the edge of a torn blanket, etc. Shades of white ground (skin) are quite diversified too — skin with soft shade of fresh-unshelled, hardboiled egg, skin with hard shade of porcelain, yellowish skin, and so forth.


2.TAISHO SANSHOKU (SANKE) Taisho Sanshoku are Kohaku added with Sumi (black markings). Taisho Sanshoku have more varied patterns than Kohaku due to the highly variable Sumi. Inspection of Taisho Sanshoku can, therefore, begin with observation of red patterns. And observation of red pattern may be done as explained under “Kohaku.” Sumi have different quality according to koi’s ancestry. Taisho Sanshoku of the Sadozo linage appear to have more Sumi of round shape with deep insertion of patterns. The hidden black markings appearing on the bluish skin will become glossy, fine Sumi. Taisho Sanshoku of the Jinbei lineage have massive Sumi of good quality. However, this Sumi may get cracked or break into pieces (pebble Sumi) when the Koi get older.


3.SHOWA SANSHOKU (SHOWA) Whereas Kohaku and Taisho Sanshoku have red and/ or black markings on the white ground, Showa Sanshoku have red markings on white patterns formed on the black background. We have discerned such different arrangement by observing the processes of fry development. Kohaku and Taisho Sanshoku are almost completely white when freshly hatched. Young fry of Showa varieties (including Showa Sanshoku, Shiro Utsuri and Hi Utsuri, etc.), on the other hand, are almost completely black when just emerged from eggs. As days go by, white patterns become visible against the black background, and red markings will soon appear on the white patterns. We should, therefore, say that Showa Sanshoku have black texture. The Sumi of Showa Sanshoku are very different from that of Taisho Sanshoku. While the latter look more like western oil-paintings, the former carry the tone of oriental black-and-white paintings (with ink). In other words, the Sumi of Showa Sankshoku seem to be all connected below the surface. Consequently, Showa Sanshoku appear quite magnificent.


4.UTSURIMONO Utsurimono are derived from the same lineage as Showa Sanshoku which I mentioned before. They too have black skin, and are divided according to the color of interlacing markings into “Shiro Utsuri (contrasted by white markings),” “Hi Utsuri (contrasted by red markings)” and “Ki Utsuri (contrasted by yellow markings).” Like in Showa Sanshoku, Sumi of Shiro Utsuri should essentially covers the nose, side faces (‘Menware’ for diverging head pattern) and pectoral fin joints (‘Motoguro’ for black base). Hi Utsuri and Ki Utsuri have red and yellow markings respectively in place of white ones on Shiro Utsuri. The body of Hi Utsuri and Ki Utsuri has the same Sumi as Shiro Utsuri, but their pectoral fins do not show Motoguro, but are striped instead. Formerly Utsurimono were produced mostly as by-products of Showa Sanshoku breeding. Recently, however, very high quality Utsurimono have been bred with excellent Shiro Utsuri on one or both sides of parentage. Hi Utsuri continue to be born as the by-products of Showa Sanshoku breeding. However, we have seen very little of Ki Utsuri lately.


5.BEKKO Bekko are produced in the process of breeding Taisho Sanshoku. They, therefore, have the same Sumi as Taisho Sanshoku, which as a rule should not appear in the head region. Bekko are grouped by the color of skin into Shiro (white) Bekko, a.k.a. (red) Bekko and Ki (yellow) Bekko,. Nowadays we seldom come across Ki Bekko, and a.k.a. Bekko don’t seem to win upper prizes at unless they have considerably high quality red and well balanced Sumi. Accordingly, we can reasonably assume the term “Bekko” is usually used to mean Shiro Bekko. Both Shiro Bekko and Shiro Utsuri have black and white markings only, and the white ground must be milky white so as to bring Sumi out into prominence. The white ground in the head region is especially liable to amber discoloration. Koi with jet-black markings on the milky white skin which covers the whole body look indescribably refined.


6.KOROMO Koromo are said to have been produced by crossing Kohaku with Asagi. Kohaku, Taisho Sanshoku and Showa Sanshoku which have indigo tinge over-laying the red patterns are called Ai-goromo (blue garment), Koromo Sanshoku, and Koromo Showa respectively. Crescent markings of Koromo usually show up on the scales of red patches. Koi with distinct, blue crescents arranged in an orderly manner are highly valued. High quality Koromo such as this are tastefully charming — the kind favored by Koi experts. The blue color of Koromo seem to gradually grow darker as the Koi grow older. Accordingly, the blue color of seemingly right tone in small Koi often becomes too dark when the Koi grow big, and the blue color showing right tone on big Koi, on the other hand, were in many cases overly light tone when the Koi were still small. This fact, therefore, should be taken into careful consideration when buying Koromo.


7.HIKARI-MUJI This category includes all Koi with shiny body but devoid of any markings. Hikari-muji are divided into “Yamabuki Ogon (with pure yellow, metallic sheen on the entire body),” “Platinum Ogon (with shining platinum color),” “Orange Ogon (with orange sheen),” “Kin Matsuba (literally ‘golden pine needles,’ for individual, glittering scales appearing like raised markings)”, and “Gin Matsuba (literally ‘silvery pine needles,’ for glittering scales on the platinum ground which look like raised markings),” etc. As they don’t have any markings, the condition of luster and body conformation become the essential points for appreciation of Hikari-muji group. Excellent luster is the one which covers the whole body evenly. Generally, Koi of Hikari-muji group readily get used to humans. With hearty appetite, they tend to grow over-sized bellies. However, good shape body, covering from the head to breast and abdomen.


8.HIKARI-UTSURI Hikari utsuri are Koi of Showa Utsurimono group (Showa Sanshoku, Shiro Utsuri, and Hi Utsuri, etc.) displaying “Hikari (luster or glitter),” and include “Kin Showa (with lustrous gold color),” “Gin Shiro Utsuri (with platinum sheen),” and “Kin Ki Utsuri (literally ‘golden yellow Utsuri’).” The point of appreciating this group is of course the intensity of the Hikari, the very characteristic of the Hikarimono group. Their markings are similar to those of Showa Sanshoku and Utsurimono group mentioned before. The tone of gold and Sumi is deeper, the better. However, there is an intricate aspect which we have to pay close attention. Both Hikari and Sumi pigment have a tendency to cancel each other — most Koi with strong Hikari have deep Sumi. Consequently, Koi having strong Hikari and firm Sumi at the same time are very rare.


9.HIKARI-MOYO Hikari-moyo comprise all shiny Koi excepting Hikari-muji and Hikari Utsuri mentioned before.. They include “Hariwake” with patterns of gold blended with platinum skin, “Yamato-nishiki (Japanese brocade)” with patterns of Taisho Sanshoku shining on platinum skin, and Kujaku Ogon (peacock gold)” with shiny Goshiki (five colors) patterns. Beside these three major kinds, there are also “Kinsui (literally ‘brocaded water,’ for shiny Shusui with lots of Hi)” and “Shochikubai (literally ‘pine, bamboo and plum,’ for shiny Ai-goromo with wave indigo patterns).” These are rarely seen today. Like in all other Kikarimono groups, strong Kikiari is essential. This is followed by bold patterns. The color patterns well-balanced on the entire body are desirable.


10.TANCHO Koi with a red head patch are called “Tancho.” Most common are “Tancho Kohaku (all-white Koi with Tancho),” “Tancho Sanshoku (white Koi with Sumi similar to Shiro Bekko, and with Tancho),” and “Tancho Showa (Showa Sanshoku without red markings except for Tancho),” etc. However, “Tancho Goshiki (Koi of five colors with Tancho),” and “Tancho Hariwake” are rare. Tancho do not form a single, independent kind of Nishikigoi; they all can be bred from Kohaku, Taisho Sankshoku or Showa Sanshoku. Their red patch happen to show up only in the head region. Tancho, therefore, can not be produced in bulk even if you so wish. The essential point for appreciation is the red patch in the head region, of course. The red head patch sitting right at the center of the head region is the best. The white skin is also important as it is the milky white color that sets the red head patch off to advantage. The Sumi of Tancho Sanshoku and Tancho Showa are the same as Bekko and Shiro Utsuri respectively.


11.KINGINRIN Koi with shiny golden or silvery scales are called “Kinginrin.” Shining white scales are referred to as “Ginrin,” and shining scales within red markings as “Kinrin.” Ginrin are further classified by their appearance into Tama (ge)-gin, Pearl-ginrin and Diamond-ginrin, etc. Diamond-ginrin shine most brilliantly among all Ginrin, and seem to appear distinctly all over the body. Kinginrin have been bred into almost all varieties of Nishikigoi. However, Kohaku, Taisho Sanshoku, Showa Sanshoku and Kikarimono, etc. with ginrin seem to rank high in viewing value, as may be expected. The point for appreciation is of course the intensity of ginrin’s glitter. Koi with distinct ginrin from the shoulder to the back are highly valued.


12.Doitsu(German) linage Doitsu lineage does not mean Nishikigoi bred in Germany, but rather those Crossbred with Japanese Koi and black carp imported originally for food from Germany. They differ from ordinary Nishikigoi (or “‘Wagoi’ meaning Japanese Koi) in scale arrangement. Doitsu Koi with lines of scales on the back and along the lateral lines are called “Kagami-goi (mirror carp),” and those without scales or with only one line of scales on each side along the base of the dorsal fin, “Kawas-goi (leather carp?).” Nowadays, Doitsu Koi are crossbred into almost all varieties of Nishikigoi. Doitsu Koi are to be viewed for the orderliness of scale arrangement and the absence of unnecessary scales. Each Koi should have the features characteristic of its own original variety, of course.


13.ASAGI Asagi are fairly classical from a genealogical point of view, and constitute a very tasteful variety. They usually have blue on the entire back and Hi on the belly, pectoral fins and gill covers. The scales on the back have whitish base and thus collectively give an appearance of meshes of a net. The important viewing points are conspicuously vivid appearance of the meshes and light blue, spotless head region. However, as they age, black spots often appear in the head region and Hi on the belly tend to climb up reaching as far as the back.


14.SHUSUI Shusui have been crossbred between Doitsu Koi and Asagi, and their points for appreciation, therefore, are basically the same as those for Asagi. Shusui also have the tendency to show black spots in the head region as they grow big. Koi with spotless head region are valued highly, of course. The arrangement of scales is also important. It is desirable that scales are visible only the back and the regions of lateral lines — no undesirable scales in any other place. Hi on the belly covering over the lateral lines are showy.


15.GOSHIKE Goshike are said to have been crossbred between Asagi and Taisho Sanshoku — not yet an established theory, however. They also form a very tasteful variety of Nishikigoi. Goshiki used to be included in the Kawarimono group. However, with recent production of fairly excellent Goshike, they are now being treated as an independent variety at Nishikigoi shows. Their red markings are similar in patterns to Kohaku, but may not be taken as seriously. Some scales of Asagi may also appear in the red markings. The meshes appearing only on the white ground will, on the other hand, contrast strikingly with mesh less Hi.


16.KAWARIMONO Koi not included in the fifteen varieties mentioned so far are grouped as “Kawarimono.” They are “Karasu-goi (crow carp, with coal black body),” “Hajiro (literally ‘white wings’ for crow carp whose pectoral fins are white at the tip),” “Kumonryu (German Koi of Hajiro strain with white head),” “Ki-goi (yellow carp),” “Cha-goi (brown carp).” “Matsuba (literally ‘pine needles),” and “Beni-goi (crimson carp),” etc. They have been produced only in samll numbers, and large-size Kavarimono are even fewer. They are appreciated above all by their originality or unconventionality. The rarer they are encountered even with active search, the higher is their value. So far I explained briefly the different viewing points for individual varieties of Nishikigoi. However, actual enjoyment of Nishikigoi should be free from fixed ideas or obsession. Even the most superb Koi surely has some minor flaws. Being enmeshed in such minor flows, we will fail to size up the real value of the Koi. Accordingly, the most important thing in judging a Koi is to place great importance on “the first impressions” gained by you the moment the Koi meets your eyes. It is also important to fully understand the koi’s qualities on the credit side.



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Recently we had the good fortune of discovering a book on our doorstep.  It was a gift from Matt Kilby the tree man whom we wrote about recently. Matt is into planting forests of trees around Australia and after a recent health scare – is now into good health and sent us Victoria Boutenko’s “Green for Life” book.

Her book deals basically in the health benefits of drinking blended green smoothies everyday and why you should seek to lower your bodies pH level to be more alkaline.
Boutenko’s book goes on to explain how blending a wide mixture of greens and drinking them will maximise your bodies potential to withstand disease.

Sounds fair enough. We’ve all heard these familiar stories. What made it more interesting to us was how similar the human body was portrayed to an aquaponics system.
A passage in the book reminded us about how oxygen in a flood and drain media bed system invigorates the plant roots and stimulates the good bacteria to work at building healthy plant tissue.

Over eighty years ago, Otto Warburgwas awarded the Nobel Prize for his discovery that cancer is caused by weakened cell respiration due to a lack of oxygen at the cellular level. According to Warburg, damaged cell respiration causes fermentation, resulting in low pH (acidity) at the cellular level.

Dr Otto Warburg

Dr. Warburg, in his Nobel Prize–winning study, illustrated the environment of the cancer cell. A normal healthy cell undergoes an adverse change when it can no longer take in oxygen to convert glucose into energy. In the absence of oxygen, the cell reverts to a primal nutritional program to nourish itself by converting glucose through the process of fermentation. The lactic acid produced by fermentation lowers the cell’s pH (acid-alkaline balance) and destroys the ability of DNA and RNA to control cell division. The cancer cells then begin to multiply. The lactic acid simultaneously causes severe local pain as it destroys cell enzymes. Cancer appears as a rapidly growing external cell covering with a core of dead cells.

Dr. Otto Warburg finished one of his most famous speeches with the following statement: “Nobody today can say that one does not know what cancer and its prime cause is. On the contrary, there is no disease whose prime cause is better known, so that today ignorance is no longer an excuse that one cannot do more about prevention.” Otto Warburg won the Nobel Prize for showing that cancer thrives in anaerobic (without oxygen), or acidic, conditions. In other words, the main cause of cancer is acidity of the human body.

Anaerobic Dead Zones

If you have read about Aquaponics you will notice a similar refrain about keeping pH within acceptable boundaries to best encourage plants to take up nutrients and thrive. Well oxygenated aquaponics systems prevent anaerobic bacteria from building up and dead zones appearing in your gravel media systems. We go into this in a lot more depth in our Aquaponics Secrets DVD. Maybe the similarity between how you body’s cell system functions and how aquaponics systems work is merely coincidental. But its an intriguing thought that makes you wonder that we spend a lot of time researching how to make an aquaponics system work so well but fail to give a passing thought how well we oxygenate our own body?

Boutenko’s book goes further into the realm of plant pH. If we can understand an aquaponic’s system ideal pH range (around 6.5 to 7.2) then what about the pH signature of the plants you grow and eat? Apparently every plant has a pH value. Your body depending what you eat also carries a pH signature and varies on what you ingest.

She says:

It makes great sense to me that children should study the pH index of all foods at school and that all foods sold to the public should have their pH index printed on the content label together with calories and nutrients. For example, Parmesan cheese should have a red warning label with a pH sign saying it is extremely acid forming, at -34, while spinach would have a golden medal sign with a pH index of +14, as an excellent alkalizing food.



We all know eating raw green vegetables are good for us but acknowledging that point and chewing through aimlessly through heaps of green vegetable matter seems a tad unappetizing if motivation is your problem.

The good news is if you run an aquaponics system, all that leafy green vegetable matter can be easily turned into a smoothie very quickly with a food blender.

We’ve had miles of water-cress, spinach, lettuce and kale that we now process each morning. Mix a few pieces of apple, pears and banana to sweeten the taste and down the hatch it goes.

Drinking green smoothies is up to you how many ingredients you use. It certainly changes the way you view your aquaponics system.

Its no longer just a fresh fish and vegetable production system, but a medicinal herb system to boot.

There are all kinds of medicinal plants that are also alkalaine you can research that are meant to be also good for you that wont keep if picked or stored in supermarkets or turned into pills. Lets keep those food enzymes charged with life.

Pick ‘em, blend them and drink ‘em.

Being able to stroll up to your aquaponics system and pick your health brew to be blended moments later – is a great way to start the day.



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Where can money be invested today that will give the investor a reasonable rate of return and more importantly assure a safe investment that will be long lasting and be selling product into a growing and insatiable market? Go through the list of all of the possibilities you can think of, and then, add in these additional benefits to the equation:



  • Produces food on a year round basis
  • Can be solar powered
  • Can use recycled water
  • Employs local semi-skilled labor (women, men, young and old)
  • Enhances the value of the property and surrounding property
  • Is non-polluting
  • Produces organic food and requires 90% to 95% less water than in-ground growing
  • Can be installed nearly anywhere in the world
  • Produces an organic fertilizer that can be used on any crop or plants 

How are we doing? Interested enough yet to ask, “What’s the catch?” or do you need more benefits?

Let’s add in: 

  • Unlimited expansion in a designated territory
  • Small annual renewal fee
  • Constant updates to the technology
  • Engineers available to be on site to help with the initial installation
  • Consulting help at a very reasonable rate 

If you are NOT interest yet, stop reading. This opportunity is for first adaptors who are sophisticated investors and willing to help the industry expand into new territories. 

CCRES AQUAPONICS (large aquaponics systems combining aquaculture – the culture of fish, with hydroponics – using only water and water based nutrients to raise plants) is over 4,700 years old and is not new technology. What CCRES AQUAPONICS has done is to bring the technology into the 21st Century through the use of simple modern equipment and careful design. The commercially designed CCRES AQUAPONICS are modular, simply constructed from locally obtained materials, easy to operate and very nearly failure proof. The systems can lose power for over twelve hours and have NO adverse effects on the plants or fish.  

CCRES AQUAPONICS Greenhouse was constructed in the summer of 2011.

Intensive aquaculture production was integrated with intensive greenhouse hydroponic vegetable production.

 Environmental monitoring and control systems allow the grower to optimize the environmental parameters for maximizing crop yields. Water chemistry is maintained and nutrients are supplemented to meet the target crops nutritional demands. Organic plant cultivars are grown using biologically processed fish effluents and  CCRES AQUAPONICS listed organic nutrient supplements. Fish are grown and harvested on a monthly basis. Romaine and butter head lettuce, red and green oak leaf lettuce, microgreens, basil, peppers and cucumbers are also grown in the system. The produce and fish have been marketed to high end restaurants and farmers markets.

Fish are reared from egg to a harvest size . Production is staggered for continuous harvest on a monthly basis.

The filtration system removes large particulate waste and biologically processes the dissolved nutrients to a non-toxic form for the fish, and into a more readily available form for the plants to assimilate. The water chemistry is maintained for optimal growth of the fish. After the water passes through the filtration system it then flows to the respective plant greenhouse bay where the water chemistry is tailored to meet the target crops nutritional requirements.

There are two plant production bays with individual environmental controls. The environmental parameters for each bay are set to meet the plants optimal conditions for growth. Nutrient supplements are injected into the water prior to entering the hydroponic plant bays. The plants assimilate the nutrients in the system and the water is returned to the fish.

This system uses 1-3% of the system water volume per week (depending on season). The excreted nutrients from the fish are used as a natural fertilizer for the hydroponic plants. Research studies have shown that growth and quality of the plants in the aquaponics system is equal to that in hydroponic systems when the proper filtration processes and nutrient supplements are applied. CCRES AQUAPONICS market studies have determined that the produce can be marketed to high end restaurants, farmer’s markets and grocery stores.


 If you have read this far the next question is: How much is required to be an investor for commercial aquaponics systems?

For more information and the current Fact Sheets about  aquaponics opportunities please contact Zeljko Serdar, Inventor of the CCRES AQUAPONICS and CEO, CCRES  by email to begin the process.


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Definitions of Aquaculture

Definitions of Aquaculture

Definitions of Aquaculture

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Aquaculture is the farming of aquatic organisms: fish, molluscs, crustaceans, aquatic plants, crocodiles, alligators, turtles, and amphibians. Farming implies some form of intervention in the rearing process to enhance production, such as regular stocking, feeding, protection from predators, etc. Farming also implies individual or corporate ownership of the stock being cultivated.

For statistical purposes, aquatic organisms which are harvested by an individual or corporate body which has owned them throughout their rearing period contribute to aquaculture, while aquatic organisms which are exploitable by the public as a common property resource, with or without appropriate licences, are the harvest of capture fisheries.

The main culture environments

  • Freshwater Culture – cultivation of aquatic organisms where the end product is raised in freshwater, such as reservoirs, rivers, lakes, canals and groundwater, in which the salinity does not normally exceed 0.5%. Earlier stages of the life cycle of these aquatic organisms may be spent in brackish or marine waters.
  • Brackish water – cultivation of aquatic organisms where the end product is raised in brackish water, such as estuaries, coves, bays, lagoons and fjords, in which the salinity may lie or generally fluctuate between 0.5% and full strength seawater. If these conditions do not exist or have no effect on cultural practices, production should be recorded under either “Freshwater culture” or “Mariculture”. Earlier stages of the life cycle of these aquatic organisms may be spent in fresh or marine waters.
  • Mariculture – cultivation of the end product takes place in seawater, such as fjords, inshore and open waters and inland seas in which the salinity generally exceeds 20. Earlier stages in the life cycle of these aquatic organisms may be spent in brackish water or freshwater.

The main growing units

  • Tanks and ponds – artificial units of varying sizes constructed above or below ground level capable of holding and interchanging water.


  • Enclosures and pens – refer to water areas confined by net, mesh and other barriers allowing uncontrolled water interchange and distinguished by the fact that enclosures occupy the full water column between substrate and surface; pens and enclosures will generally enclose a relatively large volume of water.


  • Cages – refer to open or covered enclosed structures constructed with net, mesh or any porous material allowing natural water interchange. These structures may be floating, suspended, or fixed to the substrate but still permitting water interchange from below.

#5 Fish In Cage

  • Raceways and silos – artificial units constructed above or below ground level capable of high rates of water interchange in excess of 20 changes per day.


  • Barrages – semi-permanent or seasonal enclosures formed by impervious man-made barriers and appropriate natural features.


  • Rice-cum-fish paddies – refer to paddy fields used for the culture of rice and aquatic organisms; rearing them in rice paddies to any marketable size.


  • Rafts, ropes, stakes – refer to the culture of shellfish, notably mussels, and seaweeds usually conducted in open waters using rafts, long lines or stakes. The stakes are impaled in the seabed in inter-tidal areas and ropes are suspended in deeper waters from rafts or buoys.


  • Hatcheries – refer to installations for housing facilities for breeding, nursing and rearing seed of fish, invertebrates or aquatic plants to fry, fingerlings or juvenile stages.


  • Nurseries – refer generally to the second phase in the rearing process of aquatic organisms and refer to small, mainly outdoor ponds and tanks.
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Aquaponics World Review

World Review

World Review


Aquaculture and wild caught supplied the world with about estimated 142 million tons of fish in 2008 and of this, 115 million tons was used as human food, providing an estimated apparent per capita supply of about 17 kg, which is an all-time high

Aquaculture accounted for 46 percent of total food fish supply.

In 2008, per capita food fish supply was estimated at 13.7 kg if data for China are excluded. In 2007, fish accounted for 15.7 percent of the global population’s intake of animal protein and 6.1 percent of all protein consumed.


Globally, fish provides more than 1.5 billion people with almost 20 percent of their average per capita intake of animal protein, and 3.0 billion people with at least 15 percent of such protein.

China remains by far the largest fish-producing country, with production of 47.5 million tons in 2008 (32.7 and 14.8 million tons from aquaculture and wild caught, respectively).


Global wild caught production in 2008 was about 90 million tons, with an estimated first-sale value of US$93.9 billion, comprising about 80 million tons from marine waters and 10 million tons from inland waters. World wild caught production has been relatively stable in the past decades

Aquaculture continues to be the fastest-growing animal-food-producing sector and to outpace population growth, with per capita supply from aquaculture increasing from 0.7 kg in 1970 to 7.8 kg in 2008, an average annual growth rate of 6.6 percent.

While aquaculture production was less than 1 million tons per year in the early 1950s, production in 2008 was 52.5 million tons, with a first sale value of US$98.4 billion.

World aquaculture is heavily dominated by the Asia-Pacific region, which accounts for 89 percent of production in terms of quantity and 79 percent in terms of value. This dominance is mainly because of China’s enormous production, which accounts for 62 percent of global production in terms of quantity and 51 percent of global value.

The fish sector is a source of income and livelihood for millions of people around the world. Employment in fisheries and aquaculture has grown substantially in the last three decades, with an average rate of increase of 3.6 percent per year since 1980. It is estimated that, in 2008, 44.9 million people were directly engaged, full time or, more frequently, part time, in aquaculture or wild caught. This number represents a 167 percent increase compared with the 16.7 million people in 1980.



World Production



Employment in the fisheries sector has grown faster than the world’s population and then employment in traditional agriculture. The 44.9 million people engaged in the sector in 2008 represented 3.5 percent of the 1.3 billion people economically active in the broad agriculture sector worldwide, compared with 1.8 percent in 1980. Although Wild caught continue to provide by far the greater number of jobs in the primary sector, it is apparent that the share of employment in wild caught is stagnating or decreasing and increased opportunities are being provided by aquaculture.

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Nitrogen cycle

GFA nitrogen cycle

GFA nitrogen cycle


Ammonia, nitrite and nitrate are the main forms of inorganic nitrogen found in recirculating fish cultures.  The major source of organic nitrogen is the protein-rich supplementary feed that is given daily to the fish.  Ammonia is produced as the main end product of protein catabolism and is excreted by fish through their gills.  Ammonia is also released to the water by the decomposition of uneaten feed and feces by heterotrophic bacteria present in the system. Among the inorganic nitrogen species, ammonia and nitrite are toxic and most often associated with stress or even mortality of fish.  Nitrate is considered to be less toxic than ammonia but may damage fish at high concentrations.  Inorganic nitrogen transformation in closed intensive recirculating systems including G.F.A, is usually mediated microbial and includes two major processes-nitrification and denitrification.



Nitrification –


Nitrification is a two-step aerobic process that is carried out by two autotrophic bacterial species; ammonia is first oxidized to nitrite (reaction I), which is then followed by its oxidization to nitrate (reaction II):


I)   2NH3   +   3O2      ->             2HNO2   +   2H2O    (+ energy released)

II)  2HNO2   +   O2     ->             2HNO3                     (+ energy released)


The major groups of bacteria carrying out nitrification have been identified in both freshwater and marine environments.  Ammonia-oxidizing nitrifiyers have been found to belong to the b-subdivision of the Proteobacteria and are typified by Nitrosomonas europaea.  Nitrite-oxidizing nitrifiyers belong to the a-subdivision of the Proteobacteria of which Nitrobacter winogradskyi is a representative species.  Until recently it was assumed that species of ammonia- and nitrite-oxidizing bacteria are identical in marine and freshwater environments.  However, the use of 16S ribosomal RNA (rRNA)-targeted oligonucleotide probes have revealed the identification of a group of nitrifying bacteria responsible for ammonia oxidation in freshwater that are different from the bacteria responsible for ammonia oxidation in seawater.  Recent studies showed that the ammonia oxidizer Nitrosomonas europaea appears to be present at high levels in seawater aquaria and at very low levels in freshwater aquaria.  We have identified both Nitrosomonas and Nitrospira spp. in our warm-water mariculture system.

Several types of biofilter configurations have been used in recirculating aquaculture systems for nitrification.  These include submerged biofilters, trickling biofilters, rotating biological contractors (RBC), bead filters and fluidized-bed filters and each design has advantages and disadvantages.  An advantage to using RBC and trickling biofilters over the others, for example, is the ability of these filters to oxidize water during operation and provide some carbon dioxide stripping.  Submerged biofilters or fluidized-bed filters, on the other hand, require continuous oxidation of water during operation.  G.F.A systems employ trickling filters as the major ammonia removal platform. Its parallel benefits that include ammonia removal, carbon dioxide stripping, water oxygenation and its biological stability, make it the perfect choice for G.F.A systems.



Denitrification –


Biological reduction of nitrate to nitrogen gas occurs by denitrification, which is carried out by facultative anaerobic heterotrophic bacteria.  In place of oxygen, these bacteria are capable of using nitrate, nitrite, nitric oxide or nitrous oxide as terminal electron acceptors in the presence of an organic carbon source that serves as electron donor (reaction III):

III) HNO3   +   (CH3OH)X  ->   HNO2  ->   N2O(g)  ->   NO(g)  ->   N2(g)

Denitrification closes the nitrogen cycle and releases nitrogen to the atmosphere.  Denitrifiyers are found among many bacterial genera including Paracoccus, Pseudomonas, Alcaligenes, Flavobacterium, and Hyphomicrobium.

Since denitrification is inhibited in the presence of oxygen, filtration systems that are established for denitrification are generally preceded by a mechanism designed for decreasing oxygen concentrations.  In some cases, oxygen consumption is coupled to the oxidation of carbon sources through activity of heterotrophic bacteria such as Pseudomonas and Bacillus spp. present in nitrifying biofilters.  The oxygen concentration that will completely inhibit denitrification is dependent on the denitrifying bacterial species present in the system.  Oxygen acts via inhibition of both synthesis and activity of enzymes involved in denitrification resulting in the accumulation of denitrification intermediates, NO, N2O, and NO2, depending on oxygen concentration.

As most denitrifying bacteria are heterotrophic, they require organic carbon compounds as a source for electrons and protons.  Such compounds include carbohydrates, organic alcohols, amino acids and fatty acids.  For example, utilization of acetate as a carbon source for denitrification proceeds as follows:

IV) 5CH3COO-   +   8NO3-   +   3H+  ->  10HCO3-   +   4N2 (g)   +   4H2O

The C/N ratio required for complete nitrate reduction to nitrogen gas by denitrifying bacteria depends on the nature of the carbon source and the bacterial species.  As noted above, carbon source limitation will result in the accumulation of denitrification by-products such as NO2 and N2O.  In addition, denitrification rates will depend on the variety of available carbon source.  For example, in anaerobic reactors denitrification was shown to be faster in the presence of acetate compared to glucose and ethanol.  The limiting factor of the process in marine and land sediments is the availability of an organic carbon source.


G.F.A technology takes full advantage of the anaerobic water treatment and uses it both for nitrate removal and organic solids digesting. Water from the bottom of the fish tanks rich with organic particles are collected to a central basin were few process are taking place in parallel manner: solids settling and digesting, oxygen uptake and nitrate reduction (denitrification). Thus the organic solids that are usually removed out from recirculating systems as fast as possible, are used in the G.F.A. technology as a “fuel” to activate the nitrate reducing bacteria and allow water to go back to the culture tanks with no losses – zero discharge technology.

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Hrvatska nezainteresirana i bez tehnologije


Hrvatska nezainteresirana i bez tehnologije

 Posljednje je desetljeće akvakultura najbrže rastući sektor proizvodnje hrane, već je sad svaka treća riba koja se nađe na tanjuru uzgojena manji su troškovi ulaganja, a veći je prinos ribe i morskih vrsta.

Uskoro bi zbog ekspanzije čovječanstva, zbog kojeg se svakodnevno izlovljava sve više i više ribe za prehranu, moglo doći i do nestašice te prehrambene namirnice, ali isto tako i zbog sustavnog zagađenja mora kemijskim spojevima koji također uništavaju riblju populaciju u prirodi. Zbog toga su mnoge zemlje morale preći na kontrolirani uzgoj u kojem je veći postotak preživljavanja ribe, bolja iskoristivost hrane te brži napredak ribe, te su razvile akvakulturu, uzgoj organizama u vodenoj sredini pod kontroliranim uvjetima.
Posljednje je desetljeće akvakultura najbrže rastući sektor proizvodnje hrane. Naime, smatra se kako će već za desetak godina više od polovice prehrambenih proizvoda iz mora biti uzgojeno, a prema nekim podacima, već je sad svaka treća riba koja se nađe na tanjuru uzgojena. Naime, u akvakulturi su manji troškovi ulaganja, a veći prinos ribe i morskih vrsta.
U primjeni akvakulture poseban je svjetski ugled stekao Izrael, koji je uz veliku nestašicu vode upravo u pustinjskim područjima napravio velike uzgojne bazene. Izraelska se akvakultura intenzivno razvija te danas obuhvaća uzgoj različitih slatkovodnih i morskih vrsta.
Jedna od specifičnosti izraelske primjene akvakulture su tzv. recirkulacijski sustavi, odnosno sustavi uzgoja akvatičnih organizama u recirkulacijskom protoku vode s minimalnim izmjenama i gubicima vode. Posebno praktična metoda u područjima udaljenim od izvora vode, osobito pustinjskim predjelima. Svaka se kap vode, naime, maksimalno iskoristi. Izrael ima velikih problema zbog nedostatka prirodnih vodenih resursa, a više od polovice njegova teritorija su kamene pustinje.
O tehnologiji akvakulture razgovarali smo sa znanstvenim novacima, dr. vet. med. Josipom Barišićem s Instituta Ruđer Bošković, te mag. ing. Danielom Matulićem s Agronomskog fakulteta. Upravo su njih dvojica bili na jednomjesečnoj stipendiji »Akvakultura: Proizvodnja i upravljanje« Izraelske agencije za razvoj međunarodne suradnje, tijekom koje su se susreli s raznim vrstama akvakulture. Tako su usred pustinje boravili uz natkrivene lančano povezane bazene s morskom ribom. Pokraj bazena su biološki filtri, odnosno sustav različitih kultura bakterija. U prvom bazenu riba dobiva hranu, ali isto tako i ispušta izmet, odnosno štetne produkte. Ta se voda potom propušta kroz biološke filtre, koji sprečavaju prolaz kemijski toksičnih supstancija u drugi bazen i tako redom. Gubici vode, ali i isparavanja su minimalni, pa se svakodnevno svježe vode doda samo jedan do tri posto od ukupnog volumena vode u bazenima. Budući da se u takvim uzgojnim bazenima voda neprestano pročišćava, sustav nije izložen mogućim negativnim utjecajima iz otvorenih voda, kao što su unos uzročnika bolesti, predatori, različiti oblici kontaminacije, odnosno posljedice industrijskog zagađivanja.

Uspješni u proizvodnji kavijara premda ga ne jedu

Izraelci su poznati i po proizvodnji i prodaji kavijara za što uzgajaju jesetru. Naime, kako ikra potrebna za kavijar ne smije biti prezrela, posebnom se tehnikom obavlja biopsija i provjerava zrelost ikre. Nakon toga iz zrele se ribe izvadi ikra od koje se napravi kavijar, za čiji kilogram treba izdvojiti i tisuću eura. Razvili su i brži uzgoj jesetre, jer su je doveli iz hladnog Kaspijskog jezera u svoje toplije bazene, što je pridonijelo bržem sazrijevanju ribe, a time i većoj proizvodnji čime su se plasirali među vodeće zemlje proizvođače kavijara izvrsne kvalitete.

U bazenima se od slatkovodnih vrsta, među ostalim, uzgajaju tilapije, šarani, pastrve, jesetre, te od morskih vrsta orada, brancin, ježinci, morske alge, razne vrste školjkaša. Sve su one u sustavu recirkulacije, dok se pastrva uzgaja na brzim protočnim rijekama. Načelo takvog uzgoja je da se iz rijeke provede kanal, odnosno dio vode preusmjeri na farmu na kojoj takva voda potrebna za uzgoj prolazi kroz mehaničke (štetne čestice ostaju na stjenkama filtra) i biološke filtre do te mjere da kad se vrati u matičnu rijeku ne predstavlja nikakvu opasnost za njen ekosustav. Farme su privatne, a naročito je važna suradnja znanosti i privrede te je ona u Izraelu na visokoj razini. Naime, zbog svih problema s kojima se susreću, uzgajivači se obraćaju znanstvenicima, koji im uz adekvatnu naknadu ponude rješenje problema. Na taj se način unapređuje privreda.
Valja istaknuti da se, primjerice, kalifornijske pastrve uzgajaju samo u rijeci Dan u regiji Kibbutz Dan na sjeveru zemlje, te da se na samo jednoj farmi u prosjeku na godinu proizvede i do 500 tona ribe. Također je zanimljivost da uzgoj šarana u Izraelu vuče korijene iz naše zemlje. Naime, sedamdesetih je godina prošlog stoljeća u Izrael uvezena linija šarana nastalog u Hrvatskoj, našički šaran, što je Izraelcima poslužilo kao matično jato u počecima intenzivnog uzgoja. Križanjem linije »Našice« s izraelskom linijom šarana »Dor 70« dobiven je hibrid s vrlo dobrim performansama rasta. Do današnjih se dana našički šaran u Izraelu održao u izvornom genetičkom obliku.

Hrvatska nezainteresirana i bez tehnologije

U Hrvatskoj akvakulturu najvećim dijelom čini uzgoj toplovodnih i hladnovodnih vrsta poput šarana i pastrve u kontinentalnim dijelovima zemlje te uzgoj orade, brancina i školjkaša u marikulturi. Hrvatska je izuzetno bogata vodenim resursima, ali zbog nedostatka tehnologije i slabe zainteresiranosti nije razvila veću proizvodnju. Naročito bi se u Hrvatskoj moglo poraditi na povećanju uzgajališta pastrve prema načelu dobre filtracije vode na farmama, čime bi se povećala i produktivnost rijeka. Isto tako zbog sve većeg zagađenja morskog ekosustava za očekivati je u skoroj budućnosti da će i hrvatska marikultura morati iskoristiti tehnike recirulacijskih sustava kako bismo umanjili štetne učinke kaveznog uzgoja i prekomjeran izlov ribe te tako očuvali prirodne ljepote našeg mora i biološku raznolikost. Kako su nam rekli Barišić i Matulić, znanja koja su stekli u Izraelu pokušat će primijeniti u Hrvatskoj osmišljavanjem i velikog broja ideja i pokušajem njihova provođenja u praksu kako bi se unaprijedila sama tehnologija akvakulture i povećala svijest nacije o njenoj važnosti.

Izraelci su poradili i na transportu akvarijskih ribica sa što manje vode, jer kako vole reći, ne prodaju vodu nego ribu. Na projektu kako u što manjem volumenu vode dostaviti što više ribe na svjetska tržišta, radili su godinu dana.
Na jugu zemlje posebno je razvijena marikultura, odnosno uzgoj morskih organizama primjenom specifičnog multitrofičnog sustava. Naime, u takvim se sustavima uzgaja više različitih organizama u odvojenim bazenima kao što su orada, morski ježinac, kamenica te različite vrste algi i trava. Svaka karika u sustavu iz vode koristi ostatke riblje hrane i štetnih tvari, čisteći tako vodu koja se na taj način može višestruko iskoristiti te se u gotovo čistom obliku, u kakvom je ušla u sustav, vraća u more. Mogući štetni utjecaji na okoliš svedeni su na minimum, kao i troškovi uzgoja, dok je proizvodnja višestruko povećana.
Izraelci su vođeni poslovicom »necessity is the mother of invention«, odnosno »nužnost je majka izuma«, a primjenom recirkulacijskog sustava protoka vode kroz filtre iz bazena u bazen, polikulture i multitrofičnog sustava, uspjeli u uzgoju i proizvodnji ribljeg mesa u područjima bez izravne povezanosti s prirodnim vodenim resursima, kao što je primjerice u pustinji, ali i na velikoj udaljenosti od mora.

Šarani selektirani prema uzoru na japansku zastavu

Izraelska akvakultura uključuje i uzgoj akvarijskih ribica za kućne ljubimce, prije svega koi šarana koji su dosta skupi i njihova se cijena kreće i do nekoliko tisuća eura. No ono što je posebno i zanimljivo za zahtjevnije kupce je proces kojim su genetičkom selekcijom dobili koi šarana bijele boje s pravilnim crvenim krugom na sredini glave, što izgleda kao japanska zastava. Stoga je upravo ta ribica vrlo popularna u Japanu. Jaka je grana i uzgoj zlatnih ribica.

Hrvatskog Centra Obnovljivih Izvora Energije (HCOIE)

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Koi and Japanese Culture

Koi and Japanese Culture

Have carp been raised in Japan since the time before Christ? Judging from the fact that some carp bones have been unearthed from shell heaps of the Yayoi period, it is considered that carp have inhabited in the rivers and swamps of Japan for at least 2000. Ancient people might have started catching carp for food and began keeping them for provisions.

Japanese people have also enjoyed carp as ornamental fish. The oldest record regarding carp keeping can be seen in the “Nihonshoki” (Chronicle of Japan). The Emperor Keiko fell in love with Otohime princess and tried to make her visit his place. He would happily view carp in the pond at the Kukurinomiya Palace. The princess finally visited the pond to see the carp and the Emperor fulfilled his long-cherished dream with the aid of his carp. The story was written in 734. In Heian period (794~1185), viewing carp in garden ponds was common among the aristocracy. Later around the end of Edo period (early 19th century), there were Higoi (red carp), Shirogoi (white carp) and Shirogoi with some red markings on the various parts of the body seen in Japan. They are all ancestors of today’s Kohaku. It was the farmers of Echigo (current Niigata Prefecture) who transformed mutant carp into beautiful Nishikigoi. By the way, there is a record of red, white and yellow carp in China. However, regarding Nishikigoi as “Living jewelry”, it can be said that Japanese people have improved upon it. Nishikigoi are worthy of being called the national ornamental fish of Japan (Kokugyo). Today it is considered to be one of the leading figures of ornamental fish in the world.

The Chinese character for carp “Koi” was, of course, introduced from China. It is made up of three separate parts, called radicals. The left one means fish, the upper part of the right means rice field and the bottom means earth. The right parts together mean the marked off land which further means the condition of beautiful organization. A fish representative that has a beautiful law of scales is the Nishikigoi, while the animal counterpart with a fine coat of hair is determined a raccoon dog, according to Chinese characters.

Koi is said to be a fish that succeeds in life. This came after a historical event in China where carp were the only fish that could swim up a waterfall, called Ryumon (dragon gate) at the upper reaches of the Yellow River, and became dragons. The saying, “koi-no-taki-nobori”, a carp swimming up the rapids, also came later.

Koi are also worthy of being called “bushi-gyo” (Japanese warrior fish) because of their serene and sometimes tremendous manner of swimming. They even have a habit of jumping up in the air. The figure of high splashing water after they jump and land looks very powerful. While placed on a chopping board, koi never make a scene. Even when a chopping knife is placed in the body it stays without moving a muscle. The manner reminds Japanese people of a samurai with an air of composure.

Japanese people consider setting up one’s own house a grave affair. After building a house, many make a pond in the garden. Keeping koi in the garden makes the master of the house feel fulfilled. In this way, the refreshing atmosphere of koi meets the temperament of Japanese people. However, today not only the Japanese but also many people outside Japan are attracted by koi.

Koi are often compared to a natural big tree, while tropical fish can be compared to flowers in a flower garden and goldfish to a dwarf tree. The air of Nishikigoi is suitable to the king of ornamental fish. There are many words that describe Nishikigoi, such as heroic, tremendous, sturdy, magnificent, vigorous and so on. Their composed figure is a suitable object for painting and sculpture.


Koi and Japanese Culture

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