I'm new to most of this. I do a little bit of turtle and tortoise rescue and I'm planning to build a larger pond (600-700 gal) to house the increasing population. If aquaculture is defined as the raising of aquatic animals for food production, then perhaps I need another word to describe my intentions. I'm also planning vegetable and herb gardens. Some of the vegetables will go to feed the turtles & tortoise, but most are intended for human consumption. I'd really like to use the pond towards helping with the garden (growing duckweed for fertizer or growing veggies?), but it's been so drilled into my head about reptiles and the risk of salmonella that I'm leery about doing so. The information I've found online is not very forthcoming about this. It's also important to me to have a pond that is designed well to minimize cleaning and use of chemicals. I really like the idea of using bacteria to manage algae, but I'm not sure how practical it is, giving multiple turtles and the AZ heat. It's going to be a challenge to find barriers to safeguard any plants from the turtles, as I have found them to be destructive in that regard.
I appreciate any suggestions you might have.
I'd avoid using turtles as a waste source for human veggie production the risk of salmonella outweigh the benefits. If you used it to produce veggies for the turtles only that would be fine.
I'd suggest a fish/invertebrate based AP system if you are going for human food production.
Find ideas here: http://aquaponicscommunity.com/
I have no interest in fish production as my household rarely consumes fish.
I am very aware about salmonella, but I hate just having to dump waste water out into the gravel. Wondering if there is any way to reclaim it using bacteria / plant remediation to remove salmonella. Turns out that gardens can get salmonella from multiple sources though, including improper composting.
I could kill the salmonella by boiling the water in a fire pit, but then I would be losing the good bacteria/nitrates as well.
How long does Salmonella remain active?
Salmonella: Then and Now and it will be posted on the blog.
89 days – Tap Water
115 days – Pond Water
120 days – Pasture Soil
280 days – Garden Soil
28 months – Avian Feces
30 months – Bovine Feces
Is salmonella testing a routine part of aquaponics then? If so, how do I buy a test kit?
You don't have to eat the fish. You could use them to feed the turtles or for pets. I'm not sure if there is a test for salmonella at the consumer level.
You could construct a biofilter and put in floating aquatic plants to further filter the water.
I use minnows to help with biofiltration, aquatic plants in the pond have not been successful as I have not found a good way to protect them from the turtles. Anything that isn't food becomes a turtle toy and if it can get shredded, it will. Also some plants, such as water hyacinths, decrease the oxygen content I've read, so I want to choose wisely.
I just saw the earlier post about the skippy and I am very jazzed about it. That's exactly what I've been looking for as far as filtration goes. I've experimented with DIY filtration and the skippy would solve multiple issues.
I've also wondered about creating a hanging garden over the pond and container plants next to the pond. At least I could take advantage of the humid environment created by the pond, plus it could help provide needed shade and oxygen.