This video shows how algae and zooplankton are harvested from algae containers each day.
With a bucket and strainer, a fresh slurry of oxygen rich plant matter is scooped up along with zooplankton, insect eggs and larval that live in the algae tank. This is poured into the tank and meticulously consumed by fish and crawdads for the next few hours.
Fish fry go crazy when feeding on the mosquito larvae and midge fly red worms. Occasionally, there are nymphs and larvae from damsel fly, springtail and mayfly but they are certainly less common. Often with feeding, the fish fingerlings will ingest so many larvae at once that two or three may protrude from the mouth at once. Overall there seems to be a lot less stress when feeding larvae and algae as there is little effort required to reach the food; with enough of the live fish food and plant cover the meal can take over an hour to completely consume. This along with a rich algae soup that the larvae are raised in ensures that all fish are fed to satisfaction.
It is easy to appreciate the eating habits of these small fish when observed in the Farm in a Box glass aquarium. The entire process emulates a bay and natural bog. On a ebb and flow cycle, the tank waters (bay) flood the plant beds (bog) carring in ammonia from fish waste, plus algae. Algae that reaches the beds when on a timer adds additional fertility to the bed, nourishing the plant rhizome as it slowly decomposes.
Here are orders of insects with aquatic or semi-aquatic species that may be grown in plankton-rich water for feeding tilapia, mollies and other omnivorous fish.
Collembola – springtails
Ephemeroptera – mayflies
Odonata – dragonflies and damselflies
Plecoptera – stoneflies
Hemiptera – true bugs
Megaloptera – alderflies, fishflies, and dobsonflies
Neuroptera – lacewings
Coleoptera – beetles
Hymenoptera – ants and wasps
Diptera – flies, mosquito, midges
Mecoptera – scorponflies
Lepidoptera – moths
Trichoptera – caddisflies