Backyard Aquaponics

BSF composter
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Author:  Gwydion [ Apr 17th, '15, 14:44 ]
Post subject:  BSF composter

Hello aquaponics hobbyists

Last weekend i was lucky enough to see a BSF composer in action and this weekend i started to build one (and finished the first version).

I hope to produce some food supplements for my barramundi and chickens and get a better use out of my kitchen scraps as well as a better recycling method for fish and chicken carcasses and inerts. I know the bsf larvae can break down bones but i hope the pick everything clean at least and the not usable part goes than in the bin because i can't bury them in the yard because of my dogs.

I started construction with a 250l plastic tub which i bought from the big b (5 for $20 a piece, lucky pricing mistake) a year or so ago and its intent use was for the aquaponics system.

First i heated one corner of the tub with a heat gun to create a sump and drainage point for the bsf tea. The used fitting is a leftover from a water pump which i used in the fish pond, the sump is covered with some stainless steel filter cut out of a gutter cover (also big b, the had a clearance on gutter covers for $3). On the outside is some 19mm clear hose and a tap, so you can see whether it is worth to harvest the tea.

Next i fitted two harvesting ramps for the adult larvae out of 25mm electrical conduit. The elbows are not glued so i can adjust the entry height depending on the compost level. On the exit side is a bucket to collect the larvae.

The whole tub is covered with core flute and has an entry point for bsf in the center of the lid which also acts as handle to open the composter. Around the entry on the inside are three pieces of rolled cardboard to provide a space for egg deposit.

The bottom layer in the composter is coir mulch to retain some moisture in the system during the start. I baited the system with some kitchen scraps and a bowl of mashed dry dog food.



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Author:  Gwydion [ Apr 17th, '15, 14:50 ]
Post subject:  Re: BSF composter

More pictures

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Author:  joc [ Apr 17th, '15, 15:32 ]
Post subject:  Re: BSF composter

Thanks Oliver for the informative description and photos :thumbright:.

Two nights ago, I spent way too much time watching BSF clips on YouTube :naughty: . Your pod/bin/box (whatever) looks like it hits all the marks and is so much simpler and neater than a lot I saw. Seriously considering having a go down here, but I might do a small trial first to see if there are any around here :think: . If I go ahead, I will have an even bigger dilemma of who gets what scraps - currently the Labrador has to vet everything I take out to the chickens, fish, yabbies and worms!! :roll: I must remember to tell my O/H that they are highly nutritious grubs, not maggots :lol:

Please post more photos as your BSF composter is colonised and gets cranking :)

Author:  Gwydion [ Apr 17th, '15, 15:39 ]
Post subject:  Re: BSF composter

Thanks for the nice reply. My other half looked at me like 'but most of the stuff you want is for the chickens' but she knows that the chicken will get an even better treat at the end.

One thing i forget to mention is that i have to consider some ventilation openings especially for the next wet season.

The composter gets a couple hours morning sun and is in the shade the rest of the day.

Author:  Gwydion [ Apr 17th, '15, 15:43 ]
Post subject:  Re: BSF composter

And what about this here

Photo from

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Author:  Bender [ Apr 17th, '15, 19:41 ]
Post subject:  Re: BSF composter

Nice design Gwydion. Very neat job. Keep us posted on how it goes

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

Author:  Gwydion [ Apr 17th, '15, 20:17 ]
Post subject:  Re: BSF composter

Thanks bender, i will do that

Author:  swflcpl [ Apr 19th, '15, 19:38 ]
Post subject:  Re: BSF composter

I would suggest a thin layer of straw/hay covering the food, as it has been the biggest attractor here for them to lay their eggs.

Author:  Gwydion [ Apr 19th, '15, 20:50 ]
Post subject:  Re: BSF composter

Thanks, that sounds like a good idea.

Author:  Gwydion [ Apr 24th, '15, 18:29 ]
Post subject:  Re: BSF composter

I observed the first bsf today, was flying around the composter and landed on the edge of the coreflute. I put my hand next to the fly, t jumped on my hand and i put it next to the card board strips inside, i hope it was a female fly and looking for a place to lay some eggs.

Author:  Gwydion [ May 1st, '15, 07:10 ]
Post subject:  Re: BSF composter

I found the first larvae which was trying to escape the composter today. I guess the walls are to moist and i have to install more ventilation.

The chickens liked them and after lifting the pile inside the composter i found a lot more younger ones.

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Author:  Gwydion [ May 4th, '15, 16:22 ]
Post subject:  Re: BSF composter

There must be a couple 100 larvae in there now and all are munching happily on whatever we give them.

When you listen very quietly you can hear them moving and munching about... And you can see the food moving

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Author:  joc [ May 4th, '15, 16:43 ]
Post subject:  Re: BSF composter

That's a great start. I might wait until spring to set one up down here in Victoria - I've read that BSF like the warm. Hopefully when I set it up the chooks will like them better than compost worms which they look at with extreme suspicion and prejudice

Author:  Gwydion [ May 25th, '15, 18:46 ]
Post subject:  Re: BSF composter

Biggest harvest so far 42 larvae from last night and i have seen 4 bsf laying eggs today. I had half a fish frame and a fish head in it, the composter attracted a couple of blow flies but it did not really start to smell. The bsf larvae were too quick in picking everything clean.

Author:  Gwydion [ Jun 4th, '15, 12:52 ]
Post subject:  Re: BSF composter

59 BSF larvae today and every day i can see fresh eggs and BSF flying around the system, i guess that means that a lot of larvae are escaping the system. :lol: The chickens are loving it, the Barramundi are still not touching them. :/

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