We started The Beast and Posts about The Beast on October 7th, 2020 so we’ve been engaging in this R&D for about five weeks, and we’re proud to report The Beast is a Roaring Success! (Actually, it only Roars when we don’t feed it.)
The Beast is now producing Nitrates at a consistent rate as long as we maintain its feeding schedule. Right now, we’re feeding it Tilapia Fish Food, but we’ll be experimenting with other high nitrogen feed stock in the future. The Beast likes its food as digestible as possible so were using the Fry Powder we sell on our website. We don’t feed our Fish Fry Powder because they are fully grown and need larger pellets. We are feeding them the Fingerling Pellets, which have more protein than the Intermediate Pellets and Grow-out Pellets. All of these different Tilapia Food Pellet sizes are available on our website’s Fish Food Page.
We currently have a 320 gallon Fish Tank in our Greenhouse with about 35 fully grown out Blue Tilapia in it, but they are not producing enough Nitrates to fertilize our 40′ x 15′ Greenhouse, which is growing a lot of Tomatoes and Peppers, but not much else due to this lack of Nutrients. Tomatoes require a lot of Nitrates so they are taking up most of what our Fish are producing while leaving enough for some beautiful Red & Green Peppers to also flourish.
Above you see our Cherry Tomato Plants that are about a year old and still producing like crazy. Keep in mind, we’re 6,000 ft. up in the White Mountains of Arizona and it’s mid November, but these plants just keep producing. We pull the curtain you see in the background which helps us regulate the night temperatures so it doesn’t get too cold.
Keeping these tomato plants trimmed is practically a full-time job as they won’t produce unless you cut back all of the sucker branches that live up to their name “Sucker” as they suck up all the nutrients disallowing the tomatoes to flourish. These plants were trimmed just last week, and will need a four-hour trim job in about one more week. For our next Post, we’ll explain how to do this important job to get a lot of tomatoes like you see here in this close up of the Cherry Tomato Plants.
Below are photos of our Peppers, which are also flourishing along with the Tomatoes. We’re growing both Red and Green Peppers and they’re all Sweet Peppers as we’re not fond of hot ones, which also grow great in an Aquaponics System.
Below are Sweet Green Bell Peppers Growing in the same Grow Bed as large Big Red Tomatoes.
It’s important to also keep this Tomato Plant trimmed back so it will produce this amazing amount of Big Red Tomatoes and still leave enough nutrients for the Green Bell Peppers.
It may look like we’re growing a lot, but this Greenhouse has six 4′ x 8′ Deep Media Grow Beds of which only a third are producing. Plus, we have a Leafy Green Vertical System that you can see in the background of the above picture that is capable of putting out 108 heads of Lettuce or a combination of Basil, Swiss Chard, Bok Choy and Lettuce, and we have a Horizontal Grow Out Area with 98 Starter Slots.
Because we don’t have sufficient Nitrates, our growing capability has been greatly curtailed. And that brings us back to The Beast.
We have an enclosed Room adjacent to this Greenhouse, and it even has another 320 gallon Fish Tank in it, which is empty. We could have fired it up, purchased more Live Fingerling Tilapia from our own website and started another Fish Fertilization program, but we really wanted to know if we could do Aquaponics without the Fish, and it seems we have proven that is possible with The Beast. What we’re ending up with is a combination System that utilizes Live Fish and The Beast to feed Nitrates to our Plants, but we believe you can grow Vegetables without any fish at all if you have The Beast. In that case, the System is no longer an Aquaponics System. It would be a Nitraponics System, and The Beast would be sized or duplicated according to the size of the System.
Above, we talked about the curtains that we enclose our Greenhouse with at night during the Winter months. For the same reason, we wrapped The Beast with Insulation to keep him warm. The Beast calls it his Coat and is a very well fed and Happy Camper right now. We’re still running R&D on The Beast so we’re not ready to give the details of its magical ability to produce Nitrates yet. Suffice it to say, Nitraponics could be the new Aquaponics for growers who aren’t interested in growing Fish.