Calusa: An Aquaculture Kingdom

A tribe we call the Calusa lived in southern Florida since at least 100 CE. They grew into a local power, getting tribute from nearby tribes and building monuments that remain today as testaments to their might.

  • the Calusa depended on the sea, not agriculture, for its food surplus. They fished along the Gulf Coast estuaries and harvested rich shellfish beds.
  • wide and well-tended waterways likely functioned much like streets in a modern town, only for canoes instead of cars
  • “water courts” or large square pools on either side of the main canals, were kept filled with fish. It is believed the water courts were kept as food reserves to feed the city’s large population
  • the Calusa believed each person had three souls—one was their shadow, a second was their reflection, and a third was in the pupils of their eyes
  • the Calusa began expanding around the 1200s CE
  • another neighboring coastal group, the Tocobaga, were also rising in power around this time, and perhaps the Calusa centralized to counter their growing might
  • their capital city was a 51-hectare artificial island constructed almost entirely from oyster, clam, and other shells, called Mount Key
  • the first smaller Spanish forces that landed during and after 1517 were easily chased away by the superior Calusa strength
  • the next 200 years, an increasingly embattled Calusa fought off the Spanish and rival tribes’ attacks, who evened their odds with British firearms

The end came when British slavers in the region offered other native groups, such as the Creek and Yamasee people, a musket for every captive they brought in, they frequently turned up with Calusa men and women. The cities which had survived the past two centuries of intermittent warfare were wiped out within one or two generations.


DIY Project: A Garden Fish Tank

How To Build A Small Indoor Aquaponics System

Aquaponics is a system for the sustainable production of food that combines aquaculture (raising of fish, crayfish, talapia or shrimp in tanks) with hydroponics (the cultivation of plants in water with no soil).

This is a symbiotic relationship because the plants and fish both benefit from living together. The plant’s roots clean the water of ammonia and toxins, which helps the fish - while the fish provide the plants with nutrients, which are obtained from the fish pee and poop, as well as from ammonia excreted from the fish gills.

Buy An Aquaponics System: AquaFarm, GreenHome123, Aqualibruim
Farmed fish are breaking out of their pens at an alarming rate
Fish escaping from aquaculture pens is a really big problem, with a really great name: Fishbreaks!

Aquaculture is fast becoming the main way that humans get their seafood fix. But fish aren’t cattle; they don’t turn passive when cooped up. Every year, hundreds of thousands of salmon, cod, and rainbow trout wriggle through damaged or defective cages and flee into the open seas, never to be recaptured. In addition to costing farmers millions in lost revenue, these escapees can wreak havoc on their wild brethren by polluting gene pools and spreading pathogens…

Students assess commercial viability of larva meal

Three students in Cornell’s Samuel Curtis Johnson Graduate School of Management have examined the commercial viability of using housefly larva meal as a sustainable, less-expensive protein alternative to feeding stock and farm-raised fish.

To coax houseflies into hatching larvae, copious amounts of cow manure is needed on which the flies can lay their eggs. Millions of flies can reduce manure mass by half, concurrently lowering manure’s nitrogen and phosphorus content. Meanwhile, the larvae can be harvested as farm feed that is chock-full of protein and essential amino acids.

Protein of high biological value is essential to animal feed. Shortfall of quality protein resources like fish meal poses a future challenge for feeding livestock, said Selvaraj, “Larva meal is an ideal ingredient to replace fish meal with identical protein content and amino acid profile.”

The larva of a housefly (Musca domestica) is pictured much larger than life-size. The larva has been hatched from an egg 1/20of an inch (1.27 millimeter) long. The mouth is at the pointed end.Bitannica Kids

A lethal and highly contagious marine virus has been detected for the first time in wild salmon in the Pacific Northwest, according to researchers in British Columbia. It is called infectious salmon anemia, and started in aquaculture salmon farms who import millions of eggs from Europe. The only barrier between the salmon farms and wild fish is a net, opening the way for pathogens to sweep in and out. No treatment exists for infectious salmon anemia. Enjoy those sockeye while you can!


Hi Everyone!

Ok, so an update for you on the Deep Water Aquaponics System.

If you remember, we began planting this system on 9 March this year, so that makes it around 40 days from planting.

The standout for me are the red lettuces. They have turned a deep red colour and look great! Have a look at the first days planting and see what you think!

The Silver Beet too, the last week has seen a big jump in growth.
In fact since we added the aeration and the trout, it has leaped forward in health and growth.

The only significant laggers are the strawberries, they are very slow compared to the leafy greens both in foliage and root growth.

Other than that, the new system is really showing promise very early. It is yet to finish cycling, but it will get there! 

Very Happy!


In ancient times the Nile valley was subject to periods of flooding that provided people with the irrigation and fertile soil needed to grow crops. Modern dams have radically altered that natural system, but a new proposal by architecture students in Nantes sees a different way of providing flood control while sustaining the environment. Silt Lake City is a “hydropolis” - a series of modular floating structures that take advantage of the rise and fall of the waters. Agriculture, residences, businesses and energy generators all float on the water and rise and fall with the tides.

Read more: Silt Lake City: Floating ‘Hydropolis’ Could Ride the Tide of the Nile River in Egypt | Inhabitat - Sustainable Design Innovation, Eco Architecture, Green Building

Ok, so we planted chilli’s, and a new bed of parsley,  the strawberries are late but growing madly for a late run, we planted spinach under the pumpkin, and we are going to try two beds of Kale this season.

The green capsicum is also late to produce, we had only this big one all season but in the last week we have 5-6 more just budding.

We also got in more broccoli, and cauliflower, we are also trying rhubarb for the first time, along with cabbages and Brussel sprouts! AND snow peas.

We are already for another great season!


You see this aquarium right here?

It goes by many names and comes in several different sizes, from 2 gallon to 3.5 gallon. There are many different brands of this kind of aquarium, and judging by the positive reviews most of them aren’t too bad.

HOWEVER one of these brands can and will kill your fish. A month ago, I bought an Aquaculture 11.4 litres (3 gallons) 360′ View Aquarium with multicolored LED lights as shown above. It was $40 and looked pretty cool, plus it was the perfect size for a betta, so why the hell not?

After I got it set up (following the instructions to a T), the first betta I put in it died within hours. The next two also died fairly quickly. I tested my parameters and besides one of the bettas (either the 2nd or 3rd) “vomiting” a lot which resulted in a nitrite spike, there was nothing at all that could have harmed them- no ammonia, no nitrates, nothing. The pH and hardness were where they needed to be, I had a small heater and a thermometer to measure temperature, everything was rinsed before use, and I conditioned the water. I took a sample to PetSmart to be tested and they could find nothing wrong.

It was only after I (stupidly) put a fourth betta in it that a strong chemical smell started coming from the tank. I’m talking, like, the smell of bleach. I couldn’t breathe. I quickly rehomed the betta in question (he made a full recovery) and returned the tank to the store. They replaced it with an identical one and I, hoping I just got a “bad batch”, set this one up and rehomed the betta again.

Nope. This tank, too, leached chemicals into the water. Please take note of this brand and as cute of a tank as it is for a decent price, do NOT waste your money on it. It caused me so much heartache and a few great fish.

Avoid this tank at all costs. Probably the entire brand.



A Gleysol (Russian: gley is dialectical word глей, literally “clay”) in the FAO World Reference Base for Soil Resources is a wetland soil (hydric soil) that, unless drained, is saturated with groundwater for long enough periods to develop a characteristic gleyic colour pattern. This pattern is essentially made up of reddish, brownish or yellowish colours at surfaces of soil particles (peds) and/or in the upper soil horizons mixed with greyish/blueish colours inside the peds and/or deeper in the soil. Gleysols are also known as Gleyzems and meadow soils (Russia), Aqu-suborders of Entisols, Inceptisols and Mollisols (USDA soil taxonomy), or as groundwater soils and hydro-morphic soils. [Read more]

Living only a few metres above sea level, and also on a coastal wetland, it doesn’t take much digging to find the characteristic blue-grey layer of subsoil in the area I am cultivating.

I’m using this layer for a variety of things, but one such use is sealing a stormwater pond. By slowly bringing the subsoil to the surface, and allowing it to erode down the edges with each rainfall, I’m forming an an anaerobic layer that melds together, and will hold water  in the pond for longer and longer periods of time. 

This isn’t a way to make a pond with a consistent water level: the meaning behind a stormwater pond is that the water eventually disperses. However, having open water, even impermanently, attracts and nourishes all manner of wildlife and pollinators.

More soil science here.