The Great Aquaponics Food Safety Hoax – by John Musser

 Aquaponics food safety

The Truth About Aquaponics Food Safety



Just a few days ago one of our facebook friends wrote and said, “I want to start an Aquaponics system but by boyfriend thinks is dangerous to eat the crops since the plants grow from fish waste, do you have any thing I can show him?”


I often wonder how many people think this way.


Have you fallen for the Great Aquaponics food safety hoax?


The truth is your Aquaponics food is safe. And if you take certain steps, food grown with Aquaponics be much healthier than a lot of the things you buy at a major grocery store.  Aquaponics creates a thriving ecosystem full of wonder. The wonderful transformations that takes place as toxic waste is turned into nutrient rich fertilizer all through the miracle of  microbes.



When visitors come to our farm they marvel “every time” when they come to our fish tanks which can house up to 300 fish in one tank. Then I will take them to the aquaponics Bio barrel and look and smell the top water. Some are afraid to do it. Then they say,”There is no smell, how can this be?” I begin to explain how the bio barrel is made specifically to house trillions of beneficial microbes. They work 24/7 to continually transform potentially dangerous water into usable water that crops thrive in.


We feed the fish daily. “The fish eat the food and excrete waste. More than 50% of the waste produced by fish is in the form of ammonia secreted in the urine and, in small quantities, through the gills. The remainder of the waste, excreted as fecal matter, undergoes a process called mineralization which occurs when heterotrophic bacteria consume fish waste, decaying plant matter and un-eaten food, converting all three to ammonia and other compounds. In sufficient quantities, ammonia is toxic to plants and fish.


Nitrifying bacteria, which naturally live in the soil, water and air, convert ammonia first to nitrite and then to nitrate which plants consume.


In an aquaponic system, the heterotrophic and nitrifying bacteria will attach to the tank walls, underside of the rafts, organic matter, the growing medium (if used) and in the water column. The beneficial bacteria discussed here are natural and will inhabit an aquaponic system as soon as ammonia and nitrite are present.”  excerpt from the “How Aquaponics Works” Article by Rebecca Pade


John with ibc tote garden



Sounds like a good movie title.  Our job in aquaculture and Aquaponics is to keep the microbes happy and flourishing and maintain their  environment and the end result will be healthy veggies. I will discuss this subject more in the future.


When answering the question that our facebook friend asked I found an 8 page e-book, it’s incredible. If you have an Aquaponics system or will have one one day you really need to download this fabulous article and print it out for references, it’s a jewel and you will always refer to it.


Click Here to Download A Wonderful How to Aquaponics Farm Safety Guide with Step-by-Step Pictures! 




Here are 9 simple aquaponics food safety tips that I practice, I think they’ll be helpful to you as well.


1.  Never let a bio-filter or fish tank become rancid or have a foul smell (like a sewer).  This is a sign something is not working. Remember microbes die off when it to cold or too hot.


2.  Always hang your fish  nets upside down to dry (not in a pot or pail) and try to use the same nets for each tank and not bring in a net from another part of the farm where a dead fish was just taken to the compost pile.


3.  Teach people to not travel from the pig pen to the aquaponics system without washing hands or cleaning up, this applies to all pens.


4.  Don’t overfeed fish or put substances that they won’t eat and will go rancid.


5.  Keep your tanks clean and healthy with proper water quality checks. Remove dead fish and or crops immediately!


6.  Keep crops clean by removing dead leaves or damaged crops.


7.  Pick up fallen leaves or fruits from the media.  Never let it sit long as fungi begins to set it right away.


8.  Keep plenty of air flow in your greenhouse to resist molds.


9.  When you harvest your crops always wash them before eating.




the micro ozone machine cleans store bought and organic food


We bring in our Aquaponic crops and give them a 3-10 minute ozone wash depending on the crop. With our own AESL micro ozone machine. We also  clean our Tilapia fish with our unit for a fresh after a rain like smell. Our ozone machine will kill 99.9 percent of any contaminate. Ozone has re-emerged as an effective, inexpensive food safety tool.


In 2000, the Electric Power Research Institute published “Food Industry 2000: Food Processing Opportunities, Challenges, New Technology Applications.” The report contains the following statement: “Ozone destroys bacteria, mold, mildew, spores, yeast and fungus. Chlorine is not very effective against viruses and has limited effect on some types of bacteria … ozone reacts much faster than chlorine.”


Not only does it clean both meats and veggies, in some cases it will double the shelf life. This little seven watt kitchen unit will pay for itself in less than a few months when used properly.


We have so  many testimonies about our micro ozone machine. Most tell us they would not go without one since they know what tasks they perform. Click here to find out more about this miracle machine. 


Yours for pure food sustainability,

John Musser

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