Pest Control and Aquaponics

A warning for anyone considering growing fish in any backyard pond or aquaponics system is to be very cautious when dealing with pest control people spraying chemicals in and around your home.

Recently Rod from Queensland got a reminder phone call from his pest control man.

“I got a phone call early in the week that house was due for annual spider and cockroach spray.” said Rod, “I Thought nothing about it until the same chap arrived on Thursday. Rod even showed the Pest Control guy his aquaponics setup.

“It was windy so I asked him – what about my fish?” said Rod. Will they be safe?

“Not a problem.” said the pest control guy, “The fish are far enough away from the main house.”

Rod was satisfied that this guy was an expert and knew what he was talking about. So he let the pest control guy do his thing – spray around the house and do the regular “treatment.”

Saturday morning came. Rod uncovered his main fish tank and looked inside to inspect the fish. He noticed something odd floating at the bottom of his tank.

“What are the white lines on the bottom of the tank?” He thought to himself. Looking further into the tank he saw the pile of dead fish resting on the bottom.

“Yep! The whole lot of my Silver Perch and Yellow Belly fish. Forty odd fish in total. All dead!” he said.

Rod's fish poisoned

“I had one fish frozen and I buried the rest.” said Rod. The frozen fish he would test for lethal chemicals.

Rod inspected the water in the tank and noticed something strange.

“It looked like couple of oil slicks on top of water About size of a 5c piece.” he said, so Rod took a sample of that as well.

“Sure makes you wonder what in hell is being sprayed around the place by these so called professionals.” said Rod.

“I think the problem was that the spray got onto the Grow Bed which is only about 4 meters from the house.” he said.

It was a windy day. The chemical spray wafted and landed on his grow-bed and then seeped into his fish tank.

Rod has another aquaponics system that was located on the other side of his house.

The Jade Perch in it are okay.” he said because they were located in separate systems.

Rod's poisoned fish

“Funny I had no floaters,” said Rod. All the poisoned fish rested on the bottom of the tank.

Rod contacted the pest control people who apologized about the incident and offered to compensate Rod for his nine month old dead fish. The manager said that the sprays used are similar to chemical sprays used in commercial agriculture. It certainly makes you wonder about the degree of chemicals that still adhere to the surface of store bought broccoli and strawberries?

Rod intends to wash and clean his poisoned aquaponics system, replace his vegetables and start again but using sacrificial goldfish this time to make sure everything is okay before introducing another batch of fish.

The moral of this story is to be very cautious when allowing anyone to enter your house and applying any form of chemical spray in and around your home. Aquaponics by its very nature creates 100% clean food. Even a small amount of chemical spraying – no matter how “food safe” the authorities tell you – can have disastrous results as Rod’s dead fish clearly display.