Black Soldier Fly Forum

Assembly and set up - questions and feedback
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Author:  c.s.carnevale [ Tue Jul 01, 2014 10:52 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Assembly and set up - questions and feedback

Hi Jerry and others,

I have a bio-composter that is not the latest design (ordered for Christmas 2013). It is the 6-gallon model that has a bag attached, rather than the hard-sided collection canister. I am assembling my unit and I have two pieces of PVC that I am not sure what to do with. They are slightly larger in diameter than the four lid posts. What am I supposed to do with them?

Also, do you recommend I retrofit this design to accommodate a hard-sided canister like the new units? I the downside of the plastic bag simply that it's more difficult to pour from?



Author:  Jerry [ Tue Jul 01, 2014 11:44 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Assembly and set up - questions and feedback

Chris, there are both positives and negatives to using the bag. The main reason I changed to a rigid container was because people were struggling with securing the bag. I personally enjoy working with the bag system just as much, but currently I'm working with the canisters since that's what I'm building now.

One advantage to using the bag is that larvae are less prone to congregating in the exit pipe, probably because more light gets into it, and also it's a shorter run. When I empty the rigid canister I often find larvae in the exit pipe. It's not a problem however because it's quick and easy to pull off the 90ยบ elbow and collect those larvae when the canister is removed.

The extra pipe you got were included so that you could convert to a rigid collection system without the need to buy a 10 foot long (3 meter) piece of pipe when you only need a few inches of it. There are two so that you can make an additional turn in the plumbing if you wish, but in general it's best to keep the run of pipe to a minimum.

Thanks for adding to the discussion. :)

Author:  c.s.carnevale [ Tue Jul 01, 2014 12:09 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Assembly and set up - questions and feedback

Thanks for the information, Jerry. I will stick with the bag for now.

As for the bulking materials, I have both charcoal and coir. I see that you've updated your recommendations to steer clear of the coir because of clogging issues. Should I just do 100% charcoal for bulking? Will I need to replace the bulking material at some point when there is an established colony?

Author:  Jerry [ Tue Jul 01, 2014 12:57 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Assembly and set up - questions and feedback

Coir is fine for one season, but drainage does slow down toward the end of it. Of course slow drainage in one of my composters is still much faster than with designs that use meshes and other filter materials. I tend to push my composters pretty hard, which I would think is a factor in breaking down the coir. I wouldn't recommend changing bulking material in the middle of a season. I would say that if you already have it set up with coir, and you have any larvae at all, then go with the coir for this season. If you don't have a colony going then I would consider using all charcoal or half charcoal and half something else.

Pine bark works very well, but the sap/resin issue might put some people off. I'm still using pine bark because now I know I can deal with the problem if it arises. I'm getting ready to start a unit with the western fir bark sold as an orchid potting material. I love the shape and size, and if we're lucky it will be less prone to releasing resin. It's more expensive than regular pine bark mulch, but $6 will buy 2 gallons which is enough to operate the 6 gallon unit or to make up half of the material for a 12 gallon composter.

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