A Recipe for Homemade Fresh Fish Fertilizer

dead-tilapiaI have an idea for Dave, who had an abundance of fish after his aquaponic experiment went south.  Take those unfortunate fish and give your in-ground garden a boost!  Fish emulsion is a good fertilizer for lots of garden vegetables and other plants too.  It has an N-P-K ratio of about 5-2-2, and has micronutrients too.  Store bought fish emulsion is made from the byproducts and waste from fish used for another process, like fish oil or canned fish.  Using fresh fish that still have all their parts intact should be even better than the commercial stuff.

You can make homemade fish emulsion at home in a bucket, or several buckets if you have a lot of fish.  I’ve done this with scraps I had from cleaning fish I caught, but it should work fine with whole tilapia.  Fill the bucket about 2/3 of the way full by layering fish scraps and brown organic matter (like leaf litter) in equal parts.  Fill the bucket with water to cover all the material, cover it with a lid and keep it out of the sun.  I’ve heard of people adding molasses and seaweed to get more nutrients in the emulsion.  Stir the mixture every few days for several weeks, and then it should be ready to use.

Pour off the water and catch it in another bucket – this is your fish emulsion.  You can use the remaining fish scraps and leaf litter to brew another batch, or just put it in your compost pile or your worm bin.  To use the fish emulsion, dilute it with water.  Use about a cup of emulsion to a gallon of water.  The dilution can be used to pour on garden soil or to spray your leaves.


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  • Mike63Denver says:

    We inner city street gangers like to study you rural folk who live and love in the country so we can become brighter. Thank you so much for the enlightenment.

  • Sally says:

    Lettuce doesn’t sweeten up without fish fertilizer and I wondered how to make it (without creating something noxious). So thank you for the useful fish fertilizer recipe!

  • Stphen says:

    Fish fertilizers are also good and provide better benefits for our plants. Apart from chemical fertilizer fish fertilizer and organic fertilizers are good for crops and plants; fish fertilizer contains different types of beneficial ingredients and here we have found some homemade fish emulsion with the mixture of seaweeds and other organic products. I hope we should learn some better techniques of preparing homemade recipe fertilizer from fish and other organic products.

  • del says:

    How long should I wait? I mean, “several weeks”? 3,4,5 weeks?
    Also, what sort of ratio should I be mixing the emulsion with water, when using it on plants?


    1. del says:

      Ohps, sorry, just noticed the ratio you wrote.
      Just the duration of sitting then. 🙂

  • Michael Konelios says:

    thanks, how long we have to separate the emulsion

  • Edward Lye says:

    Seems to be a whole lot of work to prepare this. Anyway I never have any leftover fish bits after we and the cat go through them but if I envisage getting a windfall of unfit to sell fish from the supermarket I might just roughly chop/food_processor it and freeze in ice-cube trays and bury an ice-cube as and when I need to.
    As you can imagine, I don’t like to spend too much time/effort/space/material on something that nature can readily deconstruct. I believe the native American Indians planted corm this way sans the refrigeration bit.

  • Preston Smith says:

    Try Hamakua Gold!!

  • Mary says:

    Most fish emultion sold commercially IS NOT made from scraps, instead is made from fish that is generally considered not sellable to humans for consumption. For the most part they are FISHED, depriving the oceans of a part o their food chain.

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