NO Gator Ponics is not as Safe as Aquaponics

ACK. I don’t like to do this but…….. a popular aquaponics newsletter has just gone out with a statement I believe is dangerous so I have to speak up.

Here is the statement I must disagree with.

Gator poop, and the alligators themselves, should be totally safe in an aquaponics system. Alligators are cold-blooded animals, just like fish, and they don’t harbor the dangerous varieties of e. coli the way warm-blooded animals do. If what you feed the alligators is clean, and you don’t create any paths into your system that will transmit pathogens into the water (in other words, use the same care to prevent contamination you would with any normal aquaponics system you want to eat lettuce out of!), then everything should be sanitary and safe.

Come on Guys, e. coli is not the only food born pathogen we need to watch out for. Salmonella is something I don’t want in my salad either! Now while there are lots and lots of strains of salmonella and some might not make a healthy person too sick, there are others that constitute a terrible case of food poisoning. It is also true that you may be unlikely to catch salmonella from a wild lizard or gator just in passing, just like you won’t catch it from looking at chickens. Now if you handle those animals and then eat, smoke, or put your fingers in your mouth without washing your hands thoroughly first, then you can catch it. What does this mean for aquaponics using lizards or turtles instead of fish? Well it means you are contaminating the food with possibly salmonella tainted water by sending the feces laden water to your bio-filter and then on to your veggies. HAY, am I the only one who sees a problem with this? It is the same reason I don’t recommend chickens over your aquaponics system. And the Reason my Duck A Ponics doesn’t grow salad for human consumption. We grow things like banana trees in the duck system.

This really shocks me, the same people who claim worms are a pathogen danger and should never be added to an aquaponics system will recommend gatorponics? And say it’s sanitary and safe? WOW.

Here is one abstract I found with a quick google search “alligators and salmonella”

Now I don’t mean to be an alarmist because gator meat is less likely to test positive for salmonella than chicken but… don’t take salmonella lightly especially for young children, the elderly or those with compromised immune systems.
GATOR PONICS IS NOT Appropriate for growing Salad and other small leaf crops likely to be eaten RAW. I will admit that is just my opinion but I’ll stand by it unless there is some easy way to ensure a reptile is totally free of salmonella before putting it into the system (fecal analysis can provide false negatives so simply holding them separate for a few weeks while running a test on a fecal sample may not be enough. It might take months and rigorous sampling and testing to be fairly certain an animal is free of the bacteria.)
Now I’m not against the idea of Gator Ponics, However I wouldn’t grow salad with it or sell salad from the system. Some other produce would be more appropriate. Like perhaps something that gets thoroughly cooked before eaten or something where the fruit is quite distant from the water or perhaps something that is not a food but useful for some other purpose.

5 comments to NO Gator Ponics is not as Safe as Aquaponics

  • RupertofOZ

    You’re right to be concerned Aleece…

    It’s a bit sad… that these people who started out with so much that was positive in regards to aquaponics… now seem to be drifting off into a smokey cloud of mumbo jumbo…and completely unscientific nonsense…


    And gators BITE..tilapia, goldfish, trout and blue gills don’t ..well not hard anyway.
    What moron would put gators in a closed loop system tank ?

    • TCLynx

      don’t get me wrong Ardee, I’m not against the idea of Gator Ponics. I just want everyone to understand that you can’t simply just get “whatever” gators and stick them in a system and expect it to automatically be salmonella free just because you are pressure cooking the food you give them.

      You would have to some how guarantee the gators were “clean” of salmonella before you could place them into the system and expect to safely eat raw salads from the system.

  • Ardee

    Maybe the term moron was a bit harsh but there is a whole lot more to raising gators than just grabbing a couple by the tails and putting in a closed loop system. I do my best to keep gators out of my ponds.

    • TCLynx

      Yea. I did later talk to the writers of the newsletter and they claim that since gators are not allowed on their island they didn’t seen the need to research it more fully but if they were to actually attempt gatorponics more research would be required.

      And that there was a key element they forgot to mention in that you had to make sure the gators you put into your gatorponics system are “clean” before you put them in. They didn’t explain just how one is supposed to assure the gators are clean though.

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