Bokashi mudballs and Bengal tigers

We’re in Hawaii, at the Panaewa Rainforest Zoo (click for film clip!). The kids are doing all sorts of fun stuff — worm petting, anyone? — but one of the odder items was getting the kids involved in making Bokashi mudballs. Really nice slimy, gooey work! The Bokashi mudballs are used to keep algae down in the ponds used by the Bengal tigers. Nice work for microbes as its hardly something you’d get many of us volunteering to go in and do!

So what are these mudballs and how do they work?

Basically, you mix a lot of clay with Bokashi and add some EM solution if you have it. Form it into tennis-ball shaped balls and leave to dry for a couple of weeks or until a white furry mould appears on the ball. Ready! The balls are then dropped into lakes and ponds to improve water quality — ideal if the water is a bit polluted or has an algae problem. Say, one ball per cubic meter water, more if the problem is bad.

The concept is being used widely throughout Asia and is likely to emerge as a growing trend in Europe in due course. An interesting project is the massive effort made in Malaysia last year where a million Bokashi balls were made by the community in and around Penang. And tossed one by one into waterways as part of a massive cleanup process. A similar project on a smaller scale here.

It’ll be exciting to follow the results in due course, but there seems to be every reason to believe this will succeed.

I’m looking into the “recipes” for making Bokashi balls at the moment and will get back with some more specific information on how best to make your own. They are supposed to be ideal in household dams and ponds.

Even if you don’t have the tigers to go with it!

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