How Is Fish Emulsion Created?

Fish emulsion is a type of fish fertilizer that’s made by the heating of fish scraps and liquefied for use in your garden. Commercially, much of the fats and oils are removed for the use in paint and cosmetics, leaving much of the nutrients and proteins behind. The liquefied emulsion is used as a concentrate, which is then diluted for soil fertilization or for the foliar feeding your plants. In the soil, fish emulsion’s nutrients can stay and slowly release to the roots of the plant as the fertilizer continues to decay. As a foliar feed, the emulsion leaves an oily residue on the leaves and blooms, which protects them against water damage and bloom rot, as well as supplies the plant with the same nutrients that can be found in the fertilization of the soil. Though the process can vary from producer to producer, the basics of creating fish emulsion are essentially the same.

Collected and Heated

First, the fish is collected and heated, to make it easier to break down into an emulsion. Fish cooks or boils in water, softening the muscular flesh, and making the bones softer or more brittle. When heated, the oils are easier to collect for the use in cosmetics like lipsticks and foundations, and in household paints that require organic oil materials.

Grind the Fish Up

After the fish is heated, it is ground down with water and, in some cases, other organic materials to help propel the decaying process. This is the base for the emulsion, and can be changed and manipulated in a plethora of ways from here. Some companies add extra nutrients to the emulsion for the fertilization of specific plants, like flowers, while other producers add other organic materials like crab meal, bone meal, seaweed or kelp meal, and even salt. There are even methods that include odor minimizers like those found in molasses and in browns.

Examples of browns are sawdust, dead sticks and dead leaves, much like you would find in mulch. If you ever need a way to remember what browns are, think about the definition of greens—they’re green, they’re alive, and they’re healthy, and so the opposite of that woud be browns, which are dead and ready for the decaying process.

Make Emulsion

Once the decaying process is finished the mixture is liquefied in machinery that behaves like a blender or a food processor, chopping up the nutrients so fine that it becomes a fluid rather than a chunky suspension. This is the point where the mixture becomes an emulsion. Usually, there is a foam at the top of the mixture from all of the air that’s been beat into it, but there are also bubbles that are produced from the microorganisms that live and eat in the emulsion. These are beneficial, so don’t be alarmed—they won’t harm your plants, they are important to the health of your plant and its soil.

After the emulsion is made, it can be packed, sold and used on your garden, or even in your mulch or compost pile. The basic process isn’t complicated, but it can vary based on a company’s unique formula. Whichever the formula, there is sure to be a fish fertilizer that is right for your vegetation.