Aquaponic Gardening

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This afternoon when i got home from work, a friend of mine gave me two large male Tilapia.  They are about 3/4 Lbs each and one of them is silver with a shape to that of the Chitralda and the other looking like the Thai Red.  I place the silver one in a tub with about 6 females which are about 1/4 his size.  I also placed a large black pot inside.  I live in the tropics where it is relatively warm all year round.  Can anyone tell me if my approach is correct and how should i monitor and what should I look for?

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How big is the tank you put the breeders in? Make sure they can't jump out. I like to make sure there is a cover that would bounce them back down into the tank if they get too energetic. I had my best luck with tilapia breeding when I put about a dozen mixed fish into a long 300 gallon tank. Once the water temp was over 86 F or 30 C there were plenty of babies for me to scoop out whenever I wanted.
The current temperature here is about 73 F. How will i be able to increase the temperature to that and keep it there?

TCLynx said:
How big is the tank you put the breeders in? Make sure they can't jump out. I like to make sure there is a cover that would bounce them back down into the tank if they get too energetic. I had my best luck with tilapia breeding when I put about a dozen mixed fish into a long 300 gallon tank. Once the water temp was over 86 F or 30 C there were plenty of babies for me to scoop out whenever I wanted.
You could always use a heater until you have your first brood, then let it go back to 73. Figure on using 3w per gallon to bring it up to 86.

Sean Smith said:
The current temperature here is about 73 F. How will i be able to increase the temperature to that and keep it there?

TCLynx said:
How big is the tank you put the breeders in? Make sure they can't jump out. I like to make sure there is a cover that would bounce them back down into the tank if they get too energetic. I had my best luck with tilapia breeding when I put about a dozen mixed fish into a long 300 gallon tank. Once the water temp was over 86 F or 30 C there were plenty of babies for me to scoop out whenever I wanted.
Sean,
How consistent is your climate? Do you get seasonal fluctuations? Were I am summer gives me consistent water temps between 80 and 86 in my big system and I expect the 300 gallon tank tended to get even warmer. Of course I've read that tilapia will breed at lower temps than 86 F.

How to heat water. Well you can get heaters but they will cost you electricity to run. Or you might get a coil of black drinking water pipe and run some of your system water through it in the sun and see if that could bring your water temp up a bit.

Ryan's advise sounds pretty good to me, bring up the temp to see if you can get some breeding going on and then let the water cool back off and see if they keep breeding.
Hi
My water rarely reaches 80 and my tilapia breed all the time. I have only had my fish for a year now and I have more babies than I care to mention. The temp in the water here in the summer drops to 70 or below at times and the babies keep coming. I think if you check it out that the water at the Friendlies on the Big Island is much lower than 80 and the tilapia breed well. I wouldn't think you would need to heat the water. Just wait and see if they don't do what comes naturally.
I just realized that for the past month when i was feeding my Tilapia's catfish food, my Celery leaf ends were getting some browne spots. In additions to that, I saw quite a bit of aphids on the stems and the underside of the leaf. Last Friday, I started feeding Purina dense grower 4000 and the water quality is much better and the brown leaves are now longer. The celery looks greener and the fish are more lively. Two days ago, i started spraying with safe soap for the aphids but it has been raining. My questions are;

1. Which is the best food out there for fish and plants?
2. Does the catfish food produce more ammonia compared to the purina tilapia food?
I can't say what food is best but the Dense grower 4000 has been working well for me.

I'm not sure what the catfish food has different from the purina food you would have to compare the labels for things like protein % but I'm fairly certain that the catfish food could be meant for earthen ponds where the fish would get more natural foods and so the feed is just to get more growth out of fish that are otherwise getting a fairly natural diet and hence the catfish food might not have a complete vitamin and trace element mix needed to get the best growth of both fish and plants in a recirculating tank system.

As to the soap, please be careful as "soap" is a sufficant that can be dangerous to both fish and bacteria and even trough it is "safe" I don't know that it really means safe for aquatic life and the bacteria. Be careful not to let excess soaps or oils get into your system water and I normally advise avoiding any pest control that uses soaps, detergents or oils. Some people still do it and I hope they are very careful when they do cause a spill into the system could mean disaster.
Thanks for the info. What would you recommend in regards to aphid or worm control?


TCLynx said:
I can't say what food is best but the Dense grower 4000 has been working well for me.

I'm not sure what the catfish food has different from the purina food you would have to compare the labels for things like protein % but I'm fairly certain that the catfish food could be meant for earthen ponds where the fish would get more natural foods and so the feed is just to get more growth out of fish that are otherwise getting a fairly natural diet and hence the catfish food might not have a complete vitamin and trace element mix needed to get the best growth of both fish and plants in a recirculating tank system.

As to the soap, please be careful as "soap" is a sufficant that can be dangerous to both fish and bacteria and even trough it is "safe" I don't know that it really means safe for aquatic life and the bacteria. Be careful not to let excess soaps or oils get into your system water and I normally advise avoiding any pest control that uses soaps, detergents or oils. Some people still do it and I hope they are very careful when they do cause a spill into the system could mean disaster.
Worms or caterpillars are easy, I recommend a bacillus thuringiensis product it is a biological control that only affects the larval stage of certain insects. Thuricide is one brand name I've used against leaf eating caterpillars and I know of people who have used the bacillus thuringiensis dipel dust.

As to aphids, they are more challenging yet easier to kill at the same time. I've heard some people have simply sprayed with seasol or maxicrop (which many of us use in our systems for trace nutrients) and said that took care of the aphids for them, I can't say that it ever worked for me. Other times you can simply spray the aphids off repeatedly with water but if ants are farming the aphids, I'm not sure any aphid treatment will really be effective. Some people will take some plants and pull them out of the beds and dunk them in the fish tank for a while (only works if the plants are not too big and the media is easy to pull the plants out and put them back in like hydroton.) Can't say I've ever tried that one myself. My method for dealing with aphids has mostly been to ignore them. My system is out in the open and there is no good way to get rid of the ants so I'm just careful not to get bitten by the ants when I am around the plants that seem to attract this (okra, beans, peppers mostly.) I still get plenty of production from the plants so I've given up worrying about it. If I get a badly infested lettuce plant, I usually pull it and give it to my chickens/ducks.

I'm lazy and haven't sprayed anything to deter pests anywhere in my yard for over a year and we still get some produce.

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