Aquaponic Gardening

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I'm getting ready to get an order of catfish to quarantine.  Since my systems can handle the minimum order and the 300 gallon system will be able to handle quarantine of a fairly large number of small fish I am offering to get a larger order than I need so I can share out to others once they have been isolated for for 3-6 weeks.

 

Now for stocking catfish, I wouldn't really push them on anyone with much smaller than a 300 gallon fish tank and I've also heard of situations where very small numbers of channel catfish can become aggressive to each other especially if there is already a big guy in the tank and smaller fish get added, the big guy may chase the others to the point that they jump out of the tank.

 

In a 300 gallon tank with 300-600 gallons of media beds, 30 fish is a reasonable number if you like to grow catfish big (how big will depend on the amount of media beds.)  I have grown more in a 300 gallon tank before but as they got big it really seemed over crowded to me and without some form of backup aeration they wouldn't have survived long with a power out.

 

Anyway, I'm gonna start collecting orders but probably won't actually get the fish till early March (I don't want to freeze the new fish if I can help it.)

 

Please let me know how many you would like, figure they will be available last week of March or first Week of April for those who don't feel too much need for quarantine or Later in April (as schedules allow) or even May.  For the service of getting the fish, quarantining and providing them in small numbers, I'll charge $1 per fish just to keep the numbers easy. 

 

If you get them from the farm, they cost less but you have to get a hold of them when they happen to have fish available, they won't go into the pond for a small order.  You also have to talk them into bagging the fish for you, they don't like to do that with catfish anymore apparently.  The minimum order for the smaller fingerlings was 100 fish last I knew or 50 of the larger ones.

 

Anyway, let me know either here or by message how many catfish you want.  (I think aggression may be less if there are at least 15-20 fish in a tank but I haven't really gotten to experiment with that too much.)

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I would like to get 30. My tank and grow beds should be cycled good by then. Now that hunting season is over my husband is ready to help me get going. My only problem is getting him to look at the plans, pictures & comments from all of you so he doesn't reinvent the wheel. He thinks he knows better ways to do this.

Ok Suzi, I'll put you down for 30.  (you planning at least a 300 gallon fish tank?)

Do you have a source of pure ammonia for fishless cycling?  If no, collect some pee in a bottle and seal it up until you are ready to start fishless cycling, you want to age the urine for several weeks to get the pH to rise and the urea to convert into ammonia so as to kill off things like e-coli (only collect from healthy person not taking any drastic medications.)

You got plans and pictures some where?  Love to see them. tip, throw a party (call it a workshop) when you are ready to wash gravel, and make sure a few people bring kids gets the job done so much quicker.

Not sure. Tank is 80" diameter and 24" deep.  

yea I expect that tank is at least 300 gallons.

 

I'll take 20 if they won't eat the goldfish or tilapia :-)

 

How big do they get and how fast?  I have only eaten catfish twice in my life...

Urine is sterile in a healthy person.  If you have kidney or liver issues definitely do not do this.  E.coli comes from your butt! ;-P  Also, the e.coli in our systems cannot infect fish or plants.  The one we are all scared of is e. coli serotype O157:H7, which is the fault of the big food corporations and their genetic modification to plants and animals... but also, it comes from that kind of environment and NOT from you.  Sometimes I will whiz right in the water (if no one is watching). 

One other thing to note is that in an aquaponic system, even if you did introduce some human pathogens, they would likely be destroyed and out competed by the other bacteria, but I am not willing to recommend that to anyone other than myself.  Always err on the side of caution folks!!!!  The closest thing I can cite off hand as research is that famous study a high school kid did with vermicompost (worm composting bins) and he studied pathogens common to mammalian fecal matter (including e.coli) and with the help of some big wig PhD he determined that the pathogens were exterminated or almost exterminated in all cases.  Keep in mind this was in a composting bin with worms and not water like in an aquaponic system.... further research needs to be published on this!

 

Happy trails!


TCLynx said:

Ok Suzi, I'll put you down for 30.  (you planning at least a 300 gallon fish tank?)

Do you have a source of pure ammonia for fishless cycling?  If no, collect some pee in a bottle and seal it up until you are ready to start fishless cycling, you want to age the urine for several weeks to get the pH to rise and the urea to convert into ammonia so as to kill off things like e-coli (only collect from healthy person not taking any drastic medications.)

You got plans and pictures some where?  Love to see them. tip, throw a party (call it a workshop) when you are ready to wash gravel, and make sure a few people bring kids gets the job done so much quicker.

You can grow catfish from fingerling to a few pounds in a year down here in our climate.

If the koi and tialpia are already a few inches they will probably be ok with some fingerling catfish.  I know my well fed large catfish couldn't be bothered to try and eat my small tilapia that escaped the cage.

Again I recommend rather large tanks to grow out catfish.

Ok, got a confession.  The 300 gallon system is sick.  Fish dieing and don't know why.  Seeing as all the fish that went into that system came from my big system and those fish are healthy it isn't some sort of scary illness or parasite that came in with the fish but so far the fish in the 300 gallon tank are not surviving.

 

Before I can really hold a group order for everyone, I really need a place to put them where they will survive.  So I'm gonna have to postpone a group order for the time being.

 

Now if a few of you can get together for a trip to Florida Fish Farms, you can probably get a good price by teaming up to cover the minimum order so you are not stuck paying for 100 fish when you can really only handle 30.

 

I'm gonna go out and see if I can figure out what is causing the problem in my system.  At the moment my best guess is the material I used to cover the tank is dripping something into the water that is irritating the catfish to the point of weakened immune systems and finally death.  (Not uncommon for catfish-avoid cheap intex pools as fish tanks for catfish.)

 

(strange thing is the same type of material hasn't caused me any troubles over the big system tank but that system has twice as much water for the same amount of cover.)

Ok, update about the 300 gallon system.

Tank got cleaned.  Major water change done.

Ammonia added to check the bio-filter.  Was dosed to 1 ppm one evening and the next evening the ammonia and nirite back to 0.  So still cycled.

Re filled.  And 5 catfish from other system added to the tank as test pilots.  Won't feed them tonight while they settle in from the move.  I've got just a net cover over the tank at the moment but will have to do something to give them a little more shade.

 

Will see how things go.  I may move some more fish over.

Anyway, perhaps in the end of the month I'll be able to decide if I can do the group order soon or not.

So, no catfish yet but who is interested in some Bluegill?

I can do small orders of bluegill.  I think I'm just going to do a standard price for tiny fish small orders of $1 a piece.

Be sure to bring a container, cooler or bin and a battery powered aerator to get them home.  I don't have the facilities to bag with oxygen.

I do have the aloe though so we can mix up home made stress coat and salt mixture to help ease the ride.

Prefer the catfish!  I can catch bluegill fingerlings and small adults by the hundreds for free at my local park...
Will have to see about getting some Catfish here soon.

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