Aquaponic Gardening

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Hi All, I am trying to build a hoop house and aquaponics system in my backyard this summer and I was wondering if there was any Northern california, Bay Area,Valley, or Hills members or set ups that I could visit.  Any good training programs, suppliers I can learn from?

Thx much!!

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Hi Jon,

As I read the California regulations the only Tilapia not on the resricted list is Mosambique. With aquaponics being a closed system, like an aquarium, there should be no problem.

I am interested in the proof that you have as I will be putting in Tilapia in my next system. If there is a document or regulation I don't know about I would love to have a copy.




Tilapia are only easy if you don't get any freezes or are doing them indoors.  Ya gotta keep the water from getting cold.  I think catfish and bluegill are good choices for a warm but not quite tropical climate.

Hey Peter,

Blair here at the Grass Valley area and I too am building an AP system...infact three growbeds are planted and we are soon introducing the fish.  The second fish tank is in and the sump pump is going in this wk.

These are exciting times

Blair R 

"I dont like to eat bland white fish meat."

haha!  i wish i could 'like' or '+1' comments in here!  =)

Peter, Yes my wife and daughter's have named all the Koi. 30 creative names. We don't eat fish so this is my koi pond too. I would like to try Tilapia. I have family and friends that would help me "clean out the tank"


Blair, you live in a great area. I come up there for work once or twice a year. Gives me a chance to stop by Peaceful Valley Farms as well. I would think you could do trout in the winter up there.



Todd and Peter, and all else interested.  Are cats and dogs legal in California, or horses, goats, chickens, pigs?  How about Koi? If I have a rabbit as a pet, can I eat it?  Please show me the law that states what species of animals are legal in Caifornia.  Prove to me that your family pet is legal.  I'm not trying to be a smart ass, or sarcastic, just trying to make a point.  In California, we do not have a law that governs what species of animals that we may possess, or eat.  Rather, we have a law that prohibits possession of certain species.  Here is that Law:   manual 671


(O) Family Cichlidae -Cichlids:
1. Tilapia sparrmani (Banded Tilapia) (D).
2. Tilapia zillii (Redbelly tilapia) (D), except permits may be issued to a person or agency for importation, transportation, or possession in the counties of San Bernardino, Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Diego, and Imperial.
3. Oreochromis aureus (Blue tilapia) (D).
4. Oreochromis niloticus (Nile tilapia) (D).

So, Todd, you are right that o. mossambicus are allowable, as are o. hornorum and hybrids of the two, F1's are commonly known as pennyfish and raised commercially.  California has an established wild population of this hybrid in the Salton Sea.  You may have these fish in an aquarium, in aquaponics, and on your dinner table.  It does not belong to DFG to dictate whether or not we raise them, or eat them.  It DOES belong to DFG to approve or deny commercial aquaculture permits, and they have made it clear (for now) that they WILL NOT approve tilapia for NorCal aquaculture.

Here is the closest parallel I can come up with on short notice:  Suppose a group of CHP's (state troopers) decided that red cars are speedy, reckless, dangerous, and if allowed to exist may lead to the demise of green cars.  So, they decide to make a policy of banning all red cars (conceived for the good of all, no doubt).  However, the LAW does not disallow red cars, and so the state troopers cannot write tickets or impound red cars.  So, instead, they make it a CHP "policy" to ban red cars, and spread rumors to that effect.  Such rumors carry weight, because CHP's carry authority.  Law abiding citizens with red cars who wish to know if the rumors are true, do what? They call or email CHP.  What are they told?  That depends on who answers the phone or the email.  If it is one of the group who conspired the "policy", then they say red cars are banned.  If not of the conspiring group, they likely say "no", or "I don't know".  If they answer "I don't know", and then look up the code and take the time to get back to you, they will say "no, the rumor is unfounded".  I have had all three answers from DFG when asked the NorCal tilapia question, as will any of you if you ask them enough times.  A small group of DFG dickheads have made a "NO TILAPIA POLICY" (conceived for the good of all, no doubt), even though the LAW does not support their POLICY, and they have no legal authority to enforce their POLICY.  Did I say dickheads? Yep.  That choice of terminology is my "policy".

If you don"t believe me, call or email DFG and demand that they site the law that supports their answer.  When they back pedal, ask them why they fraudulently imposed their own policy over written law.  I'm a big boy, I can handle the truth.  I would rather be told the truth from the start instead of wasting time filtering through fraud distributed by public servants in a position of authority.  If you suspect fraud, report it.  Get these DFG frauds fired.  I might have some shred of respect for DFG if they have offered the truth, followed by a plea for the policy.  

Why does DFG have a no-tilapia policy?  Because they fear they will become invasive.  I'm not a biologist, and opinions among biologists differ widely.  Yes, the possibility exists, just as it exists for any fundamental biological mutation.  Tilapia die in cold water.  Period. Tilapia have been released into the wild everywhere, yet they have survived in only a handful of near-tropical US locations (SoCal, Texas, Florida).  An equal possibility exists for any creature to mutate, perhaps native trout will become warm water tolerant and decimate catfish in the south.  If history has any merit in determining what species may be raised in our NorCal aquaponics systems, then tilapia poses the absolute least threat to becoming invasive here.  But the DFG dickheads (my policy) see it otherwise, approving of catfish, bluegill, bass, brown trout, lake trout, brook trout, striped bass, Koi, goldfish, mosquito fish, etc., all INVASIVE and NON-NATIVE.  Tilapia are vegetarian fish, for crying out loud.  What is DFG worried about, rampant weed and algae control?

There.  That being said, I don't love tilapia either, Averan.  It's a good-eating, fast-growing, cheap and easy to feed, easily bred, disease resistant, healthy, and popular fish to raise in aquaponics.  It is not the only, nor the best fish for NorCal (IMO).  I am hoping for success this season with Sacramento Perch, a NATIVE species both suitable to AP and excellent to eat.  I have local friends who favor trout, some even carp.  For now, though, tilapia are in my fishtanks.

+1 Jon

Thanks, TC.  

TCLynx said:

+1 Jon

Jon, where did you get the Sac Perch?

They were the last two from a biologist who was finished with his project, he got them from U C Davis, I believe.  I need some more, so I'll keep you posted if I find any more.  If I can't locate them soon, I think I'll try and fish up a few from Pyramid Lake, NV.  Wanna join me?  They are not native in NV, and so there is not even a bag limit as I understand.  I saw a pic of a couple of guys holding a stringer of like 50 of them from there last summer.

Wait...I'm confused. So you're saying that you like DFG?... :)

What would be surprising to me is if either POLICY makers or even LAW makers (of most any given gov't) started incorporating things like...oh, IDK, logic, reason, sound science, dialectic debate, into their policy/law making processes... Or if the right hand knew what the left hand was doing...(isn't you DFG 'funding' the re-introduction of Brown Trout from certain hatcheries, while at the same time funds a policy of extirpation from nature for that same species)?

IDK much about that, other than the few whiffs I've caught here first, but it seemed funny, then sad...Same problems, different countries. Plain sad.

Nice rant BTW...Top Notch!

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