Aquaponic Gardening

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where do you find your fish?  thoughts on who has been great and who should be avoided?  thoughts on cross-state-bourder shipping

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Haven't even begun to consider this but my wife saw that Arizona stocks tilapia in the canals throughout the city (Phoenix) to keep intake areas cleaner? Hmmmm, wonder where they get theirs from? Maybe a local source for Tilapia fingerlings. Note to self - file in back recess of brain somewhere for later!
Let me know if you find out! I haven't seen any in the local stores, but I'll let you know if I do. I'm more of a fish enthusiast, so I check them out often.

Cheers!
Emma

Jonathan Hanridge said:
Haven't even begun to consider this but my wife saw that Arizona stocks tilapia in the canals throughout the city (Phoenix) to keep intake areas cleaner? Hmmmm, wonder where they get theirs from? Maybe a local source for Tilapia fingerlings. Note to self - file in back recess of brain somewhere for later!
Talked to a AZ Game and Fish guy last night. What my wife saw online about Tilapia isn't true. Our Government doesn't allow someone to grow Tilapia outdoors in our state. The canal fish are Triploidy Grass Carp that can't reproduce on their own supposedly. If you want to keep Tilapia, you have to do it undercover in our state! They worry about it escaping I guess!

Emma Lysyk said:
Let me know if you find out! I haven't seen any in the local stores, but I'll let you know if I do. I'm more of a fish enthusiast, so I check them out often.

Cheers!
Emma

Jonathan Hanridge said:
Haven't even begun to consider this but my wife saw that Arizona stocks tilapia in the canals throughout the city (Phoenix) to keep intake areas cleaner? Hmmmm, wonder where they get theirs from? Maybe a local source for Tilapia fingerlings. Note to self - file in back recess of brain somewhere for later!
The irony is that the vast majority of tilapia grown in this country have been sex changed to all male. You guys should check into perch. Apparently they are also pretty tolerant and good eating fish. I'm hearing more and more about them. Did the fish and game department say what can be grown through aquaculture there? You might also contact the Univ. of Arizona. I've heard they have a great hydro program there that has been working with aquaponics for a few years. I thought there was a YouTube video by them but I can't find it now. Good luck!
You can grow Tilapia here - under cover, like in a greenhouse, they allow that. I guess its feasible that 2 Osprey or Eagles could grab a boy and girl and fly them the 1/2 mile to the nearest lake to me and accidently drop them in where they suddenly get together, reproduce like mad and then evolve the ability to withstand the freezing over of the Lake! Whatever! Maybe Catfish would work, that is what Game and Fish guy suggested if you don't want to heat the greenhouse.

Sylvia Bernstein said:
The irony is that the vast majority of tilapia grown in this country have been sex changed to all male. You guys should check into perch. Apparently they are also pretty tolerant and good eating fish. I'm hearing more and more about them. Did the fish and game department say what can be grown through aquaculture there? You might also contact the Univ. of Arizona. I've heard they have a great hydro program there that has been working with aquaponics for a few years. I thought there was a YouTube video by them but I can't find it now. Good luck!
I can see it. Death defying flights in a predator's mouth followed by a free fall into a freezing lake personally works like an aphrodisiac on me. We do it every Valentine's day... Thank goodness our government is hard at work protecting us from such horrors.

Let me know how those catfish work out.
I'm glad you talked to AZ game and fish. I have seen on a website listing stock schedule and the stock board at one of the urban lakes near our house, where they list what they stock and tilapia was on that list. I had been considering just trying to catch some for a start up batch, I would have spent a long time fishing! :)
Hopefully as aquaponics catches on, there will be more enterprising folks wanting to sell fingerlings and sourcing reasonably priced fish won't be as tricky.
newbie here - so there is actually no place to buy Tilapia fingerlings?
Depends on where you are. Some states are pretty paranoid about tilapia escaping into the waterways so they are banning them. In other states (my state of colorado included) there isn't a problem. Check with the fish and game department in your state, or just start asking around about tilapia operations. My belief is where there is a will...there is a way....
I've been getting my Channel Catfish from Florida Fish farms in Center Hill, FL. One must call them to check on what is available at the time but Channel Catfish fingerlings are not costly. They also sell some other game fish and Koi as well.

I'm not really a big supporter of tilapia anymore. I've grown Blue Tilapia (they have already escaped in Florida in the past and are naturalized here.) In relatively natural situations here in FL, they are not overly fast growers. If you want the super fast growth tilapia are famed for, you are going have to be heating the water to 85 F and gender changing the fish to all male using hormone laced feed while they are young.

Otherwise, (at least here) the catfish actually grow far faster and most definitely bigger. Catfish are also far easier to fillet. The tilapia are twitchy and have extra bones along their sides that make filleting a real challenge, plus the fact that most of mine never got all that big and I was feeding high protein feed. (I had most of my tilapia for a year and a half and we only got one or two that were two pounds, most of the others ranged in size between 8 oz and 1 1/2 lb. Compare to catfish that I've only ha for a year that generally range between 1 1/2 lb and 3+ lb.

There is my tip for warm to very warm water fish.
I was chatting with a friend of mine the other day about finding tilapia here in Arizona. She had the idea of asking the Asian marketplaces (we have a lot of them in Phoenix) if they carry any live ones. They usually keep tanks and filet as needed, but I'm sure if I brought in a bucket, they'd hand over a few full grown ones kind of like buying live lobsters. Just a thought. I found it amusing and may try it. ;)
Emma, that is actually how I got my first batch in early May. I found out who supplied the Asian market - ends up it was a place called "The Gator Farm" - and contacted them. We met in the parking lot of the Asian market when they did their next delivery and they brought a bunch of tilapia fingerlings for me. I asked for 20, they gave me about 40, but that ended up being ok because I made a bunch of stupid mistakes in the first couple months of growing and managed to kill off about 20 of them. Still have 20, but they are ready for harvest... need to make room for the 100 fingerlings I got in December.

Interesting comments about catfish vs. tilapia, TCLynx. I haven't done catfish, but I sure would like to. I hear they actually are good to grow along with other fish because they hover in the bottom of the tank - has that been your experience? I keep my tilapia between 70 and 75 degrees in our greenhouse, and they are growing pretty quickly. The best thing about tilapia to me is that they are easy - my killing spree this past spring aside...;-) They seem to eat just about anything and aren't too fussy about oxygen (I got rid of the trout I was growing for that reason). that said, I need to branch out and try some other fish so thanks for the nudge.

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