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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That is too funny! I'm now going to have to wait until I have some more room before I can try that, though. My mysteriously disappearing loach that we thought may have died in transportation reappeared this morning! Yay for surviving fish, but I'm pretty sure my tank is getting crowded.

Sylvia Bernstein said:
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
Catfish will hang out on the bottom or in my experience against the sides of the tanks too. They need slightly better dissolved oxygen levels than do tilapia but nothing anywhere near as high as trout. If you get local channel catfish, they would survive winter outside in a natural pond in your area so a 70-75 F fish tank in your greenhouse would be very enjoyable for them. I've had them doing ok in water as warm as 90+ I think but I definitely wanted plenty of aeration when it's hot like that (I don't think I would personally grow out catfish in anything smaller than a 300 gallon tank but I've herd of people supposedly growing them in 55 gallon barrels?!?!?!)

The only major warning I would say about Catfish compared to tilapia, catfish get stressed easier by handling or poor water quality and can get skin infections when highly stressed like that. So no extra handling or netting just to look at the catfish when it isn't really necessary. Catfish also don't do well with high salt levels (don't go over 5 ppt with catfish) so only minimal salting of the system is appropriate with catfish. And when you will be netting catfish find a net that won't snag their barbs (this is kinda an issue with small ones getting snagged in the green aquarium nets.)
Tilapia is restricted in Texas. Catfish too. Will need to do more research as to what is allowed or what it takes to get permits.
My knowledge about fishes isn't great but seems like every name i have heard of is exotic to our state :)

http://www.tpwd.state.tx.us/huntwild/wild/species/exotic/
There are still many catfish that are allowed in Texas, including Channel Catfish. They are native!!!!! It is only some of the exotic non-native species of catfish that are not allowed. Just check another page on that same web site.
http://www.tpwd.state.tx.us/landwater/water/aquaticspecies/inland.p...
and another page on that site even has resources that might be useful when planning your system or buying your fish to stock in it.
http://www.tpwd.state.tx.us/landwater/water/habitats/private_water/
Great guidance, TCLynx. Can I just say how psyched I am to have you as part of our community! Thanks for being here.

TCLynx said:
There are still many catfish that are allowed in Texas, including Channel Catfish. They are native!!!!! It is only some of the exotic non-native species of catfish that are not allowed. Just check another page on that same web site.
http://www.tpwd.state.tx.us/landwater/water/aquaticspecies/inland.p...
and another page on that site even has resources that might be useful when planning your system or buying your fish to stock in it.
http://www.tpwd.state.tx.us/landwater/water/habitats/private_water/
I'm happy to help and will save people grief where I can.
Hello,
How do you keep track of your salinity? Do most test kits come with a test for this? I am planning on raising catfish.

Also, does anybody have a recommendation for a test kit? There are hundreds out there.

Thanks,
David.
I've kinda approximated the test using a TDS meter but that is a pain since I have to dilute to even read 3 ppt of salt. There is something to test salt, a refractometer I think? Or there are salt level test kits with drops and stuff. Chances are, you won't need to be testing salt levels often unless you have issues with your source water being salty. If this is going to be a backyard hobby, I would say don't worry too much about a costly device but if you are talking about going pretty big time, you will probably be getting all sorts of test kits and devices.
I don't track salinity at all - I think it depends on whether you think it is an issue in your municipal water.

for a test kit I've been very happy with the Aquarium Pharmaceuticals (API) Freshwater Master Test Kit. I also have a digital pH meter because I check pH a lot more frequently than ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, and I didn't want to bother with reagents for this. Costs about $100 from hydro shops.
Almost every state Fish and Game department will have a list of approved species for aquaculture along with recommended hatcheries- I'd encourage everyone to adhere to their local regulations as far as exotic species (all varieties of tilapia, in many of the warmer states) go. It's also important to get your initial stock from a relatively disease-free producer, because once it's there, it's hard to get rid of.

You have to remember that many of the exotic species ravaging many of our warm-water environments are escaped from aquaculture facilities. I'm just saying it's better to respect the judgement of your local Fish and Game department than to risk it.
I agree that it is best to stick with approved species. (And even in the warmer states, tilapia are not necessarily the perfect species for aquaponics that so many people try to talk them up to be.)
Here in California the Fish and Game allow very specific types of Tilapia. I would have to look them up, but they are the ones that cannot handle the cold temperatures and would perish if they escaped out in the wild. Although we have the Salton Sea out here that is full of I think (not sure) the Nile Tilapia. I sure wouldn't want to eat any of them since the pollution is really high in the Salton Sea. You sure don't want to mess with the Fish and Game people, the fines can be extremely high. You really have to be careful bringing fish in from other states! There are some large Aquaculture farms here raising both Catfish and Tilapia, if anyone is interested I can get you some links for them. One is just North of us and they pump warm water right out of the aquifer for the Tilapia.

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