I don't know if there is much you can do to avoid the evaporation from the grow beds. What kind of grow beds?
Joe- I would also recommend heating the air temp to atleast 60. This will give you some decent growth with cold weather variety greens as well. At first i was only heating the water and after i put in a modine unit to heat the air as well (both work off my wood boiler) i actually used less wood.
Im in VA and like TCLynx I think im gonna ditch, not literally, my Tilapia so I dont have to heat the water. But, I've got 195 2" tilapia that I'm gonna need to overwinter somehow, not sure how big they will be by the end of the summer but doubt they will be ready for harvest.This is my first batch hatched from some fingerlings raised to breeding size.
I have alot of space in my heated and insulated garage, so moving them in there for the winter is possible. This seems like alot of trouble, catching them alone, but I only need to survive one winter. Maybe another smaller Intex aboveground pool and a water heater element installed in the filter? Or maybe next time,if it works out ok, I'll raise the fingerlings indoors during the winter so that they will be ready for harvast outdoors at the end of summer.
If you and your family are eating your fish size doesn't really matter. Tilapia grown from spring through fall should be large enough to eat at home. The only reason they need to be "market size" is when they go to market. Tilapia grow very fast. They can be raised as a seasonal crop.
Hopefully they will be large enough to harvest them down to a more manageable quantity, like say 50. I noticed some of them are barely 1" if not under, so I might start the culling process when I move them to my growout tank. Or maybe just keep all the males.
Don't know if anyone's seen this already or not, but came across it today on YouTube and seems like a possible solution. He also has a great make-it-yourself indexer worth checking out.
I am in NEFL, so this might be overkill for me, but looking for ideas to keep my fish productive through the cool months we have. Might just go with the channel catfish as per TC... Does the water need to remain a certain temp to keep the plants happy, though??
If you can keep your water from freezing, there are some plants that will grow on happily even with frost or ice on them. My broccoli seemed to really like the cold.
Here is my experiment:
I have a Tilapia Tank about 275 to 300 gallons that is circulating an over-head gravel growbed. I want to enclose the system in a lean too heated green house but until the Green House Fairy gets out of economic exile, I will make an 1 1/2" thick foam cover (jacuzzi style) to cover the tank at night while 2 waterbed heaters cook 24/7 (about 600wats), This size tank should take about 750~900 watts to heat so Im close. The circulation will be stopped in the evening as that just pulls the cold air back into the water. So far temps at night as in the 60s so no worries yet. Will up date how the Temp maintenance goes.