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I'm considering a outside and backyard scale Aquaponic system and I live in Kansas City, Missouri.

My question is will I have time to grow out tilipia, say up to 1 or 11/2 pounds during the growing season (May to August/Sept)???  I want to freeze filets for winter cosumption along with all the vegies.

Thanks for your input!

 

Guy

 

 

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Depending on the feed/water temp. that should be doable. My one inch long tilapia are 5 inches plus in 2.5 months.
Welcome Guy!

Not unless you start with say 1/2lb fingerlings. If you did that you could probably get to a pound in 5 months but you would have to make sure you feed them consistantly (3-5 times daily until they wont eat anymore) to pack that kind of growth on. Depending on the size of the system and design, you could possibly incorporate heaters into the mix to extend your growing season but that would depend on a lot of other factors (water volume, insulation, budget, etc).

Thanks for your help, sounds like i may need to get an autofeeder to assure proper diet. 

 

Do you growh inside or outside?

Chi Ma said:
Depending on the feed/water temp. that should be doable. My one inch long tilapia are 5 inches plus in 2.5 months.

I would advise some type of fish that will grow at cooler temperatures.  I found that even here in central Florida, If I want to get fish to fillet I do better to grow channel catfish and that was two years growing with a greenhouse.  Now that I have no greenhouse, definitely better off growing catfish.

 

I found that with mixed gender blue tilapia and no water heating, feeding high quality feed three times a day, I still didn't tend to get fish to grow out that fast and I was doing cages to keep them from breeding.  Unless you are getting all male stock and heating your water for half that growing season, I would say choose another type of fish, especially if you are interested in growing veggies too.

 

If you choose the right kind of fish and do a big enough system, you could probably operate the system most of the year and only shut it down when the snow/freeze set in and over winter the remaining fish right in the system.

While working on a whole lot of commercial system due dilligence work, I took the data supplied on the UVI system and broke it down into detailed daily feeding and growth spreadsheets.  First issue that you are going to have is the strain of tilapia you pick.  The larger Nile tilapia hybrids grow faster than the smaller species.  At the UVI system they grew Nile and "Red" (not sure what that one is).  While growth would be different during different life stages, the average daily growth of 1.76 ounce (50 grams) fingerlings was 3 g (0.1 ounce) for the red and 3.5 g (0.12 ounce) for the Nile.  Their harvest rotation was typically 168 days (sounds like you have around 120) and they got those fish to between 1.1 pounds (red) and 1.3 pounds (Nile).  Their feeding regime started at 5% for the fingerlings ending at 1.5% of body mass for mature fish.  The average annual temperature for the Virgin Islands are around 25 degrees Celcius (77 F) but I cannot recall at what temp they ran the tanks.  If you are able to match their exact growth rate over the full four months, you may have a sniff at 0.9 pound Nile Tilapias. Alternatively you could consider starting with a larger fish.
That's interesting....would the lack of plants early spring/late fall affect the system?

TCLynx said:

I would advise some type of fish that will grow at cooler temperatures.  I found that even here in central Florida, If I want to get fish to fillet I do better to grow channel catfish and that was two years growing with a greenhouse.  Now that I have no greenhouse, definitely better off growing catfish.

 

I found that with mixed gender blue tilapia and no water heating, feeding high quality feed three times a day, I still didn't tend to get fish to grow out that fast and I was doing cages to keep them from breeding.  Unless you are getting all male stock and heating your water for half that growing season, I would say choose another type of fish, especially if you are interested in growing veggies too.

 

If you choose the right kind of fish and do a big enough system, you could probably operate the system most of the year and only shut it down when the snow/freeze set in and over winter the remaining fish right in the system.

My systems go through fluctuations in plant levels but I've never seen it to be that big a deal, so the nitrate level fluctuates a bit until the plants take off but in backyard systems that are not over stocked with fish it doesn't seem to be a problem.  The fish and plants can tolerate a very wide range of Nitrate levels and still be fine.

Guy Holt said:
That's interesting....would the lack of plants early spring/late fall affect the system?

So you think I can overwinter the catfish right in the system?  Wow, we get pretty cold here and I think it would freeze thru solid.

 


TCLynx said:

My systems go through fluctuations in plant levels but I've never seen it to be that big a deal, so the nitrate level fluctuates a bit until the plants take off but in backyard systems that are not over stocked with fish it doesn't seem to be a problem.  The fish and plants can tolerate a very wide range of Nitrate levels and still be fine.

Guy Holt said:
That's interesting....would the lack of plants early spring/late fall affect the system?

Well, you might need to make sure to insulate around the tank and put an insulating cover over it to keep em from freezing solid.  As long as you can provide a gap in the ice and keep it from freezing solid then the fish should survive it.  We had a 500 gallon ornamental pond overwinter in Northern Michigan with gold fish for many years.

I am in central Iowa and I am thinking of digging an in ground pool with pondliner measuring 2ft deep X3ftX16ft under my GB. This will be all in a 16X10 ft greenhouse. That may help to insulate my pool in the cooler months supplemented by minimal heating to prolong the growing season of the fish.  But on the flip side, it will also  take longer to heat up in the spring. I am thinking of raising Yellow Perch instead of Tilapia. I also have a chiller that I bought at a university surplus to chill the water if I have to, in the heat of Summer for perch. Any opinion will be much appreciated.

One should not think of the earth as insulating (that only helps if the ground stays the temperature you want) Think of the earth more like a big thermal mass.  IF you want to raise tilapia in Iowa, you will have to insulate your pond from the ground otherwise it will sap all the heat you pump into it through the winter.  Seeing as you have a chiller, you might want to think about trout. 

 

Having an in ground tank works for me in Florida since the ground temperature stays quite warm year round and it provides a little cooling (very little) in the heat of summer and actually provides some small benefit of warmth in the coldest nights of winter but flood and drain gravel beds tend to off set such things since they are really efficient air to water heat exchangers.  (They will help heat up the water in summer if you are flooding and draining the beds through the heat of day and they will definitely chill down the water if flooding and draining during the cold nights.)

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