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Howdy Aquapons, 

Are there any sustainable low impact ways to keep racoons and cats out of my sytem. I'm losing fish nightly. 

I have a new barelponic system in Oakland Ca. My tank is a 55 gallon barell turned on its side. I only started with 15 goldfish. now theres about 10. The system is in my apartment complex's parking lot. So I was already inposing a bit by setting up the system, now it feels like I need to erect a greenhouse around it to protect it from racoons or cats or whatever is dining on my system every night. 

For two nights in a row now, I have found definite evidence that an animal is climbing over the system and thrashing into the water. I put some curved plastic cut from one of the barrels in the tank and weighted it down with a brick to give the fish a place to hide. Last night I coved the tank opening with a bunch of boards and then some pans on top so that if they were knocked over the sound would scare the animal away. I also cliped a flashing red bike light on top because I read that racoons dont like flashing light.

This morning, the boards where all taken down, the light somehow got turned off and a thrashed fish floated to the surface. Any ideas?

 

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I expect your best bet is going to be making some sort of secure (yet easily to open by you) cover for the fish tank.  If you by chance still have the part cut out of the barrel to make the tank, you might be able to fashion a hinged cover of sorts with some small cut outs for the plumbing that would probably keep a raccoon or cat out while allowing you to unfasten and open it.

Try fox urine. You can buy it commercially. I use it to ward off chipmonks and it seems to work, though I don't know if racoons fear foxes.

  If you take 1/2 inch hardware cloth (welded wire mesh with 1/2 inch holes) and attach it hinged to the opening of the barrel you can keep raccoons out of the water. Raccooons are very good at getting into garbage cans and packages, so if they know there is live food in those barrels, they will keep on returning for more removing anything you simple "set" on top.  Any cover needs to be securely latched closed.  I suspect that once you have food plants growing and producing you will be battling pests there too. That will require another solution.  Best of luck to you in stopping this.  Don't give up.

Thanks everyone for the help. I did set up a chicken wire type mesh and attached it with zip ties through drilled holes in the plastic barrel and used a bungy cord to fasten the other side to the wooden frame. I cut holes for the pipes coming in from the grow bed and bent the open ends of the mesh up to create a barbed wire effect. In the last two nights it looks like it hasnt been messed with at all. 

But this morning I found another floating fish. much like the one I found earlier. Its a little bloated and bent, with what look like scratches or abrasions on the body. Now I'm thinking I have some disease in the water. Has anyone seen something similiar to this? 

   If you are using chicken wire type mesh, the openings will need to be small.  Raccoons will reach through some very tight areas to get at foods.  This is why I recommend 1/2 inch (or smaller) hardware cloth. Also cats can do the same, but lack the paws to grab their prey as effectively, but can certainly scratch the fish up.  You can make do with what you have though. You can double over the chicken wire mesh to make smaller holes in the wire"door" if necessary.

   I cannot speak about the disease possiblity, but maybe someone else might know if that might be an issue. 

    Hopefully you can beat this thing, and save your remaining fish.  I am sure your neighors won't mind your aquaponics set-up in the parkinglot, especially when you can share the bountiful harvest with them once in a while.  Who knows, you may have a start to a new apartment complex trend!

 

  

i read in another forum about wolf  urine worked for racoons, check with places like huntuing stores or bass proshop

I'm not sure I want to be spraying predator urine on my aquaponics system though.

not on your system around it about 20 ft from the edge on the ground where they walk

sorry about that confusion

Low impact, no, but trap and .22 work well together.

Agreed, trap and .22 are hard to beat. Even though a gunshot may not be noticed in Oakland, you probably don't want to go there, eh? :) So instead, trap 'em, then dunk whole trap right in your fish barrel, teach him how to swim, so to speak. This is a quiet, sure way to dispatch varmits. Then dump the carcass in a BSFL bin and they will completely consume it as fast as you can trap another. How's that for sustainable?

I used to have a constant battle trying to keep coons and skunks from killing chickens, using prison-like coops, fox piss, noisemakers, motion-sensor sprinklers. If they couldn't get the chickens, then they had batting practice with the tomatoes or hit the garbage can. The only relief was to systematically eliminate them and their kin. After 3 years and probably 50 skunks and coons gone, we haven't had any trouble in at least 6 months. The BSFL bin is like divine justice. The coons show up to eat the chickens, but the chickens end up eating the coons. Warms my heart.

yea, but I probably wouldn't dunk them in my AP system or fish tank because they can carry some pathogens I don't want to encourage in my system.

Ya know, a pump up pellet gun works too (without the gunshots to cause people to call the cops) and then you can chop their head of with a ground ax or shovel to be sure they are dispached and then put them in the compost of bsfl bin.

Jon Parr said:

Agreed, trap and .22 are hard to beat. Even though a gunshot may not be noticed in Oakland, you probably don't want to go there, eh? So instead, trap 'em, then dunk whole trap right in your fish barrel, teach him how to swim, so to speak. This is a quiet, sure way to dispatch varmits. Then dump the carcass in a BSFL bin and they will completely consume it as fast as you can trap another. How's that for sustainable?

I used to have a constant battle trying to keep coons and skunks from killing chickens, using prison-like coops, fox piss, noisemakers, motion-sensor sprinklers. If they couldn't get the chickens, then they had batting practice with the tomatoes or hit the garbage can. The only relief was to systematically eliminate them and their kin. After 3 years and probably 50 skunks and coons gone, we haven't had any trouble in at least 6 months. The BSFL bin is like divine justice. The coons show up to eat the chickens, but the chickens end up eating the coons. Warms my heart.

they also make + - fences that have both ground and hot running in them so an animal climbing touching both wires will get zapped.  They would be more appropriate for really dry climates where the ground might not be ground enough.

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