Aquaponic Gardening

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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'm in a city.  The local ordinance permits "humane disposal" whatever that means but prohibits transporting.  So long as nobody complains, I don't expect a problem.  If you are concerned about noise, there are .22 shorts and even subsonic .22 rounds, which are really quiet.  The drowning method is not for me and it would be a stretch to consider that humane.  There is no natural control on varmint populations here so I don't have a problem serving as the control. 

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?

'Chop off their heads with an ax or a shovel, after you shoot them'.  That's hardcore TC!  You rock!  I have a newfound respect for you. Love that! If you scalped them and shouted an Apache war cry, your neighbors would never, ever take your parking spot again!

If gunfire, electrification, ax, shovel, scalping or swimming lessons is distasteful to you folks in AP land, there is another "humane", quiet, quick way to dispatch. Throw a blanket or a tarp over the cage and direct engine exhaust into the trap. Engine can be anything with a manual choke, like lawnmower, rototiller, dirtbike, chainsaw, etc. Start it up, warm it up, then choke it until it barely runs. This exhaust will be rich in carbon monoxide, and kill the critter in 15-20 minutes. The coon will curl up and sleep, dreaming of koi BBQ, never to awaken. You can even sing him a lullaby. This method is especially nice for skunks. Coons get pissed off in traps, skunks however, are peaceful as can be, as long as they have food. Just calmly walk up with a handful of cat food, then cover trap with a tarp. Haven't been sprayed yet. My local Ace hardware sells a kit for killing gophers that has a stepped rubber fitting that will hose clamp on to most any tailpipe, and a hose thread to attatch a garden hose for exhaust delivery down a gopher hole.  This does work, but only on an over-fueled engine (chugging CO, not a clean idling Prius)

Note:  doesn't work with any fuel-injected engine, as they adjust fuel load to eliminate CO, or any diesel engine, which has no CO and plenty of O2.

Did someone say SHOT GUN already?

I might have been more squeamish about it a few years ago but after having about 6 chickens killed by that young opossum.  And that critter only ate the heads off several of those poor birds.

Anyway after learning to butcher the ducks and chickens (and those are creatures we like because they are feeding us) killing a pest that is steeling food from us isn't so hard.

Amen, TC
I plan to re-purpose a 10'x20' dog run to protect my tank for the same reason. I saw that train wreck coming -- plenty of coons, possums, hawks, fox, and cats around here. I'll close off the top with chicken wire somehow. Good luck.
I should also mention the dog run makes the tank child proof too. Maybe quietly dispatching some of the neighborhood kids might not be a bad idea though.
Haha. And I thought I was demented.

Dave Durkin said:
I should also mention the dog run makes the tank child proof too. Maybe quietly dispatching some of the neighborhood kids might not be a bad idea though.

All neighborhood kids should be thoroughly composted before adding them to your fish feed.

Or you might just feed unattended children lots of sugar and caffeine and give them a puppy and send them home.

Thanks Jon. I have never deluded myself on that regard.
I would recommend rebuilding your tank. Instead of laying it sideways, stand it upright. You need straight sides and at least two feet of water to keep the fish safe.

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