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I was just reading in Sylvias book that Catfish seem to have a little better tolerance to water temperature extremes in cold weather. (our winters are mild but still average 40-50 degrees, and will dip below freezing for a few days at a time.

All things being equal... are catfish as easy to raise as Tilapia ??  Or are Tilapia a more durable fish for beginners?

I also have warm hot summers... 85-103 degrees...so fish tank will have to be shaded for sure...and I might have to cool water gently on extreme days.

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for tilapia, you'll have to heat the water to get them through the winter..

catfish are (imho) a better choice, as heating can get costly

Thanks Keith.

I was contemplating starting the tiny tilapia in the house in an aquarium like in about November or Dec, then about April 1 moving them outside to minimize the heating costs to grow out their days for the Bar B Que or freezer in the late fall.

I'll seriously consider the catfish so maybe I can bypass the "in the house" fish -which wife isn't crazy about, I love catfish anyway.

Thanks Much Keith

Bradly

 

Catfish are most definitely easier to get through cool weather.  However, catfish will also experience more problems if you over feed or let your pH crash and get ammonia spikes.  If you are going to go with channel catfish, I can recommend them highly as a fish that does very well in aquaponics.  Here in central FL, they do fine in the heat, just have some extra aeration on hand and if it gets really extremely hot you may need to cut back on the feed a bit.  In the cold, reduce feed as the water cools until you are not feeding at all when the water temps get down below say 55 F. 

Now Channel Catfish can grow quite big, so if your system isn't going to have close to 300 gallons of fish tank, I might recommend bluegill or tilapia instead.  That said, outdoors where I live, I like at least 300 gallons of fish tank just to keep the temperatures more stable for any kind of fish.

Thanks much for the direction TC

Maybe for my first system I will stick with TIlapia, then maybe 2nd year try the catfish after I figure all the balancing out.  I'm kind of leaning that way.

I have decided my fish tank is going to be 300 gallons or above as a minimum...  Either a 330 gal IBC Tote or  a 300 gallon Rubbermaid stock tank (which is more money. 

I'm playing around with a design of a little separate cooling system for the hot summers...made out of a ice chest, a 50' coil of metal tube running thru the cooler and back into the sump.  Then pumping water very slowly out of the 150-170 gallon sump... thru the metal tube submersed in icy water and then back into the sump.  It would kick on with a water thermostat in the sump.  Then I'd use that same thermostat to turn on a 1000w heater in the sump itself during the cooler weather.

In all seasons while there are fish, I intend to have an air pump with a line into the fish tank and down into the sump.

Thanks again for the info on this... I'm going to the gravel yard to pick up some samples to "fizz" test and ph test for the next week or 2...after that I'll be close to finishing all the design and costing. Then only have conviincing the wife left to go!  :-)

Bradly

I've done channel catfish in my garage with success. Water got up to 88 degrees in the heat of the summer. No problems with the catfish at all. I do have added aeration. I got fingerlings in May of last year, and just harvested this May. They grew to about 2 pounds on average. Most of the growth was in the summer. They really slowed down on eating in the winter when water got to about 60 degrees.

 

I got tilapia about 2 and a half months ago and kept them in one of my garage systems with a heater. They're growing really fast and are now in their summer home (300 gallon Rubbermaid stock tank) outside. My plan at the moment is to switch from tilapia in the summer to catfish in the winter.

Great info RW...thanks for sharing this with me !  It helps a lot.

Is the stock tank insulated some ??  It looks pretty thick in some pictures I've seen. 

About how many catfish did you grow in the 300 gal stock tank?   Same question for the TIlapia?

I have all the rule of thumb info...but I like to hear real experiences also to double confirm my planning  :-)


RW said:

I've done channel catfish in my garage with success. Water got up to 88 degrees in the heat of the summer. No problems with the catfish at all. I do have added aeration. I got fingerlings in May of last year, and just harvested this May. They grew to about 2 pounds on average. Most of the growth was in the summer. They really slowed down on eating in the winter when water got to about 60 degrees.

 

I got tilapia about 2 and a half months ago and kept them in one of my garage systems with a heater. They're growing really fast and are now in their summer home (300 gallon Rubbermaid stock tank) outside. My plan at the moment is to switch from tilapia in the summer to catfish in the winter.

For a first year with a system with channel catfish, I would probably only recommend about 30 catfish in a 300 gallon tank and that is only if you have about 600 gallons of media filled grow bed to go with it.  (If you have to ask how many fish, you are not prepared to handle the MAX.)

In my big system I like to stock about 70 channel catfish in the 700 gallons fish tank for grow out and that system had about 1400 gallons of gravel bed.

I think that's wise.  I calculate the (3) 4'x4'x1' grow beds at about 300 gallons is all maximum.  So I'll plan on gearing down on the fish quantity planning.  Thanks TC.

Bradly

TCLynx said:

For a first year with a system with channel catfish, I would probably only recommend about 30 catfish in a 300 gallon tank and that is only if you have about 600 gallons of media filled grow bed to go with it.  (If you have to ask how many fish, you are not prepared to handle the MAX.)

In my big system I like to stock about 70 channel catfish in the 700 gallons fish tank for grow out and that system had about 1400 gallons of gravel bed.

My 300 gallon outdoor stock tank is buried about 15 inches. I started with a dozen catfish fingerlings. After about 6 months, i harvested half of them at about a pound. The other 6 made it to 2 pounds average after a year.  I also had about 6 hybrid bluegill that seemed to hardly grow at all.

Now i have 27 tilapia. I don't have a lot of grow bed (3 x 50 gallon grow beds for the 300 gallon stock tank) so prefer to not have too many fish. I plan on doubling the grow beds probably in the Fall this year.


 
Bradly said:

Great info RW...thanks for sharing this with me !  It helps a lot.

Is the stock tank insulated some ??  It looks pretty thick in some pictures I've seen. 

About how many catfish did you grow in the 300 gal stock tank?   Same question for the TIlapia?

I have all the rule of thumb info...but I like to hear real experiences also to double confirm my planning  :-)


RW said:

I've done channel catfish in my garage with success. Water got up to 88 degrees in the heat of the summer. No problems with the catfish at all. I do have added aeration. I got fingerlings in May of last year, and just harvested this May. They grew to about 2 pounds on average. Most of the growth was in the summer. They really slowed down on eating in the winter when water got to about 60 degrees.

 

I got tilapia about 2 and a half months ago and kept them in one of my garage systems with a heater. They're growing really fast and are now in their summer home (300 gallon Rubbermaid stock tank) outside. My plan at the moment is to switch from tilapia in the summer to catfish in the winter.

Thanks RW....  I think I'm settling on the Tilapia in my mind.   300 Gal fish tank,  30 or so Tilapia, and 3 grow beds. Maybe catfish when I'm more experienced.

(I'll probably buy 40 little 1/2"-1" long fish as that's about all the bigger they're advertised around here...then I'll figure I'll accidently kill 10 of them maybe...so 30 will maybe survive.)

Thanks RW

RW said:

My 300 gallon outdoor stock tank is buried about 15 inches. I started with a dozen catfish fingerlings. After about 6 months, i harvested half of them at about a pound. The other 6 made it to 2 pounds average after a year.  I also had about 6 hybrid bluegill that seemed to hardly grow at all.

Now i have 27 tilapia. I don't have a lot of grow bed (3 x 50 gallon grow beds for the 300 gallon stock tank) so prefer to not have too many fish. I plan on doubling the grow beds probably in the Fall this year.


 
Bradly said:

Great info RW...thanks for sharing this with me !  It helps a lot.

Is the stock tank insulated some ??  It looks pretty thick in some pictures I've seen. 

About how many catfish did you grow in the 300 gal stock tank?   Same question for the TIlapia?

I have all the rule of thumb info...but I like to hear real experiences also to double confirm my planning  :-)


RW said:

I've done channel catfish in my garage with success. Water got up to 88 degrees in the heat of the summer. No problems with the catfish at all. I do have added aeration. I got fingerlings in May of last year, and just harvested this May. They grew to about 2 pounds on average. Most of the growth was in the summer. They really slowed down on eating in the winter when water got to about 60 degrees.

 

I got tilapia about 2 and a half months ago and kept them in one of my garage systems with a heater. They're growing really fast and are now in their summer home (300 gallon Rubbermaid stock tank) outside. My plan at the moment is to switch from tilapia in the summer to catfish in the winter.

I have raised both for several years.  I prefer tilapia just because they grow fast enough to harvest in a single growing season.  They do pretty well grown together too as long as the tilapia do not start out too small in the tank.  Catfish will eat other fish so you have to be carefull at first.

That's good to know Stephanie...thanks.

I also have to harvest at end of the fall season...so I'l likely have to start them in aquarium inside, then about Apil 1st -move them outside to the real fish tank to grow until season ends.

I'll have to restart my system everyyear but probably a lot of people have to do the same. Cost of another greenhouse and heating it thru winter is to prohibitive. 

Stephanie Grim said:

I have raised both for several years.  I prefer tilapia just because they grow fast enough to harvest in a single growing season.  They do pretty well grown together too as long as the tilapia do not start out too small in the tank.  Catfish will eat other fish so you have to be carefull at first.

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