Aquaponic Gardening

A Community and Forum For Aquaponic Gardeners

So as we move into that time of year I'm wondering what methods folks are using to heat their tanks here in AZ, Im moving mine into an insulated liner/tank thats in ground and trying to get more ideas on keeping my tanks warm at night. (I plan on using a solar water heater box during the day)

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This is the same thing we were trying to figure out, but since we don't have fish yet, we were considering starting with a cold water fish of moderate size, then when things get too warm for them switching it out to tilapia. But we're total newbies to this so maybe it's not the best idea

oh and was reading this article about cheap walk in greenhouses and thinking maybe of building one out of pvc pipes and plastic tarp:

Ive had very good luck with this heater from

Catalina Titanium Heater 500 Watt

by Catalina
List Price: $63.00
Price: $42.75

I also built a greenhouse structure out of 3/4" pvc, I would sell it to you at my cost.

I would suggest channel catfish so you don't have to switch fish as the water temperature changes. You challenge will be however finding 10 catfish. It is easy to get 1,000. Hard to get 10. The same is true with trout (cold water). I understand local roots aquaponics in Tucson has small numbers of catfish fingerlings on occasion. If you are not looking for food fish, gold fish work well in cooler water conditions. They are normally very weak and often diseased coming from the stores however.

Some really expensive catfish,

- Water Heaters -

A water heater element costs about $10.  Screw it into a 1-1/4" pipe and there you go.  I have used PVC and it will not burn unless the water is not flowing. I have since switched to galvanized pipe.  Don't worry about metals and your fish.  Burned PVC is a hundred times worse.  

Never leave the heater on while the pump is off you will burn the element within seconds.    I have mine on the same circuit as the pump so if the pump quits, so does the heater.

- Channel Cat  - 

I'm lucky enough to have a big channel cat farm right here, but the aquarium store was willing to sell fingerlings at 2.25 each.  Worth checking out.

Bob, where is "Right here" maybe it'd be worth a drive for us? We're seriously looking into channel catfish and did find some places listed in phoenix as having it but haven't called around yet 

Thanks for the water heater ideas, if we ever end up going with tilapia it will be good to know for future senarios

@Sean-Michael Gettys - It's only a 14 hour drive between us.  I live in Northern Ca.

I feel lucky that they are willing to sell us the fish.  They normally deal in 300 pound minimum orders, but Justin mentioned aquaponics.  The owner is planning to set up an aquaponics system so that may have had some influence.

I agree with Dr. George. Catfish might be a better option. The idea of raising a batch of tilapia to full size in 6-8 months doesn't usually happen in home systems, and tilapia filets aren't worth much until they're fattened out, which is 1.5 to 2 pounds. That may take a year or more, depending on a number of factors. I will say, though, home-raised tilapia is absolutely delicious!!

Because of the tremendous horse manure that is dumped here we are going to experiment with this.


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