Does anyone near Gainesville Florida have free or cheap tilapia. I need about 20-25. I want to convert my gold fish driven IBC to a Tilapia system.
I think in March it should be warm enough
Depends on the amount of filtration, circulation and aeration you have.
Since Bluegill are a respectable harvest size at 1/3rd of a pound you can actually stock quite a lot of them but I have seen that mine did quit eating if there wasn't enough aeration through the heat of summer (basically once the water temp stayed above 80 F supplemental aeration was needed if they were to eat well.)
I had a system with 600 gallons of gravel beds and 300 gallons of fish tank and I stocked that with 100 bluegill and did ok once I added more air.
If you feel you are a very experienced fish keeper, then you could probably get away with as much as 3 bluegill per cubic foot of media bed as long as you have 3 gallons of fish tank per fish. (I know there are some who would stock 1 fish per gallon but I can never recommend that unless we are talking skeeter fish.)
How many Bluegill does it take to make a meal? Do they grow any larger than 1/3 lb?
Yes they can grow bigger. Prize winning bluegill might be as much as 4lb perhaps. A 1 lb bluegill is a big bluegill though and I don't want people expecting that they can grow out bluegill to 1 lb as a matter of course. When we have cleaned out a whole tank of bluegill we got fish that ranged from 4-8 oz mostly with a few as big as 12 oz. Most of them were in the 6-8 oz range.
How many bluegill does it take to make a meal? Well that is hard to answer because that will depend on what else is in the meal, how many people are eating it and how much each of them tends to eat.
And are you trying to fillet the bluegill or will you just scale, gut and cut the heads/tails off cut them in half and pan fry them and let people pull the bones out as they eat? You get more meat if you are willing to deal with bones while eating than if you must fillet everything before cooking.
Most people figure you are going to clean a whole mess of bluegill for a meal though but when we do catfish, we are often happy with just eating one or two fish among the family. So a wild guess would be; Bluegill, 1-2 fish per person; Tilapia, 1 fish to 1-2 people; Catfish, 1 fish to 2-3 people (but depends greatly on harvest size since some people like to eat little ones in which case you might need 1 fish or more per person.)