Aquaponic Gardening

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I am setting up my aquaponics system, and I have Tilapia on order.  I was looking also into red claw crayfish, but have discovered that they are banned here in TX.  They look and taset like little lobsters, which I found attractive.  So, now I am looking for something that will "play well" with tilapia.  any thoughts?

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I think Channel Catfish are worth a try in combined culture with almost anything. They will keep to a lower area than tilapia.

They have not bothered or been bothered by my 6-inch comet goldfish. They survive year round.

TCLynx has had tilapia with cats, she left a handful of channel cats in as a "cleanup crew" living under the tilapia (though now that I think of it, she had the tilapia in a net cage to prevent breeding).

The late Homer Buck wrote a lot of papers about combining fish species in aquaculture, I will see what I can find that might be helpful to the Texas group...

 

Rick

Thanks, Rick.  I hadn't considered catfish, as I have been stocking them in our creek, and was thinking of something more "exotic", like crayfish or something.

Rick Op said:

I think Channel Catfish are worth a try in combined culture with almost anything. They will keep to a lower area than tilapia.

They have not bothered or been bothered by my 6-inch comet goldfish. They survive year round.

TCLynx has had tilapia with cats, she left a handful of channel cats in as a "cleanup crew" living under the tilapia (though now that I think of it, she had the tilapia in a net cage to prevent breeding).

The late Homer Buck wrote a lot of papers about combining fish species in aquaculture, I will see what I can find that might be helpful to the Texas group...

 

Rick

Well, catfish are more exotic to me! I have long had run-away crawfish in my little cement pond (escapees form the boiling pot) but I seldom ever saw them again except when doing dredge work. Nothing wrong with the crustaceans but they do get aggressive I think.

 

On the short list for deciding what-to-stock was tilapia vs. bluegill vs. channel cats vs. Pacu. My wife and I prefer catfish over tilapia anyway because of flavor and bones.

I was ready to stock around Memorial Day, so it would have been a bit late in the year for a good tilapia grow-out. I am pretty sure the catfish will winter just fine and I never found a source for Pacu anyway!

 

Plus, did you know they are also known as fiddler fish? I don't think I really had a choice in the end (I am a real live card-carrying Texas Fiddler).

I have been told that the Australian red claws that I was looking into are now illegal.  I guess I will stick with the Tilapia.  You don't like the way they taste?  I thought they were good eating.

Rick Op said:

Well, catfish are more exotic to me! I have long had run-away crawfish in my little cement pond (escapees form the boiling pot) but I seldom ever saw them again except when doing dredge work. Nothing wrong with the crustaceans but they do get aggressive I think.

 

On the short list for deciding what-to-stock was tilapia vs. bluegill vs. channel cats vs. Pacu. My wife and I prefer catfish over tilapia anyway because of flavor and bones.

I was ready to stock around Memorial Day, so it would have been a bit late in the year for a good tilapia grow-out. I am pretty sure the catfish will winter just fine and I never found a source for Pacu anyway!

 

Plus, did you know they are also known as fiddler fish? I don't think I really had a choice in the end (I am a real live card-carrying Texas Fiddler).



Margo Searls-Begy said:

I have been told that the Australian red claws that I was looking into are now illegal.  I guess I will stick with the Tilapia.  You don't like the way they taste?  I thought they were good eating.

Rick Op said:


Me too, they taste fine, we ordered them whole and grilled a couple of times a week from our favorite pescaderia. For quite a while.
Now we order whole catfish instead. It's just less work getting around the bones on a whole-fish or split-fish preparation such as we have been getting. The taste is a little different, we prefer the way catfish comes out when fire-grilled with a spicy sauce - if we were baking fillets with lemon butter, tipapia would win.

I don't want to get a reputation as a tilapia-hater. I may pick up a bunch of them next spring. Fine light white fish meat.

I ordered the white Nile tilapia.  They will arrive when the weather gets a little warmer.  I'm so excited!   But I have a few issues to work out before I will really be ready for them.  I can't get my rate of flow up enough to fill the grow beds; the fill and empty are too close in rate.  I am wondering if it would work just as well to have a drip type system set up to get all the media wet without drowning it, or if I will have to devise a float-type vale to empty the tank.  You really have to be your own hydrologist with these things.  (I am putting together my own system, not pre-purchased.)...maybe I need a bell siphon...-Margo

Rick Op said:



Margo Searls-Begy said:

I have been told that the Australian red claws that I was looking into are now illegal.  I guess I will stick with the Tilapia.  You don't like the way they taste?  I thought they were good eating.

Rick Op said:


Me too, they taste fine, we ordered them whole and grilled a couple of times a week from our favorite pescaderia. For quite a while.
Now we order whole catfish instead. It's just less work getting around the bones on a whole-fish or split-fish preparation such as we have been getting. The taste is a little different, we prefer the way catfish comes out when fire-grilled with a spicy sauce - if we were baking fillets with lemon butter, tipapia would win.

I don't want to get a reputation as a tilapia-hater. I may pick up a bunch of them next spring. Fine light white fish meat.

I still have standpipe-with-holes as my drain method for now, and the bio-slime does build up enough to slow down the draining. I had to dial DOWN my fill rate once or twice this summer, as it would overfill in the 15 minutes the pump was on. I also bought a nice long drill bit and put extra holes in the top of the standpipe.

When's that warmer weather, and the tilapia, arriving?

Rick

I've had the tilapia for a couple of months now, and added some koi for good measure.  They seem to get along ok so far.  The tilapia grow at very different rates, with some still 1" frys, and others 3" long now.  The tilapia huddle around the heater I have in the tank with these cold nights.  The koi don't seem to mind at all.  I think the water temp is around 70-75.  I don't know when this cold weather will break; this is not funny anymore! -Margo
We have run blue cats and Tilapia, but the rule for all fish and crustaceans is size. Everyone eats everyone if they can fit them in their mouth. Tilapia are just as predatory as cats or bass and everyone loves crustaceans, so unless they are big they are not a match to be with your fish, and if they are too big, they will eat your fish.
Margo: For what it's worth (nuthin), my whole family hates tilapia. We find them muddy tasting and get turned off by the effluent-eating use for the fish.

I am raising marbled crawfish in my tank. I have a ton now as they are self-cloning and pretty cool. They put off a lot a of waste and get along with the gold fish. I think the gold fish are keeping the numbers in the tank to a minimum. I don't know if they would get along with tilapia. 

What kind of system do you have? I am just learning and having a ton of fun playing.

I don't know about raising them for food, but I've had good luck just buying the live Louisiana crawfish from the fish department at Fiesta supermarket.  There were available about mid-March.  I think they were about 2 bucks a pound, which is a lot of crayfish.  They were almost all alive and although they have slowly reduced in number, I still have lots many months later.  They are sort of cool, because the ones I'm thinking are females, with two medium small claws are kind of bluish and the males, with large claws are bright red.  I may be all wrong about the sexes.  I've even seen some very small crawfish in the filter basket intake for the pump, only about 1.5 inches long, so I think they are breeding.  Oh, and on the bottom of my pond, I have a number of plastic bulb crates(about 18"X30"X8") that the crayfish can hide under/in/between.  The crates are mainly to provide for a complicated bottom, and also for my Dojo's to hide around too.  My Koi don't seem to bother them much, and I think I found the source of losses, they escape and crawl away.  One evening, while it was raining lightly, my wife got home and said there was a huge "scorpion" outside on the street.  It was one of my crayfish out in front of the house.  I've also heard crayish digging in a permanently wet spot near the pond where the output from my grey-water kitchen sink/dishwater spills out into the yard.  Crayfish will live on land, and dig little vertical tunnels that they go into during the day.  In droughts they seal them up and can live for months until the rains return.  Their tunnels look like little mud volcanoes.  Tiger salamanders cohabitate with them during dry weather.

The only downside to the crayfish is that when I first put them in the pond, I had a bunch of emergent bog plants like cyperus umbrella plants in mesh baskets, that had tons of roots going out into the water(great filtration and filter feeder habitat).  The crayfish chomped all those free roots off, which for a while was a mess, with the fibrous roots getting on my pump impeller, the smaller pieces able to get through or around the screening.

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