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I checked state regulations regarding raising tilapia and they are extensive and very stringent if you are to follow the law, which is what I will do. So I've decided not to raise tilapia even though that is what I would have preferred. I wanted a food fish that is an omnivore, but am having a hard time finding species that are suitable. I'm nearly sure that I will raise Koi along with a food fish (as opposed to ornamental). Some candidates are: hybrid bluegill, black crappie, hybrid buffalo, and the perennial catfish. I would appreciate any suggestions.

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Comment by Gus Cabrera on September 19, 2010 at 7:11pm
I like the idea of growing tilapia seasonally. Here in New Orleans we have a very short winter and most years it hardly freezes. This past year was an anomaly in that we had prolonged cold and sometimes freezing temperatures.
Comment by TCLynx on September 18, 2010 at 5:24pm
Many people do grow Tilapia seasonally, I'm not much for it personally. Unless you are going to get all male stock, you may be hard pressed to actually get a grow out of 1 lb all at the same time and getting all male stock might not be all that cost effective for for a backyard scale grower (the hormone fed fry all male stock are often sold with a minimum order of 1000 which would be too many for most backyard scale systems) (manual sorting of larger fingerlings to get all male stock to grow out has to be done when the fish are big enough to even tell the genders apart which definitely raises the price of the fish and manually sorting for gender is labor intensive as well as prone to errors.)

I might some day grow some tilapia again but we probably wouldn't be growing them to feed us but to actually allow a few large ones to breed so we can feed the fry to the chickens and ducks during the summer.
Comment by George T on September 18, 2010 at 3:55pm
I've also observed that water quality makes a big difference, regardless of species. It's true with fish from lakes, ponds and rivers.

TC, this won't help Gus, but what do you think of growing Tilapia seasonally, stocking in spring and harvesting in fall, with target weight of at least one pound? I live in Jacksonville. I'm thinking of stocking two to three species, with one of them possibly being Tilapia. You've sold me on at least trying channel cats.
Comment by TCLynx on September 18, 2010 at 3:36pm
I've not observed catfish and koi living in the same tank personally. I've heard some people keep at least one catfish in their koi ponds to help clean up feed that the koi don't get that goes to the bottom though I don't know if that is really necessary. In many situations, when trying different fish together, you probably want to use similar size fish since smaller fish tend to be food in some situations.

I know some people won't do catfish and to each their own. However, I want to let everyone know that Catfish grown in an AP system taste great. That whole "muddy flavor" doesn't affect the catfish in my system. Granted, the fish in my system go from tank to processed very quickly, no hanging round in an ice chest or stressing out in a live net waiting to be brought back and processed. The whole thing happens very fast and the time the fish has to stress about it is very limited which probably improves the flavor/quality of the meat.
Comment by Gus Cabrera on September 18, 2010 at 2:27pm
Thanks for the input, George and TC. Any thoughts on how catfish and Koi would interact?
Comment by George T on September 18, 2010 at 11:53am
Crappie would be my first choice, with respect to table fare, although bluegill are very good too. My wife is prejudiced against catfish. As to culturing any of them, I can't speak to that yet.
Comment by TCLynx on September 15, 2010 at 9:07am
Hay Gus, I must say that we love the channel catfish. I started out doing channel catfish and added tilapia a couple months later but after a couple years of tilapia, I decided they were not worth the trouble. Even in a cold frame type greenhouse in central Florida, the past two winters got too cold to keep tilapia in a flood and drain media system without spending extra money to heat the water.

The Catfish taste great and get bigger. We find them easier to clean and think they taste better. Bonus, they survive freezing temperatures and are native fish.

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