Aquaponic Gardening

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Switching from Tilapia to carp? What do you think?

Hello fellow community aquaponic folk! I am new to the community, and this is my first ever blog!

I live in Los Angeles CA, on the outskirts of town by Sylmar. Now, this is a pretty wonderful place to have an aquaponics farm set up because it has fairly good weather year round. However, around this time last year, when my industrial sized aquaponic system was about to go into its first winter, the temperature suddenly dropped below 65 degrees at night and the water dropped with it. In 2 days we must have lost around 500 tilapia and all of our plants died. Fortunately there were a few people on the base I live on that helped recover the system by installing heaters, replanting, water culture, ect. Now, I learned from that mistake and I have a solar heater that will do the job this winter ( the cost of bucket heaters ran the electric bill up WAY to high so cant do bucket heaters again) but I am curious to see if there is an even more simple alternative to the weather...

I have done some research and put and awful lot of thought into maybe switching from tilapia to a carp family, or maybe just keeping both carp and tilapia depending on the outcome of this winter. I know that carp are a local fish, so in the ponds around us there are carp living naturally in the wild, perhaps it would be wise to get a local fish so that death is not a result of low temperature. I think I am pretty set on it... I am okay with not harvesting as much fish to eat as I would with an "all tilapia system". I am more concerned about crops then I am about fish. I am very interested in raising Koi.

I also have 3 smaller 250 gallon systems that I have tilapia in as well. I do not have a heating plan for them other then the bucket heaters. I figured that they are smaller so it will take less to heat them. I would love to switch them to a fish that I would not have to worry about in the winter.

And I don't have a green house for any of these systems yet. However, I am pretty sure that I will be able to build one in the spring/summer.

What are your guys thoughts on the switch???

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Comment by Robert J on October 18, 2013 at 5:47am

Below is a link to an interesting article.  I was suprised to see catfish as principal for your area, as I've had trouble keeping them alive in high heat (85+ degrees), but I suspect the difference is the breed.  I've found bass to be most resilient to tempurature change. .  None-the-less, I've found stocking game fish that lives in local fresh water lakes and ponds have the best survival rate without temp control.

Comment by Noah Howard on October 15, 2013 at 7:57pm

Averan, I have connected with  a somewhat local Koi Club, and I have a friend who has a good relationship with them and I am actually getting a donation of Koi, since the aquaponic operations that we run here are help end starvation in developing countries! Very exciting...

Randall, I am not sure if there are catfish around here, but I will look into that because I would love to have some catfish. It would be Ideal to have a few different kinds of fish.

Michael, I will get some more pictures of the systems that we have here up for you too see along with the solar heater as soon as I can.

Thanks guys!


Comment by Averan on October 15, 2013 at 6:46pm

for cheap koi, contact your local koi club. breeders often give away the less than perfect fingerlings for very cheap.

Comment by Averan on October 14, 2013 at 11:55pm
Koi are awesome. There are a couple of other things you can do for the night time temperature swings: build a cold frame hoop house, insulate the tank, add the solar heating coils, and disable any auto siphons at night. If you use koi and do all those things then they will eat more and produce more fertilizer than they otherwise would allowing more plant growth.
Comment by Michael Gray on October 14, 2013 at 10:12pm

I think switching to Carp is a good idea, with the cost of heating in mind. I also used grass carp , Blue Gill Brim and Gold fish.   I was wanting you tell use more about the solar heater. and show some pictures of it if possible.  


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