Backyard Aquaculture (fish farming)

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chuck_n_grace
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Re: Backyard Aquaculture (fish farming)

Post: #221817 chuck_n_grace
Mon Jan 24, 2011 6:07 pm

Hi,
Learned from some smarter people that these critters are not bacteria...but other kinds of organisms. Our 400X scope is not big enough. Anyhow, I'm hoping to classify these things.

I'd check our tap water...but frankly I'm afraid to see what's lurking in our system. :)

Regards,
Chuck

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Re: Backyard Aquaculture (fish farming)

Post: #221933 chuck_n_grace
Tue Jan 25, 2011 5:40 pm

*Update*
Well we added 20 more goldfish to our lot of 23. We've got a much better handle on water chemistry so I thought we were ready to try some more. We've been examining water under a 400X scope. Trying to learn about all of those critters.

We're experimenting with food types, feeding amounts and feeding times. Today Grace will try some fresh veggies.

We ate Tilapia for the first time last night. It was very nice...great seasoning. We decided we could eat that kind of a fish twice a week so that is our fish of choice. We're thinking March...if the current fish grow and the plants develop...will be the time to add a couple of fish tanks in the backyard in a hoop greenhouse. We're looking at ways of doing that cheaply.

Regards,
Chuck

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Re: Backyard Aquaculture (fish farming)

Post: #221974 chuck_n_grace
Wed Jan 26, 2011 1:25 am

Hi,
Here's an Underwater shot of the fish during feeding.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8WxtQEuj6nY

And our Aquaculture part 5. It might take a few minutes for this to work...still uploading.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q6IYpdI2hpI

Regards,
Chuck

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Re: Backyard Aquaculture (fish farming)

Post: #222104 chuck_n_grace
Thu Jan 27, 2011 2:02 am

Hi,
Received an email today from a local Fishery Biologist. He viewed our video and provided lots of useful and thought provoking information.

Just as important, he can provide us Tilapia 'fry' or 'fingerlings' for a very good price in March/April.

Grace just approved me adding a couple of more tanks to our garage...once we've moved out the nursery for spring planting. I've got measurements, a lot of lessons learned, and even more helpful hints from others. I'm really excited about this.

Grace and I had Tilapia the other night...along with some "Fish n Chips". The Tilapia was soooo good! I'm anxious to get our fish production underway. :icon_smile:

Regards,
Chuck

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Re: Backyard Aquaculture (fish farming)

Post: #223151 chuck_n_grace
Mon Feb 07, 2011 6:09 pm

*Update*

It has been over 3 weeks now. I can report that the water chemistry is cycling as predicted regarding the Nitrogen cycle.

1) 40 Fish produce waste.
2) Waste results in ammonia being released into the water.
3) Bacteria converts the ammonia into nitrites.
4) Bacteria converts the nitrites into nitrates.
5) The plants absorb the nitrates into their developing root system.

We've tracked the rise of these items....which is cool seeing that bacteria is hard at work doing what they were created to do.

We took an entire quilt batting (100% polyester fiber) and fluffed and stuffed it into several tights. I added marbles to the bottom of each tight foot to keep it from floating. We placed these into a 2 1/2 gallon bucket. The water now passes through a course filter and into this 'biofilter'. It then pours into the grow bed. The goal of this biofilter it to provide significantly more surface area to grow bacteria. This will be important as the fish grow larger.

In regards to our future plants, we would like to buy two more containers and place them in the garage with the purpose of growing Tilapia. We've learned a lot so I'm confident that our design will be able to accommodate so many fish.

Regarding plants, we've been a bit impatient waiting for the nitrates to build up to sufficient levels. However we're hopeful to see some significant growth in the upcoming weeks.

Regards,
Chuck

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Re: Backyard Aquaculture (fish farming)

Post: #223164 grahamhobbs
Mon Feb 07, 2011 7:49 pm

Following this thread still with interest, keep it coming, thanks

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Re: Backyard Aquaculture (fish farming)

Post: #223666 chuck_n_grace
Sun Feb 13, 2011 12:22 am

Hi Graham,
I'm glad to share what we learn.

*Update*
We're still losing fish every other day. The nitrite levels are still high. However, I've learned over at [url]backyardaquaponics.com[/url] a few things.

1) Need 6 - 8 weeks to get this cycle stabilized...so expect high nitrite levels...and possible loss of more fish.
2) I've removed the biofilter made of polyfill...learned that 1 cubic foot of grow bed media (rocks) will support enough bacteria to support 1 pound of fish. I'm dumping the pump discharge directly into the grow bed.
3) Plants have been starting and then dying within a few days. Suspected lack of nutrients. With this new system, the nutrients are no longer filtered...so we're hoping to see some spectacular growth.
4) I lowered the lighting down just on top of the grow bed (by about 2 feet). Lighting in a garage is a really big issue that needs resolved.

Our two goals remain:
1) No more dead fish.
2) Good plant growth.

That's our status. To help with the high nitrite level in the water I'm adding 20 gallons to the 150 gallon system. Of course, the water is from an outside spigot (54°F) and the tank is at (73°F). I'm adding slowly and allowing the single 400W heater to compensate.

Regards,
Chuck

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Re: Backyard Aquaculture (fish farming)

Post: #224865 chuck_n_grace
Sun Feb 27, 2011 11:26 pm

Hi,
Over 40 fish still alive. The nitrite level is finally starting to come down...which is good because they are dangerous to fish. The grow bed is doing well...but we hope to double its size and add additional lighting to hang above the bed.

I'm talking to the fish on a regular basis...and each time I do they go into a frenzy...so I feed them. :icon_smile: It's definitely going to be hard to eat proper fish when I add them later.

Oh yeah, the big benefit is dipping a container into the tank and pulling out some water for some plants...nutrient rich.

Regards,
Chuck

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Re: Backyard Aquaculture (fish farming)

Post: #224874 oldjerry
Mon Feb 28, 2011 5:48 am

Thanks for this thread ,Chuck, I'm following it closely..seems potentially a tremendous protein source.Do the tilapia taste like common carp?

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Re: Backyard Aquaculture (fish farming)

Post: #225242 chuck_n_grace
Sat Mar 05, 2011 5:18 am

Hi,
I've not tasted carp. However the Tilapia does indeed have a very mild flavor. So much that you need to add something to give it flavor.

*Update*
Nitrites are a 0 ppm...FINALLY! :cheers:

The 40+ goldfish have been growing quite nicely. The tomato plants have developed their second set of leaves and showing signs of good growth. I bought 6 more plant bulbs tonight along with fixtures. Hope to add them along with a second grow bed.

Regards,
Chuck

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Re: Backyard Aquaculture (fish farming)

Post: #226249 Arwel
Tue Mar 15, 2011 11:59 pm

Inspirational stuff! Sadly I dont have the time for such an awesome project at the moment but perhaps i'll get round to it this summer. Have you thought of closing the loop and maybe producing your own fishfood (perhaps a massive wormery?)? Again, excellent thread!

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Re: Backyard Aquaculture (fish farming)

Post: #226831 chuck_n_grace
Wed Mar 23, 2011 2:57 am

Hi,
I actually haven't thought about 'completing the loop'. That's an interesting idea to grow our own fish food. For the moment I'm going to stick with purchasing 'protein' pellets. I'm curious if soybeans might work? Maybe some sort of processing. Then again the idea of growing worms might work too! Thanks for the idea.

*Update*
My only problem now is that I lack the 'poundage' of fish to produce the quantity of waste products required to feed the grow bed. The fish are growing, but I don't think their combined weight is more than 1 pound.

I bought a second container for a fish tank and cut off the top. I've cleaned it thoroughly and am ready to put it in position. I intend to fill it with rainwater. Unfortunately it hasn't rained much lately...we're 3" below for the month.

If I buy and stock enough 3-4" Tilapia, that should give me enough to support a few square feet of growbeds.

Regards,
Chuck

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Re: Backyard Aquaculture (fish farming)

Post: #229008 chuck_n_grace
Mon Apr 18, 2011 1:37 am

*Update*
I reorganized our garage. I had to move our tank with 1200 pounds of water about 6 feet and rotate 90°. Thank goodness for a nice pump. The two tanks are now in their final locations.

Goldfish are doing very,very well. I built a larger filter out of fiberfill and ladies stockings. This has done a great job in cleaning up the water.

Next weekend is Easter. It's a 4 day weekend. I hope to build a grow bed for the second tank. Need to get the Nitrogen cycle going so we can populate it with fish.

This aquaculture experiment has taken 2nd seat to managing our garden.

Regards,
Chuck

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Re: Backyard Aquaculture (fish farming)

Post: #229014 oldjerry
Mon Apr 18, 2011 6:51 am

Chuck, gardens are easy!.. I'm really learning something here...please keep this thread going! Best wishes.

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Re: Backyard Aquaculture (fish farming)

Post: #229927 clare.donovan
Tue Apr 26, 2011 10:28 am

Hi Chuck,

This thread is amazing! I cant wait to show my other half when he gets back from work this evening. I have kept a well stocked fish tank for years since the days of my zoology degree and my other half is an engineer in the water industry, so aquaculture is a fascinating combination of both our passions!! We are hoping to move house in September, and this would make a great project for the new house :iconbiggrin:

I have spent all morning looking into this topic (rather than revising - oops!). I tried to open the links to your videos from earlier in the post, but only the 1st would play for some reason, although I did find them all after searching for you on youtube. (Im not the best with computers, so it was probably me doing something wrong as to why they wouldn't play :? ). All your projects look really interesting and have given me ideas to think about!

Please keep posting to let us all know how you are doing!
Clare.


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