Monday, July 28, 2014

Aquaponics: Take One!

Our plans for fish farming have been in the works for a very long time now.  We've been dreaming, studying and gathering information for a couple of years.  We are really excited to be finally taking steps to bring our visions of this project into action. 

In the four years we have been working this land we have dabbled in all sorts of endeavors; natural beekeeping, goats, chickens, ducks, rabbits, varieties of perennials, drought tolerant edibles, the standard fruit and vegis, and our family cow.  With a little bit of experience behind us, we are refining our efforts to grow specifically what WE love to eat, which happens to include a good amount of fish!

In this set-up we used standard food grade IBC containers which had been functioning on the farm as containers for rainwater catchment. We are also using a large sump tank on the bottom as a water reservoir. There is a ton to be said about researching aquaponics set-ups. In a nutshell, our main source for a "how to" guide was Murray Hallam's Aquaponics Made Easy.   

As of this week the system we've been working on is ready. We just added about fifty fish, some babies and some breeders.  The fish are being fed a combination of what we have on hand; spent grain, garden vegis, insects and mosquito larvae.  

Tilapia are our fish of choice. They are warm water fish which grow to a large size quickly and they are adaptable and tasty.  The babies, called fry, take anywhere from six months to a year to mature.  The breeders are sexually mature and if all goes as planned, should  mate and produce more fry keeping the system functioning in a closed loop.

Adding our own fresh fish to equation feels like it might just make our homegrown diet complete. Exciting and lots of potential!  We will be reporting back to you all with the results including successes and failures, so stay tuned for more about this project.

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