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#14158 - 07/19/06 06:20 PM Re: Tilapia grow out tank
Meadowlark Offline
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Registered: 03/09/04
Posts: 3075
Loc: East Texas
PFF,

Interesting post...5 inches on the original spawn sounds really good to me as does a spawn from that generation. If we called the original spawn the second generation (original stockers being first), then you should be able to get a fourth generation spawn and maybe even fifth...that would be a whole bunch of Tilapia! You're going to have a bunch of them by fall!

And some fat CC's.

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#14159 - 07/20/06 11:14 AM Re: Tilapia grow out tank
Ryan Freeze Offline
Lunker

Registered: 10/31/05
Posts: 1285
Loc: Southwest Ohio
I have 6 pallet piles, a few rock piles, boulders, 2 sputnicks, and #2 limestone surrounding the pond. There are about 40 LMB, and less than 20 HBG left, 15 CC, and what appears to be a good balance of several generations of BG. Last night I noticed tilapia on nests for the first time. They were in a colony near the shore sprinkled evenly along with an equal mix of BG nests. A couple of HBG were also sitting on nests. I can walk around the pond and see at least 7lbs. of tilapia. I'm pretty sure there is more than that because I only see the large ones when I throw out pellets.
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#14160 - 07/20/06 11:18 AM Re: Tilapia grow out tank
Ryan Freeze Offline
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Registered: 10/31/05
Posts: 1285
Loc: Southwest Ohio
PFF, what kind of cover for the tilapia?
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#14161 - 07/20/06 01:23 PM Re: Tilapia grow out tank
PondsForFun Offline
Member

Registered: 12/24/05
Posts: 668
Loc: Central Texas
I was thinking about the way ewest had his pond caged off with a seine. If you could get your tilapia on one side of the seine and the bass on another they could clean without being harassed. If you only have 40 Bass that should not be too much of a problem. I don't have a lot of experience with a predator laden pond. In my pond the tilapia swim around like the kings of the pond. I was thinking that would be a lot different in a pond with predators. I am just amazed at the numbers of tilapia that came from about 16 adults. They are bank to bank.

Meadowlark- I don't think I can expect any more spawning without their being completely overcrowded. When the temperature drops some and pray for rain , I will stock some HSB. If my health improves I will try to overwinter some tilapia in a 55 gallon aquarium I have in my barn.
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#14162 - 07/20/06 02:31 PM Re: Tilapia grow out tank
Meadowlark Offline
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Registered: 03/09/04
Posts: 3075
Loc: East Texas
PFF & Ryan,

I've got predators...lots of them...HSB and LMB. Believe me, the Tilapia do NOT swim around here like kings of the pond. They are very nervous, very nervous critters indeed, and fearful for their very lives.

PFF, you may see somewhat of an overcrowding condition....especially if you don't add HSB or some other predator. You may recall the "math" discussion that went on some time back where I showed how it is theoretically possible with multiple generations of Tilapia to generate tremendous amounts of forage during a growing season. A large part of that forage will be created this fall with the rolling generation effect. This fall, before the temps drop too much, would be a great time to add HSB...they would absolutely feast on all that forage!

You might get a pretty good fish kill when temps drop, but I wouldn't worry about it, especially if you stock some predators before that....the dead fish are gone before you know it....natures clean-up crew is amazing.

I also hope to be carrying over several pounds of Tilapia this winter....my problem is finding enough time to get a system together.

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#14163 - 07/20/06 02:46 PM Re: Tilapia grow out tank
BrianH Offline
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Registered: 06/25/02
Posts: 417
Loc: Hico, TX
That's funny. My tilapia swim around like kings. I spawned some in a small pond and the first 60 that I moved to the small bass pond act like there is no danger. My bass are on feed and probably not as aggressive but when the few pellets reach the edge of the moss, the tilapia peck at them. This is in pretty deep water. The tilapia are only about 4" long and sprint to the moss only when the bass get within a foot.
PFF thinks they are easy prey and I question a bass's ability to catch the fast buggers before fall. I have to dump most of the water out of the bucket to catch them with my hands!

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#14164 - 07/20/06 04:10 PM Re: Tilapia grow out tank
PondsForFun Offline
Member

Registered: 12/24/05
Posts: 668
Loc: Central Texas
 Quote:
PFF thinks they are easy prey and I question a bass's ability to catch the fast buggers before fall.
You are more experienced than I am, I have never seen a bass chase a tilapia. I was just going on watching them parade around at the top of the pond in schools of 10 dozen without a care in the world except for something to eat. They "look" like easy prey. Looks like a large bass could come from behind and get 2 or 3 at a time.
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#14165 - 07/20/06 04:44 PM Re: Tilapia grow out tank
dave in el dorado ca Offline
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Registered: 04/26/06
Posts: 3261
Loc: el dorado ca
PFF, i was watching a fishing show couple weekends ago and they did a little underwater filming of large schools of tilapia being gorged upon by LMB ranging from 1 to >10 lb down at El Salto,MX
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#14166 - 07/20/06 08:49 PM Re: Tilapia grow out tank
Eastland Offline
Lunker

Registered: 04/20/03
Posts: 1039
Loc: Dallas TX
My tilapia have about half the reflexes my bgill have. While they are great at reproducing and assisting with pond control, they do not have the same keen awareness to fear predators. I like that, it carries by bgill forage well into the Winter, the threadfins & shiners appear harder for predators to catch too.

My pond forage base is very thick and well fed, I'm basing my observations on how fast prey flees the area when an intruder arrives.

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#14167 - 07/20/06 09:37 PM Re: Tilapia grow out tank
Rad Offline
Lunker

Registered: 03/06/05
Posts: 957
Loc: Chumpon Thailand
Mine are some wherein between. However, I don't think they are overly bright. Many that I catch will allow themselves to be taken directly to the net, some at the net will then put up a good fight, some will wind up spending a lot of energy in the net. The smaller ones, pound or so, fight more than the larger ones. An exception being if they have been caught before they are much better fighters. The pacu have always been very skittish, since the beginning of their pellet feeding experience, some unknown thing will panic one and they all flee in different directions. When the direction is up it is fun to watch, I see pacu flying all over the place. This usually happens 2 or 3 times per feeding. Sometimes the tilapia go with them, but most of the time they continue to feed as if nothing happened. The pacu are the largest fish in the pond and have no predators so I don't have any idea why they take off. I do have a predator that is eating tilapia up to about 6". But the smaller tilapia still show up at the edge of the feeding area. I will be moving to the pond in the next month or so and try to sample what I really have.
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#14168 - 07/20/06 10:28 PM Re: Tilapia grow out tank
Theo Gallus Online   content
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Registered: 05/14/04
Posts: 12394
Loc: Central Ohio
Maybe tilapia would wise up wrt, say, BG, if they lived longer than one warm season? Rad's do, but he has no direct comparison for alertness, etc. with common N. American fish.
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#14169 - 08/01/06 10:28 AM Re: Tilapia grow out tank
Ryan Freeze Offline
Lunker

Registered: 10/31/05
Posts: 1285
Loc: Southwest Ohio
The FA problem has not improved or worsened. The algae is not terrible but is more than I can live with. I was finally able to get a gallon of Cutrine Plus last night and I am planning to treat tonight to give the tilapia a boost. This will be the first and hopefully last treatment this year. I expect the tilapia to be able to keep the pond clean the remainder of the season.

Here's one of the average size tilapia. She appears to be full of eggs.

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#14170 - 08/22/06 08:40 AM Re: Tilapia grow out tank
Ryan Freeze Offline
Lunker

Registered: 10/31/05
Posts: 1285
Loc: Southwest Ohio
Bad news: The school where the grow out tank was last year is not going to do the tilapia project again this year. They seem to be shifting the program more toward landscape management and golf course management. The seine I was planning to use is probably not going to be available to remove the tilapia in the pond and the cost to rent one, $150, is not cost effective and seems a little steep considering you can rent a $25K skid loader for <$150.

Good news: Another school that has better equipment and an instuctor with experience with tilapia is willing to take on the project. It's pretty much the same deal as before, I supply the fish and feed and they supply the labor, equipment, and power. They also get a portion of the fish next spring.

I would like to seine to evaluate the overall health and balance of the pond and remove as many gizzard shad as I can in addition to the tilapia. Does anyone have any alternative suggestions or know of source of seine for rent in the Columbus/Dayton area?
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#14171 - 08/22/06 09:11 AM Re: Tilapia grow out tank
ewest Offline
Moderator
Hall of Fame 2014

Lunker

Registered: 03/08/05
Posts: 19590
Loc: Miss.
If your own seine (or paying a mgt. company) is not an option then check into a share deal with an area commercial fisherman. You may be able to talk them into seining for a share of the tilapia as they can probably sell them.
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#14172 - 08/22/06 10:34 AM Re: Tilapia grow out tank
trialsguy Offline
Lunker

Registered: 05/03/06
Posts: 794
Loc: Mo.
Do they eat plankton algae?
I sure am tempted to try and find some for next year and throw them in regardless of the laws..Opps did I say that out loud?
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#14173 - 09/19/06 01:52 PM Re: Tilapia grow out tank
Ryan Freeze Offline
Lunker

Registered: 10/31/05
Posts: 1285
Loc: Southwest Ohio
Brian Carter borrowed a seine and was kind enough to help seine my pond on Sunday. The goal was to remove tilapia brood stock for next springs stocking, remove all gizzard shad caught, and evaluate other populations. The seine was 100' with about a 1" mesh. The tilapia proved nearly impossible to catch by this method and our efforts only yielded two. We did catch about 2 dozen shad in the 6-8" range that promptly became fertilizer. Several LMB, bluegill of various sizes and some large channel cats were also caught. I believe smaller mesh would have delivered a better overall picture of things but the price was right. A seine with a built in bag in the center may also have yeilded more fish. It was a lot of work and a lot of fun. I believe the tilipia are too skilled at escaping for seining to be an efficient method of removing them. About 30 were caught by rod and reel in the evening and were transferred to their winter home yesterday. The students in the natural resources program at the school (winter home) seemed very interested and had many questions.

Here are some of the seining pics


My helper before Brian arrived


Brian and I pulling in the catch



grass carp, 1 of 2


30" and 28" catfish


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"The greatest enemy of knowledge is not ignorance, it is the illusion of knowledge." Stephen W. Hawking

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#14174 - 09/19/06 02:52 PM Re: Tilapia grow out tank
Theo Gallus Online   content
Moderator
Lunker

Registered: 05/14/04
Posts: 12394
Loc: Central Ohio
Ryan:

I wish you had been able to seine more Tilapia out; I would be interested to see if you could determine a big difference in survival rates for seined versus hooked fish transferred into your tank (I have seen this myself and would love more data points). Unfortunately the GShad don't provide much useful data on post-transfer mortality. :rolleyes:
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"Live like you'll die tomorrow, but manage your grass like you'll live forever."
-S. M. Stirling

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#14175 - 09/19/06 04:48 PM Re: Tilapia grow out tank
Ryan Freeze Offline
Lunker

Registered: 10/31/05
Posts: 1285
Loc: Southwest Ohio
The Ohio guys need to band together to get Ohio's fish farms to produce or at least have them available for stocking into our ponds. Seems like it could be more profitable than sending them to market and would be a lot easier than the above method.
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"The greatest enemy of knowledge is not ignorance, it is the illusion of knowledge." Stephen W. Hawking

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#14176 - 09/19/06 09:45 PM Re: Tilapia grow out tank
Theo Gallus Online   content
Moderator
Lunker

Registered: 05/14/04
Posts: 12394
Loc: Central Ohio
Funny how Tilapia are cheaper at the supermarket here than catfish - the opposite of what the Texans report down there. PM's would probably pay more for live Tilapia than the grocer gets for frozen.
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"Live like you'll die tomorrow, but manage your grass like you'll live forever."
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#14177 - 09/20/06 11:39 AM Re: Tilapia grow out tank
Meadowlark Offline
Lunker

Registered: 03/09/04
Posts: 3075
Loc: East Texas
Supply and demand...$10 per pound for live Tilapia is pretty much the going rate across much of Texas. Still a bargain at that price, IMO.

Ryan,

Did you stock the HSB to reduce/eliminate the GShad as you were contemplating and have you noticed any progress yet?

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#14178 - 09/20/06 05:32 PM Re: Tilapia grow out tank
Ryan Freeze Offline
Lunker

Registered: 10/31/05
Posts: 1285
Loc: Southwest Ohio
Yes, I stocked 25 6"-7" HSB. They are about 9-10" already. The mesh on the seine was too large to catch small gizzard shad but no medium shad were netted so the HSB may be doing some good. The schools of shad I observed earlier in the year seem to have disappeared. I failed to mention that I caught one HSB in the seine and have caught a couple while fishing for other species on nightcrawler and the home-made tilapia dough bait.
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"The greatest enemy of knowledge is not ignorance, it is the illusion of knowledge." Stephen W. Hawking

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#14179 - 09/21/06 09:20 AM Re: Tilapia grow out tank
Meadowlark Offline
Lunker

Registered: 03/09/04
Posts: 3075
Loc: East Texas
That's consistent with my experience also...HSB completely foiled my attempts at establishing threadfin shad and later GShad in my pond. They are one fast,hungry predator.

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#14180 - 10/27/06 11:03 AM Re: Tilapia grow out tank
Ryan Freeze Offline
Lunker

Registered: 10/31/05
Posts: 1285
Loc: Southwest Ohio
They're all dead. About a week ago I was mowing and mulched one and saw a couple very sluggish in poor condition in shallow water. The dogs dragged about twenty tilapia from 4 to 11 inches into the yard. There are a few still on the bottom of the pond. Not a big mess but the wife wasn't real pleased when the pups came in smelling like fish. A little FA has returned but not enough to worry about until spring. Hopefully the broodstock I reserved will reproduce enough for stocking again next year.
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"The greatest enemy of knowledge is not ignorance, it is the illusion of knowledge." Stephen W. Hawking

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#14181 - 05/24/07 04:52 PM Re: Tilapia grow out tank
Ryan Freeze Offline
Lunker

Registered: 10/31/05
Posts: 1285
Loc: Southwest Ohio
This experiment has come full circle now so I thought I would officially conclude it. The broodstock did not make it back to my pond this year and like many northerners I was unable to find any locally to stock. The FA really came on strong about 5 or 6 weeks ago and I treated it with Cutrine and eliminated about 95% of it. As of yesterday about 1/4 to 1/3 of my pond was covered in floating mats of FA so I gave it the second dose of Cutrine Plus. Last year with the tilapia I only treated once in late fall after the spring stocking. Although somewhat unscientific this is proof enough for me that the tilapia is effective and practical in my area. It would seem that some of the local fish farms would be interested in growing such a prolific, fast growing fish to sell at $8 per pound live weight, hopefully a local grower will rise to the challenge and provide a much needed service.
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#14182 - 05/24/07 05:34 PM Re: Tilapia grow out tank
Cecil Baird1 Offline
Hall of Fame

Lunker

Registered: 08/08/02
Posts: 20043
Loc: Northeastern Indiana
It's definitely a niche market that could be exploited with the only downside you would have some considerable capital investment in an RAS system intitially IF you wanted to produce your own and overwinter your broodstock. However, if one found a reliable source and had a holding pond, one could purchase them and sell them probably in a few weeks once a year. You'd only need holding pond(s) and a seine and of course some live haul tanks and a large enough vehicle to pull the tanks or place them on a flatbed. You could plant them via a small pickup and small tank to local pond owners.

It's a perfect opportunity for an entrepenuer, as not only could you create a large demand as they are a great environmental alternative to copper products, they provide forage for largemouth bass, you could charge a premium price, and you would have repeat customers due to their die off every fall. On top of that they are a very hardy fish as long as the temps are warm enough as they handle low D.O., high ammonia and hauling very well! What else could one ask for! Wish I had the funds to exploit this market! Maybe I should find investors? I'll bet you could get a free write up in a local paper and have all the local business you wanted!

I've done everything but hit other fish farmers over the head with this idea, but they seem to be slow to accept new ideas. I had the same experience telling them not to pitch their male broodfish trout after use as I could make some money selling them for them, and they said they didn't want to be bothered with it. :rolleyes: I now raise them myself and sell them for $100.00 a piece to other taxidermists. Go figure! I can't keep up with the demand and I would guess the same would happen with the talapia!

You know what's really wild about exploiting this market? RAS investors are going out of business left and right trying to raise more difficult, slower growing fish for much less. No one has made a profit in RAS's on perch yet! Not one person!
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