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#450653 - 06/27/16 01:17 PM bcotton's small scale aquaculture and aquaponics
bcotton Offline


Registered: 05/01/13
Posts: 203
Loc: Texas
Some people may remember my aquaponics thread from a few years ago. I continue to learn and try to find better ways of doing what i do. I know its not exactly pond related but I dont have a pond and i learn a lot about raising native fish here. So if there is interest i will attempt to "give back" and share what i am doing in my back yard as i turn it into a quarter acre suburban food forest.

I have two 1500 gallon fish tanks and one 700 gallon fish tank, and about 400 square feet of aquaponics grow beds. I also do soil gardening in raised beds and whicking beds. I have young fruit trees and wine grape plants that I hope to gain perennial harvests from in future years.

I always think its neat to watch fish eat (especially from under water). Here is a couple of videos i made this morning. The first one has 150 channel cats and the second one has 50 channel cats and 100 hybrid striped bass.

Right now, they are all eating the same AM 400 fingerling/starter food. Once they get bigger i will move the hsb/channel cat tank to am500/600, but the channel cat only tank i will use the more omnivore balanced feed (lower protein/lower cost) am2000/4000 . generally we identify high protein with fast growth but i think the idea is that the omnivore is more appropriately balanced for catfish and they should not grow any faster on the high protein predator feeds than the properly balanced omnivore feeds?

I really like how the catfish swarm and glide around like sharks stalking their prey. And the speed/agility of the HSB is amazing!

This is one of many projects i have "growing on".




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#450661 - 06/27/16 02:12 PM Re: bcotton's small scale aquaculture and aquaponics [Re: bcotton]
Dave Davidson1 Offline
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Registered: 01/04/06
Posts: 13996
Loc: Hurst & Bowie, Texas
Brian, you're doing some neat stuff. What size are the fish?
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It's not about the fish. It's about the pond. Take care of the pond and the fish will be fine. PB subscriber since before it was in color.

Without a sense of urgency, Nothing ever gets done.

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#450662 - 06/27/16 02:22 PM Re: bcotton's small scale aquaculture and aquaponics [Re: bcotton]
bcotton Offline


Registered: 05/01/13
Posts: 203
Loc: Texas
these are brand new fingerlings i picked up this weekend they are 4-6 inch range right now

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#450798 - 06/28/16 10:22 PM Re: bcotton's small scale aquaculture and aquaponics [Re: bcotton]
Bernie H. Offline
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Registered: 02/15/05
Posts: 104
Loc: Northern Ky
Your videos are great! I'm raising some 3"-5" HSB in a 4 foot cage but my water is not clear enough to see their action underwater at feeding time.

I guess I'll just have to be content watching them break the surface.They are vicious attackers. I love watching larger HSB that I caged raised the past two yrs attack the aquamax.

It seems to me that their actions are keeping the GC away from most of the pellets and on the edge of the feeding area. Only when most of the splashing is done do the GC move in. So, that is another plus for the HSB.

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#450826 - 06/29/16 06:13 AM Re: bcotton's small scale aquaculture and aquaponics [Re: bcotton]
Dave Davidson1 Offline
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Registered: 01/04/06
Posts: 13996
Loc: Hurst & Bowie, Texas
I believe Brian could train earthworms to eat bluegills. He does some amazing stuff.
_________________________
It's not about the fish. It's about the pond. Take care of the pond and the fish will be fine. PB subscriber since before it was in color.

Without a sense of urgency, Nothing ever gets done.

Boy, if I say "sic em", you'd better look for something to bite. Sam Shelley Rancher and Farmer Muleshoe Texas 1892-1985 RIP

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#450882 - 06/29/16 08:01 PM Re: bcotton's small scale aquaculture and aquaponics [Re: bcotton]
bcotton Offline


Registered: 05/01/13
Posts: 203
Loc: Texas
I am a bit embarrassed by the high grass, weeds, unfinished parts and junk laying around but i have a plan and there will not be any grass in my back yard when i am done.

The system starts with the aquaculture/aquaponics. I run the water through the DWC beds and the 1 gravel bed. I have not planted the DWC(deep water culture) beds because wylie, tx was hit by a biblical style hail storm back in april and i have to replace the liners. I thought they werent damaged but i guess they were.. because after i filled them with water I found they all seem to have slow leaks. Hopefully i can get that project done over the holiday weekend.

The back yard slopes to the back of the property so i pump the water up the incline to the fish tanks and grow beds and everything gravity feeds back to the sump tanks (the ibc tanks in the middle)

I used to be aquaponics only for growing vegetables but at the end of the season i have piles of garden waste, vines, leaves, vegetables that were damaged too much and i was like what do i do with this stuff? So i have started composting my leftover organics and that's what i use to fertilize the raised beds and wicking beds. Not all of the beds are built yet.

also, it occurs to me that maybe not all plants grow the best in aquaponics (sweet potatoes, radishes, beets, carrots, etc?). They can! but It's like a screwdriver vs a hammer.. Use the right tool for the job.

the grassy area between the grow beds and the fish tanks has the steepest grade. It would be difficult to level it well enough to build anything on it so i am going to try to turn it into a couple of long hugelkuture mounds. If you dont know what hugelkulture is... the word is german and means hill culture... and it's basically a stack of decomposing wood and leaves that you plant vegetables into. There's pluses and minuses but because of all of the organic/carbon material it is supposed to soak up water like a sponge, protect it and be more drought resistant than maybe raised beds. I have no experience here so this will all be fun/experimentation



The big overview



the fish tanks, sump and filtration. The shade cloth is to try to keep the sun off the water and temps down. It was something i was able to acquire second hand for free after one of the large PGA tour golf tournaments came through dallas. Apparently they buy 10's of thousands of dollars worth of shade cloth and carpet and they throw it all away afterwards. But they made it available to be picked up if you just come and get it. So I have a lot and I will be using more of it to shade some of the grow beds.


DWC beds


raised whicking beds fill of peppers, some okra and a few flowers to help attract predatory insects


gravel grow bed from the ferrocement build. It has been plumbed into the big/new aquaponics system. It has some experimental plants, mostly bananas, a hibiscus , a few unusual tree/bush saplings that i started from seed like mulberry, pawpaw, serviceberry, chokeberry, quince


The raised grow beds have some assorted squash and cucumber plants mixed in with the big sunchokes (edible tubers related to sunflowers). The pots have small trees that are either tropical and cant live year round outside, or i havent decided where i want to plant them yet. a few varieties of loquats, fig, jujube, bananas, lemon and lime



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#450891 - 06/29/16 09:34 PM Re: bcotton's small scale aquaculture and aquaponics [Re: bcotton]
esshup Offline
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Registered: 01/26/09
Posts: 24033
Loc: Grovertown, Indiana
Cool!! How'd you start the banana trees from seed? wink grin

That IS what I'm seeing, right? (or wrong?)
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#450893 - 06/29/16 09:46 PM Re: bcotton's small scale aquaculture and aquaponics [Re: bcotton]
bcotton Offline


Registered: 05/01/13
Posts: 203
Loc: Texas
that must of been poor writing on my part. I started the mulberries, pawpaws and other berries from seed but not the bananas..

though there are some banana varieties that do make seeds and you can grow them from seed. These were all pups.

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#450906 - 06/30/16 12:25 AM Re: bcotton's small scale aquaculture and aquaponics [Re: bcotton]
esshup Offline
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Registered: 01/26/09
Posts: 24033
Loc: Grovertown, Indiana
bcotton, no, your writing is good, you didn't say that you started the banana from seed, you didn't mention them at all. I was just curious!! wink I saw them, and thought those look like banana trees. I wonder...................... grin
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3/4 to 1 1/4 ac pond LMB, SMB, PS, BG, RES, CC, YP, Bardello BG, (RBT & Blue Tilapia - seasonal).

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#505792 - 05/13/19 11:49 AM Re: bcotton's small scale aquaculture and aquaponics [Re: bcotton]
bcotton Offline


Registered: 05/01/13
Posts: 203
Loc: Texas
I culled a few catfish from the 1000 gallon tank in the background of the pictures.

I have let the fish load get too high and it was getting difficult to feed them without the oxygen in the tanks dropping and the fish going into distress. I Think there still 70 or 80 catfish left averaging about 4 to 5 lbs. So i will have to keep taking them out every week as the temps and water temps start to increase.

I had some company over and sent about a lb of fillets home with each person and then i took 7 lbs to my moms yesterday for an extended family fish fry.. i still have 3-4 lbs in my fridge for dinners this week.


good problems i guess.

I remodeled the grow beds some this year and i will post on that sometime soonish.. The plants/vegetables are really coming online like they never have before. Really excited for this year in the garden


Attachments
IMG_20190511_180750.jpg (94 downloads)
IMG_20190511_181333869_HDR.jpg (81 downloads)



Edited by bcotton (05/13/19 11:49 AM)

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#505814 - 05/13/19 09:19 PM Re: bcotton's small scale aquaculture and aquaponics [Re: bcotton]
Bill Cody Online   content
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Registered: 04/18/02
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Those are very nice food quality fish to be growing in aquaponics.
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#505823 - 05/14/19 01:14 AM Re: bcotton's small scale aquaculture and aquaponics [Re: bcotton]
bcotton Offline


Registered: 05/01/13
Posts: 203
Loc: Texas
Thank bill, i respect your opinion a lot and always welcome your feedback.

I assume the health is mostly to do with the feed, since the only other thing i do is try to keep the water quality decent. Been using the optimal aquaponic formula i guess intended for tilapia but i figure close enough... omnivores.. right?

so far this year i havent seen iron deficiency (or any nutrient deficiencies) in my plants and thats rare for this time of year, I always had to dose with chelated Fe in the spring.

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#505824 - 05/14/19 01:17 AM Re: bcotton's small scale aquaculture and aquaponics [Re: bcotton]
bcotton Offline


Registered: 05/01/13
Posts: 203
Loc: Texas
i just realized these are the same catfish from the youtube video a few posts up... i guess they are 3 yo now.. i am gonna make a little nest out of a 55 gallon blue barrel and see ifi can get a spawn.. am i too late for this year?

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#505875 - 05/15/19 06:13 AM Re: bcotton's small scale aquaculture and aquaponics [Re: bcotton]
Dave Davidson1 Offline
Moderator
Lunker

Registered: 01/04/06
Posts: 13996
Loc: Hurst & Bowie, Texas
Brian, you are doing amazing stuff
_________________________
It's not about the fish. It's about the pond. Take care of the pond and the fish will be fine. PB subscriber since before it was in color.

Without a sense of urgency, Nothing ever gets done.

Boy, if I say "sic em", you'd better look for something to bite. Sam Shelley Rancher and Farmer Muleshoe Texas 1892-1985 RIP

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