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I am wondering if anyone has stocked tilapia in their ponds and observed any results good or bad. Did you notice any size gain in your fish? Did you notice any difference in the amount of FA or plants growing in your pond? Anything you have observed I would love to hear about. Thanks, John

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John, lots of us have used them as a pretty good tool. They're not a magic bullet but I don't recall any negatives.


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.

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There are lots of threads here on many aspects of tilapia. Try this list.

http://www.pondboss.com/forums/ubbthreads.php?ubb=dosearch&topic=0&Searchpage=1

Last edited by ewest; 02/08/10 10:08 AM.















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Hmmm... that link isn't taking me anywhere ,but back to this page. Thanks

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JohnK, as Dave Davidson said, Tilapia are not a magic bullet, they are the closest thing to it for ponds though...It is all about your goals for your pond. The most used phrase on this forum is it all depends. It is also the most accurate phrase. I invite you to follow the link in my signature to an ebay listing. I have a rather long winded synopsis that is wriiten to be easily understood and provides a great deal of information as to what tilapia can do and why.

Every pond and every pond owner is different. Tilapia may be a perfect fit for you, they may not.



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I was wondering if tilapia coud be raised in a netted cage in my pond in MI.? I would love to add some to the pond but when the michigan cold comes I would hate to see them floating dead. I would like to raise them for food, I was wondering if in a couple warm months if they would grow big enough to make a meal?

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Pullo -

From hatch to harvest you need anywhere from 6-9 months of growout time. Closer to 6 months time with high protein food, ideal temps and good water quality. More time without those things.

A lot of people I sell to for small backyard systems buy fry or 1 inch fingerlings in the fall or winter, grow them out inside until spring and then cage raise, stock tank raise or release into their ponds (depending on what they are using them for). Buying fry or 1 inch fingerlings saves a ton of money on shipping and the fish themselves are much cheaper. However, some people don't have the time or desire to mess with raising their own out in this fashion, so they buy advanced size fish. Just keep in mind that when you are trying to produce some food fish for yourself at a reasonable cost, you really are best off starting with fry stock.


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So if I were to do this, I would raise them in a tank until the temps are right, then raise them in nets in the pond, then bring them back in in late fall when the temps drop. Might be a pain I guess, anyone try this technique?

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You harvest them in the fall and fill your freezer with them. You could retain a few for breeders if you felt like trying to breed them over the winter.


12 ac pond in NW Missouri. 28' max depth at full pool. Fish Present: LMB, BG, RES, YP, CC, WB, HSB, WE, BCP, WCP, GSH.
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What kind of setup would be needed to keep a couple over winter and raise some young


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weissguy you said 6 to 9 months from fry to frying pan, here in MI. I bet I could possibly obtain 4 months at the most of warm water to raise them, thats if it's warm! (last summer was cool for us so water stayed cooler longer.) So I would have to bring them inside to a set up for them to grow bigger.

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 Originally Posted By: lassig
What kind of setup would be needed to keep a couple over winter and raise some young


I hear they do fine in aquariums and you can even hatch some that way. I have a 330 gallon recirculating aquaculture system that I am using for bluegills this winter that would be more than enough space for a up to 100 pounds of them. Only thing is I would have to warm the water. My water in the system in the basement won't get above 62 F. which isn't warm enough for good bluegill growth either.


If pigs could fly bacon would be harder to come by and there would be a lot of damaged trees.






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Hey cecil baird1 could you send me a picture of your set up? sounds very cool.

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 Originally Posted By: Cecil Baird1
 Originally Posted By: lassig
What kind of setup would be needed to keep a couple over winter and raise some young


I hear they do fine in aquariums and you can even hatch some that way. I have a 330 gallon recirculating aquaculture system that I am using for bluegills this winter that would be more than enough space for a up to 100 pounds of them. Only thing is I would have to warm the water. My water in the system in the basement won't get above 62 F. which isn't warm enough for good bluegill growth either.


Thanks Cecil, thought so but didn't want to take it for granted. Sounds like a water heater is needed.


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 Originally Posted By: pullo
weissguy you said 6 to 9 months from fry to frying pan, here in MI. I bet I could possibly obtain 4 months at the most of warm water to raise them, thats if it's warm! (last summer was cool for us so water stayed cooler longer.) So I would have to bring them inside to a set up for them to grow bigger.


Rather than trying to finish them indoors in the fall (which would take massive amounts of space, equipment and work), grow out fry indoors beginning in the winter until temps are high enough in the spring to stock them in cages outdoors. You'll be stocking fish that are already 3-4 months old, which means a 4 month outdoor growing season wouldn't be a problem.


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Thanks for the input guys. Rainman i will read your ebay page. Thanks again

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 Originally Posted By: pullo
Hey cecil baird1 could you send me a picture of your set up? sounds very cool.


http://www.pondboss.com/forums/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=195136&fpart=1

If you're interested you can get all the info you need by ordering the book Small Scale Aquaculture by Steven VanGorder for about $25.00 or less.

http://www.amazon.com/Small-Scale-Aquaculture-Steven-Gorder/dp/0967773202

Last edited by Cecil Baird1; 02/10/10 11:19 PM.

If pigs could fly bacon would be harder to come by and there would be a lot of damaged trees.






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The pond was in its 2nd season when i stocked them. first year was awful with green crap all over the surface each time i fertilized. that was my reason for stocking.


Here are the observations of the tilapia in my 3/4 acre pond:



i didnt have as much trouble with the green stuff after the tilapia.

the only young tilapia i saw were about 3/4" long, i guess they were being eaten as soon as they were hatched.

they ate pellet fish food like hogs!!

i was able to catch them on artificial jigs which made me worry that they were eating young bg.

my bass are skinny as a rail. didnt see any benefits for the bass, but seemed like the bg were growing super. maybe that was because the bg were eating the young tilapia? or the aquamax pellets.

the big dissapointment for me was that i was told at the end of the year i was going to be able to scoop up all of these slow swimming fish and have a great big fish fry..didnt happen!!! a day or 2 after the water got really cold, we had an exceptionally warm day, the water coming in the upper end was warmer and i was able to net about 6 or 7. the rest sunk and died i guess..since then i have seen a few floating dead.

with all this said, i might do it again if it is convenient for me to get some early in the spring. the only reason i would is because i am afraid that i may have green floating stuff troubles again...


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oh yea, you cant beat the prices of fillets at wal-mart..


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I'm going to up the amount of Tilapia that's stocked in my pond this year. My main goal is to reduce the FA in the pond, secondary goal is provide forage for the LMB. If I'm able to catch some towards the end of the year, all the better. I figure that I'd be spending the same amount of $$ on chemicals, so by having small Tilapia for the LMB to eat I'm $$ ahead as it is.


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Thanks for the input guys.

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Rather than start a new thread, I'll ask here. I stocked 8" HBS and 6" LMB last fall in a 4-5 acre pond that already had CNBG, RES, FHM from last spring. Would stocking Tilapia this spring , and at what size, be very advantageous or should I wait another year to get the most out of the Tilapia? du


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David,

I can't think of a good reason NOT to stock some tilapia this spring, at 10lbs per acre. Your bass should be large enough to take advantage of tilapia offspring. Our mix of 3"-8" mature mozambiques would be a good size to stock. We have Walter servicing the North Tx area now and he could bring you some or meet you with some tilapia boxed up.


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 Originally Posted By: Cecil Baird1

If you're interested you can get all the info you need by ordering the book Small Scale Aquaculture by Steven VanGorder for about $25.00 or less.

http://www.amazon.com/Small-Scale-Aquaculture-Steven-Gorder/dp/0967773202


I FINALLY got my copy of the book. Been planning on getting it for about a year now. hehe. Tons of great info in there, though some is a bit dated. It's still worth every bit of the $20 I spent on it, and I've hardly even cracked the cover yet.


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John,

When I learned about using tilapia from this forum a few years ago, I didn't really expect anything, but gave it a try. We have a family run golf course in Franklin,Tn and I knew we were spending huge amounts of money on chemicals to fight algae problems in the ponds.

I was lucky enough to have an International Market in Nashville, which sells live tilapia for 3.49 LB. I bought 10 lbs the first year. In less than 90 days we took an acre pond that you could walk across because of FA to a fishable and pleasant to look at body of water.

Fast forward to last year. My brother contracts out to scuba divers to salvage golf balls. One day last summer my brother relayed this conversation he had with the diver. He said the diver came up after a short while underwater and asked what we were using on the pond. My brother had no clue what he was talking about and said what do you mean. The diver said he had never seen a pond stripped clean of FA like this and thought we had to be using some new powerful chemical.

I got such a kick out of that story because it cost less than 40 bucks for the whole year.

We have a couple of small ponds(1/4 acre or less) on the course also. As an experiment this past year I put in 5 fish (not lbs..fish) in each small pond. Now these are muck filled nasty bodies of water. The Only fish to survive each year are green sunfish (a staggering number)

By the time October rolled around, we had at least 4 identifiable generations of tilapia in the small pond. The most incredible part of our experience was the fact that the tilapia displaced the green sunfish in 1 season. From 5 fish to catching up to 3 lb tilapia in an overcrowded GS pond to me is unbelivable..but that is what happened.

In reference to fishing...Our 1-acre pond is somewhat unique. It sits less than 200 ft from the Harpeth River. We usually get a flood or two a year. I have logged 17 species of fish on rod and reel. I understand from this forum that this is not an ideal setup for good Bass fishing. I think the tilapia have helped. After a few years of 5 lb Bass or smaller, I finally cracked the 6 lb barrier last fall. It might have nothing to do with the Tilapia, however I believe it did.

I was worried the first few years about the die off in the fall and winter. Not anymore. In October-November I told my brother to look for dying tilapia. We have yet to see 1 dead tilapia in four years of use. The thing that got my attention last fall was the animal droppings around the pond. I am talking MOUNDS with fish scales stacked as much as 10" deep. We are fortunate to live in an area with great wildlife variety and believe me..they ate better than I did last fall.


Last edited by Hal Johnson; 03/08/10 05:27 PM.
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That is AWESOME Hal! Wow. Thanks for sharing that.

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What a tremendous account, Hal. Thanks a ton for sharing that. I am stocking tilapia in my 1/2 acre pond this coming spring and, based on your experience, am really anxious to see what they do. I had a pretty bad watermeal problem last year, followed closely by FA, and can't wait to see what they do. Compared to the cost of chemicals, if these babies do the work for me like they did for you, it'll be an annual experience for sure.


Todd La Neve

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 Originally Posted By: Hal Johnson
John,

When I learned about using tilapia from this forum a few years ago, I didn't really expect anything, but gave it a try. We have a family run golf course in Franklin,Tn and I knew we were spending huge amounts of money on chemicals to fight algae problems in the ponds.

I was lucky enough to have an International Market in Nashville, which sells live tilapia for 3.49 LB. I bought 10 lbs the first year. In less than 90 days we took an acre pond that you could walk across because of FA to a fishable and pleasant to look at body of water.

Fast forward to last year. My brother contracts out to scuba divers to salvage golf balls. One day last summer my brother relayed this conversation he had with the diver. He said the diver came up after a short while underwater and asked what we were using on the pond. My brother had no clue what he was talking about and said what do you mean. The diver said he had never seen a pond stripped clean of FA like this and thought we had to be using some new powerful chemical.

I got such a kick out of that story because it cost less than 40 bucks for the whole year.

We have a couple of small ponds(1/4 acre or less) on the course also. As an experiment this past year I put in 5 fish (not lbs..fish) in each small pond. Now these are muck filled nasty bodies of water. The Only fish to survive each year are green sunfish (a staggering number)

By the time October rolled around, we had at least 4 identifiable generations of tilapia in the small pond. The most incredible part of our experience was the fact that the tilapia displaced the green sunfish in 1 season. From 5 fish to catching up to 3 lb tilapia in an overcrowded GS pond to me is unbelivable..but that is what happened.

In reference to fishing...Our 1-acre pond is somewhat unique. It sits less than 200 ft from the Harpeth River. We usually get a flood or two a year. I have logged 17 species of fish on rod and reel. I understand from this forum that this is not an ideal setup for good Bass fishing. I think the tilapia have helped. After a few years of 5 lb Bass or smaller, I finally cracked the 6 lb barrier last fall. It might have nothing to do with the Tilapia, however I believe it did.

I was worried the first few years about the die off in the fall and winter. Not anymore. In October-November I told my brother to look for dying tilapia. We have yet to see 1 dead tilapia in four years of use. The thing that got my attention last fall was the animal droppings around the pond. I am talking MOUNDS with fish scales stacked as much as 10" deep. We are fortunate to live in an area with great wildlife variety and believe me..they ate better than I did last fall.

Hal

Thanks for your report, we need to hear from you more often! Your BOWs sound really interesting - I'd especially like to hear exactly what 17 species ended up in your pond due to flooding/stocking.

LMB
SMB
WC
BC
Common Carp
CC
BC
FC
Bigmouth Buffalo
Smallmouth Buffalo
Mirror Carp
Longnose Gar
Shortnose Gar
Sauger
Gizzard Shad
BG
and.....
Tilapia?


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TJ,
It is times like this when I'm grateful that irony isn't a known carcinogen.

You left green sunfish off the list.

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I thought we were listing FISH species, not parasitic organisms?


Many men go fishing all of their lives without knowing that it is not fish they are after. ~ Henry David Thoreau

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Picking on poor JHAP's beloved fish during tax season just ain't fair...

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Sorry,

Don't know all the abbreviations.

Small Mouth Bass
Large Mouth Bass
Rock Bass
Warmouth
Channel Catfish
Yellow Bullhead
Green Bullhead
Blue gill
Green Sunfish
Pumpkinseed
White Crappie
Black Crappie
Common Carp
Gizzard Shad (snag)
Tilapia
Unidentified
Son caught goldfish someone in the neighborhood let go.

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Fish Acronyms

I have never heard of a green bullhead? Do you mean black?

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I'm not sure!! I used to keep a log of fish caught, but not anymore. That is what I had written down. Remember, I love to fish but I am not a fisherman. (haha)

I had never seen many of the fish I was catching, so I had to use the internet for identification. Not so easy!

Anyway, the 1 acre pond was originally stocked with LMB,BG,and CC only. I do not have the option to manage like many of you, (One heavy rain event and we have 3 holes three feet under water)
however, I do like the fact that every day can be a surprise, so it makes fishing more fun.

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Todd,

We had watermeal problems too. Tilapia solved that problem also. The bad news is that they only did it after the FA was completely gone.

I read somewhere Tilapia have been used in Egypt to actually lower sediment levels in places. High concentrations of fish had to be used and I will test that this year. Still a little too cold outside to start.

Good luck,

Hal

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learn something new everyday. Now I know what to add this spring.


Just working my pond for Grandkids
GET THE NET PAWPAW
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Sounds like a very unique fishery Hal...

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Here is a picture from 2006. The ponds to the right had watermeal and duckweed 4 inches thick. I remember telling my brother I could get that out in no time. I grabbed my dad's pool leaf net and pushed it in the muck. It must have weighed 80 lbs. That stuff is dense! Needless to say I didn't finish the job. I'm glad those days are gone.

[/img]

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Strange that it didn't make it to the bigger pond to the left and the creek.


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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Hal, did any fish survive in those ponds with that heavy a duckweed and watermeal infestation? All the sunlight being blocked would sure cut down the food chain and I'd think the DO would suffer as well...

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 Originally Posted By: Hal Johnson
Todd,

We had watermeal problems too. Tilapia solved that problem also. The bad news is that they only did it after the FA was completely gone.

I read somewhere Tilapia have been used in Egypt to actually lower sediment levels in places. High concentrations of fish had to be used and I will test that this year. Still a little too cold outside to start.

Good luck,

Hal


Interesting to hear that, Hal. I just yesterday got to check the pond that will be stocked with tilapia and the ice is out and I can already see some of the FA or what I believe to be FA. It's not heavy, but it's there. The WM didn't really emerge last year until later summer, so perhaps the tilapia will have plenty of time to work the FA before the WM appears and things will go smoothly. I'm getting a pretty good amount of fish for my this 1/2 acre pond, so I'm hoping the volume of fish will let us see a good impact this year. Rex (Rainman), who I'm getting them from, has said that it would likely take a couple of years (since we'll only have the fish for probably 6 - 7 months due to water temps) to get things really under control, but that after that time we should be able to go with a smaller number of fish if we want.

Thanks again for that additional insight. Looking forward to seeing them at work this year.


Last edited by Todd3138; 03/11/10 09:28 AM.

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The only fish to ever survive until tilapia, were the Green Sunfish and I know why. I have determined Green Sunfish do not require oxygen.(Slight exaggeration) Last year we trained the Tilapia on whole kernel corn by throwing a few handfuls a day out during the year. By fall you could literally catch a fish a second, no exaggeration.

Early on, we would catch 10 to 1 Green sunfish. By October, reverse those numbers. The wild thing a found out about Green Sunfish is I would take a couple of buckets to hold the fish we caught. Tilapia would pipe to the surface fairly fast, However, I noticed you could cram dozens of Greenies in a bucket and the never acted like they were stressed.

The years we had horrible watermeal and duckweed problems, Green Sunfish survived by the thousands.
Last year I started letting all the <2 lb. LMB from the big pond go in the small ponds. Caught a few in the fall that looked like they swallowed a basketball. Those middle ponds are muck filled nightmares. Last year I was putting in some floating islands (Thanks Adirondack) and sank past my knees in muck. The pond was only 5 or 6 ft. deep originally and now with all the undecayed tree limbs and leaves more like 0-3 feet. Told the family we will need to dig it out someday, but Im not holding my breath.

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The big pond has never had duckweed or watermeal.(FA to the max) It is only eight feet at the most but gets a lot more wind. Most duckweed and watermeal problems exist in calm water surrounded by trees.

The big pond is also the course irrigation pond. We pump water from the river into the pond and out to the course. Challenging during the last few years of drought. Pump runs 12 hrs. a day and sometimes the pond will still drop a few feet.

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Great posts Hal...glad you are hanging around. We need all the TP research/stories we can get to educate the forum. I'm learning more everyday thanks to pond managers like you.

You mentioned significant accumulation of "muck" on these shallow ponds - have you ever considered aeration? Would help faster decomposition of the organic material and help you reclaim some depth.


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Have wanted to for years. Even got a quote from Sue.That is definately a project i would like to do. Problem is it rained all spring last year and we lost a lot of days. People who think you are rich if you own a Golf Course have never owned one. If one of you guys want one I can get you in cheap.

With that said this has turned into a mission this year. When someone tells me it can't work...I do my best work. I have a full time job in the concrete business, do all the maintenance on the carts, and thanks to my brother, will be mowing till 10:00 p.m. 4 days a week this year.

My son will be washing carts at slave wages and will be recovering Golf Balls in his non-existent spare time. Not sure what the wife will be doing besides giving me the usual orders, but we will find something.

Thanks to the Tilapia I might actually have enough time to fish a day or two.

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Hal, That was a great story. I am very excited to see what they will do for my 2 acre pond. Most of my problem is also FA and possibly Chara. I hope they wipe it out. Thanks for the reply's
John

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Well I got my tilapia from Weissguy and they are doing great. I noticed those fry are pooping machines. I have about 170 1 inch fingerlings in a 20 gallon tank inside for now. I can tell I am gonna need another filter on that tank. I fed them like crazy and they keep wanting more! It seems like they eat a bunch and two minutes later it's coming out the other end, holy crap! Then I have about 30 2-3 inchers in the 100 gallon tank in the garage. They are doing well for now ,here's to good luck for my fishes!

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JohnK,

Tilapia should have feed available 24/7 till they reach 3 inches in length...If you do that, they will hit 3 inches in less than 3 weeks... \:o



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Wow, How do you have feed available 24/7 ?

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 Originally Posted By: JohnK
Wow, How do you have feed available 24/7 ?


Take them to Denny's


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In a small setup, feeding 24/7 is not practical. In our production tanks and ponds, we use belt feeders that use a clockspring that is wound daily. Food is poured onto a belt and it moves the full length to let the food fall slowly over the day to be constantly available.

At home in my small tanks, and now that it is my full time job, I feed small fish 15-20 times per day. If your filtration allows, you can over feed and let the fish browse some during the day.



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So THAT'S how you do it, by feeding them foof! grin

Ya had to go and correct the typo, didn't ya?


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Yeah, I had to jump over to the Fish Acronyms wondering..... What tha Foof is "foof"

Oh well we all foof up if we type long enough.


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 Originally Posted By: JohnK
Wow, How do you have feed available 24/7 ?


Rainman already answered the way it's done on the commercial side with the belt feeders, and they work great let me tell you.

A good alternative method, IMO for home growers, is to grow fry and fingerlings in greenwater. You still feed as frequently as you can, but in between feedings the tilapia will browse on the algae. This helps offset the reduced feeding frequency when you aren't available 24/7 to feed them or don't have a belt feeder due to cost (they are somewhat expensive).

I actually tested this method myself this winter by splitting up offspring from the same male and female into two separate tanks. One had cultured greenwater and the other was clear water. The fish were fed the same amounts at the same frequencies. The tilapia in the greenwater tank grew nearly twice as fast as the ones in clear water.


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For those who doubted the power of the tilapia prepare to be amazed.

First have algae infested ponds..check




Next of course comes the Tilapia..Check






Next...Release said Tilapia..check




Finally, wait for 15 inches of friggin rain and presto, no more algae...









All was not lost however..Gingie the wonder dog got to swim for the first time..








Six days of hard labor and $15,000 to $20,000 in damage to the pump house and bridge repair later we are back open.. Has anyone seen my Tilapia?

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Hal, sorry to hear about the damage. I believe the Tilapia are starting to munch on the spilled crude oil. That's why the oil isn't becoming a problem.

Hopefully they took refuge in the lower level of the pond, if not they're probably out in the Gulf by now.


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I was really wanting to see what these guys could do.

Sorry about all the rain, we flooded a couple of years ago.

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I believe Yolksac had the same problem in the Nashville floods...Last I heard the water level of the beautiful pond that I stocked with 75 pounds of blue tilapia was suddenly 6 feet higher and connected to a river about 600 yards away that is normally about 30 feet lower!



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Sounds like some tilapia were calling that river home til winter set in...

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Originally Posted By: DJT
Originally Posted By: JohnK
Wow, How do you have feed available 24/7 ?


Take them to Denny's


Hehehe.... New research paper coming out. "Tilapia Culture: The GrandSlam Method"

But to answer the question seriously, you use belt feeders. They are a bit pricey for the home/backyard grower though.


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Regarding belt feeders. If a feeder is listed as a 24 hr feeder, and has a capacity of 5#, does that mean that it dispenses up to 5# of feed in a 24 hr period depending on how the feed is placed on the belt? I've never used one or seen one other than a picture. I'm assuming that you pull the belt back to wind it, load the feed on the belt come back 24 hr. later and repeat?


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Originally Posted By: Weissguy
Originally Posted By: DJT
Originally Posted By: JohnK
Wow, How do you have feed available 24/7 ?


Take them to Denny's


Hehehe.... New research paper coming out. "Tilapia Culture: The GrandSlam Method"

But to answer the question seriously, you use belt feeders. They are a bit pricey for the home/backyard grower though.


Not if Ken (Catmandoo) gives you one for free. grin

Scot, I have two of them. One is acting up. The belt wants to slide forward too easily. Not sure what the deal is but I will look at it.

Last edited by Cecil Baird1; 05/20/10 07:45 PM.

If pigs could fly bacon would be harder to come by and there would be a lot of damaged trees.






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If you want an extra set of eyes to look at it, just let me know.


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Just keep in mind that belt feeders can also be a real quick way of killing fry. Put too much food on them, and you can destroy water quality while you are away... returning to a smelly tank of dead fish and rotting food.


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So what is the trick to using cultured green water? What are the steps to get it green? Do you still use filtration and aeration?


When is the best time to start growing these out inside to stock in ponds once warm enough?


How long would it take to grow one out inside to get big enough to eat?


Can these be grow outside if the temps are warm enough or you use a heater on your tank or system?

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Would you mind explaining you 100 tank setup in the garage? I am thinking of trying something like this and wanted a little input.

Please let me know where I can purchase items needed to get one setup.

If you happen to have some pictures you could post as well that would be great.

Thanks

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