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  • #16
    If anyone is interested, a guy I know in Silverton, Oregon is selling his commercial tilapia and hydroponics greenhouses. Not sure if they stay on site or they need to be picked up and moved. I don't know what happened, but something extreme to make him sell out. I think his business is called NW Tilapia, and he was the early tilapia growers in the Northwest, if not the States. I saw the ad on CL the other day.

    Cedar

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    • #17
      Originally posted by Mangler View Post
      Fish Farm Update: All the fish are dead.

      I was gone last week to a seminar in Michigan for five days. As best as I can tell, sometime early Monday morning or late Monday night something tripped the GFCI outlet. The 75 lbs of fish in 250 gallons of water quickly turned the water toxic. By Thursday when my wife checked on the fish, they were all belly up.

      Lesson learned:

      1. Put an alarm of some kind on your system. I was actually at a seminar covering how to do just that when this happened.
      2. Involve your spouse in your hobbies. I should have shown her what to look for and how to re-start essentials systems.

      Such a waste of good food.
      Mangler,
      Any updates on your system after the die off you had? Also, seeing u'r up north to do a system like this or a modified one using wicking grow beds does i have to be inside or could i get away with an outside system. Say when it starts getting cold drain the pipes and wrap the outside of the tanks in insulation or hay bales to keep from freezing solid? also thought maybe I could add something like a stock tank immersion heater that would kick on if water drops to 40. I do have the potential to bury the tanks say 1/2 to 3/4 deep into the one spot in my yard.

      All theory and maybe I'm way off. My garage is taken up so only indoor place i have to do it would be my basement and not sure I want that much moisture there, especially in summer months. Winter we can use the humidity.
      I can explain it to you, but I can't understand it for you!

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      • #18
        Fish Farm Update:

        Last summer's gardening was a complete bust. After the fish died I built a caterpillar tunnel so I would have some in-ground garden space. Well, about a week later a wind storm blew that down. I took it as a sign to "leave the ground fallow" and rest for a season. I didn't do any gardening or raising fish.

        I thought a lot about what I had built and how it worked. I considered the processes and recognized a few changes could be made. One issue is that I don't have running water or floor drains in the garage so I had to bucket all the fresh water in and all the wastewater out during the winter. That got a little sketchy carrying two five gallon buckets of wastewater over snow and ice. And oh my does fish wastewater stink.

        Then I also realized the fish grow so fast that I really didn't need to over-winter them. The wastewater produced during the winter was just that, wasted. It is the wastewater that is the primary benefit of raising fish. The fish grow fast enough that I could have harvested the fish before winter.

        My original design had both main tanks at the same height and my sediment tanks lower than the fish tank. This required several pumps to circulate the water between the sand filter, fish, and sediment tanks.

        Click image for larger version  Name:	FishTank.jpg Views:	1 Size:	69.9 KB ID:	212182Click image for larger version  Name:	SedminentTanks.jpg Views:	1 Size:	108.6 KB ID:	212183

        So, I disassembled the whole system, dug out the 2 ton sand filter, and moved it all outside into the lean-to. Next spring I will rebuild and have the fish tank 18 inches above the height of the sand filter with the cone-bottom tank between the two. I can eliminate the two smallest sediment tanks entirely. Then I can use one pump to circulate the clean water from the sand filter up to the fish tank. The fish tank will overflow into the cone-bottom tank, so I can remove the waste solids. Then the cone-bottom tank will overflow into the sand filter and the water cycle starts over.

        I also have decided to only raise the fish from April to December, give or take a couple weeks depending on weather. I can't circulate the wastewater out to the hydroponics after the air temps get cold because it chills the fish tanks so much the heaters run constantly. Besides, the garden is done after the first frost anyway.

        I am also going to try raising Yellow Perch, which are not tropical. The nearby Red Cliff Indian Reservation has a fish hatchery that has developed a Yellow Perch that will feed on commercial fish food pellets. Normally they require a feeder fish, which means you end up raising two kinds of fish. One to feed the other and double the costs.

        I also plan to convert the whole system to run on 12V DC connected to solar panels. I will have AC as a backup, but with Yellow Perch I won't need to maintain 78 degree water temps.

        Overall, I am very satisfied with what I achieved. When the system was running it was effortless in the summer and minimal in the winter to operate. I just checked yesterday and Tilapia was selling for $9.99/lb in our grocery store. I may not be beating those prices, but I can have fresh fish from a very clean source for almost the same cost, plus I can raise great veggies all summer with the wastewater.

        Well, that's the plan for now. I'll post again when I get started.
        Last edited by Mangler; 12-23-2017, 09:09 AM.
        If it was man made it can be man re-made.

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        • #19
          Mangler, have you considered a geodesic dome greenhouse. Even a small 12 footer would allow you the ability to grow all year with minimal heat due to the ability of using your water as a heat sink. Just a thought.

          Dale

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          • #20
            This can be a great start for anyone that has no room to grow a regular garden.
            Anyone that knows how to do this we would love to hear from you about it. Manglar did a great job on his, but some sound advice and great instruction on getting started would be great.

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            • #21
              Wow, I didn't realize I have been offline for so long.

              To recap, the fish died when the aquaponic system suffered a power outage in 2017. I took 2018 off to drive a mobile medical clinic for the VA, which turned out to be the best summer of my life. In 2019 I disassembled the entire system and moved it outside the garage. Then in September, of 2019 I destroyed my left knee slipping on a boat landing and spent the next three months in rehab. In the summer of 2020, I was late starting the system and tried growing Northern Suckers for a local bait shop just to have fish in the tanks. The problem was I tried to use up the remaining Tilapia feed, which floats, only to realize the obvious, that Northern Suckers are a bottom feeder and would not come up to feed. I sent the fish back.

              Here is the current system setup.

              Click image for larger version

Name:	NewFishFarmSetup.JPG
Views:	22
Size:	1.24 MB
ID:	221016

              This design uses only one pump. The fish tank on the left is set higher than the slow-sand filter on the right. Clean water from the filter is pumped up to the fish tank which overflows into the cone bottom sediment tank in the middle. Water then overflows from the sediment tank into the sand filter where it is recirculated.

              A couple of big benefits to this design is that only clean water is pumped around the system thus preventing a slime buildup inside the tubing requiring the tube to be blown out once a week, and only one pump is needed to move the water. The entire electrical draw for the system is only 19 Watts. The second benefit is that by moving the system outside the garage and raising freshwater fish I do not need to use a light, heaters, or aerators. For aeration I simply let the recirculating water spray down onto the surface of the water in the fish tank.

              I will post updates weekly. If I miss a post, someone please send me a notification to remind me.
              If it was man made it can be man re-made.

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