Saturday, June 23, 2012

More on Tilapia Farming

Even though I just got home from being out of town for work all week I’m itching to head down south this time. 

I discovered a website called Tilapia Mama down in San Diegohttp://www.mybackyardfishfarm.com/page/page/7135722.htm  Tilapia Mama holds classes once a month for $5.00.  Yes, you are reading that right.  Five dollars.  Tilapia Mama will show you how to make your Backyard Fish Farm (BFF) using either 55-gallon barrels or the 275 gallon totes.  I want to use my 650 gallon stock tank.  According to the website you can raise 12 fingerlings in a 55-gallon barrel with each fish growing out to a pound.  In other words, 12 pounds per 55 gallons.  This means my stock tank should be able to grow out 140 pounds of fish. 

I had read that it was illegal to raise tilapia north of the Tehachapi’s.  Tilapia Mama explained that it is legal if you are raising them in a closed system and you are not selling them commercially.  No, this will be to keep us as self sufficient as possible so I guess we are legal. 

Tilapia Mama figures to get started it will cost about $150. including the barrel.  Here's her suggested shopping list:

1. MyBFF starts with a used 55-Gallon food grade barrel.
Do not cut the barrel. Alternative: Buy a new barrel. 
(Sources: hydroponics store, craigslist.com. In San Diego, Brit Cool is a dealer on craigslist.com for 55 gallon barrels and 275 gallon totes). 

For more information on how to put MyBFF together and the protocol for how to use it: Attend Tilapia 101 Workshop on the first Saturday of every month, from 3 to 5 pm.  Barrel must NEVER have had any soap in it.

 Alternative: Next, get the following essential items:
Petco
2. Air pump, rated for 36" deep - Petco brand
3. Ammonia Test Kit
4. Aquarium heater, 300 watt

Costco (or any drugstore)
5. Vitamin C (for organic dechlorination)
Home Depot
6. Chlorine Test Kit  (or get it at a pool supply store)
7. Five-gallon buckets (2)
8. Two-gallon bucket (1)
9. Pool Thermometer

San Diego Pet Supply (15th and
Island Ave
, downtown San Diego)

10. Twelve (12) of Tilapia Mama's fingerlings from San Diego Pet Supply, open 7 days a week. They sell the fingerlings for between $1.00 and $3.00 depending on the size of the fish.  


MyBFF Optional Items
These items are useful, but optional: 
Target
Optional: Net Laundry Basket (for keeping the small fingerlings together in the MyBFF barrel)Optional: Kiddie pool (for growing duckweed)
Office Depot
Optional: Large Binder Clips   to to(to attach the net laundry basket and for the hoop greenhouse) Item # 963439  
Petco
Optional: Dip nets (for handling fish and duckweed)
Home Depot
Optional: Hot water heater insulation (to help keep the barrel warm)
Optional: Canvas drop cloth (to cover the insulation for a more durable covering)

Optional: Plumbers hand pump
(effective for transferring water by hand)
Optional: 1/2 inch PVC (for hoop greenhouse  over to cover MyBFF backyard fish farm)

San Diego Pet Supply (15th and
Island Ave
, downtown San Diego)

Optional: Pellet food to supplement duckweed. Tilapia food must be safe for human consumption.
Optional: Dip nets (for handling fish and duckweed) 

Hydroponic Plants
See Cornell University Method for Hydroponic LettuceResource: Cornell Lettuce Handbook  
For more information on how to do it: Attend Tilapia 101 Workshop  
Home Depot (for Cornell University Method Hydroponics)
.6 mil plastic for bed liner
1/2 inch PVC for hoops
3/8" rebar
hole saw
4 x 8 rigid insulation for rafts
mixing tub (to raise duckweed) 

Nursery or Garden Supply
pH test kit
128 cell trays
Peat Moss/Vermiculite/Dolomite Lime
Epsom Salt

8 comments:

  1. Glad to see you made it home safe...heard there were lots of accidents on I-5 this week. Love this post...talapia are my next "food" project. There's a fellow in the county north of me (Glenn) that has a small operation. I've already gathered the things I need...just have to put it together and get the fish (he has fingerlings). BTW: The solar guy was a bust! Not what I had in mind at all...I want OFF GRID! Did get some of the plumbing handled and cleared the area around the cabin...about a 500 foot perimeter...no branches, no needles. Thank goodness my brother went up with his crew to help...and the skip-loader!

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    Replies
    1. 500 feet! Great defensible space. These solar folks don't want to deal with off grid. In fact, most of the salespeople are trained in a two week training class and have never really had any solar experience at all.

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  2. I'm curious about the legality. Is this because of the potential of being an invasive species?

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    Replies
    1. That's what I was told, which is why it didn't make sense that you couldn't keep it in something enclosed. This didn't make sense because Hanford has a community garden where they are growing tilapia and Sanger High does this as part of their ag curriculum.

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    2. In Florida they had problems with people keeping lion fish in aquariums and then when a hurricane would hit the fish found their way to the ocean. That's the only rationale I can think of.

      Good article, thinking of making the drive to San Diego next month.

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  3. Interested to see how your setup progresses. Are you going to be posting pictures?

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    Replies
    1. I will put up pictures when I put this together. I probably won't get to it until the end of summer since summer is my busy work time and often I'm away for weeks on end.

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  4. Very nice and informative blog posting. Among all the fish, tilapia fish is Awesome! Farming this fish is very profitable and easy. I like this fish very much for it's unique taste and value.
    Tilapia Fish Farming

    ReplyDelete