Aquaculture

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by Arborethic, Oct 19, 2005.

  1. Arborethic

    Arborethic Well-Known Member

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    I've had a passing interest in aquaculture for many years. I've raised fish for recreation, such as bream/bass in our farm ponds. But a couple of years ago I built a new pond and as soon as it had enough water in it, I stocked Channel Cats and Georgia Hybrid Bream (this fish gets up to 3.5 pounds is one of the best tasting freshwater fish there is!).

    The pond was large enough to stock 700 Channel Cat fingerlings and 100 of the Hybrid Bream. The fish were fed daily and we only had a handful of fatalities. When they got up to eating size, we pole fished for the Bream, but I'm too short on time to wait on Catfish to bite.

    I installed an easily managed trot line by pounding four T-posts into opposing banks of the pond. I used heavy gauge wire to attach 2 inch diameter harness rings to each post. I then threaded a long braided 1/8" nylon line through the rings and followed by pulling the trot line through. A cylinder of foam was used to roll up excess line. The trot line itself is the type with pairs of beads affixed to the line. You use a snap (looks like a big safety pin) to dangle the hook off the line. The beads keep if from sliding up or down th line.

    When I want to harvest some catfish, I bait anywhere from 2-20 hooks with cheap stinkbait, pull the line out across the water and lower it about a foot into the water. The next morning I might have fifty pounds of fish on line. That's where those snaps come in handy. I just unsnap the hook, line, and fish from the trot line and drop them in the tractor bucket or a barrel. The hooks are then more easily removed while cleaning the fish. To keep it simple, we fillet the fish with an electric filleting knife.

    We use floating fish food, which is fed in a floating ring. I took a 100' lenght of black poly pipe and bought one male-male connector and two stainless steel hose clamps. Assembled, that gave me a 30 foot diameter feeding ring, which was anchored near shore with a piece of quarter inch nylon rope. It has saved us a lot of feed wastage when the wind was blowing. No need to fatten up the local racoons!

    Over the past two years, we've eaten about 100 pounds of catfish, and given away as much. But I still have a LOT of catfish left, perhaps three or four hundred. I suspect that they have polished off the remaining bream, because the catfish are pretty large now, about 6 or more pounds each. Next time around, I believe I'm going to build some floating cages so that we can sell them locally all at one time.

    My next aquaculture project may be SHRIMP! Yep, I was amazed to discover that this is a growing industry. You don't even need a pond, you can use a relatively cheap above ground pool.

    http://county.ces.uga.edu/habersham/aqua/upstrom.htm
     
  2. seedspreader

    seedspreader AFKA ZealYouthGuy

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    Why not netting on the bottom of the pond before you populate it? Ever thought of Tilapia?
     

  3. Arborethic

    Arborethic Well-Known Member

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    Strong netting is fairly expensive, and I'd have to get into the water to wrassle fish out...no way could I pull several tons of them out, even with the tractor. Fish also get tangled in the netting and die. It is important to remove dead fish ASAP...on the bottom I wouldn't see them.

    Some of the commercial operations just drain their ponds (most are only 4 feet deep). I built my pond with long term drought in mind, so it is 23 feet deep. A neighbor who raises on a commercial scale, installed posts in the floor of his pond, below the surface, to hang up the nets of thieves! He raises a crop to about 1.5-2 pounds, drains the pond, then laborers throw the fish into skid buckets that a bulldozer drags out.

    I've considered Tilapia, but have more confidence in the types of fish I've worked with over the years for the larger scale efforts. I have considered them for cage raising as a test. I've eaten Tilapia and they're pretty good.
     
  4. seedspreader

    seedspreader AFKA ZealYouthGuy

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    Yeah 23 ft is a little deep. If it was a standard catfish pond, nets would still be best (not one big net, but I am sure you knew that).

    I have seen the pond netted into different zones for harvest (vertically).
     
  5. Hovey Hollow

    Hovey Hollow formerly hovey1716

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    Actually, looks like the shrimp need about the same temps. Anyone know the most economical way to heat a swimming pool?
     
  6. cowgirlone

    cowgirlone Well-Known Member

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    I raise shrimp. Fish will wipe out your juveniles if they are not protected.

    Edited to add, If you do a search for Shrimp in this section, it will bring up past discussions about raising freshwater shrimp. Shrimp farming has worked out great for me here in Oklahoma! :)
     
  7. gobug

    gobug Well-Known Member Supporter

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    If I recall correctly, I got this link in this forum; the Mahan's use a 55 gallon barrel to raise catfish. Their system uses table scraps to raise worms and the worms to feed the fish:

    http://www.survivalplus.com/foods/page0007.htm

    Cowgirlone, I recall the thread and some of your photos when you got started with the shrimp. I think I will go back and read it again, also. Do you have any updates?

    Hovey, check Ebay and search for "solar swimming pool heater". There are always several of the same or similar panels for sale that I've seen go for $100-175. I've been watching lately because I've been thinking about using one to heat water on my mountain property. I don't know if they are suitable for this application. I asked a couple sellers if they could be used for potable water and never got an answer. It may be a good way to heat an above ground fish tank.

    Here in Denver, a commercial fish farm called me for help with a fly problem. They grew bass as a fresh fish for the restaurant industry in the area. It was impossible to use any pesticide, so I brought fly strips. While I was pondering where the flies were reproducing, feeding time happened. Each of the ten 20,000 gallon tanks had a wooden stair to a small platform where the feeder would empty a large bag of feed. The water roiled as the fish swarmed the bait. Some feed ended up on the gravel below and I instantly saw where the flies were breeding. Case solved with simple clean-up.

    Gary
     
  8. Arborethic

    Arborethic Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for the suggestion, and the insight. I haven't looked at fee fishing very closely. I guess what put me off is having so many strangers just 'dropping in'. I'm in and out a lot now, but if I ever retire that might be just the ticket....especially if I add the five-eight acre pond/lake I'm considering down in the bottom.
     
  9. Arborethic

    Arborethic Well-Known Member

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    The Georgia Hybrid Bream might work for you. I think (but haven't checked) that they can tolerate lower temps than Tilapia. One strategy would be to purchase a small lot, maybe 25-50, and try to grow them out in one season. The only 'problem' we've had with large harvests of fish is the fairly limited time you can keep them frozen. Some literature says 6 months; some, 3 months. I'd rather err on the conservative side when it comes to eating spoiled fish! LOL...
     
  10. BobK

    BobK Well-Known Member

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    If you vacuum pack your fish it will easily keep 6 months or a weebit more...but why bother when you have them right out your door?
     
  11. dheat

    dheat Well-Known Member

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    Have you considered aquaponics? It's kind of a cross between aquaculture and hydroponics. Very symbiotic. Go here for more information.

    Regards,

    Doug
     
  12. Hovey Hollow

    Hovey Hollow formerly hovey1716

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    One reason I wanted to use the swimming pool is that it is right next to the garden. Backwash from the filter could be dumped onto the garden........great fertilizer!