Im looking into raising my own fish to eat. And ive seen a couple of sites on raising fish in plastic tanks and tubs. And im just looking into what I need to do and the equipment needed to be able to raise my own fish.
Depends on what you want to raise, trout is very different from catfish which is different from tilapia. Tilapia is probably the most protein for the buck, they eat grass and algae and grow quickly. If you are using tanks you need alot of waterflow, so alot of electric pump power. If you have farm ponds in your area you can build cages to float fish in while they grow to harvest size.
What is your water source, a water heavy raceway is typical for trout, usually if there is a spring or creek on your property it will cover the water usage without electricity to pump it. Trout do best in cold water 50*F works well. Then there is the issue of effluent, ( poop/pee/uneaten food), the DNR should be someone you ask considering this if there is a lake or stream within 1mile of where you will emit this type of water. You will also need to learn biology of trout, and find a veterinarian that will cover things you don't want to, trout have issues that you need to learn about.
If you should go with catfish, I can't help you much there, but they aren't nearly as picky about environment or food.
Perch, bluegill, pumpkinseed, and hybrid panfish are pretty easy, and can be done with minimal freshwater replacement, there are kits for students that will allow you to raise enough for you to fill your freezer. Filtration systems can be minimized by keeping a 1 gallon/fish ratio, the added water volume also gives you more time to respond to power outages, external temperature changes, illnesses, etc... Your fish will also be happier with a little more room to swim in, the important measurement on container aquaculture is surface area more so than depth, the larger the surface area the greater the natural exchange of gasses from the water to the air. Should you choose a more intensive method, be prepared to shell out more bucks on equipment.
Two very useful pieces of equipment to help with water clarity is UVfilter, and ozonater, I've been to operations that have proven their worth and would be on my short list.
Disolved oxygen will become a familiar term, and it makes/breaks a container system, you can get good water test kits for a couple hundred bucks, not an area to skimp in my book, but you have to learn how to use them properly.
Where will you get your fry from, how will you transport it home so it makes alive, plan on at least a 25% mortality rate from start to finish on each batch until you get stuff figured out.
Check out the dvd/book library in the Aquatic Eco-systems catalog, lots of great info their. University extension in your area should be another resource for you.
Tilapia, they need warm water, and that costs too much money in my neck of the woods, but would work well in Southern Cal., not sure where you are though.
Check out www.aquaticeco.com they have a great catalog that covers enough to make your head spin.
I hope this helps some, I've collected quite a bit of info over the years and spent many a weekend at seminars to make sure I knew what I was getting into, but then I'm looking at it from an income standpoint and to raise my kids around more than one edible science project.
To get good fish for your table only, it may be more economical to find a small operation to buy from.
While planning an aquaculture set-up, and examining the water requirements, filter systems, pumps and plumbing, oxygenation and ozone/ultra violet sterilisation, etc., I came across 'Aquaponics'.
Having previously had a small scale hydroponic vegetable garden, I was intruiged by the notion of combining the two, (Hydroponics and Aquaculture), which would result in a simple system that would provide a good supply of both edible fish and a supply of vegetables, with a minimum of water usage and without the use of expensive filtration.
Most of a set-up can be built with off-the-shelf parts and recycled/salvaged bits and pieces: I have a second-hand above-ground swimming pool to use as a fish tank, and am collecting old bath-tubs to be filled with gravel and used as filter/grow beds.
I've previously posted this web-site: www.backyardaquaponics, and feel that it is well worth having a look at. Although I did purchase Joel Malcom's book, cd/rom and dvd, just about all you need to know can be found on the web-site - including lots of free advice and assistance from an ever growing community of 'aquaponicers'.
If you find the site to be of interest or value, could you please post a comment on it?
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