Friday, September 14, 2007

Tank Raised Tilapia

I don’t know why more farmers and homesteaders don’t raise fish in tanks for consumption. From my naïve, don’t own land yet, never farmed point of view, it seems quite logical for a number of reasons:
  • Almost everyone loves fish prepared in one way or another: fried, baked, scampi, broiled, stewed.
  • Fish is a healthy and lowfat source of protein.
  • Tilapia are more economical and easier to raise than other fish types.
  • Raising fish in an above ground tank under an overhang eliminates water contamination from rain and groundwater.
  • Tilapia is particularly well suited for raising in a tank.

Once ensconced onto ONE ACRE FARM, I fully intend to try my hand at raising fish in an above ground tank made of timbers and a liner or, even better, out of concrete. I’ve seen above ground cisterns made waterproof with a waterproof plaster coating. A squat cistern is just another fish tank.

In addition to shading the tank to reduce sun and rainfall, I think I’ll also try a biofilter. Here in Florida, water and bog bog plants grow wild in the ditches. The ditches are full of them. By biofilter, I mean an assortment of mineral layers that provide for the growth of beneficial bacterial and water plants that use and transform fish waste. For instance, with the fish tank, I can make or buy a large tub; layer it with sand, volcanic stone, charcoal, etc; and then in a top layer of sand, plant water plants. Water pulled through this medium should be cleaner. The pump will cycle the water and oxygenate it for the fish. I can also pump the water through a bit of black pipe exposed to our hot sun to warm the tank. Tilapia are tropical fish and like warmer water. Like the beneficial bacterial, the plants also will a bsorb nitrogen from the fish waste. I haven't thought through the feed issue. I'd rather find something self sustaining and organic if possible. Perhaps vermiculture.

The end goal for me is about having a very healthy, controlled source of fish for consumption. And although I could snag one here and there for supper as they're gaining weight, I imagine, like with poultry, it might be best to raise them to weight and then harvest them all at one go; clean and fillet them all in one day and freeze.

Here are some interesting websites on the topic:


Anonymous said...

You can grow duckweed in wading pools to feed the tilapia. I got my first duckweed by asking for a cup of water from a tank of water plants at a greenhouse. As long as you keep the pools warm and in the sun you will have more than enough food for the fish.

Bill said...

Great idea. I'm thinking that could be an excellent supplement.