Saturday, November 16, 2013

Tilapia Move

Its that time of year, again. Cooler temps, change of seasons, WINTER! Im not a fan of winter. Sure its pretty, love to be inside a warm, clean, nice smelling house watching the snow lightly fall down. But then....I have to don on layers and layers of clothing to head out to take care of the critters. My sons say I look like a Gorilla going out to milk cows????? If you get some visual picture of that, good for you. I dont even own a cow.....yet???? Then theres the driving in the snow. Im not  a good driver on dry, sunny days let a lone snow!       I drive slow, in a state where the minimum speed is
 80 mph!
Back to where this blog was suppose to be going. Moving our Tilapia. During the summer months our Tilapia enjoy basking in the warm, heated by the sun, pool or 150 gallon tank in our greenhouse aka The Church. They supply my grow beds with nutrients aka fish poo that feed my plants. All goes along smoothly until the weather changes and it gets too cold for them to stay in a non heated greenhouse. Thats when I move them. I have been thinking about a new set up for them. Brain storming. Dont ask me where I get my ideas...Joel Dear says, "God forbid  Angela should ever get bored!"  Honestly I dont think my mind ever shuts off.
 I have an IBC tote, that I had originally wanted to use for my fish way back when they came to live with us, as wee little fry. It didnt work with our grow bed set up. Unless I used a sump pump. Those are nice....and LOUD.  The Church is right outside my bedroom widow.
 You have to keep the "system" running, always. You can set a timer to activate your pump for say 15 min intervals, but that can wear your pump down. Its best for the pump to stay running circulating the water to your grow beds, and supplying cleaner water and some oxygen to your fish tank.Speaking of pumps. I buy mine at Harbor Freight. $25. And buy two. Always have a back up. Because things will always go wrong at the worse possible time.
 We scratched the IBC tote for The Church at least. However, I am using it in the garage set up, where the fish are going to stay. Permanently. Im not moving them back to The Church as the plans are for now. I do change my mind though....and often. I have two grow beds on top of the tote and circulate to those. I  use a bio filter and in my belief with any set up you will need an additional filter. My bio-filter is a fancy plastic empty cat littler container, I drilled, using a unibit again, hole and screwed in an angle piece of pvc to it drains back into the tank. It sits on the top of the IBC tote. I use a fiber filling I buy at Walmart or any fabric store will carry it. Its used in quilt making. Keeping the filter medium in a lingerie bag so it doesnt empty back into the tank and get caught in your pump.  This has happened to me before.
I filled the tote, heated it and did a ph down, an OMRI, organic additive to lower the hardness of the tanks water. Here in MI, we have hard, Hard water. *Doing all  of this prior to adding the fish.*
 Tilapia have to have warm water. 60* is the minimum, I dont go below 70* I want them to continue to grow , thats the name of the game here. Im raising them for food! I also wrap my tank with R19 formaldehyde free, plastic encased insulation.
my fancy Bio Filter

This is what I use for my filter medium.

inside view of Bio Filter.

This is the tank in The Church.
And yes. You can buy already processed Tilapia at your local grocery store, imported from China. "IF" you find fish harvested from USA, Processed in the USA, sustainably grown, non gmo, organic, fed organically, not laden with chemicals, and or growth hormones. (many factory farms control their fish sex through a chemical process) If you ever find Tilapia with these standards please let me know. This takes work, attention and detail. Is it worth it? So far to me it is. Part of the reason I got into all of this homesteading, raising our own food was due in part to my son Jake. He went into anaphylactic shock from eating "wild caught fish". 9 others were in the hospital experiencing the same reactions. We all had bought the same fish from the same local store.  It had nothing to do with an allergy to the fish, but everything to do with the  unknown chemicals the fish had been swimming in prior to being caught. So to answer the question.... yes.
Are you a boy fish or a girl fish?
 I thought I would sex my fish to see how many I had of each sex.....I cant sex fish. I thought they were all males. Nope. I have both, which is just what I wanted, I do plan on breeding and continuing this process.
church in summer
 And always a good sport, my son  Alex, helped me with the move. My other good sport son Jake took all the pix. Team work!

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