Today’s January Aquaponics Update article is basically just me cleaning up my hard-drive and ensuring that all YouTube videos on my channel have a related article on my website. Except for the link to Auburn’s photo of tilapia genitals there is not a real pressing concern to read the article if you have watched the video.
My intent with growing tilapia in my basement is to learn the process so that when I get a “real” homestead I can build a larger system for a somewhat commercial viable system. To do this I need to be able to breed my own fingerlings. Buying a breeder colony costs around $500 and is not something I am interested in doing until I can prove to myself I won’t kill them. I bought 25 “hybrid” tilapia from an individual on a aquaponics forum for around $25.00 he did not know what sex they were and I was hoping for a mix of sexes. Once the fish grew large enough I scooped them out and attempted to sex them. I am told that sexing tilapia is a lot like sexing chickens – at a young age it is mostly guesswork.
I used this picture to help me and I quickly noticed that they all seemed male (many hybrids are exclusively male for a several commercial reasons). I thought I might have one female, but probably not.
One good thing about my system is that by using the bell siphon, and allowing some drop from the siphon to the tank I do not have to use an air stone to oxygenate the water. This is risky though because without air I could have a fish kill if the pump breaks. However, since the air stone and the pump run on the same circuit – if I lost power the fish would die anyway, and with only one electrical input I save a little on overhead (which is important as the wife just connected the dramatic increase in our electric bill to the aquaponic project)
I have repeatedly stated verbally, as well as in print, that I do not have a green thumb. Over the years I have spent several thousands of dollars on seeds, seedlings, dirt, equipment and books. This has gotten a return of one squash, a couple handfuls of blackberries, a couple cups of beans, and 10 spindly peppers. I have several videos that tell why this occurs, but I am getting better – as you can see – once I let nature work (aka leaving everything alone once planted) my plants are doing pretty well. There is probably a lesson there for someone paying attention.
Anyway, I am pretty pleased with the progress, and am feeling much better about my abilities as a gardener.