Monday morning dawned, and the minute I heard the first bird, I was up and off to Grahamstown (about 400km away) to fetch the fish. The fish were transported in a 1000L container on a trailer which I had hired. Even empty, the trailer and container proved to be quite heavy for my little 1400 Corsa bakkie.
When I got there we pumped 500L of water from their system into my container and added about 3kg of salt to calm them down a bit. Then the loading began and the fish were moved from their ponds to my container in buckets.
Then the fun began with me struggling against gale force winds back to Knysna, at times right down to 2nd gear up some of the steeper hills, all the time watching nervously in my rear view mirror as the water slopped from one side of the container to the other.
Tilapia have been described as “bullet proof” and I can certainly vouch for that. With all of the loading, transporting and off-loading, we never lost a single fish.
When I arrived home we repeated the procedure with me catching the fish, and the child bride sprinting down to the tunnel and pouring the fish into the pond.
Here is an image of some of the Tilapia in the net before being transported in the bucket. Their average mass is about 105g (juveniles) and they range from 100mm to say 175mm in size.
Being highly traumatised by the trip, they immediately darted to the bottom of the pond and sulked there. I decided not to feed them that night to reduce the stress, but managed to get the following image of them swimming closer to the surface if you approached the pond really slowly and carefully.
Now we wait. I am feeding them very lightly, morning and night, as they produce huge volumes of ammonia after feeding and my biofilters (gravel grow beds) are not quite fully cycled yet. So far I have gem squash, spinach, rocket and strawberries in the grow beds and beans, egg plant and peppers germinating from seed, but I will still need a serious amount of plants to take up the nutrients produced by 450 pooping Tilapia. The spray bars are already getting clogged up so I know that poop is coming through. The plants should really start sprouting now.
Here are some more images of the tunnel from the top and bottom.
Until next time.