Aquaponics 101 – We fetch more fish.

Wednesday saw the Child Bride and I head towards Stellenbosch to fetch 1500 fingerlings for the commercial site that I have just finished building for a client, as well as 15 brood males for my home system.  After 9 months running and tweaking my home system, I have come to the conclusion that it is too small to produce the volumes of fish that I wanted and anyway pretty soon there will be plenty of local farms producing Tilapia.  I have thus decided to convert it into a hatchery and breed Tilapia fingerlings for resale to my growing list of clients.  There is definitely going to be a shortage of good quality fingerlings and the farms that I am building will comprise a ready market.

You may remember earlier on in the year I fetched 50 brood females from the hatchery in Graaff Reinet.  These poor girls are starting to get mighty lonely, hence the decision to bring in some males now.  I am keeping them separate at this stage and am busy building a breeding tank in which I’ll introduce some brood stock once the weather warms up a bit.

I will deal with the conversion of my home system to a hatchery in my next post, so back to the trip.

After a very pleasant stay at Caledon Villa in Stellenbosch, we headed out to the Aquaculture Department of the University to fetch the fish on Thursday morning. We added 400L of their water to my trusty old tank and then started loading.

Set out below some action shots.

The Child Bride insists on taking shots of my ass.

Selecting the male brood stock.

A shot of the inside of their tunnel.

We also had a very interesting tour of their Tilapia research facility.

And then it was back on the road to Knysna. Two problems have to be overcome when transporting live fish. Firstly temperature. The Tilapia were held at 24 degrees and being the middle of Winter, we had to wait for a reasonably warm day to fetch the fish. Secondly oxygen. I have travelled with a cylinder trickling pure oxygen into the tank, but this is both expensive and dangerous. This time I thought of another idea, and it worked like the proverbial charm. I bought one of those 12v car pumps that you plug into the cigarette lighter and use to pump up tyres, I then made a fitting from an old valve to connect to clear hose and from there to a large airstone. The fish were very happy.

This is what it looks like.

We arrived back in Knysna at about 5pm and the last of the fish were safely in their new homes by 10 that night.

Be Good.



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