As mentioned yesterday I have decided to convert my home system into a hatchery. Now in order to make this work, a couple of challenges presented themselves. Firstly, temperature. To stand any chance of breeding Tilapia year round, some form of heating the water in Winter is necessary.
The outside pond temperatures are plunging to 12 deg and lower at night and I lost most of my red Tilapia in these temperatures. Funnily enough my plain Tilapia female brood fish were unaffected. Anyway heating was vital and so I took the plunge and installed a heatpump.
With this pump I can heat the water to 28 degrees but this requires running it 24/7 which is not only expensive but also impractical as I run my entire system on a timer, so some compromises were required. After playing around with the timings of my flood and drain system I have now been able to get the temperatures to 20 degrees at night and 24 during the day. This will be a very temporary measure as the ambient temperatures rise from now on and I should achieve the 28 degrees I am looking for easily.
My second challenge was space. My little greenhouse is only 6m x 3m and is crammed with two big tanks and lot’s of pumps and a large bank of strawberry towers. I decided that I was going to use my transport tank as the honeymoon suite as it is getting rather rusted and old for transport purposes. So the answer? You guessed it, “off with it’s head.”
Using an angle grinder I cut of the top third of the tank leaving a great 700L breeding tank.
The strawberry towers were also presenting a problem. Firstly next time I make some (and I will be making hundreds at my current commercial site) I will use a thicker pipe. 80mm is just too thin. I recommend a minimum of 110mm to make them practical. Secondly a pre-filter is vital as they clog easily and become quite unsightly with fish poo dripping down the sides. I wanted to keep my strawberry towers but where could I find the space? The answer? “Off with their heads.” I shortened them to fit over the new tank, cleaned them up, filled them with new gravel, installed a pre-filter, replanted the strawberries and plumbed the new tank in with the strawberry towers dripping directly into the tank providing the inflow water. Voila !!
You may notice from the image that I use an outside standpipe to determine the water level. I planted some water plants and tomorrow I’ll get the aeration going with a big airstone.
In about a week when the water clears and they’re good and horny from the increased temperatures, I’ll introduce 2 males and 8 females and let the party begin.