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Everything posted by bcotton

  1. my backyard is an 80'x50' suburban yard on a .25 acre lot. I have a plan to convert the entire backyard to food and fermentables growth. The centerpiece and engine of the food production will be 3 fish tanks totaling ~4000 gallons. But it will not be just aquapincs. Over the winter i have already added some raised soil beds. This past month i planted 15 wine grapes plus12 additional fruit trees to add my the 6 existing trees (apples, peaches, plums, pears, jujubes) and I have plans to add hugelcultures and whicking beds later this year. My goal is really to see just how much food a person can grow in a modest sized suburban lot. I have no short term plans for quail or rabbits but they are not off the table so to speak. Anyway, I have been a busy bee and while i check the forum frequently i think anyone will understand why i have not been the biggest post contributor recently. We are expecting a week of rain starting tomorrow so I will probably have time to sketch out and post my plans for constructive criticism. However, keep in mind this has been 2+ years planning in the making. I have thought a lot about how to use the my space most effectively and create synergy between the different systems. I hope to have the additional fish tanks and DWC grow beds coupled and running with my existing 700 gallon ferrocement aquaponic system by the first week of april. Anyway, here's some pictures of my current project... a tiny bit of teaser . I am the aquapoinics cowboy and I shoot from the hip!
  2. cleaned more fish this weekend. 12 fish ranging from about 4lbs to 7.5 About 80 left in that 1000 gallon tank.. so i cant let up.. the fish load is too high we fried some last night with friends. and i sent about a lb of meat home with anyone that wanted it.. send about 3 lbs of meat with one guest that will cook it for his mom and family today.. and i am taking 7 lb to my moms for the extended family gathering there.
  3. Had a couple of coworkers and a friend over today and we fished out some fish for them to take home.. this is a little over 4 lbs. Of the 7 fish we fished out of the 1200 gallon catfish tank they ranged from 2-4 lbs.. From some underwater video footage i took last week i think the biggest in the tank will be in the 6+ lb area but it feels good to start reaping some benefits of the system after 2 years.
  4. We technically had our first frost back in late nov/early december which is when my peppers, tomatoes and sweet potatos died back to the ground... but today was really the first real frost that i am worried about damaging my more cold hardy warm weather plants like my cirtus and bananas. and tomorrow morning will be in the high 20's, then warm up to into the 40;s. so i am only needed to keep these plants above 32F for a few hours.. not days or weeks. The citrus is all potted and i brought it indoors.. for the bananas, last year they died back to the ground then grew back... But in hopes of getting bananas next year i am trying to help these plants make it through the winter.. So here's the plan. basically the blue barrel is full of water, to absorb hear during the day. The front of my house also faces south so there should be warmth emitting from the barrel and the brick. I also have a low watt aquarium heater adding a little warmth. The hope is that the tarp keeps the frost off and traps in just a little bit of the heat emitting from the barrel.
  5. This past weekend i also cleaned up my soil beds and did some winter planting.. I broadcast the seeds so its not very organized... carrots, beets, radishes, turnips, several kinds of onions, kales, lettuce cabbage. I still need to go back and plant some garlic bulbs and brassicas
  6. I posted a few 1 minute underwater videos from each of the tanks on my youtube.. there;s no talking or context.. just the videos of fish swimming.. I am planning to harvest a few of the channel cats this weekend so i will get some weights and pictures of that. right now i estimate the channel cats to be about 3-4lb each on average. The crappie are 5-7" i estimate and the bluegill are around 3/4lb Channel Cats bluegill crappie
  7. I dunno about the OK truck.. it could have been a bad batch or it occurs to me most (all?) of their customers are ponds and people dont really see or documentt the mortality rate (since sometimes fish are terminal but still swimming when they are released) so they get away with it. As for the malone and sons.. i do try to get their crappie.. i just try really hard to get them as close to the time they were pulled from the pond as possible.. I just call and bother my pond stocking place on when they are planning their shipments.. the usually get their deliveries in the middle of the week and i go pickup my fish the same weekend after. Its not 100% but its all a numbers game and giving yourself the best chance. And through those conversations you hear things like "they arent ready yet" and you guess at weather or not that means the next shipment will be the best one t o try to grab for people not cecil reading the thread.. the reason its so important to have strong healthy fish is because when you are feed training they dont necessarily start eating right away and the longer they go without eating eventually they get to a point where they just shut down and filter feed and will never feed train.. so starting with the healthiest fish possible is super important.
  8. i have met malone and sons truck in shreveport, LA twice (its a 3+ hour drive each way).. the first time it was the healthiest fish i ever started with.. the second time they were unhealthy, emaciated had obv been sitting in holding tank for week+ and i lost all of them within a few days of transport. The only other place i get fish from now is a pond stocking reseller in north texas named pond king who gets their fish from wherever , but every time i have asked the crappie have been from malone and sons too. The only time i have gotten fish that i dont think originated from malone and sons was when i met an Oklahoma fish truck that delivers to suburbs around dallas. I wont mention the name because this post would sound slanderous.. I bought several types of fish not just crappie and they were all a total loss despite my leg of the transport only being about 15 mins plus the water acclimation process i always use. In 10+ years of this hobby, the only time i have ever lost non-crappie fish due to transport/handling was that Oklahoma hatchery
  9. These are black crappie. They are eating optimal blue gill or bluegill jr or a mix i cant remember but i pretty much only use optimal now. Salt can be ok in aquaponics. People do salt when fish are stressed.. different plants have different tolerances to salt levels. But when i feed train its in a garage nuresery system which s only aquaculture so its not a problem for me. And now that i think i about it i am pretty sure i salted the day i got them. so i think i do all of the same things.. I still struggle to find healthy fish.. they all come from fish farms in arkansas swhich means inconvenient and long travel.. And since the crappie dont eat anything you dont really know how long ago they were taken from the pond and how ling they were sitting in a holding tank at the hatchery before it even sits in a truck or another holding tank at the pond stocking place.. so yah.. i hope i can get these guys to reproduce and i dont have to mess with that anymore..
  10. thats really awesome.. I will have to go back and reread your thread for ideas on how to improve my results. As of now i have 20 that made it to 5-7" and now i am going to see if i can breed them in my tanks and aquariums like i did with bluegill and res
  11. not really, i wouldnt have a problem with putting them in the same tank unless you are breeding and specifically dont want crosses.. and by reeding, i dont think you have to try, they just will. the fry are very small and will likely drain into the other tank tho. if its a relatively small tank most wont survive predation. just depends on what your goals are.
  12. this is a very old thread but i will go ahead and advise, i am pretty sure the Hawaiian golds are not a species , there are just Mozambique( O. mossambicus ) bread for their recessive color trait. blue (Oreochromis aureus) and nile (O. niloticus) are other species...That's not a comprehensive list by any means but they are the most common ones i see in the U.S. There is another popular strain which i call "hornorum" some people call it a "wami" which is Oreochromis urolepis hornorum . The other species of tilkapias (nile, blue, mozambique) tilapias have X and Y chromosomes to determine sex. The hornorum has something different like Z and W. So hybrids are all male. Which is interesting for commercial production but the wami is considered to be more invasive and aggressive than others and is prohibited in more places than some of the other varieties. Usually "red" are niles bread for color too but maybe other species can be red too, not certain. And usually "white" are a cross between blue and nile After saying all of that, i have a lot of experience raising and breeding tilapia but i wouldnt recommend them for a backyard aquaponics system in the temperate U.S. There;s usually a lot better , more temperature tolerant options for people.
  13. I live in one of the few suburbs of dallas that does not allow chickens (even dallas proper allows a couple of chickens) http://www.capitol.state.tx.us/BillLookup/History.aspx?LegSess=85R&Bill=SB1620 The bill passed the state senate 30-0 and is now going to the house... unfortunately.. i there is a big backlog of bills in the state house of representatives because they want the senate to pass a completely unrelated bill in a specific form (the senate has their own version) and until the senate capitulates the house probably wont be voting on anything the senate gives them. regardless, i am encouraged. its better news than no bills existing..
  14. I am still waiting for 2019 for the texas legislature to reconvene and hopefully finish passing that backyard chicken bill. But thankfully there has been some civil disobedience in my city which has resulted in the issue getting re-addressed by the city council. At first i thought it was going to get dumpstered and railroaded by ignorance (again) [cause, apparently this comes up every 10 years or so] but the lady that is appealing the rule got something around 1000 signature on her petition (the city is about 40k population) so i dont think city council is going to be able sweep it away without reasons this time. That's not to say theres has not been a lot of opposition.. I know from my neighborhood social media groups that a lot of people are STRONGLY against other people having backyard chickens . The against arguments that i have heard are , in my opinion, not based on facts or real world data. one of the city council people posts recaps of the meetings and this is what his notes said on the issue of backyard chickens ref:
  15. Hi,I bought a lot of MBBR media for my 5000 gallon system in 2015. I used most of it but i had one box left over that i thought i was going to use for a secondary project but i never did.The media is still in original packaging and never been used.Its allied aqua brand mbbr media.. ths link is exactly what i boughthttps://alliedaqua.com/equipment-and-su ... -feet-box/selling for $80 oboThe box and media has been stored indoors for the last 2-3 years. So no exposure to UV or temps that would degrade the quality in any way.
  16. ande, i am not 100% certain. I got this cooler second hand and i am not the type of person to look up manuals online.. i just wired the cable to a 120V plug and connected 2" pvc to the in and outlets... I really had no idea how it would work or if it would work... The fan on top has a label and appears to pull about 3 amps on a 120V plug so thats about 400 watts/hr. I dont know what the sump pump draws , and it only runs a few seconds out of every minute... but i could definately save power if i redesigned it to drain back into the systrem instead of needing to be pumped out of the pan. The aquaponic pump (the pump in my aquaponics sump) pumps the water into the chiller and then it just drips the water over the surface area and a fan blows on it. then the water drips into the chiller catch pan and when the catch pan fills up the sump pump in the bottom pumps the cooled water back into the system. now that its online i realize i need a catch pan underneath the catch pan because if/when the sump pump fails i am going to have a huge mess and probably dead fish... it would have been easy to set it up so it just drains back into the system and doesnt use the chiller pump at all (which i will probably redo it in the fall for next summer so that it works that way.
  17. Temperatures are starting to creep up to where it's very uncomfortable to work outside. We are in the m ind 90's right now and we will start hitting 100 degrees F this week with increasing frequency for the next ~3 months. My fish tank and DWC water was already in the upper 80's so it motivated me to try to wire up and plumb in this old pool swamp cooler. It dropped water temps about 3-4 degrees the first 24 hours.. hopefully it will keep water under 80 for the whole summer.. i think high water temps was the reason for poor aquaponic plant performance last summer. The other picture is showing a power drop.. i had a circuit run to each of the two pump boxes i use in the back yard.. One runs two large air pumps and the water pump that drives the whole system. This picture is of a smaller pump box that only had 2 air pumps but now its also running the swamp cooler.
  18. i have played with the hydroponic aeroponics but not aquaponics. Academically i dont think solids are the only issue with clogging sprayers.. you could probably keep solids out with a good sand filter... i think the biofilm could end up being the problem long term.. biofilm is the natural occuring biology and microorganism colonies that start forming a slimy coat on the sides of fish tanks and in the grow beds once the system matures for a year or so
  19. The cleanup is going good and almost done.. I am still getting stuff planted.. maybe next year i can start my plants on time and be on schedule.. but the stuff in the ground seems happy. I also built a small demo system out of a 200 gallon acrylic aquarium someone was remodeling their office building and throwing it away.. I am still working on the water chemistry before adding feed trained black crappie to the system.. Currently its running with minnows and the water is amber because of the iron i added.. the eddha iron seems to affect water color the most of the chelates.. but i had to use it here because of the high PH buffering in the expanded shale substrate i am using.
  20. This weekend's project is digging trenches. I am having an electrician come out next week to wire a couple of power drops out in my back yard so i dont have to run extension chords to the aquaponics anymore. I got a bit of a startle,. I let him go, i recognize the benefits of good snakes.. especially if this is in fact a king snake.. but i dont like being around them. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jyydLMZr6FA https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rTxNtaIkxLA
  21. yah things are going good but spending all my free time working on the garden and not documenting it or updating progress.. but i am certain things will slow down when it temps hit a hundred in a couple months and i will have time to catch up on updates not aquaponics but this weekend i built a couple of kratky hydroponic beds using junk i had laying in my back yard (leftovers from other projects)
  22. Springs here and i am running way late (as usual) trying to get the yard prepped, cleaned and planted. I am taking some time off of work and taking a long weekend to hopefully get caught up. THIS MAY BE THE YEAR I GET IT ALL ONLINE!? i am pretty stoked. Here's an visual idea of the work ahead of me....
  23. Hey cecil, No i dont have any useful thoughts. I moved the other half of the feed trained crappie to an outdoor 700 gallon fish tank with a handful of tilapia..I still see crappie eating pellets but i dont know if its all or some.
  24. i have no opinion or evidence supporting one way or the other about crowding or feed... I think they are coppernose bluegill but tbh i didnt specify when i bough them but i think thats really the only BG we get around here. ~100 large-ish ~1 lb channel catfish outdoors in 1250 gallon tank (aquaponics) ~12 feed trained black crappie indoors (aquaculture) The crappie part starts at about :52
  25. Its in my front flowerbed (not in my aquaponics) but i am thinking banana's in dallas (zone 8) is noteworthy... now it's a race to ripen before first freeze....