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About Cecil

  • Rank
    APHQ Ambassador
  • Birthday 12/05/57

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  • Biography
    Fish Taxidermist, aquaculturitst, freelance writer. Avid reader and tinkerer.
  • Interests
    Anything related to fish, political debate

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  • Location
    Ligonier, Indiana USA
  1. I was wrong! Feed training success with the crappies was more like 50 percent. Once I graduated up another feed size to floating feed it was apparent not all of the 559 fish were feeding, although the ones that were feeding were feeding enthusiastically. So the other day I removed all fish that either looked like they were emaciated or not to full form of what I expect of a crappie. Ended up pitching about half. I'm not sad that it is 50 percent as that's still enough fish for what I want to do. I do know if they had been smaller initially I probably could have had a much higher success in feed training. I may get some black and white crappies this spring and see if I can produce some of my own. The blacks are easy to catch in a nearby lake but the whites will take a drive to a reservoir farther south about an hour and a half away. Here are two crappies from the tank. The one that is not feed trained or not feed training optimally is obvious. The skinnier one was not only narrow from the side but thin looking down from the top with a compressed lower abdomen. Notice the eye appears larger in the skinnier fish too. This is common in stunted fish.
  2. If anyone's interested, I started a group on facebook geared toward small scale fish rearing systems and ponds where much of the equipment is DIY. Would love to have people share pictures and provide advice. Aquaponics is also invited. https://www.facebook.com/groups/648955648871374/?multi_permalinks=658181894615416&notif_id=1551111529509446&notif_t=feedback_reaction_generic
  3. It depends on your bio filter type size, mechanical filtration, and aeration. Can you tell us more about those? For commercial systems they really up the load rate with pure oxygen and ozone, and of course large capacity biofilters and solids removing capability. I'm guessing yours is not one of those?
  4. Only if you're interested, if you want to figure out how large a box four of the egg hatching trays would fit into, and a ball park weight, I would be happy to pre-pay shipping plus more to make it worth your while if shipping isn't too high. Most likely whatever shipping is would still be cheaper than buying them brand new. I assume you are talking Marisource or similar egg vertical incubation hatching trays?  Thanks!

    1. phri


      Sorry that's a misunderstanding, I have those horizontal "old style" raceway tanks with hatching trays.

      I don't think shipping is a viable option, these tanks are like 3.5 meter long and build from fiberglass/resin. I am shipping from the us sometimes and the freight is shocking; 3 months ago I paid US $350 for freight for a small adjustable bar grader; viable as none in the country at that time and client had 100,000 fingerlings of a cannibalistic species hammering each other. 

    2. Cecil


      Yes I misunderstood no problem. And yes shipping is crazy for something like that. However I am lucky I can buy the horizontal raceways from a company in Florida USA (Pentair/AES) with free shipping on orders over $50.00. If one has to pay shipping here many times the shipping is just as much or more than the tank! 

  5. A better picture of a California Egg Hatching Basket showing different mesh sizes for different egg sizes of different species. I contacted California Fish & Game to find out if they still used these and where I can purchase the mesh. Was assured my question would be forwarded to the property fisheries section. No response yet.
  6. I do wonder if I would even need need a cabinet if I only need one tray. Seems to me I could set the tray up above a trough and just let the flow drop into the trough. I seem to remember hearing the fry can leave a tray once they swim off into a trough. Maybe if the top screen is removed and they leave with the overflow? Or was a different set up? I wonder what shipping would be from Australia the slowest way possible? Might still be less than the cost of buying them? OTOH it might not be as they would probably have to go by air vs. boat.
  7. I was in error. The cabinet is $285.15. https://www.marisource.com/incubator-components/marisource-4-tray-vertical-incubator-frame-with-side-panels.html
  8. I think I can built the cabinet out of square stock aluminum with snap in connectors and a few bolts. I'm all for a company making money but $346.69 plus shipping from Washington State for just an aluminum frame is a little much IMHO. I can even order the aluminum stock with wings on it to slide the egg trays on. I would weld but I have no experience in welding. Could also hire someone to weld it but with the snap ins and a few bolts there is no need. By building the cabinet I can just order the egg trays. I actually think I only need one judging by the low number of eggs I hatch. https://eztube.com/product-category/connectors/ https://eztube.com/product/100-110-aluminum-extrusion/ Thoughts?
  9. Thanks Phri. Actually they are not difficult to build. Takes a little more then 30 minutes to cut out the pieces and cut the mesh material. Then siliconing in the mesh is easy. That said, may spring for a set of four of these for next year. Then place the fish into the rectangular tank as alevins if I can't find the trip warp material. https://www.marisource.com/marisource-4-tray-vertical-incubator-for-trout.html
  10. Note: I have the nitrates under control now by the simple flip of an electrical switch on the wall. I turn the mag drive pump off that is in my sump tank that runs the system by flipping the switch on the wall. This causes the water from the up flow sand filter to drain back into the sump tank. An overflow is attached to the sump tank which drains into the floor drain. About 30 gallons of water is drained off via gravity into a floor drain (the volume of the up flow sand filter). I do this once in the morning and once in the evening (30 gallons X 2 = 60 gallons which is 20 percent of the system volume). So a 20 percent water change per day to keep nitrates low. I then run fresh well water into the sump tank via a garden hose clamped to the sump tank . Once water started overflowing in the sump tank to the floor drain I know I am back to the the previous level.
  11. I'm was getting some clogging of the screen in the baskets with the fry so I consolidated both the brook, tigers, and browns into a larger basket. The larger basket also has a slightly bigger mesh size of a fiberglass screen I found at the same hardware store. The smaller mesh is nylon. The one on the left is the original basket where two of them were used to separate the species. The one on he right has the larger fiberglass mesh screen where all three species have been consolidated. I had no success getting a close up to show the size differences with my camera. The browns are little larger than the other species as they hatched a little earlier, but I don't believe the size difference is enough to be an issue. And if past experience is any indication the brooks actually grown faster and are more aggressive than the browns. Contrary to most literature but it is what it is. The rainbows are still in one of the smaller egg baskets where 5 so far have swam up looking for feed. I plan on gently swapping out baskets as they clog, with a fresh clean one, by simply directing them into the fresh clean basket. Baskets are easily cleaned once removed with a garden hose and nozzle in a bathroom bathtub in my basement. The plan next year is go with with a poly trough tank like this one (AES Pentair has one for under $300.00 with free shipping for orders over $50.00) and keep the system an RAS but instead of a circular tank this trough tank. The tank in the AES/Pentair catalog has the same volume as my circular tank. I may see if I can get the triple thick weave that according to texts allows the alevins to drop through, but the eggs and egg shells stay in the basket.The mesh is available in different sizes depending on the species and egg size. Looks like they can easily be built to custom fit the tank with wood tops. Like the following:
  12. Brian, Obviously the advantage I have over you with Scott picking the fish up is he gets the right after they are removed from the pond. Sorry to see you have such issues getting fresh healthy fish. Another advantage in hatching a rearing my fish is the water chemistry is essentially the same from the pond to the tank. All comes from the same ground water.
  13. Sorry to hear that. I rarely have someone else haul my fish as I don't trust fish haulers. Also one of the reasons I try and produce all my own fish other than the fact that I hate hauling fish. I've heard of some that don't even use salt in their hauling tanks! Scott Schillig (Esshup) fortunately knows his stuff and is very conscientious about hauling fish. We both not only use salt but we also use a compound that neutralizes ammonia.
  14. I hope it works for you. I'm guessing you're going to have to feed the fry after they use their yolk sac up with brine shrimp/artemia or something until they can be trained on fry powder? Scott Schillig (Esshup) brought my hybrids up from Malone and Sons in Arkansas. They actually survived pretty well as I had no morts unti much later when I removed the tilapia from the same tank. As I indicated earlier those dozen or so fish were weak and emaciated.
  15. They are aggressive feeders! Look healthy. I forget -- are they hybrids or black crappies? Sounds good Brian! What feed are you using? Thanks for the kind words. The things that I have found make successful feed training more likely: 1. Crowding to elicit a more competitive response. (I put 500 in about 140 gallons of water) 2. Hit them heavy with the sinking feed several times a day. I think the term is blizzarding. You will waste some feed and you need to keep your clarifier clean with more partial water changes than normal but it's worth it. 4. Sinking feed. Contrary to what is typical these fish had no interest in freeze dried krill at first. But at some point I added it to the tank and they ate it. So I fed them exclusively freeze dried krill until I used up the bag (2 lbs.) and then it was back to the sinking feed. They also preferred it more whole and not crushed vs. very small pieces and powder. 5. Start them out as small as possible (Didn't happen with these hybrids as they were purchased 3 1/2 to 4 1/2 inches.) 6. Putting some similar sized feed trained fish in with that to help them learn ( in this case it was tilapia). But if the teaching fish get much larger than the fish you are feed training, it's probably a good idea to remove them as they may aggressively hoard the feed. I did this and the crappie are feeding even better now. 7. Add salt to help with stress. Knowing from experience how easily crappie are stressed, fungal and bacteria issues prone, and die from simply handling them, I added 0.5 percent salt I to the system for a couple of months. That's what's recommended for hauling and I figured it couldn't hurt as the bio filters don't have issues with salt at low levels. I've since dropped it down to 0.2 percent. Not sure what you can get away with in an aquaponics system before you have issues with the plants. 8. I suspect but can't verify it, I believe the low light conditions of my basement (I use a dimmer switch in conjunction with an incandescent bulb) may help at least keep the stress down which should make feeding more likely. If these guys are like the black crappies I hatched and feed trained myself, they will probably lose interest in pellets once released into the pond. I put my previous black crappies into a cage and they stopped feeding on pellets. There may have been fathead minnows that strayed into the cage, and crappies are know to feed on zooplankton. They seemed healthy when I checked on them so they must have been eating something. If I do it again I would also make the water depth in the cage shallower as it seemed they had to come up a ways to the floating feed. (You need to make it easy for fish to reach the goal you have set for them). My plan it to release a certain number into the pond (not sure if I will use a cage this time), and keep some in the tank longer in hopes they will be less likely to go off pellets once released into the pond. Once I plant the tilapia that are now in another tank in the basement, back into the pond for algae and weed control, to produce bass forage, and sell the excess, I will spread out the remaining crappies in both tanks and keep them until at least late summer.