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Will minnows work

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Im still trying to get some bugs worked out before I begin construction.I have not been able to establish what minnows eat. If I was to use minnows I could leave my tank outside and have more room in my greenhouse for plants. Im not interested in breeding mosquitoes but will consider doing so if it is finically fesible Any commits appericated.

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when I first started my first system, I used minnows. They will work, they just wont produce much nutrients. They will eat goldfish flake just fine. Feeder gold fish are probably cheaper and they will grow and provide a little more nutrient load. They have the same temperature tolerance.

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Thanks for the reply. But I must not understand something. I can build a tank as big as I want assuming minnows would require more space so I would have more fish. Most people are limited to size of tank.Will this make a difference or is the nuteriants just not avilable from minnows? And in turn do you still have to circulate the water at the same rate as for other fish? Thanks again

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Starter,

When you say minnows, I assume you are talking about either fatheads or golden shiners. Those are the usual ones you get from bait shops here in the states. You can get rosy reds (pinkish colored fatheads) at pet stores. They sell them as feeder fish. At any rate, you'll get the nutrients you need, provided you stock them in the correct density (of which I can't advise on, because I'm not entirely sure what it'd be with minnows). Any kind of fish will provide the nutrients you need for plant growth. It's just the fish density (pounds per gallon) and feeding rate (amount you feed per day) that determines the amount of nutrients that ultimately are provided for plant growth. Frankly, the feeding rate has far more to do with it than anything else since it is the external input that provides nutrients to the system as a whole. Food should be looked at like fertilizer. You could throw some fish food in a tank that is fish free and still grow plants. The only difference would be that it'd be called a hydroponic system.

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Thanks You answered that question. Now I need to know what to feed minnows. I learned this evening that I will need a chiller in the summer and I need to check out the cost of this as well as operating cost. There seems to be a need here locally and I thought this would be easier than trying to market other fish. I do not intend to make fish an income I just want to offset or eliminate my feed cost. any commints are appericated. The more I learn the dumber I get.

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Hi Starter,

Golden shiners will usually bring in a little higher price per fish, but fatheads have a much higher reproductive rate provided you give them solid spawning structure. Generally, Golden shiners are a more profitable situation, but it depends on your local market. A crumble feed or even a fry powder would be completely fine for feed. You would actually be far more productive growing them in fertilized ponds with a healthy phyto and algae bloom rather than an aquaponic system, but if I understand you correctly, plants/veggies are your bigger concern, so minnow productivity probably takes a backseat. Feed a high protein high fat crumble to adult shiners, high protein high fat fry powder to fry and juvies. Feed fry powder to fathead adults, juvies and fry.

With all that said, you might get an even better return with selling goldfish as baitfish, depending on TX regulations involving using them for such. In KS and MO (my area) they fetch a solid premium over minnows.

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Thanks again kellenw . I had marked off gold fish when I found out minnows were more prolific and was told 20 minnows would be 400 in a year.Yes plant are my main concern but with todays economy, Im having to look for new sources to supliment my income. I will be getting in my winter supply of cow feed soon and I think I will be able to feed some of that since it is mostly corn w/high fat content. It also has a pettery high protein. This portion would almost be free compared to comerical fish food. I'm sure I would have to supliment it but I like the idea of low operating cost.

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fatheads will survive lot warmer water than we are told. I have neighbor who has them growing in an old tire on his farm. He didnt put them there , nature did and they are still there after 109F degree days, so I doubt you will need a cooling system other than some shade cloth over tanks and growbeds, probably by end of may or first of june.

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Also, if you do not heat the water you will not get much growth. If whether runs like it has in past years you have about 3 months to get this going before winter sets in. THen you will have to make a choice to heat or not. They will survive or winters as long as they don't freeze solid, but they won't grow and it is best not to feed them. Plant growth slows to a crawl then too with lettuce taking 2-3 times the amount of time to grow. IF your in south texas like Houston or San Antonio then winter might not be much of an issue.

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thanks to both of you. No not that far south in fact I.m straight east of Dallas The fact of not having to run a chiller is nice to know . I was wondering how they lived in these shallow creeks around here in the summer. You dont see them if there is no shade but the water is not cool by no means. Thanks again for the help and commints.

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Fathead minnow may not be a good choice. These are just 2 to 3 inches in size and have a lifespan of just 2 to 3 years. These need a depth of at least 29 inches preferably have some planting. They are also resistant to the bad quality of water and need proper Dissolved Oxygen, I guess.

However, good thing is that you can keep them along with all other species of pond fish. 

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