Ksmith

Tilapia, bluegill, and crappie, oh my!

13 posts in this topic

I am setting up my first aquaponics system and I am considering either tilapia, bluegill, or crappie. Which would you suggest? I live in KY and tilapia require a license. My favorite to eat is crappie but I mostly find information on bluegill. Since they are both sunfish, they can't be that much different to raise.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Ksmith,

 

I'm an Australian and not experienced with the fish that you mention so I'll leave that to our US members.

 

I would, however, like to take this opportunity to welcome you to APN and I invite you to set up your own thread in which to chronicle the progress with your system.....and also to introduce yourself.

 

Gary

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Ksmith,

 

Welcome to APN. When starting my system, I too investigated different species availability and success rates. Being in South Carolina, I have access to several varieties of sunfish. I currently run a 4600 gallon system using channel catfish, hybrid bream, bluegill and one crappie. I have found that all of these do very well on commercial feeds with the exception of the crappie. While she will feed occasionally on commercial feed, I have to supplement with live fathead minnows (1 dozen per week, large) I find that this would not be an economically sound investment if I add more crappie to the system.

 

On tilapia, since there are multiple licenses and regulations on raising and selling tilapia, along with the market being really flooded with them, I find them useless to raise unless you set your system up as a brooding system and sell fry commercially. JMO

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thank you. I thought it was going to be bluegill but I just wasn't sure. That will definitely help. I have a 1/3 acre pond behind my shed and if I put to many in the tank I will just transfer the excess to my pond. I just recently restocked my pond so a few extra bluegill won't hurt.

Since I am using a 300 gallon tank with a radial flow filter only, how many do you recommend. I will have about 36 square feet of grow beds but can expand to close to 60 square feet if needed. I have a 200 square foot insulated room in my barn I am building in.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thank you. I thought it was going to be bluegill but I just wasn't sure. That will definitely help. I have a 1/3 acre pond behind my shed and if I put to many in the tank I will just transfer the excess to my pond. I just recently restocked my pond so a few extra bluegill won't hurt.

Since I am using a 300 gallon tank with a radial flow filter only, how many do you recommend. I will have about 36 square feet of grow beds but can expand to close to 60 square feet if needed. I have a 200 square foot insulated room in my barn I am building in.

My first system was also 300 gallons. I successfully matured 32 hybrid bluegill in that tank. Through the whole process of learning, I killed off 18 of my fish. I began by cycling that system for 8 weeks total, fought off two major algae blooms and finally got the system to produce active nitrification using the "humaponic" (human urine) system. After adding a mechanical filter system, I added 50 3-5" hybrid bluegill. Over the first year, I was able to harvest tomatoes, lettuce, kale and collards in the system. I was unsuccessful at my attempt to grow cucumber and squash in that system however. 

 

My second system included a 750 gallon tank with six 24' grow beds. My problem there was overstocking (300 channel catfish), limited filtration and poor design by making a square tank to hold catfish. (Catfish tend to hide in folded liners and die.) After some advice from Gary and Kellan, I changed to a 3300 gallon round tank, added mechanical and bio filters and have been able to catch up this year with massive production of fish, broccoli. cauliflower, and lettuce, After a little time off (heat above 90 degrees), I intend to put Kale, Collard, Broccoli, Cauliflower and Chard into the system for my fall/winter crops.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Ksmith,

 

Welcome to the group. 

 

I have roughly 100 4-6" bluegills in an IBC tank and they are growing and happy.  Lost several during initial stocking of 1" fingerlings back in Nov 2015 and (2) a few weeks back due to an unknown incident.  (judging by the bruising on the two fish, I suspect that they got wedged under a PVC suction 90....not scientific diagnosis, just my unlearned opinion).  That being said, the rest of the clan has done pretty well, they take to floating feed well and love the occasional spider, worm or cricket that I toss into the tank.  Not as hardy as Tilapia, but IMO one of the best tasting fish.....especially when pan-fried with their skins still on.

 

The key to their health is without a doubt the iAVs sand bed filter, the fish tank water stays clear enough to see any nuts-bolts-washers-screwdrivers.....or whatever else I have had to "fish" off the bottom of the tank.  Not sure how far along you are in building out your grow beds, but sand definitely deserves a careful consideration.  Just pay close attention to the sand requirements!

 

I am nothing special when it comes to operations, but here is a link to my experience.....http://aquaponicsnation.com/forums/topic/9675-iavs-in-oklahoma/?hl=%2Biavs+%2Boklahoma

 

Best of luck...........mh

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thank you very much for the information. How do you handle the winters? That is why I am building mine indoor in my barn. The temps get down sometimes around 0. The last couple winters we have had uncharacteristic snows and cold.

The issue I have is with the lighting. I don't want to spend a lot on lights and electricity so I was looking at solar grow tubes but after asking about them on here I am second guessing.

Would I just be better off attaching a greenhouse to my barn? That would be a lot of money for a beginner I think.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Would I just be better off attaching a greenhouse to my barn? That would be a lot of money for a beginner I think.

 

 

Consider a hoop house instead of a full green house, some 3/4 pvc, 6 mil plastic, a couple of box fans and you should be off and running on that idea.

ande likes this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

LOL I'm sure you right but what I meant to ask was will a greenhouse stay warm enough to grow plants in the winter and not allow my fish to die? How do you supplement heat in them?

As you can tell, I'm a true green horn when it comes to aquaponics and horticulture. Farming large scale corn, soybeans, and wheat is where all of my experience lies.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

LOL I'm sure you right but what I meant to ask was will a greenhouse stay warm enough to grow plants in the winter and not allow my fish to die? How do you supplement heat in them?

As you can tell, I'm a true green horn when it comes to aquaponics and horticulture. Farming large scale corn, soybeans, and wheat is where all of my experience lies.

There are many methods, some acceptable and some not so much. Research Black water barrels, Wet haybales, bucket heaters, solar hose heaters..........

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have reared bluegill, yellow perch, and tilapia in a system and will tell you all are good species.  I would rank hardiness as tilapia, yellow perch, and bluegill as 1 2 3 respectively. If you want hardiness and fast growth the tilapia is your fish. You will probably have to plant advances size fish of yellow perch and bluegill to get decent size fillets in one growing cycle (about a year). 

 

One other thing: tilapia are eating and pooping machines and will produce plenty of nutrients for your plants. Not so much with the other species. 

 

Unless crappie are definitely feed trained i would stay away from them as a beginner. I have not reared them in a system yet but hope to start this fall. I do know from pond rearing they are prone to fungal and bacterial infections from handling and some fish producers won't seine them until the sun goes down. I find conflicting information on the difficulty of feed training them. Most say difficult and one very reliable source says fairly easy. 

Edited by Cecil (see edit history)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!


Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.


Sign In Now