Utah Aquaponics System

Utah Aquaponics System - The Fish! (Bluegill, Hybrid Striped Bass, AND Rainbow Trout!)

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The tanks already contained 100 bluegill purchased April 21, 2009. If you purchase fish from a supplier in the State, they must have a current license to sell LIVE fish. If you purchase fish from out of state, they must have a current Utah permit AND you must get an import license for each shipment. After waiting 3 months for the Hybrid Striped Bass to spawn in Arkansas and the fingerlings to get to the 1.5-2" stage, then it took 10 days to get the export permit, as Keo Fish Farms had to send 10 fish to be lab tested. They must do this within 30 days of any shipment. Then Utah issues the export permit, if the test is ok. Then I was able to arrange for the timing of the delivery. You have them sent by Air Cargo, counter to counter, or by FedEx overnight morning delivery. As you can see, we went FedEx. They arrived at 10am.

Detailed aquaponic system design information and plant and fish selection decisions can be found in our thread at AquaponicsHQ here: http://aquaponicsnation.com/forums/topic/802-utah-system-part-1-beginnings/

Here are a couple of Bluegill already in the tank from April. One of the problems with
Bluegill is that they grow at different rates as can be seen. They were bought as 2-3"
fingerlings and now the are 3-4" fish. Since Bass eat Bluegill, I hope that they continue
to grow, faster than than the Bass for awhile, otherwise if the Bass get bigger than
the Bluegill, they will become late night snacks.

July 16, 2009 - Arrival of shipment of Hybrid Striped Bass Fingerlings - - - Fish in the Bag

Step 1 - Open the bag, look for dead fish - only 1, the rest looked healthy.
Step 2 - Put an air stone in the bag and aerate the water gently.

Step 3 - Test the water, any surprises? - - - No P.H. is 7.4-7.6, higher than our tank at 7.2.
Temperatures were both 68 degrees, Ammonia, Nitrites, Nitrates all near zero, so
Step 4 - start mixing tank water a little at a time. The mixing was about a pint every 10 minutes
over a 1 hour period.

Step 5 - Net them out and count them, then put them in the tank. Total count 133 living, 1 dead
The shipment the week before did not do so well. Out of 105, 66 were dead or died. This was
the replacement shipment and it went well.

Follow up: The hybrid stripped bass came down with Flexibacter Columnaris (cotton mouth or saddleback). Probably as a result of the stress of the shipping, elevated ammonia levels as the main tank adjusted, and other stress. This manifests as a cotton/mold growth around the mouth or over the back. Then a couple of days later they are dead in the bottom of the tank. It spreads fast. I netted most of the fingerlings out of the tank an put them in a hospital tank, treated with 3 ppt salt and a triple sulfa for 5 days. Then in the main tank I treated with 1 ppt salt also. After the 5 day treatment in the medical tank, the fingerlings were put back in the main tank. I was still losing 1-2 fish per day so I started terramycin treatment by coating the feed with vegetable oil and sprinkling terramycin and mixing it in to make a medicated feed. After 2 days, all loses stopped, the fish show no signs of disease and are doing well. I will run the treatment for 14 days. This is presently on going, so I'll report back later. I'm down to 68 HSB fingerlings and 98 bluegill.

Medication tank

The treatment worked well. No other fish deaths since then and it's now October. The bass are 3-4 inches long, growing rapidly. They are ferocious eaters, and boil to the surface to eat. The Blue Gill better get with it, or they will become Bass chow before they are through.

So you try taking a close up of live fish, it's not easy. I'll update the picture next time I get the net out. But these bass are 2 months older and 5-6" long now.

Now that the summer is over and the tank temperature stays below 65 degrees, I'm considering adding a few rainbow trout to see how they grow through the winter.

Rainbow Trout

This week (October 14th) the kids had Fall Break. I arranged to pick up Rainbow Trout from Spring Lake Trout Farm. The farm is all spring and well fed water, no pathogens or upstream contaminants. They don't have a web site but here is contact info and reviews: http://www.merchantcircle.com/busine...ead?cid=259901

Robert Judd is second generation at this site, we come here every year to fee fish and their family are close friends with our extended family. Robert also manages the huge poly-culture fish tanks at the Cabela's store 10 min. from our house. Those tanks have 10-15 different species in 2 different giant tanks. Rob says that the trick is to use pellet fed fish. If they are trained to pellets and get fed pellets, they tend to leave the other fish alone, otherwise the smaller fish disappear! I need to go out and see the back-end of the stores systems and talk further with him.

We pulled up about 6:00pm in the afternoon as the sun was setting. First we filled out the paperwork. You can't move live fish anywhere in the State without permits to do so.

Then we 1/2 filled the two containers with fresh spring water. The water is at 55 degrees and my electronic PH meter said PH of 8.0 TDS of 300.

Notice the nice custom built fish tanks! Below you can see the catch out pond and the hatchery house in the background.

Then we walked up to the hatchery house.It is full of raceway tanks with various sized finger-lings.

Rob netted and counted out 58 5-7 inch trout (I asked for and paid for 50, but Rob has always been generous).

He ran the net back to the tanks by the truck, we put 1/2 in each, then put the tanks in the truck, hooked up the 700 watt 12 volt dc to 120 volt ac inverter, hooked up the aquarium air pump and put the 2 air-stones in the containers and made the dash home.

We made the trip home and only splashed a little water out of the tanks (right when I was backing up to the greenhouse.) We unloaded the tanks and added another air-stone from the aquaponic system. Rechecked the water temperatures, trout - 56, system - 62(normally it stays 65, but I let it drift down for the trout) and PH Trout-8.0, system 7.4 (I let it creep up knowing that Utah water runs high). I spent the next hour periodically mixing system water to the trout water, until came down to 7.6 and the temps came up to 61.

Then I netted them out, counted them (58) and put them in the system. Incidentally, Rob's place is one of the few places that grows Golden Rainbows, a Gold colored Rainbow Trout, we ended up with 6-7of them. It's nice for the kids, because they can see them easier.

I started tracking all the water quality parameters so I can catch any spikes early. I don't think I will have a problem as I supplemented extra Calcium Nitrate so the extra nitrate would help promote extra bacteria to handle the load. I did not feed them that night. I feed lightly the next morning and the began regular feedings in the evening.

I like these rainbow, the tend to swim near the surface, are even more aggressive feeders than the Hybrid Striped Bass and are easier to see. So far, 3 days later, no deaths, no sign of sickness, just 1 jumper who found a hole in my insulation where the inlet water comes in and found itself on the floor. I raised the temperature back up to 65 and lowered the PH to 7.0. I'll keep watching them closely, but I'm very excited about the trout. They are in the same tank with 98 Bluegill, now 3-6 inches, and 65 HSB's now 5-6 inches.

The trout are pellet fed as are all the others, Rob didn't think I will have a problem. He says the smaller bluegill have spines and the other fish don't like them. He said wild HSB's will swallow a trout almost the same size as they are, but where they are pellet raised and feed, these should fit in fine. Likewise the trout should leave the others alone as they grow as they are pellet fed also.

I'm disappointed that my tank, completely covered with insulation, makes it so you can't see the fish well. There is a black/dark green algae-film on all the surfaces and with Iron supplement turning the water red, it's only in the middle of the day that you can see down in the tank, and then only part way, with the aeration turned off. My next tank has to have a window and some kind of lighting, half the fun of having the fish is watching them.

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Detailed aquaponic system design information and plant and fish selection decisions can be found in our thread at AquaponicsHQ here: http://aquaponicsnation.com/forums/topic/802-utah-system-part-1-beginnings/

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