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Feeding Aquaponics Tilapia

Video: Feeding Aquaponics Tilapia

My kids love helping in the garden.  Since their hands are pretty small, sometimes helping harvest the food can be more of a frustration than a help so we frequently let them feed the fish.  They love it! Watch as my oldest feeds the fish and I give a few pointers.

Transcript

One of the benefits of our Aquaponics system is getting to feed the fish.

(Aside: “Alright, let me see how much you got. Okay, go ahead and throw that in there.”

“All of it?”

“Yep”)

The fish are just now getting conditioned to eat the food even though we are watching them.  When they get a little bigger they’ll get so excited they’ll even splash getting their food.

Alright, throw the food into this one! This is our second tank.  The first tank I showed you had the 2-3 in fish and this tank has some 1-2 inch fish. I don’t know if you can see them yet. Oh, they are all the way on the other side of the tank.  There they are.  She just threw in the fish food so they are swarming on the other side. These ones are a little more shy so I don’t know if we’ll actually get a look at them eating.

These fish, this is the first tank again, have eaten quite a bit of the food and are going to take a break.  Usually you leave the food in there for 5-10 minutes and let them see how much they are going to eat in 5-10 minutes. And if they leave a significant amount in there you need to fish it back out so the food doesn’t become waste and gunk up your system.

 

If you are interested in what fish can go in your system, check out our post on the Best Fish For Aquaponics Systems.

Aquaponics Lettuce Harvest

Are you interested in seeing yields from an Aquaponics Lettuce Harvest?  I took a quick video of what one harvest looks like in my grow beds.  Watch and enjoy!

Transcript:

Hey everybody! Today I wanted to show you my lettuce bed. This is my Aquaponics lettuce.  This is a bed that’s about 4 foot by 4 foot give or take a little. And it was planted with a butter leaf lettuce.  It has been a couple days since I harvested and usually we wait about every three days or so.  But it’s pretty long and definitely ready to be harvested.  There’s some pretty big leaves back here if you look you can see, that one is almost as long as my hand is.  You can harvest this type of lettuce anywhere down from these little leaves right here that are, I don’t know, maybe the size of a quarter or a little bit bigger or you can wait until they are really big.  There was one point that I did not harvest my lettuce, it took me a couple days and I had a piece or two that was the size of my hand, like full broad leaf the size of my hand.

As you harvest this type of lettuce you need to be very careful because the roots are not very strong roots so if you are rough you could pull the whole plant out. If you do that it’s not the end of the world.  You can try to put it back into your medium. Like I’ve got some lava rock down here so it’s easy to move out of the way and you can try and just put the lettuce back in and if it does grow,  that’s great.But you do need to be careful.

I use a little pair of sewing scissors they are really sharp and small so I can get in and harvest the lettuce when it’s really close like this.  I’m going to go ahead and harvest some lettuce and get back to you once I’m done.

So I’m back and you might be able to tell I’ve thinned out the lettuce quite a bit. Here is my harvest in this bowl.  This is about, probably, more than one large salad for my family. I have 5 kids and me and my husband. The kids will probably only eat a couple of leaves each because they are not a huge fan of salad.  But between my husband and I that’s at least one salad, at least one salad a huge salad.  So that’s growth in about three days from my 4×4 lettuce bed.  That’s really great returns for the lettuce.  We’ve been able to harvest this lettuce, I think we are going on about 2 months now of at least twice a week harvests.  So if you are looking at growing lettuce, leaf lettuce is a really good plant to grow in your garden.  You get a lot of high yields and it grows really well in Aquaponics beds.

If you have any questions go ahead and comment below and I will try to answer them for you.  Thanks for watching!

If you are interested in seeing the growth of the lettuce beds, check out Aquaponics Lettuce Growth is Amazing.

Do You Know What This Is?

Do you know what this is?

LettuceHarvest.jpg
This is my first harvest of lettuce from my Aquaponics Garden! It tasted *Divine*.  I ate it as a chicken salad with croutons to boot.

By the time I was done, I was longing for the rest of the bag of lettuce but decided I really want to save it for a second salad!

We planted this Lettuce in the middle of March, exactly 4 weeks ago.  This was the lettuce bed yesterday morning, showing an incredible growth rate:

Lettucegrowthb.jpg

At this point we have two squash plants that have female buds on them.  We are watching daily for their flowers to open to make sure they get pollinated.  We also have one bell pepper that is growing really well and almost a dozen buds in the process of opening!  Our Edamame and Beans are getting really tall and I can’t wait to see them start flowering, although I suspect we still have a few weeks for that to happen.

We have 5 tomatoes but they aren’t growing all that fast.  I’m not exactly sure what they need…I’m suspecting that our system is not mature enough to really help the tomatoes with all the nutrients they need.  But last year our tomatoes did this same thing and it took through the summer for them to start producing. So I’m being patient and waiting to salivate over those tomatoes!

It is really peaceful to sit in our garden and just feel it.  Have you ever done that? Just sit in a garden and feel it? Its almost as if I can detect their growth and feel the vibes they put out- peaceful vibes.  My husband and I frequently go out to the garden to just look at the plants and listen to the water. It helps fortify us for the rest of the day.

Aquaponics Lettuce Growth Is Amazing

One thing that is so cool about aquaponics is that the growth is amazing, compared to regular dirt gardens.  We planted our garden three weeks ago and you wouldn’t believe the growth we’ve seen!

Here is our Aquaponics lettuce:

Lettuce Growth Day 10 Day 21

This is a side by side, showing the growth of our lettuce at 10 days and at 21 days. These beautiful leaves will be ready to eat in only a few more weeks!

Aquaponics Bell Peppers Growth Day 1 Day 28
We bought the pepper plants already growing so their growth comparison might not be as shocking, but in the 3 weeks we’ve had them, they have chosen to start setting fruit! There are several buds on this plant. (You can also see the edemame in the background!)

Aquaponics Garden Bush Beans Growth Day 21
 Our bean plants are starting to grow really tall as well.  We have already harvested a small handful of strawberries and we have 5 tomatoes growing.  Our corn is pretty staggered in its growth but the tallest plants are about 5 inches tall already.

Aquaponics is such an amazing way to garden.  I’ve already touted the benefits of using less water overall and now you can see that aquaponics helps grow food faster as well.  There are a lot of companies who are turning to hydroponics or aquaponics as a way of feeding large groups of people for much less cost and much higher efficiency.  Typically they stick with leafy vegetables because they grow the fastest in these system, but I’m sure we will be seeing a greater variety of produce being grown commercially through aquaponics and hydroponics.  My local Costco stocks an amazing lettuce that I could eat all day, every day, that is grown hydroponically.  When I buy it, I like to think I’m promoting something I really believe in!

Oh Ye Of Little Faith and If you Teach A Man To Fish

My garden is growing!  I just have to show you. We planted the seeds less than two weeks ago, on March 19.  I was ecstatic when our lettuce popped up because the seeds are so tiny that once they are planted, you can’t see them.  So I was worried they’d gotten washed into the water and out of the bed and we wouldn’t have any lettuce.

Then I was concerned for all my edamame, beans and peas because the few I could see were starting to mold or just not growing very well.  And my corn?  Whew.  I couldn’t even find any of those seeds once I planted them.

PeaPlantsI spent the last 10 days worrying that all our seeds would go bad and that we would have to start all over again and we would have wasted 2 or more weeks of growing time.

Over the weekend though my patience was rewarded because I started to see a few corn stalks burst out of the rocks.  And then I saw a few pea plants.  And then careful digging unearthed several of the bush beans and many many edamame plants!

I think I did learn one thing though- a lot of the vining type plants that we planted (beans, edamame) were struggling to push above the rock with their big top leaves.  When I started moving rock around looking for them I suddenly found several that were doing their best to grow and their tops were kinda scrunched down.  I carefully moved the top rock and the next day I saw them stretched up toward the sun!

I loved seeing all those beautiful plants growing.  I get so excited, thinking that those 20 pea plants are going to give my family and I a few meals and that our corn is going to be amazing once its boiled and slathered with butter- and maybe even dried into popcorn?  I got giddy seeing the first bell pepper starting to grow and our tomatoes getting bigger already (we have three!).  A garden is such a beautiful thing.

And I can reflect on all the analogies of growth, patience, faith, master gardener, and many more.  My garden is going to be a sight to behold in a few weeks as each of these tiny plants burst forth with much more greenery.  I can’t wait!

Aquaponics Tilapia FingerlingsAs well as our garden sprouting, we got fish!  We called our local EcoGro-Aquaponics store to inquire on the status of the fish delivery and we were told they had just sat down to start calling their waiting list.  We booked it over there, collecting all 100 fish, within the hour.  We bought 50 1 inch fish and 50 2-3 inch fish.  Its good to stagger the fish like this because it will allow two harvest times.  Is it bad that I’m already thinking of breading those fish or eating them with lemon juice and parsley (that we’ve grown in the garden, of course!)?  Mmmm…

You know what the greatest feeling is in all of this? That we are becoming more self sufficient.  We are collecting eggs to both eat and sell every day, we are growing fish to eat and vegetables to eat and possibly trade, and we are learning some skills that will enable us to do even more in the future!  This is a good life.