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Anyone else raising fish for food??? Now with pictures of the Harvest!

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Got another 500 watt heater going… 35 degrees, so I got my water hose going with warm water… 60 degrees in the tank right now… did the rest of my chores while the water heater gets fully caught up… pulling 50 - 60 % of the water out, so I can better examine the fish… will know more soon
 
ended up draining the cold tank, & butchering fish... the middle tank I've been able to keep at 80 degrees, so that one is still going... found out my 800 watt heater in the tank I shut down, baked an algae cookie on the heating element, under the guard... buildup was about an 1/8 inch thick solid, between the heating element & the guard, so the heat was not operating efficiently... checked the middle tank, not seeing any fish, with the tank all "wrapped up" but nothing sitting on the bottom, couldn't catch any, so assuming they are good... supposed to get up to the 50's, later this week...

was pretty disappointed in the sizes of the fish... they ranged from 5 inches to 8 inches in the tank I drained last night... with the bulk of them in the 5-6 inch range, so no filleting done last night, left them on the bone... the males were biggest, at 8 inches, as expected but only 4-5 males out of 50... a handful of 7 inch females, the rest were 6 inches or less... this tank the fish were noticeably smaller than the tank that is still going, so hopefully, there are some in that tank of fillet size...

learned, that I'd just as soon, not try to do females outside in my short growing season, or start with a bigger fingerling size to start with... the supplier sent me 3/4 inch fish to start... if I can get some breeding over winter, maybe I can start with 2-3 inch fish in the spring, next year, & use the females as feeders in my other tanks... ( that means sexing them, when still in the 2-3 inch size or smaller )
 
yep... I looked at raising catfish & trout, the tank density of stocking, for the Tilapia swayed me... I still think it's doable... I will have learned a lot this year... when I ordered fingerlings, & got fish the size of male guppies, & 2 weeks late I was worried... I think by breeding my own I can better control what's going on
 
Well we officially ate fish we raised tonight, and it was delicious… lots of small bones to pick out on the smaller fish… that middle tank, has been holding mid 80’s degrees, they all look fine, those fish are much bigger for some reason… hoping to have help cleaning them next Sunday, and hopefully there are enough, big enough to fillet… and I should have enough, In good shape to pick for females breeding
 
woke up this morning to almost blizzard weather, cold very windy & snow... the tank that still has fish was still mid 80's for temps, wrapped up & & foam board insulation on top, & with 2 heaters... I think the only reason the other tank got too cold, was the algae cookie that was baked on the element under the guard, as these 2 seem to be able to hold the temp up better... it's still supposed to warm up by the end of this week, & I'm still hoping to find a few females to move in the house with my male, & get the rest harvested this Sunday, after church...
 
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Baked algae “cookie” on the heater of the tank that got too cold, and had to be shut down last week
3 heaters currently in the tank that’s running, and it’s been holding mid 80’s even through the freezing weather…. In the 50’s today and tomorrow, so harvesting the last tank tomorrow… warm enough, that I did a good water change today
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Try to keep the biggest fish for breeding and you should be able to breed them over winter, grow them to 3-4 inches and then out them out in spring.

If you greenhouse the ponds, it will extend the growing season.

Solar heaters help too. Black metal box with 50-100 meters of black irrigation tube in. A small pump pumping water from the pond into the black box via the irrigation tube. Then draining back into the ponds. The black box sits out in the sun. You can warm up a pond by 10-20C this way. The more tube in the box the more time the water has to heat up.

If you have the pump on a timer, it can come on in the morning after the sun has come up, and go off when the sun has set.
 
A good day for harvesting fish…
My fish catching crew... Name tags on the kids, as this is 2 church families, they have 14 kids between the 2 families... I can remember the parents names, but not the kids... too many for my memory...
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The fillet crew… In the bucket of fish, there is one runt, that was the only one we culled out... Fillets are soaking in salt water until we finished, when they got rinsed & dried & then frozen in Zip Locking bags roughly 8-12 fillets per bag
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Ballpark of 12 to 15 lbs. of boneless, skinless-fish fillets, harvested today…breeders are in the aquarium… tried not to pick the biggest females ( 3 ) hoping not to get an alpha female… quite a bit of sparring going on… hope I didn’t accidentally get a 2nd male, or an alpha female
 
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Very good! I hope they taste as good as the fun you guys had catching and filleting them
 

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