You’re listening to Fish Grow Plants—A podcast all about practicing and sharing the love of aquaponics; hosted by Logan Schoolcraft.
Hello, and welcome to Fish Grow Plants! In today’s episode the topic is the aquaponic process of sourcing your fish!
Honest story here: I’ve killed a lot of fish I’ve put in my aquaponic systems. So, I have had to get several batches of fish for systems over the years. I’ve also moved fish with me when changing jobs and locations.
Actually, moving from one desert to another in the middle of summer with fish in the back of my pickup was a challenge. I wasn’t too sure it would work. But you know what, if you insulate enough, prepare enough, and leave early enough in the morning…you can haul fish through some pretty hot weather and they come out just fine. In fact, I had two coolers of fish that made the trip. Probably in part to the extra two inches of insulation around the coolers I added. I also made sure oxygen was plentiful and they didn’t have a full belly of food to poop all in the water; which helped as well.
So what’s the point here? Well, I just wanted to introduce the aquaponic process of sourcing your fish by telling you a bit about hauling and moving fish. At least the interesting one that I’ve done.
Okay, the basics to sourcing fish are pretty obvious. You have essentially three steps:
- Move, haul, or transport; and
Let’s take a look at each one in turn here.
Sourcing fish is probably the step with the most variety and plethora of ways to get accomplished. What do I mean? Well, fish can come from many places: online sellers, your neighbors, the local pet store, specialty shops and farms, or you can even raise your own. I’m sure there are many other options and variations out there to find fish. Of course there are legal issues you’ll have to check with in your local area, as well as basic common sense and logistics. A few questions to consider are:
- How many fish to need?
- How much money am I willing to spend?
- Can fish really be shipped that far?
- Do I need feeder/starter fish (think cheap), or do I want something else?
One other question you should think about is the transporting of fish to your location. Will you move them yourself, have them shipped, or have a third party haul them?
This is the second step of sourcing fish. Moving, hauling, transporting; it doesn’t matter what you call it—the fact is fish are being moved from one location to another. Working with experienced people and companies here will ensure the healthiest fish possible upon arrival. If you are simply waiting for fish to arrive, your main objectives are to ensure your tank is ready to greet them and you have made room and time to tend to them while they acclimate.
If you are doing the hauling, you still have to have your tank ready at home, but you need to make sure your hauling vehicle and equipment are ready for the road trip. Some questions to consider here are:
- What’s the expected temperature on my trip?
- Can I provide adequate oxygen for the fish?
- How am I going to minimize the sloshing travel impact on my fish?
- Can I get someone to help me move my fish?
Most of these tasks are easy to prepare for using good insulation, small vehicle inverters, and having spares on hand in case something goes wrong; this includes extra water.
Ok. The final step to take is to get your fish installed to their new home. I alluded to the fact that you’ll need your tank setup and ready to greet your fish as well as having time to install them. But what will you be doing during that time? Well, you’ll want to take transition slow with your fish. Essentially, you want them to be able to acclimate to your tank water conditions. The biggie here is temperature. The next big parameter is pH. And we’ll assume your dissolved oxygen is fine!
The point is to go slow because water holds its temperature and pH well; meaning it won’t change very quickly. For example, if you were to transport some fish in a hot car and then dump them into a cool tank with a different pH than what they are used to, it would be like drastically changing the water temperature of your shower as well as the feel of it! That would be shocking to you, wouldn’t it!? That sort of thing is shocking to fish as well, only they may die from it. So, go slow; it may seem like agony, but slowly mixing water for your fish makes them feel better, be better, and hey—you get to spend some one-on-one time with your new fish! Soak it up!
Alright, what is the take-away from today? Simple. Decide how you are going to source your fish. Figure out how you are going to get them to your location. Then make sure to set aside time to spend acclimating them to their new home.
These steps can seem like a lot, but be prepared, take it slow, step by step, and you’ll have a beautiful tank full of happy fish before you know it!
Take care and happy aquaponicing!
This has been another episode of Fish Grow Plants—the podcast all about practicing and sharing the love of aquaponics; hosted by Logan Schoolcraft.