Tilapia Are Now In The Aquaponic System

It’s been a busy and fun week.

We transferred 12 of the largest Tilapia from the indoor 55-gallon aquarium to the 300-gallon aquaponic fish tank.  I tried to take a picture of them this morning, but they weren’t in the mood.  They’re still a little upset about the move, so they spent most of their time hiding in the shadows.  It may take another week before they’re back to their friendly selves.

Here are a few photos of the Tilapia as we transferred them to their new home in 2-gallon Ziploc bags.  We let these bags of fish float in the 300-gallon tank for about 20 minutes to let the water temperature in the bag equalize with the water in the large tank.  Then we slowly added water to the bag from the large tank to avoid traumatizing the fish with a rapid change in pH and other water chemistry.




We also transferred one small Tilapia from the 29-gallon tank to the 55-gallon aquarium.  Now there are 12 Tilapia in the large aquarium waiting to grow up and move in with the big fish.

We also bought 50 mosquito fish (Gambusia affinis) from livekoiforsale.com.  They’re now swimming around in the 400-gallon grow bed.  Their job is to eat mosquito larvae and anything else small enough to fit in their mouth.


After all of the fish were moved to their new homes, Kim added two trellises to the grow bed.  Some of the bean and pea plants were getting so long, they needed a way to grow vertically instead of tangling around all of the other plants.

Here is the small trellis…

And here is the larger trellis.  They’re made of 1″ x 2″ boards and Trellis Netting  on the large trellis and nylon string on the small one.

While all of this was going on, the aquaponic system matured.  The plants grew a little more and the bacteria converted the ammonia from the fish to nitrites and nitrates.  It could take another month or so before there’s enough bacteria in the water to convert all of the ammonia and nitrites, but, once they’re ready, the nitrates will increase and the plants will grow much faster.  Even in our immature system, many of the plants are growing quickly.






Some of the net pots didn’t appear to have anything growing in them, so we pealed off a thin layer of the Sure To Grow medium to reveal small seedlings underneath.  Now they can get some sunlight and grow without being trapped under the cotton-like material.

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14 Responses to Tilapia Are Now In The Aquaponic System

  1. Eggkins says:

    Do talapia get sunlight? Or are they ghostly white because they stay in the dark?

    • Good questions. Yes, they get some sunlight almost every day. When it’s warm out, we move the tarp so it’s only covering about half of the tank, giving them the option of getting sun or hiding in the shade.

      This breed is called “White Nile” Tilapia, but there are also Tilapia breeds that are blue, grey, pink, orange, gold, and other colors. Since the White Nile Tilapia can tolerate slightly colder water temperatures (upper 40’s) than some of the others, we decided to try them in our area. In the winter, we may switch to a fish that can live in even colder water, such as Perch or Crappie.

  2. Kevin says:

    Thanks for finding me. This whole set up is fascinating! I’m looking forward to following your progress. By the way, you might be interested In a site called Blotanical. It’s a search engine of sorts for gardening blogs. Not oly can you register your site, but youll find a lot of information from other gardeners. Very cool!

  3. Thanks for visiting my site! I’m afraid to show my husband this post on the tilapia. He has been saying for years that he want to do this. Is this your first attempt with fish?

  4. jheem says:

    Such an interesting system. I look forward to reading more!

  5. Very interesting! Wow. You are doing this right.
    Thanks for stopping by and reading my haiku on spring planting.

  6. weezmccarty says:

    I love the Homeostaticness of the system. What a great way to create healthy, organic food for your family.

  7. Tara-Kay says:

    I have just heard of Tilapia beds(only third time I have ever seen it). I think its amazing, just 2 days ago I told my husband that we should think about doing this in a few years(so not ready yet). His response”That is so complicated, we could never do that.” And I agreed, but you make it look so “do-able”. Still not ready, but encouraged!

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