One of the most exciting things about owning an aquaponics system is buying new fish. Here are a few tips to ensure you get the best fish.
What to Buy
The time of year determines what fish you buy and the size you buy them. Some examples:
Season Start: Early – Mid April (Depending on the early or late onset of cooler weather).
Season End: October – Mid November (Depending on the early or late onset of warmer weather).
Season Start: Early – Mid December (Depending on the early or late onset of warmer weather).
Season End: April – Early May (Depending on the early or late onset of cooler weather).
All Year Round
If you need fish and it is mid-way through a season, then you will need to buy larger fingerlings than you would have done at the start of the season.
Trout and Barramundi have a finite time that you can keep them so you need to have grown them to an eating size by the end of the season. If you buy them too small you run the risk of them being too small to eat at the end of their respective seasons.
TIP: If you have just started a new system, and you plan on buying larger fish, you will need to buy significantly less than the smaller fish available at the start of the season. This is due to the larger fish putting more waste into a system that is most likely not able to filter the amount of waste the larger fish will put into the system.
Where to Find Fingerlings
In the modern age of convenience you will find edible fish fingerlings everywhere!
Online you will find information on Google (search “aquaponics fingerlings”), gumtree, and online forums.
Look for commercial aquaculture or fish farms, even stores supplying aquarium fish will have fish or know who you can speak to. I will soon be building a list of supplier on my Friends page.
TIP: Many suppliers have large stocking tanks and will restock smaller ‘retail’ tanks about once a week. Ring ahead and ask them what day the retail tanks are re-stocked. Organise to pick up your fish on this day as the fish will be significantly less stressed, compared to what they will be like after a week of being chased around with a net!
What You Need
On the day of pickup you will need:
A Large Transport Container
..Preferably a dark container (Removing direct sunlight and movements in the car will reduce fish stress). A large esky is perfect.
…..With a lid (stop water spillage).
……..And battery powered aerator. You will need an air supply to transport the fish home (even if it is a 15minute journey). These are cheap, even a $10.00 unit with bubblers will do the trick.
The Day of Pickup
Water has great momentum and is heavy, so practice putting the container in your car seat and belting it in so it is sturdy. Remember this is going to be a lot harder when the container has water so get the procedure down pat.
Take water from the same tank the fish were in. Take your container with you and fill it with water from the same tank the fish were in.
Selecting the Fish
When choosing fish, observe the fish and ensure they are spritely. Fish darting swiftly around the fish tank is what you are looking for.
Avoid fish that are sluggish. Check that they have no visible white spots, the tail is intact, and no visible excessive slime.
Also avoid fish that are gasping or swimming at surface.
TIP: Watch the way the fish are put in container by staff. Ensure that there is enough water in the container so as if a fish is dropped from 30cm above it does not hit the bottom of the transport container, stressing and possibly damaging the fish. This is a big rule if buying Marron as 7/10 Marron won’t survive a drop from this height hitting the container floor.
REMBEMBER: Buy feed at same time.
If you are buying Marron or Yabbies, don’t fill the container with water. If either species is transported in water the water requires aeration. Instead, take a towel and dip it in the fish tank water (paper towels would do). Both species are fine to be transported (for days) in a container with a damp towel.
See “Introducing Fish Into Your Aquaponics System” for information on how to introduce your fish to your system.