Paul Nickerson

Posts Tagged ‘Tilapia’

Havesting Tilapia

In Aquaponics, Gardening on December 9, 2012 at 9:34 pm

Jared Netting Tilapia This past Friday I was invited to a sustainability luncheon. The lunch was comprised of locally grown and prepared foods including apple sauce and cider, pies, canned vegetables, grass-fed burgers and, of course, my Tilapia. Catching them was one of the most interesting aspects of preparing the fish. I recruited a friend of mine, Jared Franklin, to give me a hand netting, while I sized and sexed the fish. We collected only four fish, and placed them into an ice bath to keep them from jumping around.

The fish was filleted and prepared with a small amount of butter, pepper, and adobe salt. We cooked them in a charcoal grill. It was delicious! Harvested FishFillets

Post-Harvest Update: Messiah College Aquaponics

In Aquaponics, Gardening, Propagation on November 26, 2012 at 4:23 pm

This is a quick overview of the system after we harvested the Thai Basil. The plants have begun growing new shoots and leaves. Cuttings that were placed in the rafted sump tank have rooted and will be ready to put in the gutter system. The cilantro is also doing great!

Drying Thai Basil

In Aquaponics, Gardening, Propagation on November 8, 2012 at 1:00 am

We recently harvested the Thai Basil from the system and are working on drying it in order to use it in the future. The flowers and leaves were spread out on large pieces of cardboard in front of the wood-stove. Hope-fully this method won’t take too long!

Harvesting Thai Basil: Messiah College Aquaponics

In Aquaponics, Gardening, Propagation on November 7, 2012 at 5:26 pm

So today we finally got around to harvesting the Thai basil from the gutter system. The plants had become very large and produced a very large crop. We harvested not only the leaves, but also the flowers. The stems will most likely be used for the production of Basil Jelly. We are planning to dry most of the crop for storage and future use; you can only use so much Thai Basil at once. The bases of each plant remain in the system and will sprout new branches and leaves shortly. Check it out!

New Purge Valve and Overflow Control

In Alternative Agriculture, Aquaponics on October 26, 2012 at 5:00 pm

Some recent modifications to the Aquaponic System due to the use of Sunflower Press Cake. We had some problems with lines clogging with seed casings and overflow issues due to a  new pump.

Aquaponic Crop Rotations

In Aquaponics, Gardening on September 13, 2012 at 10:11 pm

Since we erected the gutter system in the greenhouse, we have had a number of difficulties to overcome. One such problem that has arose is the fact that the shade cover only extends across half of the gutters, leaving the far side completely exposed.

The solution was simple. Crop rotations. One wonderful feature of the gutter system is that it is incredible modular. One the pump is turned off, the small supply lines can be removed, and each gutter can be moved as a unit. It was easiest to have one person stand on each end of the system and simply lift the gutters to swap locations. We moved all of the new seedlings to the inside, where they would be better protected, and relocated the larger plants outward where they would receive full sun.

FshyPlnts Welcomes 14 New Fingerling

In Aquaponics on August 29, 2012 at 2:23 pm

Today I decided to remove the spent tomato plants from the system and was met with a wonderful surprise. Cleaning the sump tank is a fairly standard procedure. Remove the plants, then the mats. Skim the water to remove any debris or plant matter, and then replace the rafts and plants. That is what I planned on doing this afternoon. Aquaponics teaches you to be flexible and to go with the flow.
While removing the mats I realized there was a small fish in the sump tank. The tilapia reproduced a few months back, but since seeing the initial eggs, there have been no signs of progeny. Determined to get that little fish back into the main tank, I grabbed a net and headed to work dredging aimlessly in the murky water.

When I pulled the net from the tank, two fingerlings emerged. Confused, I began to drain the tank while hunting for other fish. After about 40 minutes of splashing around in the sump tank I relocated 14 fingerlings, all healthy and well-developed, into the main tank. We now have evidence that on a diet consisting entirely of sunflower press cake, tilapia can effectively survive and reproduce. Furthermore, fingerlings are capable of living healthily in a system entirely fueled by sunflower press cake.

Summer Recap: Aquaponics at Messiah College

In Aquaponics on August 25, 2012 at 8:56 pm

As students begin to gather again on campus, it is time to get the system up and running at full capacity so we can began determining crop output per unit fish. Over the summer the fish were fed a diet consisting entirely of sunflower press cake. All of the tilapia are still healthy, some are soon to be dinner.

During the summer the Gro-tech gutter system was taken offline for a short amount of time to be cleaned and re-caulked. It is recently been planted with Thai Basil seedlings. Small pieces of paper towel were used as wicks to keep the seeds moist until they developed sufficient root systems. This was done to combat the drying problem we faced last semester when planting lettuce in the system. (I’ll explain more about the wicks in another post).

Over the course of the summer we also noticed an increase in the amount of solid waste in the water. This is likely due to the nature of the press cake we are feeding the fish. We recently figured out a way to filter this out (which again, I will elaborate on at another time). We are also currently working on building a view box that will allow us to survey the bottom of the fish tank to determine how much food is not being consumed, but is building up in the tank.


Research Symposium Presentation

In Alternative Agriculture, Aquaponics on April 28, 2012 at 8:27 pm

Here is a copy of the presentation I gave at the Messiah College Research Symposium today. It was a ‘brief’ overview of the research we have been doing to establish a system that is fueled by sunflower seed press cake from the SunFlower-Power project on campus. You can’t quite make out the slides in the presentation due to the lighting.

System With GroTech Gutters!

In Alternative Agriculture, Aquaponics, Gardening on March 27, 2012 at 6:05 pm

The 300 Gallon system is currently located at Messiah College, Grantham PA. We recently plumbed in a 180 plant, GroTech gutter system into the main sump tank. After having worked through a number of the problems with integrating different style systems, it seems to be producing well. There have been some Iron deficiencies, but nothing that a bit of Chelated Iron couldn’t fix.

The fish gave birth again! The fry seem to be doing well.

We will be working to integrate SOMAT waste from the cafeteria, as well as poultry waste as an alternative diet. Research in that area should start at the end of this week! I’ll keep you all posted!

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