(pictures will be posted tomorrow)
Well, I finally did it......decided to try raising tilapia. I'm in the process of creating my first pond, which will be located at the community garden.
One of the volunteers at the community garden had a spa tub they wanted to get rid of. Um, I thought. Fish pond? Possibly with a bit of effort. So we organized a group to move the tub out of the house, onto a borrowed trailer, and drove it to the community garden. The community garden is a better site for a fish pond than my farm because of the lower elevation and warmer temperatures there.
First step was the create a level site for the tub and tamp down the earth. Next, I plugged all the pipes from the outide. Then the tub was flipped upright onto a temporary wood frame and leveled up. Because there is an abundance of lava rocks here that are free, we choose to use them to support the tub. Over the course of two days, rocks were maneuvered into place under and around the tub. Once solidly supported and level, I climbed inside and applied rubberized sealant into all the holes (drain, jets, lights). Once it cured, I applied a second thin coat. When that cured, two layers of silicone caulk were next to finish the job,
We added water slowly, watching for leaks and testing the level. When full, everything looked just fine. Now we need to wait for the water to become fish safe.
Tomorrow I'm adding pond plants and snails. In two weeks I'll try adding a few guppies or mosquito fish. If they do ok, then I'll pick up the baby tilapia.
This project is costing just the price of the sealants. Everything else has been donated. If this works out, the community garden volunteers want to use the pond water for an aquaponics project. Water will be pumped into a system for growing lettuce. And if that works, they plan to add more homemade ponds. There are eyeing up old chest freezers to convert to small ponds.
The idea of raising tilapia has got me tickled. If ponds can be made inexpensively, plus if you grow their food yourself, small scale fish farming should work quite nicely into my scheme of self-reliancy. The fish food will come from the garden, both greens, grains, and worms. If they will eat flies, we will make a floating fly trap for them. Such a trap easily catches between 50 and 100 flies a day.
I'll keep you posted.