On my other blog, Frugal Gravy-(formerly Sweet Tea, Biscuits and Gravy)-I mentioned that I was giving my daughter fish oil supplements but they’re now saying that it could be tainted because the fish could be tainted from our oceans and lakes. So what does that leave? Organic fish which is very expensive in the stores if you can find them. So that got me to thinking because I know that Chris of One Acre Homestead in Ohio’s blog attempted to raise fish years ago but that didn’t work out, but could this be done? So I started looking things up… By now most people have heard of Hydroponics which is a method of growing plants in water without soil in a nutrient solution and using instead of soil, gravel or perlite or other things. Then theres Aquaponics which takes it a step further and uses fish instead of solutions to grow food. But now people are taking it a step further as well, its still called Aquaponics but instead of using gold fish they are using fish that you can raise to feed your families, like Perch, Bass, Carp, Trout, Salmon, Catfish and Tilapia!!! Theres even Barrelponics in which people use clean plastic Barrels for both the plants and the fish with the same Aquaponics set-up.
Here is a video of a place called Growing Power in Milwaukee: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9qZPwBPAqks
Mother Earth News has an article on it. They seem to give information that makes it sound very complicated though, it doesn’t have to be this complicated. You can use a blow-up pool and netting as your set up. But its still has plenty of good information in it: http://www.motherearthnews.com/Sustainable-Farming/2006-04-01/Fish-Farming.aspx
This website has excellent information on raising Tilapia and you can see his set-up. He even has three easy set-up guides you can use. He sells the fish as well: http://tilapiafarmingathome.com/default.aspx
The Garden Gal has an easy system too: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dz6m5370RB0&feature=fvw
The hard part may be finding the fish. It maybe I don’t know where to look but this was the only place I could find that was a source. Let me know if you know of any other place. But this place had reasonable prices: http://www.willowpondaquafarms.com/
But the only problem I have with Hydroponics and Aquaponics is not recycling the water and raising your own food and fish, no that is really cool, whether you use it together or you raise your own fish by itself. Its the dependency upon electricity. What if the power goes out and what if theres a natural disaster? Will all these people that spent hundreds to thousands of dollars on these expensive systems suddenly be stuck with rotting plants and rotting fish? So, I started looking up how to do it without electricity!
There were two groups that are creating Aquaponics for people in third world countries without electricity: http://melvinlanders.tripod.com/page9.html A similiar system could be created in a basement or yard using store-bought pond liners and some ingenuity.
The other one is Morning Star Fisherman, a group that helps third world countries or individuals interested in learning alternative gardening techniques. They use Duckweed in a controlled environment only. Duckweed is a natural plant that grows on top of water and filters the fish waste and water. It should never be released though into any water or it will overtake the top layer of water, so under controlled environments should it be used. They have an excellent video found at: http://www.morningstarfishermen.org/index.html Even if you want to just learn how to do it for yourself, they have workshops from one day to 2 wks and all the proceeds would go to help a third world country learn to feed themselves better.
But not only will Duckweed filter the water without electricity and can be used as fish food for the fish but it’s inexpensive. Heres a place that supplies Duckweed: http://wardsci.com/product.asp?pn=IG0009402&sid=google&cm_mmc=google-_-cpc-_-ward-_-duckweed&bhcd2=1220812243
But if you absolutely must use some type of filter to raise fish or power something in your home, you may have to shell out some money and get a solar powdered generator: like the one found here: http://www.greenbaba.com/Solar-Charger/H003-Portable-Solar-Generator.html I’m sure they have less expensive ones but this one can power tv’s, I’m sure a refrigerator comes to mind, and your own fish supply.
So, I hope this helps. Let me know if you set one up. I am seriously thinking about this myself. I know Lea wants to eat fish but with our waters becoming more and more tainted, and the price of organic fish so high, why not raise your own.
Hope this helps and pass this information along!!!