This short post looks at the current stage of the Tilapia growing in the indoor Aquaponics system. They are currently about 4 months old and doing just fine. At this age the fish are beginning to diverge in size according to sex. The Males are approximately 5 inches long and 1.5 ounces while the Females are 4 inches and 1 ounce.
Tilapia are mouth breeding fish. Essentially what happens is that the male (the larger of the fish) will dig out a hole in the sand/gravel and essentially invite a female into that hole to lay her eggs. She will lay the eggs and the male will inseminate them. Then the female will pick the eggs back up and hold them in her mouth until they hatch. During that time she wont eat, which is one way to be cued onto the fact that a fish may be pregnant. The other way is that you can essentially see the eggs in her mouth as she filters water. She opens her mouth less than the other fish and when you look in you can see hundreds of dots churning around inside of her mouth. Once the eggs hatch the fry will still occasionally stay in the mothers mouth when they feel threatened. While the Tilapia are constantly reproducing in both the indoor and outdoor aquaponics tanks I also maintain a breeder tank as a back up. The video below is a poor attempt (very hard to film) to show a female with her mouth full of eggs, the best view happens at about 1:28.
For the Fourth, I decided to have some fresh fish. So out came the net to catch 4 nice Tilapia from the outdoor aquaponics system. In no time they were caught, and prepped. An hour after beginning the process there were nicely grilled Tilapia and roasted vegetables from the rooftop garden. It doesn’t get much better.
I measured and weighed a couple of Tilapia from the outdoor system before eating them for dinner. As you will see from the photo the fish is almost 13 inches in length and it weighed nearly 1.5 pounds. It was the perfect size for grilling and a perfect and tasty meal for a hot summer night. The other interesting tidbit was that when I went to the tank to catch the fish I also discovered that there had been a birth and there were hundreds of small day old fry swimming around. The cycle continues.
Today I measured and weighed one of the Tilapia that was born on March 1st and is now 4 months old. The fish measured in at about 4 inches and weighed about .6 ounces. I still have 80 in the indoor large tank, and will eventually have to cull that number to approximately 40.
The plants in the outdoor system are having a nice growth spurt. As the picture indicates the top rack is seeing good growth of a variety of lettuces and the vertical pipes are seeing good growth from the herbs that were planted (Basil, Dill, Parsley, Cilantro)
Today the seeds were showing on the garlic plants which meant it was time to pick the pick the purple garlic. These were planted last november and have been growing for nearly 8 months now. I will place them in the basement to dry for a couple of years, some will be eaten and some will be the seeds for next year as these were.
To maximize space Beans were planted around the garlic this spring. While picking the garlic it was clear that the beans were ready to be picked as well. Sweet and ripe and delicious.
Today we had the best type of visitor to the Rooftop Garden, a little visitor. While I truly enjoy being out in gardens, I can forget that for little ones, it is not simply a garden but it is almost like a giant edible forest. If I get down low, I am reminded of just how magical this space can be for children. The tomato plants towering above their heads, the collards as wide as they can spread their arms. The lovely visitor got to feed the chickens (a bit scary), and collect eggs. We wandered and picked beans and ate them, and they were crisp and sweet and ripe. We picked and ate sweet and juicy strawberries and blueberries and we even fed the Tilapia. It was an ideal visit to the garden.
Today was a picking a planting day in the rooftop garden. Last fall I planted several types of garlic, I already picked the elephant garlic and today I picked the Early White. Still growing is the Purple. As you can see I am maximizing the limited space by planting beans and cucumbers in the same space as the Garlic. After pulling the garlic I also planted another batch of Beans and Cucumbers
I also picked a whole bunch of Radishes and Arugula. I planted more lettuce, more arugula, more carrots, more spinach, herbs and more radishes. This early in the system you can plant multiple times allowing for a fresh batch of veggies to be ripening as you are pick the previous set.