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organic tilapia

July 6, 2011

This week we ordered our first tilapia for our aquaponics system.  We obtained a water quality permit and a Texas department of agriculture aquaculture license and because tilapia is considered an invasive species we had to get approval from the Texas parks and wildlife.  All that took from Feb 19 until July 1.  I am a committed environmentalist but I now understand why many complain that such regulation stifles business.  This could have been done in three or four days and the fish would be ready for market in fall.

This first group of fish will be mostly experimental.  The fingerling stock that we start with will not be organic but we will raise them organically from the time we receive them.  We have  organic breeding stock on the way to provide us with next years truly organic fish  (though still not certified organic).

Tilapia provide a great tasting white fish but most farm raised fish are fed unnatural diets of corn and soy that result in a fish high in omega 6 fatty acids.    That combined with the hormones and antibacterial additives fed the fish make for a rather nasty addition to your diet.   Our fish will not get this crap. A natural diet of worms, vegetation, bugs and small fish should provide a fish high in omega 3 fatty acids and clean of toxins. We will be raising them in an aquaponics system mimicking the ones used by Growing Power in Milwaukee. In the growing beds we will raise watercress and propagate herbs.

Wish us luck and feel free to inspect our system.  I expect to have a few kinks in the works. I have been around long enough that it won’t all go exactly according to plan, but it will go.  The first fish will be in January if all goes the way it should and  probably won’t.

Diagram of system

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