So i jumped the gun and ordered 50 Mosquito Fish from a Carolina Labs with the intention to put them into my pond. Well, I hadn't considered the tadpoles and after doing some research found out that my amphibian population could take a hit from the Gambusa feeding on the tadpoles.
But I'd still like to grow them as chickenfeed. I do have an 80 gallon stock tank lying around and am considering breeding these fish in there.
Anyone with experience with this? What kind of aeration is required?
We are in Zone 8b and will get freezing temps. Should i bury the stock tank to the rim and perhaps partially cover for the winter in order to keep it from freezing?
You are correct. Many types of newly hatched amphibian larva are about the size of mosquito larva. Mosquito larva are a mainstay of the Gambusia diet.
As far as the stock tank goes, if it is galvanized your little fish will die in it unless it is painted or lined. If it is plastic or fiberglass they should be ok. The fish will need aeration unless you can set your tank up with a flow-through water supply.
Putting the tank in-ground is a good idea, the water temperature will be more stable. Leave at least 6" to 12" of free board to help keep small critters from falling in. It will need a secure mesh top strong enough to keep raccoons out with mesh small enough to keep snakes out. In your climate the tank will also need to be at least partly shaded.
I think you'll be able to grow enough fish to provide treats to your chickens once in a while but certainly not enough to use as an actual feed source.
I've bred them successfully in 55 gallon barrels, without attention to aeration or anything else. They survived Georgia winters severe enough to freeze the water a couple of inches thick from time to time. Pretty hardy critters! I did keep the barrels in partial shade, and added aquatic plants when I could get them easily. An interesting side benefit is that I would use these barrels to soak glass jars I had scrounged at the recycling center....mostly old canning jars, with food residue often hardened onto them, and paper labels glued on. After leaving them soak in that little aquatic ecosystem for a year, with fish, snails, algae and all breeding and feeding....they would usually wipe perfectly clean!
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