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_____fish, the chicken of the pond

 
pollinator
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Can any fish eat kitchen scraps and turn it into, well, fish?

Have a steam-fed, shallow pond, humans there very intermittently.  Zone 5.  Old Mill pond.  Never dredged.  Thanks
 
gardener
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I've added your post to the fish and aquaponics forums.  The limited information I have is for a much warmer climate. I think catfish and blue gill can at least survive your climate, but I doubt tilapia would. As I understand it a colder climate means slower growing fish, for those species that can handle the cold at all.

If I were looking for information on this myself I would spend some time in the both the forums I've added your post to. This thread https://permies.com/t/20136/small-scale-fish-farming-startup#495179 lists several fish that have the potential to live off vegetable scraps.
 
Joshua Myrvaagnes
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Location: Massachusetts, 6b, urban, nearish coast, 39'x60' minus the house, mostly shady north side, + lead.
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Thanks, that's a great answer!

I guess I also want to plant a mulberry tree over my pond-chickens and have them eat that.  Year-round.  

(Magic always comes with a price, dearie!)

The other advantage of feeding the fish is that's a way of catching them, vs. having to go fishing.  In Geoff's video he has a feeding-plus-aearation pool at the side and a sliding door that traps them in there.  Sneaky but convenient.  

S. Bengi knows his stuff!  Thanks, S.!
 
Joshua Myrvaagnes
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Location: Massachusetts, 6b, urban, nearish coast, 39'x60' minus the house, mostly shady north side, + lead.
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Casie Becker wrote:I've added your post to the fish and aquaponics forums.  The limited information I have is for a much warmer climate. I think catfish and blue gill can at least survive your climate, but I doubt tilapia would. As I understand it a colder climate means slower growing fish, for those species that can handle the cold at all.

If I were looking for information on this myself I would spend some time in the both the forums I've added your post to. This thread https://permies.com/t/20136/small-scale-fish-farming-startup#495179 lists several fish that have the potential to live off vegetable scraps.



I'm thinking I can't possibly have Schroedinger's Pond on my hands here--simultaneously too hot for trout and too cold for tilapia.  

I guess it is actually alternately too hot for trout and too cold for tilapia.

Maybe we'll just do bait fish for now.  They can be sold--NY State requires a license but I think it's actually free.

 
pollinator
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Location: Australia, Canberra
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If it is deep enough (e.g. more than a meter) you can have trout.

First establish some vegetation in the pond. This will attract frogs. Food for fish.

Second establish some crustaceans like fresh water shrimps, yabbies' etc. These will be food for fish. You can also try gambusia fish (mosquito larvae eater) or Gammarus pulex which are good food resources for trout.

The other vegetation around the pond will feed on excess nutrients produced by life in the pond.

Get a bottom feeder fish which will churn the bottom, eating the build up debris.

Get another top feeder fish like trout (trout is carnivorous) or tilapia, depending on your climate of course.

Don't over stock the fish and regularly check pH, ammonia, nitrite, nitrate

Once it founds its balance you don't even need to feed the fish anymore. They would be alright.

 
Joshua Myrvaagnes
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Thank you, Gurkan!  I think there's no question of our feeding the fish, as in fish food, or regular food, we just don't have the people power.  The kitchen scraps is optimistic, hopefully a little add-on treat.  There are already frogs in there, or around (peepers, tree frogs I believe)--so unless we get tree fish that might not be a food source for them...but we have vegetation, soooo much vegetation! which I just learned means we probably have the most starch per acre of any food--cattails.  I just don't recall if they're actually cattails now or just a lot of other weird greenery, I never really paid much attention before and I'm glad I'm more motivated to observe now!

I don't know the depth, but I'd been hearing 15 feet requirement quoted for trout, for cold climates maybe?...

I think what we'll do is take the temperature (it'll be solstice, but probably goes higher later in the year), and see if we can unclog the stream a bit...observe how many larvae we can see in there...

Now, I thought trout would eat mosquito larvae (that's carnivore food, right?) and the internet tells me so.  If that's not the case, please advise.

I'd be happy with anything that can handle our temperatures.  We're in zone 5, temperatures can be down to 10F, even lower sometimes.

Thanks!

Gurkan Yeniceri wrote:If it is deep enough (e.g. more than a meter) you can have trout.

First establish some vegetation in the pond. This will attract frogs. Food for fish.

Second establish some crustaceans like fresh water shrimps, yabbies' etc. These will be food for fish. You can also try gambusia fish (mosquito larvae eater) or Gammarus pulex which are good food resources for trout.

The other vegetation around the pond will feed on excess nutrients produced by life in the pond.

Get a bottom feeder fish which will churn the bottom, eating the build up debris.

Get another top feeder fish like trout (trout is carnivorous) or tilapia, depending on your climate of course.

Don't over stock the fish and regularly check pH, ammonia, nitrite, nitrate

Once it founds its balance you don't even need to feed the fish anymore. They would be alright.

 
Gurkan Yeniceri
pollinator
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Yes trout is a carnivore fish. You can may be convert your kitchen scrap to black soldier fly larvae, harvest and freeze them, and feed them to trout in winter.

15 feet is more than enough. I assume you have some shading trees around the pond.

I think with all the vegetation in the pond, frogs and life, you are ready for the fish.

 
master pollinator
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One of my favourite ideas for increasing the amount of insect-based feed in the water is where a device is used to draw insects to the pond and, unknowingly, drown or otherwise trap them in the water, for hungry fish to eat. I have seen this done with a carbon dioxide trap, or with those solar garden lamps and a turbo fan.

I second the diversification strategy. In my neck of the woods, I am most likely to choose a small catfish species, like brown bullhead, which is indigenous to the area, and therefore well-adapted to winters. I also love the taste, and the fact that they are so ridiculously easy to filet (I don't even know if you can call it that, as it's essentially a skinning process that exposes the strips of meat on either side of the spine).

Plus, catfish should do well in a pond that's never been dredged, or even a pond that has parts that have never been dredged.

I don't know what the site looks like, but in your position, I would consider the soil makeup, and the structure of the pond itself. Is it natural? Is the soil beneath the pond clay-based? Will it take a dredging, or would that cause your pond to drain into the subsoil?

If you can dredge safely, I would explore the option. If the stream is cold and there was a deeper hole in the pond where the stream came in, the cold water would settle in the deepest part of the pond, creating a trout sanctuary in hot weather. Also, the deep spot, if large and deep enough, it might not freeze solid, offering unfrozen winter shelter (in lakes and rivers, the water at the bottom can usually stay around 4C, keeping everything from freezing solid even with a foot or more of ice on the surface).

I would investigate to see if there are any frog reintroduction programs in your area. If you could get pond-based frogs, they could be anything from fish food to another protein source (Cajun-style frog legs, anyone?).

As always, we love pics. Keep us posted, and good luck.

-CK
 
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Location: Asheville, NC: Zone 7a-6b
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Joshua Myrvaagnes wrote:Thanks, that's a great answer!

I guess I also want to plant a mulberry tree over my pond-chickens and have them eat that.  Year-round.  

(Magic always comes with a price, dearie!)

The other advantage of feeding the fish is that's a way of catching them, vs. having to go fishing.  In Geoff's video he has a feeding-plus-aearation pool at the side and a sliding door that traps them in there.  Sneaky but convenient.  

S. Bengi knows his stuff!  Thanks, S.!



Oh boy!  I just planted two mulberry trees around the chicken area hoping it would give them more to eat!  Glad to know this wasn't an absolutely crazy idea.
 
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