1. “Farm and ranch lands cover nearly 40 percent of Earth’s land area” – While aquaponic techniques can’t address this shocking statistic per se, they can certainly mitigate the impact. Because aquaponics is a soil-less growing technique, plants and fish can be grown anywhere, including on land that is considered unfertile (too sandy, too rocky, too toxic) and even in old warehouse buildings and unused parking lots.
2. “Agriculture consumes nearly three quarters of the earth’s available water” – Because aquaponics is a recirculating system, the only water “lost” is either held in the plants, transpires through their leaves, or evaporates from the top of the fish tank. Aquaponics is generally thought to use less than a tenth of the water of traditional agriculture for the same crop output.
3. “Agricultural activities such as clearing land, growing rice, raising cattle and overusing fertilizers make up 35 percent of the single largest contributor of greenhouse gases to the atmosphere” – None of these practices have any place in aquaponic growing.
4. “About 40% of all crops the planet produces are used to feed animals.” – Fish are the single most efficient converter of feed to flesh of any edible animal. One and a half pounds of feed will bring to harvest, one pound of edible, omnivorous fish fillets. It takes eight pounds of feed to produce the same single pound of beef fillets.
5. While not mentioned in the article, “consuming petroleum” could easily be added to this list. Between oil-based fertilizers, oil-fueled farming machinery, and long distances between farm and table, modern food is “dripping” with oil. Aquaponic systems on the other hand, have no oil-based inputs and are run entirely on a small amount of electricity. This electricity can be created through currently available renewable energy methods.
- Aquaponics Gardening enables home fish farming. You can now feel good about eating fish again.
- Aquaponics Gardening uses 90% less water than soil-based gardening.
- Aquaponics Gardening is twice as productive on a square foot basis as soil-based gardening.
- Aquaponics Gardening is free from weeds, watering and fertilizing concerns, and because it is done at a waist high level there is no back strain.
- Aquaponics Gardening is necessarily organic. Natural fish waste provides all the food the plants need. Pesticides would be harmful to the fish. Hormones, antibiotics, and other fish additives would be harmful to the plants. And the result is every bit as flavorful as soil-based organic produce.
A good rule of thumb is to stock about 1 lb of fish per 5 -10 gallons of water, or 1-2 fish per 10 gallons of water. Never stock more than 1 pound of fish for every three gallons of water.
Breeding Mozambique tilapia in the aquarium is not difficult and the fish can start breeding when it is roughly 8-9 months of age. It can however be hard to distinguish the males from the females since they look very similar. One of the easiest ways of obtaining a pair is to let at least 5-6 fishes grow up together and form their own pairs.
Before any spawning takes place, the male will dig out a saucer-shaped nest on the sandy bottom. (It is therefore a good idea to use sand instead of coarse gravel in the aquarium if you want to breed Mozambique tilapia.) During spawning, the female will release her eggs into the nest.
Just like many other African cichlids, the Mozambique tilapia is a maternal mouthbrooder. In many African cichlid species the female will pick up the eggs before they are fertilized, but the Mozambique tilapia female waits until the male has fertilized the eggs in the nest. She will then pick them up and keep eggs, larvae and small fry protected inside her mouth until the fry are large enough to be released. The eggs will normally hatch after 3-5 days, but it will then take at least 10-14 days before the fry is released.
Newly released Mozambique tilapia fry will shoal in shallow water in the wild, and they will try to stick to this behavior in the aquarium as well. You can feed the fry newly hatched brine shrimp as soon as they have been released.
During the breeding season, the pair will raise a new batch every 3-4 weeks. If you don’t have enough space to keep a myriad of Mozambique tilapia it is best to euthanize them at a young age or let them become food for predatory fish. If you allow your aquarium to become crowded it can lead to stunted Mozambique tilapias.