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 Post subject: Bluegill
PostPosted: Apr 5th, '08, 00:54 
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I saw that a couple other people here had bluegill and figured maybe we could 'compare notes'. I actually have a variety of sunfish that are native to the colorado river, which just happens to be closest river to my house.. funny thing. Red breasted sunfish, red spotted sunfish, green sunfish ... well, I haven't possitively ID'd a bluegill in the bunch but there's about 15 of them and some of then are about and inch long and I can't tell yet.

I wanted to raise bluegill because I figured if they come from a river by my house then the temperatures here should be pretty good and I wouldn't have to provide climate control (energy). I also considered channel cats but I wanted something I could breed myself. That ended up being the deciding reason I don't have channel cats instead of bluegill. I may still go that route since I can get 50 fingerlings for $25 bucks delivered to a store half a mile from my house. Back to bluegill... so it's also claimed that they are 'the best tasting freshwater fish' for whatever that's worth. They breed prolificly, they're an invasive species in Japan (the emperor brought them back from the united states).

I am concerned that the fish will grow slowly and provide little meat. Another thing that I found really appealing about channel cats was a feed to weight conversion ratio of 2 lbs of feed to 1 lb of fish... I wonder what it is for bluegill? I'm even more sceptical of the other sunfish in my tank. I think most of the other sunfish are small then the bluegill. I guess I'll see.. the biggest fish in the tank right now is a redspotted sunfish. He is pretty cool looking though, about 5" long with orange fins. He wouldn't be more then a couple bites. His species is supposed to get 6-8" we'll see if he'll can make a meal.

I've got them in a 300 gal. stock tank being filtered by 6 x 25 gal. grow beds. They live in the tank with two large goldfish.. the aquanauts... trash collectors. Hey, they're nice guys!

Umm... so I feed them worms from my vermicompost bin. They fish didn't like them at first and it's taken a long time for them to really get excited about eating them. I started with 5,000 worms (so they say... I didn't count them hehe) and I'm guessing there's 10,000 in there now, I've had them about 3 months and there's a bunch of tiny baby worms all over the place. They're 'red wigglers', e. fetida. They get all our kitchen scraps (no meat, dairy, etc, right)... we eat at home and eat a lot of veggies from our dirt garden so they get a godo amount of food but I still worry that I wont be able to keep their food supply up when the fish aren't all 1-3" long anymore. I've got a nigerian dwarf goat and 5 chickens but nobody's penned up so giving the poo to the worms would be pretty labor intensive.

I've also got a compost bin I'm trying to get a black soldier fly population going in. I think I've got a high chance of success since I had one in there last year but I've only got some much compostable material to spread around. Will soldier fly maggots eat grass clippings?

The only thing I'm feed the fish right now are roly polies (sow bugs, wood lice, pill bugs, doodle bugs... all the same critter.) At first the fish weren't really into the roly polys but I attribute that to having to figure out they need to crack them open.... or who knows, whatever. Roly Polies are land dwelling crustacians, isopods related to lobsters and whatnot. They breath through gills. They also have a neat/nasty ability to consume heavy metals and store them in a part of the body where it doesn't harm them. Animals that eat them end up with the heavy metals in their bodies and unfortunatly eating a roly poly doesn't give you the ability to be impervious to heavy metals. BAH! My house was built in 1942 so I know it's got a good bit of lead based paint on it, so I don't collect any roly polies from around 10'-15' of my house. I set up a doodle bug terrarium to see if I can breed them and certify them unleaded. That plus the available roly poly population of my yard is in significant decline.

I like what meancoyote did with a light above his fish tank. I've totally copied his idea and I completely agree it's hella fun to watch the fish slaughter the bugs that fall in the water. Unfortunately there don't seem to be that many bugs and the ones that do show up are small. It is just the beginning of april though. I'm currently using a floodlight but I want to go to something much smaller. Perhaps a LED run from a battery charged by a solar panel during the day? Is that unreasonable?

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 Post subject: Re: Bluegill
PostPosted: Apr 15th, '08, 21:27 
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If you really want to increase your pillbug/sowbug population make a mulch pile of used chicken bedding cover it with some cardboard after soaking it down with water. My pine shaving chook poop mix is crawling with them.
Another thing that will increase their numbers put out some pieces of plywood flat on the ground in a weedy area it gives them shelter and they eat the decomposing weeds.

A really good book for IDing your bream species is McClanes freshwater species of North America it gives good size,range, habitat, identification and pictures of most freshwater native fishes. Another that also gives alot of breeding conditions etc. are any of the books done by In-Fisherman magazine.

Use a small 20-40 watt incandesent light over your tank as it will draw more bugs than most others, my solar lights and led lights hardly draw any bugs during the year.

As your fish get larger you want to look into raising crickets and mealworms both are very easy to raise and excess can usually be sold to a local fish shop or hobbyist.

I need to carch a few out of the lake near me when they go to spawning. I have a friend here at work that catches 2-4 lbers consistantly during that time. I am curious what type they are.
They are usually about 10 inches long, 8 inches tall and about 2 inches thick when they are in the 2-4lb range.
HTH

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 Post subject: Re: Bluegill
PostPosted: Jun 22nd, '08, 20:48 
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Could you share the store name that will sell you 50 channel cat fingerlings for $25. If it is a chain like Petco, perhaps I could get some. Here in Arizona a permit is required to buy and hold most fish except ornamentals like gold fish. I hate to allow the inspection that is required for the fish permit because they may deem some of my activities unlawful. Like keeping channel cats in a recirculating system with home made biofilters (growbed). Or like fish tank water exchanges going to the orchard unfiltered. Or perhaps the well is to close to the greenhouse. They may also tag me for violating the national animal identification requirement to microchip my dairy goats pigs rabbits chickens.
I am also 25 miles from the Colorado river near the west end of the grand canyon. But at 3500 ft elevation in the Mohave desert my winters get cold and my summers hot. I thought that sunfish like bluegill were difficult to breed in tanks so rejected them. It took untill yesterday the first day of summer to get my system up to 80 deg. F. so have rejected tiliapia as well. That system is in a green house, is using gold fish and growing lots of veggies; it has been cycling about a month.


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 Post subject: Re: Bluegill
PostPosted: Jun 23rd, '08, 01:41 
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I am now using a CF uv light, seems to bring them in better. draws like 15 watts and it is on a photosensor timer that turns the light off after 4 hours of dark, maybe bluegill need to sleep. the bluegill are also eating pellets too, and the worm farm is working.

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 Post subject: Re: Bluegill
PostPosted: Jun 23rd, '08, 04:30 
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spiritrancho wrote:
Mornin'
It took untill yesterday the first day of summer to get my system up to 80 deg. F. so have rejected tiliapia as well. That system is in a green house, is using gold fish and growing lots of veggies; it has been cycling about a month.


My outdoor system drops to about 60 in the night, rises to 76 in the day, just reached 82 a few days ago, tilapia are doing really well. They are sterile hybrids I got by mail, started indoors in an aquarium, and took outside once they reached about 2". Someone mentioned that they have an initial growth spurt when young that is essential, then can do fine on less-than-perfect conditions. Might be worth a try....


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 Post subject: Re: Bluegill
PostPosted: Jun 23rd, '08, 04:56 
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Seriously, this cant be healthy.
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I don't expect that you will get channel catfish from a pet store. Here in Florida, I got my channel Catfish from a fish farm that sells mostly fish for people's farm ponds. Breeds like Bass, bluegill, sunfish, and channel catfish. I paid for 50 catfish at 50 cents each. That was the 6-8" price hey were mostly over 7 inches and many were like 8-12 inches. I could get smaller ones (3-5 inches) at 25 cents each when they have smaller sizes available.

I was under the impression that bluegill would be hard in tank culture but it sounds like people are doing it. Since I'm in a hot climate it should only take a little effort to keep my system above 60 F so I'm going with Blue Tilapia here though they might not be legal elsewhere.

As to eating and size of perch, bluegill and sunfish. I've eaten many small fish of those varieties. Perhaps it will take more than one fish to make a meal but good eating in any case.

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 Post subject: Re: Bluegill
PostPosted: Jun 24th, '08, 05:31 
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even as it is getting to 110f hre it still goes down to 60f at night. water temp gets up to 73f at the most. I would really like to give tilapia a try someday(if I can ever find some) but Im gonna need some way to keep the water warm for 7 months of the year. Bluegill live just fine in a iced over tank, as well as in 85f water. I just wish they would grow faster.

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 Post subject: Re: Bluegill
PostPosted: Jun 25th, '08, 23:28 
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hydrophilia wrote:
spiritrancho wrote:
Mornin'
It took untill yesterday the first day of summer to get my system up to 80 deg. F. so have rejected tiliapia as well. That system is in a green house, is using gold fish and growing lots of veggies; it has been cycling about a month.


My outdoor system drops to about 60 in the night, rises to 76 in the day, just reached 82 a few days ago, tilapia are doing really well. They are sterile hybrids I got by mail, started indoors in an aquarium, and took outside once they reached about 2". Someone mentioned that they have an initial growth spurt when young that is essential, then can do fine on less-than-perfect conditions. Might be worth a try....


I grow Tilapia in 10,000 kilo(22,000 lbs) batches,,,yes it is imperative you give young fish a HIGH quality 40-45 % protein diet (animal protein). feed should be given at 10% body weight( total) split over 3 feeds per day.failure to supply this animal based protein will simply divert the Tilapias attention to his smaller brother,,,,LUNCH!!!!! PROTEIN!!!

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 Post subject: Re: Bluegill
PostPosted: Jun 28th, '08, 11:37 
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Chappo wrote:
hydrophilia wrote:
spiritrancho wrote:
Mornin'
It took untill yesterday the first day of summer to get my system up to 80 deg. F. so have rejected tiliapia as well. That system is in a green house, is using gold fish and growing lots of veggies; it has been cycling about a month.


My outdoor system drops to about 60 in the night, rises to 76 in the day, just reached 82 a few days ago, tilapia are doing really well. They are sterile hybrids I got by mail, started indoors in an aquarium, and took outside once they reached about 2". Someone mentioned that they have an initial growth spurt when young that is essential, then can do fine on less-than-perfect conditions. Might be worth a try....


I grow Tilapia in 10,000 kilo(22,000 lbs) batches,,,yes it is imperative you give young fish a HIGH quality 40-45 % protein diet (animal protein). feed should be given at 10% body weight( total) split over 3 feeds per day.failure to supply this animal based protein will simply divert the Tilapias attention to his smaller brother,,,,LUNCH!!!!! PROTEIN!!!


Yep, you were probably the one I heard it from. I sprinkled in a pinch of 40% feed (I only had 25 fish) every time I walked past and they showed interest and they sure grew!


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