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PostPosted: Jul 8th, '14, 04:43 
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I'm feeling pretty discouraged about this whole AP thing recently. I can't seem to catch a break.

On the positive side, I've started to take my produce to restaurants to try to sell it, and what I'm growing is looking pretty good (except for what the fscking grasshoppers eat. Somehow the hoppers got under the row covers really quickly).

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Then, I found a huge crack in one of my 300 gallon (1100 - ish liters):
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(crack runs from one clothes line pin to the other).

Thank GOD an intern shoveled that out for me. Because my back has really been acting up lately, making pretty much everything out here difficult. Been to the chiropractor once already.

Replacing this 300gal growbed involves renting a truck to haul it. :(

But my main problem is the fish.
I use 4 IBC fish tanks, two for each greenhouse/system.

As I mentioned a few posts above, on May 20th, I got 1000 white suckers. A month later, I got more fish because all 1000 were dead. I have no idea why. I'm hoping the suckers died because they were pulled out of a pond after a really tough winter, and hadn't been fed or anything before they were transported to my business. And it was just too stressful. They died slowly, 50 or so each day. Many of the hatcheries in the area had huge losses over the winter, we had an amazing cold snap.

So I got 1000 yellow perch (plus a few bluegill). And they're dying too, a few a day from each tank. I understand when you have mass death, but why are they only slowly dying?

Standard culprits: ammonia, nitrites, low oxygen, algae, and insufficient water turnover, seem to be off the table. The mosquito fish in the system are just fine, in fact they're breeding and multiplying. But they're in the troughs, not in the fish tanks.

I have used a few additives (maxicrop and BT), but I used them first in one greenhouse alone, and fish were dying in the other greenhouse too.

Could be stress, but how do I de-stress them (without adding salt. I could add salt, I guess, but I am in commercial production, and each system is 15000 gallons (57,000-ish liters). Don't really want to have salty lettuce.)

Maybe it's because the bluegill are out competing them for food. But the BG only seem to eat from the top, and I have sinking pellets. But that doesn't explain the white suckers.

Maybe it's because the perch won't eat the pellets. Some definitely will, but others always seem to spit them out. I've tried putting in brine shrimp and blood worms, which the perch love, but so do the bluegill, who will beat them to the shrimp even after they've been fed to what should be satiation.

I've tried multiple types of food, so I doubt it's bad food, unless one is SO bad it poisoned the system.

Maybe it's just stress because the bluegill are assholes. I'm trying to move the BG to one tank, to see if that stops deaths in the other three, but they're wiley, and I haven't been able to catch most of them (This also doesn't explain the white suckers though, as the bluegill post-date them).

I'm also thinking that maybe if I feed the fish while the air stones are in the tank, maybe the perch will have a better chance at eating. The BG definitely wait and stalk me at the surface.

I've been looking for diseases, but I don't see anything consistent. :dontknow:

Could the fish be stressed due to to much aeration in the tank, making the water too turbulent? The water is clear.

I suppose I could shut down one greenhouse and completely sterilize it. But that would wipe out 1/2 of my production, and I'm barely to the selling point now, and that would basically screw me for this season. :dontknow:

I'm really at my wits end.

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PostPosted: Jul 8th, '14, 06:24 
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I should note that the white suckers and yellow perch were from different hatcheries.
And the crayfish that hitched a ride with the first delivery ( white suckers) is healthy and in fighting form. It has even molted once .

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PostPosted: Jul 8th, '14, 07:42 
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Seriously, this cant be healthy.
Seriously, this cant be healthy.
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PostPosted: Jul 8th, '14, 07:51 
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My feed training crappie thread may give you some ideas on feed training yellow perch. Perch should be much easier to feed train. I would definitely grade out the feed trained fish. I found crowding the fish to be the best way to initiate feed aggression. You should grade out feed trained fish every week or so and then repeat crowding (according to https://srac.tamu.edu/index.cfm/getFact ... sheet/277/)

Are the dead fish emaciated? If they do not look like living fish skeletons and you do not see signs of disease i would start to worry about toxicity.


Some fish species like turbid water more than others but generally i think some current is a good healthy thing and not stressful in a bad way.

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PostPosted: Jul 8th, '14, 08:41 
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Others know the fish side of things better than me. But it's a horrible loss. I'm sure you're doing all the DO/AM/nitrite testing.

Only thing I can think of is the mosquito fish might be terrorising the others, they can nip at the fins of the other fish, which can lead to infections and death. But you've lost a of fish.

Sorry I can't help more.

Do you have the tanks available to seperate the different types of fish?

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PostPosted: Jul 8th, '14, 09:14 
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Seriously, this cant be healthy.
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It's bad enough when you loose your BY fish but when there are bills to be paid from what is lost its worse.

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PostPosted: Jul 8th, '14, 09:44 
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how big are the yellow perch? how far were they transported? i lost about 20% on a 4 hour drive, and a few after i got them home that i attributed to stress.. and the seller included about 20% extra.. i started with 3" fingerlings
i had trouble feed training on a smaller scale at first, but once there were a few eating the floating pellets the rest soon followed..tricky at first but once they settle in, they're pretty tough
one thing about the yellow perch,, you'll have some "shooters"...usually females that mature and grow much faster than the rest.. i think that you'll need some kind of size grading equipment/setup, at least with the yellow perch if you plan on harvesting/selling commercially.. probably multiple tanks for grading would work best.. the bluegill.. i've got a few that are 4 years old and i don't think they'll ever reach a pound... that's probably because of the stock i started with, but i've always been a fan of pan fried bluegill, so i'll probably stick with keeping a few

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PostPosted: Jul 8th, '14, 12:05 
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Hi Karen,

The yellow perch will come around but yeah those bluegill can be pigs. If you haven't tried it, soak the sinking pellets for about 5 minutes to soften them up and give them a different feel, maybe the perch won't spit them out this way.

Even though perch are sight feeders and eat during the day, they like to hang out at the bottom but I think around dusk you'll have better luck with them being willing to hit the top for the chow.

I've never grown white suckers, is there an advantage to these over fathead minnows?


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PostPosted: Jul 8th, '14, 19:53 
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Sorry for the troubles Karen, maybe if the plants are the important thing right now you could fill a FT with koi or goldfish in the mean time (to replace the lost fish quickly) to keep the plant side productive.

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PostPosted: Jul 9th, '14, 00:50 
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swanberg wrote:
:the bluegill are assholes.

I look for humor in tough times, that line is hilarious!

Grading and separation would likely be the wisest call in this situation, along with a hospital tank. You have happy mosquito fish powering the system right now. Do you have a way to isolate the Fish tanks?

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PostPosted: Jul 21st, '14, 23:06 
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Reporting in. Things have stabilized a bit, but not much has changed.

Fish are still dying, but at a reduced rate. I think that's simply because there are fewer fish to die, rather than the problem being gone.

bcotton wrote:
Are the dead fish emaciated? If they do not look like living fish skeletons and you do not see signs of disease...

This is probably true of the tiny ones that are dying right now. Some of them do seem emaciated. But then I'll pull out a larger, fat dead perch. (The perch that are feeding are getting downright rotund).

Colum Black-Byron wrote:
Only thing I can think of is the mosquito fish might be terrorising the others, they can nip at the fins of the other fish, which can lead to infections and death.

The mosquito fish are in the troughs, and the perch et. al. are in the fish tanks. Occasionally a mosquito fish makes it alive through the pump and into the fish tanks, but I haven't seen one since i added the perch. :shark:

Colum Black-Byron wrote:
Do you have the tanks available to seperate the different types of fish?

To do that, I basically have to empty the tank. Is it worth the stress?
I did empty a tank this week, but due to a leak, rather than fish issues. Some of the white suckers survived! Like, probably 15 out of the original 1000.

Image
The empty tank isn't anything special, except see that union where the water comes in from the pump?
I found a live blue gill at that junction. :shock:

I've seen proof that the fish are using the pipes to move from tank to tank (they can't move from greenhouse to greenhouse) before, but damn. Really? Makes me wonder how many fish I have living in my pipes. Stuck somewhere they can't turn around.

(continued in next post for length reasons)

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PostPosted: Jul 21st, '14, 23:33 
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(continued...)
keith wrote:
how big are the yellow perch? how far were they transported?

The perch are fingerlings. 2-4 inches (5-10cm). They were delivered to my GH by the hatchery guy. The hatchery is probably 30 miles away, but he did a number of deliveries that day. I don't know how long the fish were on the truck.

The white suckers were in bags for about 90 minutes. I picked them up at the hatchery.

I would expect transportation stress to kill a certain number of fish, but would the deaths continue after a month?

scotty435 wrote:
If you haven't tried it, soak the sinking pellets for about 5 minutes to soften them up

Been doing this since the beginning.

scotty435 wrote:
I've never grown white suckers, is there an advantage to these over fathead minnows?
I'm not using minnows simply because they're so small, and would be in the pipes even more than the other fish. And I'd have to redo all of my fish barriers. White suckers are native to this area, so I just wanted something that would survive for awhile.

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maybe if the plants are the important thing right now you could fill a FT with koi or goldfish in the mean time (to replace the lost fish quickly)

Out of frustration, since I can't track down what the problem is, I went and got 30 goldfish on Friday, and put them in a quarantine tank to see what happens to them. The quarantine tank is filled directly from one of the system fish tanks.

Not a single death, except by suicide.

This gives a lot of credence to the "the fish were so stressed over the winter, that they would have died no matter where they were, and it's not my fault" theory rather than "the woodchuck is sneaking in at night and dumping mercury in the system" theory (something toxic in the system). (Or the "wow, Karen, you really suck at your job" theory).

I'll salt the quarantine tank a bit later this week, and then put the goldfish into the commercial system (separate from the others, so I guess I will be draining at least one more tank), and see how they do. If they continue to be so happy and perky, I'm going to go buy 1000 (or 5000). These are just small feeder goldfish. I'll just switch to goldies for this season, and re-evaluate later. Maybe if this winter isn't so harsh, the hatchery fish will be more healthy next year.

(I do know that goldies have much higher tolerances than other fish, and that's a flaw in using them as canaries. But still.)

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PostPosted: Jul 21st, '14, 23:53 
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On a completely different note. Which is the more evolved species? My interns, or my dog?

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(I love my interns, don't get me wrong. I was just cracked up by this image).

This week (especially today) is really going to be scorching. Shade by any means possible!
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PostPosted: Jul 22nd, '14, 21:53 
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I would be very cautious with feeder goldfish though, they likely have diseases coming in with them. Maybe nuke their water (a lot) then change it out before moving them into the larger system.

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PostPosted: Jul 23rd, '14, 01:09 
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Hi Karen,

First thing that came to mind with the picture of your interns was that the dog had been shot and dragged himself to where he is laying. The interns are hiding behind the table from whoevers doing the shooting. Too many crime scene analysis shows :D

The dog, noble beast that he is, took one for the team :thumbright:


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