How many of you guys and gals out there love a fresh salmon steak right off the grill?
I know I do. For the great many of us preppers who are planning to bug-out, fresh fish won’t be possible. You may even be near a large water source, but how many of your neighbors are going to try to fish that same spot?
Guys what the heck are you talking about?
Raising fish in your BugOut or Shelter in place location isn’t nearly as difficult as it may seem. We first came across the idea in an old Mother Earth News article. The synopsis of the article was a method for raising catfish in a 55 gallon barrel. They are fed worms raised in two other 50 gallon barrels filled with compost.
How well does it work?
Very well. According to a separate Mother Earth News article a fingerling can reach a full pound in less than five months. This of course depends on species. Your location, water type, and average temperature will dictate what type of species you should focus on. Check the chart below for temperature and species data.
What if I don’t have a stinkin’ barrel?
Almost any container that holds water can hold fish. To be honest trying to raise food fish in a small fish tank may not be the smartest idea. Fish tend to grow and breed relative to their surroundings, so a smaller container will at a point lead to smaller fish. Amazon.com has a few large underground water tanks which can be used to hold tons of fish.
Many people buy second hand potable or gray water tanks which if cleaned properly can be a great way to get large plastic or metal containers at a much cheaper price than you might think.
Where do I get baby fish?
Natural methods are going to be the norm in a SHTF or TEOTWAWKI situation. We have all caught a fish just too small to keep. These small fish are going to turn into giant fillets in just a few months, so keep them in your tank!
Aquaponics is a way of growing plants and fish with the same water. (more on this later) Many homesteaders, survivalists, and preppers are progressing into these advanced survival techniques. Various retailers for young fish are available, simply yahoo or google search the type of fish you want and add “fingerling” or “pond stock” to it. I did a search and found White Nile Tilapia Fry for $0.99 each. At first I thought it was a bit high but after careful consideration I realized that I would most likely get two tilapia fillets for less than a buck. Not a bad price for fresh fish.
What can I feed these things?
There are several ways to go about feeding your fish, the most obvious being to buy food for them. We all know that this won’t work after SHTF. So there are alternatives depending on the type of fish you want to keep.
From what we have researched the two best types of fish to keep are Nile Tilapia and Channel Catfish. The great part about this is that you can keep them in the same tank. The original Mother Earth News article stated that the project specifically fed worms to catfish. The earth worms were grown in barrels of compost.
Worms are a great choice for Catfish but Tilapia need more plant matter. This requires either specialty food or a smarter setup. For instance if your bugout location happens to have a creek or river you could pipe (or bucket) fresh water into your tank or pond. This keeps a regular influx of algae, bacteria, and plant matter for the Tilapia to feast on.
A great tip for feeding your fish is to place a bug zapper over the tank or pond. (This also works for chickens) The dead bugs will fall where they can be eaten and you don’t have to send the little ones to catch bugs each day. We found a solar powered bug zapper that just might work for years after SHTF. Check it out on Amazon here Solar Bug Zapper.
So what is AQUAPONICS really?
So far this article has focused on raising fish in tanks. Many homesteaders and preppers are taking this to a whole new level. They are growing plants on top of these fish filled containers. Effectively mixing hydroponics with aquaculture. Sounds more difficult than it is. Most of the time if your fish aren’t dying your plants will grow just fine.
Here are some links and YouTube videos if you guys and gals are still interested. As always leave a comment below with your tips and tricks!