Cleaning Our Crawdad Tank and Removing Tilapia


Today we are going to be showing you our aquaponics system crawdad tank. This is where we have been experimenting with raising our crawdads. We had the surprise of tilapia being born in here. We think they came in when we moved some water lettuce in. We want to have a better idea of how the crawdads are doing, so we will be draining the pond and cleaning it from tilapia.



Hi, my name’s Lindsey and I’m here at the Urban Farm. And today we are going to be showing you our crawdad tank. This is where we have been experimenting with raising our crawdads. It’s an aquaponic system. We also had the surprise of tilapia being born in here. So we have a lot of tilapia that are like this big, and we think they came in when we moved some water lettuce in. So what we’re gonna be doing today is because we wanna have a better idea of how the crawdads are doing, is we’re gonna drain this pond down really far, almost empty, just enough so that the fish and crawdads can breathe. And then we’re gonna do a population assessment because we wanna see how many crawdads we have and make sure they’re reproducing. And also we’re gonna take some of the baby tilapia out because we don’t want them over competing for food or possibly hurting or eating the crawdads. So we’re gonna take out as many of those as we can and dedicate this back to a fully cradad aquaponic system. So we’re gonna check back in a little bit, and once the water is low, we’re gonna show you how we do the rest of this process.


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Now that we have this tank almost completely drained, we’re gonna try to take some of the tilapia babies out. They’re about this big, so we wanna remove them before they get too big, and we’re gonna count how many crawdads we have just so we can monitor the population. So population assessment is really important, especially when we’re talking about aquaponic and fish livestock systems. We wanna make sure we have a rough idea of how many we have, especially since we can’t always see them under the surface. So we can roughly tell when they come up to feed when we give them food, but it’s not a very good assessment. So we wanna do this to make sure, because we wanna make sure they’re multiplying and reproducing and we wanna make sure that the tilapia haven’t killed off some of our stock. So first we’re gonna count the crawdads and we’re just gonna kind of do a rough assessment. We just wanna see how many we have and then keep track of this.


So after counting, I would say we have about 25 to 30 crawdads in here, which is a pretty good number. We expect to see some die off, and we expect there to be a little bit of fluctuation within the first season of raising them. We haven’t had them too long, so as long as we maintain this number, when we check again in a few months or get more, we’ll be satisfied with that. So doing this assessment just helps us keep track of what we have, and we wanna make sure that population numbers don’t get too high, especially with tilapia. We find that when they reproduce, they have a lot of babies and there is just fear that ammonia could spike. Just a lot of bad things can happen when you have too much stock in an area. So just doing this helps us maintain and make sure that we’re taking the best care of our livestock possible.


So 30 crawdads is definitely not the maximum amount for this pond, so we’re not gonna worry about them. And once we get the tilapia out, we’ll just let this system be. So what we’re gonna do now is try to catch some of the tilapia and move them to a specific tilapia breeding tank. We just don’t want them in here anymore. They’re gonna get too big and it’s just gonna be too much to worry about. Draining your pond is a great way to catch your fish, whether you’re gonna process them or just wanna do something like this or clean out the bottom. So this is generally you wanna leave enough so that they can still breathe. And as you can see, we still have the bubbler on. So even though the filter isn’t running right now, the pump, they still have oxygen coming, we’re not gonna worry about them running out of oxygen while we’re doing this maintenance. So I don’t wanna catch any of the crawdads and they’re a little bit more delicate, but nope, they’re angry, they’re fighters. Go over there. So I think all the tilapia have moved this. This is about the size that they all are, and I’m just gonna put him in here for a second.


The next step is we are going to catch the rest of our tilapia and we’re gonna put them in our tilapia dedicated tank. And then once it’s only crawdads in here, and we’ve done our very best to remove the tilapia, we’re going to take our shop back and we’re just gonna clean the edges and some of the gunk on the bottom. We just wanna clean it up a little bit since we already have it drained to make sense to do our maintenance now. And then we’re gonna fill it back up with water. And we don’t wanna drain everything because we want this beneficial bacteria and all this to stay in this system. So the crawdads wouldn’t survive if we just replaced it with completely new fresh water. So we’re just gonna clean it up and still maintain some of the healthy bacteria and organisms that are living on the bottom. And then once we do that, we will have this back to being just a crawdad, dedicated aquaponic system. And then we’ll check back in a few months and see how our crawdads have been doing and reproducing. And hopefully our numbers will continue to grow until we get to the point where we’re able to harvest them and have sustainable production.

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