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Fish From the Backyard

In 2009, the pump quit for the pool.  It was an awful pool.  There was no cage around it, unlike most pools typical in Florida, and so every leaf in the neighborhood ended up in that pool.  At the time, this was a house we were lending to our kids and they swam in our big solar heated pool down the road, in the house we lived in.  I was tired of cleaning leaves, and adding chemicals to a pool seldom used.

On top of that, we were planning on summering in the mountains of North Carolina.  So, I went down to the pet store and bought 6 gold fish and threw them in the pool.  We fed them a few weeks before we left and then they were on their own for the summer.

When we got home we had more gold fish.  We fed them cat food and they grew.  Next summer, the same thing.  We came home to more gold fish and bigger.  One year, we emptied the pool and counted over 300 gold fish of various colors.  We took out the brown (naturalized carp) and put the pretty ones back in the pool.  Since then, children have moved out and we took the smaller house with goldfish “pond”.

Last winter, I realized that all those original fish are still there and thriving.  Why not add some fish we could eat?  We obtained some blue Tilapia and a pond pump.  They didn’t survive.  I think it got too cold for them, the gold fish may have been a pollutant and this guy showed up every day around 5 pm for dinner.

barred owl

Barred owl who came for dinner

About this time, we were adding a greenhouse to the back of the house and it occurred to me that getting a greenhouse over the fish pond would solve both the cold problem and the barred owls dropping in for dinner (by now he was bringing friends and relatives), and give us more space for growing food.

First we built a deck across the pool leaving the deep-end to be the majority area of our fish pond.  We started aquaponics by running the pond water into piping to practice a lettuce growing experiment.  The plants are happy, the fish are happy and we added a large garden space with water source and fish.  I have many plants growing there now and use the pond (fish water) to water and fertilize the plants.

I am taking out the gold fish and giving them to various oriental restaurants.  Then, we will start again with Tilapia and or catfish.  Stay tuned for updates.  Anyone want a goldfish?  I am dreaming about how wonderful it will be to have fish from the backyard!

Sandy's son building the decking for the pool to greenhouse transition



Posted in: Aquaponics

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2 Comments on "Fish From the Backyard"

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  1. Mark Z says:

    About 12 years ago I built my first pond in my backyard. The pond grew in size over the years, today I have a 22 foot by 14 foot pond. Swimming inside are 4 Koi. They are between 2 and half to 3 feet long. One day I might introduce a Tilapia or two to the pond.

    • Wow! Did you hand dig this pond, Mark? You said it grew in size, did that happen naturally or did you continue to improve it? I would love to see a picture.