Growing Fish for Food

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Growing Fish for Food

One of the biggest problems in a survival diet is finding enough animal protein. We just can’t grow steaks and hamburgers on a tree. Yet proteins are the basic building blocks for the cells in our bodies, so important that our bodies will cannibalize healthy cells to get the protein needed to make new cells.

Most preppers who are turning their homes into homesteads (either the rural or urban kind) look to chickens for animal protein, either through eggs or the bird’s meat. While I won’t argue with that in the least, it would be nice to be able to augment that with other sources. Some people grow rabbits or goats, but I think it’s valuable to consider fish as well.

Fish are actually fairly easy to grow, needing little in the way of care. Of course, the kind of fish one selects has a lot to do with that. If you want to raise bass, you’ll need a lot of room as they don’t thrive well with a high population density. You’ll also need to raise some sort of bait fish for the bass to eat.

The easiest fish to raise in most areas is tilapia. This unassuming fish can live in a very dense population, in almost any climate. They can eat almost anything, and reproduces well, growing faster than most other species of fish. This is due to their body’s efficiency in turning food into flesh. The fish will even help keep the tank clean by eating any algae that form on the sides.

While tilapia isn’t the most nutritious fish around and is low on Omega-3 fatty acids, we’re talking survival here. They will help you survive, providing that much needed protein. You can increase the amount of Omega-3s they produce by adding flax seed to their diet.

While a fish pond might be a nice way to grow your fish, it’s easier to start out with a tank. While a number of different things can be used as a tank, one of the easiest is a used IBC (intermediate bulk container). These typically hold about 275 gallons of water, although there are some that are slightly larger. You can find them in almost any city.

To convert an IBC into a fish tank, cut off the top part of the framework and the top of the tank itself. The rest of the framework needs to be left intact to support the tank. Ensure that the drain valve is closed, after checking to make sure it works. That drain valve will be useful for cleaning out the tank at the end of the growing season.

The fish will need a constant source of oxygen in their home. This can be most easily accomplished by installing a bubbler, of the kind used in aquariums. Just make sure it’s a large one. The other common way to aerate the water is to use a fountain or waterfall, which work great for a pond, but not for the IBC, as it is too small. When you fill the tank with water, give it at least 24 hours, for the chlorine to evaporate, before putting fish in the tank.

The easiest way to feed your tilapia is to start a worm farm. You can buy earthworms by the pound online and set them up in a container full of mulch for a home. As long as the mulch is kept moist, the worms will thrive. Simply grab a handful and throw them in the IBC when it’s time to feed your fish.