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Caring for Salmon in Aquaponics Systems
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Salmon is perhaps one of the most versatile fish on the planet. Regardless if you are looking for new mouth-watering dinner ideas, or simply seeking a healthier diet regime, there are very few negatives to say about this diverse fish. In fact, raising them in your own backyard in conjunction with aquaponics is the ultimate solution to becoming more independent from traditional grocery stores. Caring for Salmon in aquaponics systems is not for the faint of heart, but the benefits could be well worth the effort in the long-run.
In this article, you will learn some tips on how to raise Salmon in an aquaponics setup.
Why Raise Salmon in Aquaponics Systems?
Pair it with salads, roast it, rub it with herbs and sear it – these are just some of the things you can do with Salmon to enjoy a gourmet dish. More importantly, the fish is packed with nutrients, particularly Omega-3 fatty acids, which are known to have benefits such as lowering blood pressure and improving cell function, among others. However, a large portion of the Salmon that the public consumes is farm-raised. While many experts debate whether or not eating farmed Salmon is less healthy than the wild-caught variety, you may not know the environmental conditions in which the fish have been raised or what chemicals were involved in the farming process.
Raising Salmon in aquaponics systems prevents the fish from being exposed to potentially harmful commercial chemicals, poor environmental conditions, or mistreatment. Add to that the homegrown, organic vegetables you can harvest using the same system, you have all the components to create your own sustainable farm-to-table movement.
There are six common varieties of Salmon. Five of them -Coho, Sockeye, Chinook, Chum, and Pink- belong to the group that’s called Pacific Salmon because they come from the Pacific Coast. On the other hand, one variety is simply called Atlantic Salmon since they reside primarily in the Atlantic ocean.
The Atlantic Salmon is more closely related to the trout than the Pacific Salmon types. Atlantic Salmon were once native in the coastal river northeast of New York’s Hudson River, but due to intensive commercial fishing, their numbers have been reduced. Today, the Atlantic Salmon, which is widely sold in stores across the United States, are mostly farm-raised.
Requirements for Caring for Salmon in Aquaponics Systems
Of all the fish types you can try to raise in an aquaponics system, Salmon happens to be the most time and resource-intensive, which can make it a challenge for beginners. However, you can still grow Salmon, provided you know how to create an environment conducive to their growth and survival. Below are some of the things to consider when caring for Salmon in aquaponics systems:
The ideal stocking density for Salmon is based on the maximum recommended mass of 20 kg of fish per 1000 liters. It’s essential to remember to not overstock your Salmon tank, as this will create a myriad of problems for your environment in the future. Consider the projected size and weight of a fully grown Salmon, even while they are still relatively young and tiny. Depending on the type, Salmon can grow as large as 58 inches at an average of 126 lbs (57.2 kg). The Atlantic Salmon, on the other hand, can grow anywhere from 23-30 inches at 8-12 lbs (3.6-5.4 kg)
Being a cold-water fish, Salmon enjoy fresh, cold water all the time. That said, you need to keep your water moving, and with a temperature between 55 deg and 65 deg F. Your tank can also benefit from a refrigeration unit attached to it.
Provide shade for your tank as exposure to direct sunlight can heat it up, which the Salmon won’t like.
Maintain a pH range of 6.5-8.5 to help aquaponic Salmon thrive.
A minimum of 6mg/L of dissolved oxygen is required, but anything higher than that is ideal.
Best breeds for aquaponics
The Atlantic Salmon is the most commonly farmed Salmon in the U.S. They are relatively easy to care for compared to other types, and they grow rather quickly. Also, Atlantic Salmon tends to be one of the most popular varieties over other types.
Fish diet/nutrient requirements
Salmon can be given a diet of dry pellets that contain 70% vegetable ingredients and 30% marine ingredients like fish oil and fish meal.
It’s worth noting that there is no need to feed hatchlings for 40 days. The yolk serves as their food source. Generally, the feeding frequency will depend on the water temperature and fish size. Fry start out by feeding 8-12 times per day or more. Then this decreases to 3-4 times a day as they mature.
How to clean the tank
Every week, remove 10% of water and replace it with clean water of the same amount.
The enteric redmouth disease is a common bacterial infection found in farmed Salmon, especially those that are living in poor conditions. Subcutaneous hemorrhaging of the fins, eyes, and mouth are signs of the disease. Salmon are also susceptible to fin rot, especially if the fish live in crowded conditions.
Common diseases can generally be avoided if you maintain good water quality and healthy stocking density in your tank.
Aquaponics plants best suited for
Salmon can be a great fish to use when growing cool-season crops, including those in the Brassicaceae family (broccoli, collard greens, and cabbage) and the favorite leafy greens, like lettuce and arugula, among others.
Freshwater or Saltwater
Most salmon types are anadromous, which means they are born in freshwater and travel to saltwater to live most of their lives. They will return to their place of birth and spawn and then die within a few weeks.
Although Salmon are known to live in saltwater, they, especially Atlantic Salmon, have been seen to survive in an all-freshwater setup, just like the ones on this land-based freshwater salmon farm.
When selecting filters, always choose one that is capable of filtering tanks that are way bigger than your current tank. This ensures an efficient filtering system for your tank.
Can they be mixed with other breeds?
It is possible to mix Salmon with other breeds, as long as they’re of the same size. Trout is a great fish type to mix with Salmon since they belong to the same family.
Breeding salmon is done using the same method as breeding trout, in which milt is collected from the male and eggs are gathered from the female. These eggs will then be fertilized by mixing with the milt. The sperm will be activated with water so that fertilization can begin. Once the eggs are fertilized, they will be incubated at 4°–11°C. In 6-20 weeks, the eggs will hatch.