Farmer of veggies, now turned fish farmer, Justin, checking on his aquaponics experiment.

He spent a good 5 minutes or so floating the net back and forth as he called, “Here fishy, fishy!” Boy, those guys are fast! I stood by, armed with a camera, and slightly amused with the whole thing. However, I did get rather impatient at about 2 minutes (must be some form of ADD) and wandered about the garden because there are just so many pretty things to look at there!

I was taking some closeups of the insides of squash blossoms when I hear Justin yell, “I got some!” I yell back ,”Ok, Ok, I’m coming!” I race over, dodging hanging tromboncino squashes (btw, these guys are selling like hot cakes at our front porch farm stand ) trying to not step on any bees (as I was bare foot) that are crawling around and made it just in time to snap these photos before they (the fish) got away.

Got one... two!

Getting bigger. Think Justin needs a bigger net

Flipping fish!

Still too little for a fish fry but they are getting there. Oh, and unlike the other critters here on the urban homestead, these guys don’t have names.

Oh, and here's the squash blossom pic that has something to do with this story

What new critters on your [urban] homestead this year?


  1. Jeni says:

    I am really curious about what you are keeping the fish in. It appears to be a galv. stock tank? How big is it? How many fish do you have in it? I am really wanting to try this out as well and would love some more info. (when you get time) on how you guys are doing it:) Love following you guys on your path:)

    • Anais says:

      @Jeni: Yep, it’s a stock water tank (forgot how many gallons – hello Justin!) and we have about two dozen fish. Could fit more but we are just taking things one step at a time with this fish experiment. I posted some urban aquaponics links/resources here Hope that helps. Good luck.

  2. Dog Island Farm says:

    I’d also like to know the above questions along with what are you feeding them?

    We just got rabbits this weekend. They are the newest animals. Soon (hopefully) we’ll be getting more chickens, some for meat. The goats are still fairly new to us too. Sometimes it freaks me out when I think that we now have 22 animals. Sheesh! I’m glad we’re homeowners!

    • Anais says:

      @Dog Island Farm: Organic chicken feed. For us this is fish raising thing is an experiment, so just taking things one step at time. Cool, love rabbits. We had a pair many years ago, they died of old age and we then got goats! 😉

  3. brian says:


    a tip,it is much much easier to catch fish if you have two nets; one to chase and one to wait. Great to see them growing…how much longer do you think before they get munched?

    thanks for sharing

    • Anais says:

      @brian: Good point. You think with such a small tank you could easily catch them – not! From what Justin tells me it’s a couple more months. We are not trying to fatten the fish too fast. Just letting nature take her time. You could probably plump them up faster if you feed them the fish food crap they recommend. We are just sticking to organic chicken feed.

  4. Ecologystudent says:

    Pigeons! I just got two pairs this past weekend. And turkeys! I’m having a lot of fun with the birds this year.

    • Anais says:

      @Ecologystudent: Wow, that’s neat list of birds you got there. Guess the turkey’s for a special dinner in November?

  5. Debbie says:

    I’n interested in finding out more info. on the fish also. We bout some land recently and are moving into a small place to be able to live as cheaply as possible. I am planning on gardening and more. You all are inspiring to me!!! Thank you!!

    • Anais says:

      @Debbie: It’s easy to do a search for all the related fish post. Just type in “fish” in the search box and there’s a few post with links and resources. Good luck.

  6. Kathleen says:

    New critters on my not-so-urban homestead this year:
    red wiggler worms, black soldier flies, honeybees in a top bar hive, and bumblebees in the greenhouse.

    Not-so-new critters:
    Babydoll and shetland sheep, silky chickens, american buff geese. And of course, all of their offspring.

    • Anais says:

      @Kathleen: Oh, so jealous. Always wanted a baby doll sheep and geese too! You raising the solider flies for chicken feed – that’s neat! Thanks for sharing.

      • Kathleen says:

        @Anais, Apparently you can use the soldier fly larvae as fish food too. Something to think about for the future here.

  7. Wendy says:

    We added bees this year. Now, we have chickens, ducks, rabbits, and bees :).

    • Anais says:

      @Wendy: Neato, quite an impressive list. Glad to hear your homestead is growing.

  8. Rachel says:

    Looks like you are just using a plain galvanized stock tank for your tilapia, for the next go around you might want to consider lining it as fish can die (like chickens) from zinc toxicity leeched from the galvanized steel.
    You’re feeding them solely organic chicken feed? (I thought I saw duckweed in an older post) I know you aren’t trying to push growth, but 20% (assuming you’re using chick starter) seems low…
    Is it a flood and drain system or continuous flow, are you using a bell siphon, a restricted drain? Which pump? Ratio of Fish tank volume to grow bed? Justin should do a post with the specs of his system, there are a few other aquaponics folks out there that are always excited to here the details! 🙂

  9. Heidi says:

    I’m curious if you guys are planning to eat the fish. Inquiring minds want to know 🙂

    • Anais says:

      @Heidi: Depends on who you talk to. 😉

      • Heidi says:


        gotcha 🙂 hmmm… can’t wait to find out who’s gonna be doing the cleaning of the critters and cooking. i’ll stay tuned in.

  10. Anna says:

    I’ve been following your blog for a little while now: I am really amazed by you guys! You are my inspiration for our garden this year, which is going to be the biggest ever.

    We’re very interested in putting in a few fish (we already have a very small pond) but I’m wondering what types, if any, could withstand a Nebraska winter without a heater. Our koi make it through just fine, but are there any more “useful” (as in, eatable) fish that would make it?

    Also, have you ever tried growing tomatoes in your fish tank? I believe it’s called “aquaculture”. I guess the fish and the tomatoes really help each other out: the fish fertilize the tomatoes and the tomatoes bring usable nutrients to the fish.

    Keep it up–you guys are a real inspiration to those of us trying to carve out a workable, sustainable garden!

  11. Jenna says:

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