After two months… Raising tilapia in a drum – Philippines

Well look at our tilapia, they’re bigger now. Click pics to view larger image.

at 4 inches now

After 2 months, they looked good.  Pic below is of two tilapia, was trying to get a better shot with the other one that’s why there’s 2 pics more.

the models, posing time… 😀

The next thing that we are going to do is to learn how to breed them, from the pic below, you can see that their gender is almost noticeable…

checking on gender

This one is a male tilapia (correct me if I’m wrong, but this one just have one hole).  In aquaculture if you are aiming for more profits, it is important to start sexing tilapia, as male tilapia grow bigger and yields higher profit.  Well, we’re not into that yet lol, no sex reversal for us yet.  What we are going to learn next is the breeding of tilapia.

I’ve seen a lot in forums looking for tilapia fingerlings, wanting to buy few hundreds only.  Most farmers don’t sell fingerlings by hundreds, their minimum is 100,000 pieces of fingerlings (this we’ve learned from where we bought ours), and we were just lucky that we were able to get a thousand pieces only.

Everyday, I sit by the drum for some minutes and just watch them.  It’s been more than two months now, although we’ve lost many fingerlings, it’s still not that bad, what we have here we can use them to breed and have even more.

Things are getting exciting with our aquaculture, we will be buying two more drums next.

Pechay (Chinese cabbage) harvest

Well time to harvest these greens :).


Aren’t they beautiful?  Our pechay as what we call here (or chinese cabbage), are ready for harvest.  I had them planted in soil, from aquaponics to soil planting.  Pots I’ve used are recycled, most of them at plastic bottles (1.5 liter bottle of soda).

I had a little farmer who helped me with the harvesting.  Not only are these veggies free of pesticides and other harmful chemicals these are totally FREE… lol.  The best part of growing your own veggies is that you know what you are eating, how safe they are and you save on money too.

There are many ways to cook these type of vegetable, stirfry with pork or beef, or even corned beef (in can), you can also use them with pork or beef nilaga, or even tinolang manok.  Be creative, pechay can be cooked in so many ways.

I’ve planted new seeds, I just put some seeds in 2 cups, put the cups in the aquaponics set-up, then when they’ve grown a little I transferred each one to a separate cup.  Here’s how it looks:

more baby pechay

This is how my first step is, the cup has few seedlings now, I’ve already transferred some.  I just put seeds in those cups, not too many or it’ll be too crowded, left them for a few days, and you will see growth right away.

Then next step is transfer them to separate cups.  When they’ve grown about two inches more in size, I transfer them to bigger cups or sometimes replanted them in my recycled pots.

This way I’ll never run out of this type of veggies :).

From indoor to outdoor

We’ve moved the tilapia-in-a-drum from indoor to outdoor.

We’ve noticed from our test, the small container with fingerlings that was placed on the roof grew much faster. So we decided to move the drum outside, beside our fence. Same set-up, aquaponics.

The small container on top of the drum is another filter and we've put plants on it too.

It has been more than a week now, and we’ve noticed faster growth.  Could be because they get more sunlight and water is warmer now compared to when the drum was with roof above.

New pic

3 inches now

This pic was taken before moving them from indoor to outdoor.

My Veggies…

So after a month of aquaponics… here are my veggies.

Cauliflower – aquaponics

Chinese cabbage – aquaponics

Our lettuce did not made it, I don’t know why, after they have grown they died, so we’re planting again, there are a few with small leaves now, they will be transplanted to a pot with soil, like what we did with the chinese cabbages and tomatoes.

More Chinese cabbages, cauliflower at the middle

We’ve added Chinese celery too in the aquaponics, not planted using seeds, but those we bought from the market (to use for cooking), they still have roots, so we took some and planted it, and they’ve grown… fast… now when my recipe calls for a Chinese celery, what I do is go to our “mini farm” and cut some there :).

The cauliflower, some are  left in the aquaponics set-up and a few planted in soil.  Those in the aquaponics grow faster than in soil.  The chinese cabbages and tomatoes are the other way around, they grew faster in soil than in our aquaponics set-up, puzzling to us :).  The onions were replanted too.  The garlics were left at the aquaponics.

Tomatoes from aquaponics replanted in soil, these will be replanted again once they get bigger, cauliflower and chinese cabbage at the back

What we did was put the seeds in the aquaponics set-up they bud faster there… (mas mabilis tumubo, 2 or 3 days lang me mga usbong na).  Then when they have grown some more leaves we replanted them in soil.

New buds - lettuce, cauliflower, Chinese cabbage

Forgot to take a pic of the garlic, stevia, basil, parsley :(.  Will post more pics next.

After one month… Tilapia in a drum – Philippines

We can say, our tilapia fingerlings our doing well after one month.

Some fingerlings died due to ammonia toxicity as I’ve mentioned in my previous post.  We’ve been doing some changes in the pump, the aquaponics set-up, the changing of water, and fish food.  So far so good now.

Below are two pics we’ve taken to show how “big” they are now.

This one is not the biggest in the tank, there are a few bigger than him or her :D.  This is the one we were able to catch after many tries… lol, the others bigger than this one are harder to catch.

2.5 inches after one month.  I think this is not bad.

Sorry for the blurred pics, we were in a hurry taking them so the fish will not die.

Next post will be about the veggies, the Chinese cabbages are almost ready for harvest.

We’ve had another test, separated a few fingerlings (10 pieces) in another container and put them on the roof, from what we can see, the fingerlings there are growing much better, this could be because of the water temp there, warmer than the one in the drum.  The pump is not always running on the new test (that one on the roof), the set up is aquaponics too.  Not much to tell on the plants what we are concentrating on are the fishes.

Tilapia in a Drum

We’ve finally able to acquire a huge drum for our tilapia fingerlings.

New set-up with our aquaponics now.

Cauliflower leaves are now showing, we noticed they grow fast with the aquaponics system, and so does the onions.

The chinese cabbage are transplanted in pep bottles, not using aquaponics/hydroponics now, but the water we used to water them came from the fish tank.

Aside from the plants getting nutrients from the fish water, it’s sort of saving water also because instead of throwing away the water whenever we replace the water from the tank we used them to water the plants instead.

We’ve had a few fishes dying, we’re testing if its from the food.  We tried using fish flakes, (medyo mahal lang ito kesa sa pellets), no fingerlings died.  We tried the fish powder, the next day there were 4 fingerlings dead.  We also tried the pellets (powdered them using a blender), in other days none died but there are days that we find 5 or more fingerlings dead. These observations were days after we transferred the fingerlings from the improvised tanks using clothes drawer to that blue drum above.

When the fingerlings were still in the improvised tanks, some of them were swooping.  We did some research on it and found out its due to ammonia…  Our conclusion is that those fingerlings that died were not able to survive the ammonia toxicity before.

The fingerlings are still under observation.  We have some of them a bit bigger now, pictures will be on my next post.

*Note:  I’ve read in some forum (i forgot where…) only 100-150 fingerlings should be placed in one drum, according to BFAR.

Newly acquired tilapia fingerlings

Finally we were able to acquire fingerlings, 600+ pieces of tilapia fingerlings.


Buying them was a spur of the moment, we had a friend/neighbor having a dayoff and we were able to borrow his motorcycle.  So off we went to Batangas looking for fingerlings, via a shortcut we knew, from our place then to Tagaytay then there’s a shortcut there that goes all the way down to Batangas.

We went straight ahead to Laurel Batangas, there are many fishponds, but we did not really know where there to buy.  Nagtanong tanong kami sa mga taong nadadaanan namin (We asked the people we passed by where to buy fingerlings).  We saw a place there just close to the highway where there are fishponds and out of a hunch, stopped by and ask if they are selling fingerlings.  We were fortunate, because they did!

So… we went home with plenty of fingerlings in two plastic bags.  Matagtag nga sa byahe and we were worried baka ma stress yung mga fingerlings. When we arrive home we transferred them to our improvised tank.  Set up the aquaponics again.  Some fingerlings died (which was already expected, naka motor lang kasi kami).

As you can see from the video above, our improvised tank/pond for the newly arrived fingerlings are 2 clothes drawer.. lol.  Joined together using a catsup dispenser top and bottom cut, this serves also as a tunnel for the fishes.

We were supposed to buy a drum, but the day we were about to buy, the shop here that sold drums was already closed.  The next place is at Bacoor, it took us about 2 weeks before we were able to buy a huge blue drum.

That will be my post next time :).

Aquaponics set-up

Progress in our tilapia backyard farming – aquaponics project

The video below is part two of our project.  Now there are some vegetables planted in the aquaponics set-up.

Third week of the tilapia fingerlings now, we were hoping we can get more fingerlings, but still its hard to find, and going to Laurel Batangas to buy fingerlings is not that easy with no available car/vehicle to use.

So, we continued with what we have.  We used pvc pipes for the aquaponics setup.  Pump, gravels for filter and some plastic cups for the seedlings.

The vegetables we have are lettuce, chinese cabbage, onion, stevia, basil (in small plasticware with divisions a.k.a. filter )

At first the seeds were planted in the filter (the green container you see with divisions).  As you can see  now, the vegetables have grown, we transferred them to plastic cups with holes and put on the pvc pipe. Added vegetables are tomatoes, bell peppers and jalapeno peppers. There is also kangkong (water spinach) now in the fishtank

The water from the fish tank goes to the pvc pipes (for the plants) and back to the fishtank.

We have two tests on the gardening part, one using aquaponics and the other planted in soil, i used coca-cola pet bottles as pots for the plants (remember to recycle, no need to buy anything new, use whatever is available to save money).  It is very noticeable that seeds planted in the aquaponics set-up sprouted earlier than those planted in soil.

I will be continuing with these two tests to see the growth of the vegetables…

Tilapia Backyard Farming and Aquaponics

This is our first venture into tilapia backyard farming with aquaponics set-up.

What can we get from this kind?  Well this isn’t just a hobby, this can provide food and if it becomes successful can be a source of income too.

Searching for where to buy fingerlings here in Cavite, we found about two of them advertising in  Just to tell you guys, one (from Imus) have put there their minimum is 300 pieces, we texted the seller and we were gonna buy 500-1,000 pieces of fingerlings but to our dismay, after asking how many we were buying, the guy did not reply to us anymore… The other seller, from Dasma did not even replied to our inquiries.

But not to give up hope, we kept on searching and found a friend who had a friend with a tilapia fish pond, and gave us about 25 pieces, yes its too few but its a start :).  Everything start from small beginnings!

What we have in mind is to put tilapia in big drums.

The video above is our first set-up of aquaponics.  I will be posting more of our progress.

We put the 25 tilapia fingerlings and some swordtails in a 5 gallon tank.  Levitra we’ve used recycled materials.  Except for the pump nothing in the set-up was bought.

There are seeds planted in that filter (green plastic container above with divisions). Lettuce, chinese cabbage, onion, cuttings of stevia and basil.

The best place to buy fingerlings is to go to Laurel, Batangas where there are many fish ponds and sellers of “semilya”.