Fish Kill

Ya know my post yesterday? I spoke too soon. I have now experienced a total fish kill in a system. Let me explain.



This was in my 300 gallon system (the big system is still doing fine and the really big fish are still living.) It is winter here and my systems are all out in the open, no greenhouse. It doesn’t tend to snow here or anything like that but it can get down below freezing and if there is a cold spell with several nights down below freezing, the water can get down to freezing as well. The automatic fish feeder can’t tell that it’s too cold to feed the fish.

Guess what, fish don’t eat when the water is that cold and if your automatic feeder keeps feeding and no one is around to check and notice there is a problem, well, in my case, I was gone for a week.
All my fish from that system are now dead.

It can be hard here to balance temperature and feeding since it will be up over 80 F here in a few days again but then the next week it could be freezing again and that is pretty normal for winter here.

So I need to come up with some way to make my feeder smarter. Probably just need to find some relay controlled by a temperature senor that I can set to stop the feeder from getting power if the water temperature is below 50 F or something like that.

Automatic fish feeders are a convenience but they don’t replace daily inspection of a system. If I had a camera that could look at the water daily and let me see that there was floating fish feed left over, I could have called some one to go unplug the fish feeder.

So, even though catfish can survive cold water, they don’t do it well when things get polluted and an automatic fish feeder needs regular observation to make sure it isn’t causing problems

6 comments to Fish Kill

  • Jeff G

    Hi TC,
    I’m so sorry about your fish..
    I live on the Texas Gulf Coast and our weather is very similar to yours: one day its 80 degrees, the next its 27 degrees…
    Perhaps you could use Insteon system ( ) to remotely control the power to your automatic feeder and to provide video of your tank(s).
    Here is a youtube link that describes the system:

  • TCLynx

    Yep, searching for different monitoring and control devices. Don’t want to spend too much though.

  • Dear TC, I too am sorry about the loss of some of your sweet fish due to the shortcomings of automatic feeders in a changing world. We lost 2,000 fish in part because of automatic feeder malfunction 3 times, fowling the water when our detection powers were imperfect.

  • TCLynx

    Yes, automatic feeders definitely have limitations. I wish I could avoid traveling so much so I could keep an eye on things personally all the time.

  • Greener

    I’m so sorry to see this TCLynx. My condolences. Will you still get to eat the fish, at least? Some of them look quite big.

    • TCLynx

      Since I couldn’t tell exactly how long the fish had been dead, I wasn’t keen on the idea of eating them directly. We did cut off some pieces to give to the chickens and ducks since they love some protein treats every so often and most of the rest got fed to the BSF bins and compost bins, so I suppose in a very round about way, we will get to eat them eventually when we eat the veggies grown from the compost.

      Yes most of them were eating size though still smaller than what we usually harvest.

      Sigh, it happens to most people eventually to have a major HSM (heart stopping moment) with a system and the fish kills are the worst version since ya didn’t manage to catch it in time to save the day.

Leave a Reply

You can use these HTML tags

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>




This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.