Developing a “Cold Banking” system for perch which would provide an available supply of fish for indoor grow-out facilities throughout winter.

Project Overview

Project Type: Farmer/Rancher
Funds awarded in 2018: $22,404.00
Projected End Date: 02/28/2020
Grant Recipient: Black Dog Fish Farm LLC
Region: North Central
State: Wisconsin
Project Coordinator:
Brad La Fave
Black Dog Fish Farm LLC

Information Products


Not commodity specific


  • Animal Production: aquaculture

    Proposal summary:

    Over the past 15 years, members of our team have been conducting research on perch culture and grow-out systems. The actual time to grow a perch from an egg to market has been reduced from two years to under one year given the right circumstances. Our work has gotten us into high schools and aquaponic facilities, both indoor facilities that rely on a supply of fish to stock tanks over winter. Because perch grow at the rate of an inch per month, fish that are stocked in September will be on the table by December or January. Because replacement stocks are overwintered under the ice in Wisconsin, they are not available to re-supply these indoor facilities.

    Therefore, we propose to cold bank premium perch in a cool setting similar to overwintering outside but do it indoors where we have access to them all winter. When fish are needed, we can raise the temperature and increase day length to match the facility they are to be delivered to.

    Project objectives from proposal:

    1. The first objective is to spawn, feed train and size grade a minimum of 10,000 fingerlings

    2. 10,000 fingerlings will be divided into three overwinter settings where we will establish cold banking criteria (light, water quality, feed regimes, density- year 1 will purposely be low density to accommodate parameters)

    3. Third objective is to double densities with the intent to increase per facility holding capabilities to 40-50,000 in five years

    4.  Fourth objective is to supply all local indoor facilities within a five year window

    5.  Share findings through field days, Wisconsin Aquaculture Association conference presentation, and workshops

    Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.