Fish Farm Tour – Imperial Tropicals


Alright I’m down here in Lakeland, Florida
at Imperial Tropicals with Mike. How you doing, Mike? Hey, good. Hey everyone. So if you don’t know about Imperial Tropicals
they are a fish farm here in Florida and they are unique because unlike a lot of
these fish farms they actually sell direct to the public. So you can actually order fish from these
guys and I’ll link to their website below, but real quick Mike if you can just give a quick
like, history and some info about this place and what you
guys do here. Sure, so Imperial Tropicals, like Steve had
said, was primarily a wholesale facility where we
bred fish for distribution that went to pet shops. But the last probably 10, 15 years a lot of
independent stores have gone out of business and now most of
what’s left are chain stores. So a lot of the good fish market that used
to be there’s not there so we started selling direct and we haven’t looked
back. It’s been good. We love the fact that we’re sending our fish
straight to people’s tanks and they’re taking good care of them. And they appreciate the quality that we send
out but we specialize in all types of fish. We breed Central American fish, South American
fish, African fish, probably about 200 different
fish here that we breed at Imperial Tropicals. So that’s what we do is we breed fish. Tell me a little bit about this facility, and we’re gonna show you guys all of this
stuff here in a minute but, I know you’ve got a bunch of ponds outside, Yeah, so we have 20 acres of property that
is primarily dedicated to fish. And we have 157 outdoor ponds that are about
30,000 gallons each. Six greenhouses, and these greenhouses have
concrete tanks in them. We have about 600 of those concrete tanks
that are about roughly 200 gallons a tank. And we have, what, three indoor buildings
that are just stacked full of aquariums. So we have lots of water and fish and tanks. OK, let’s look at some fish. This is vat room number 3. This is where we keep a lot of the African
fish that we have for sale, so let’s go check some out. You can’t see the fish very well from the
top, so I’m gonna net up some for you. But we have Turkish peacocks, Yellow Blaze, Demasoni. These are a pretty good size. The Demasoni are one of the most popular fish
because they’re one of the most colorful. But they are very aggressive. So we recommend when people get Demasoni to
keep them species only, with just Demasoni. Like if you setup a 55 gallon tank and threw
like 20 of these guys in it, you’d have one of the nicest looking tanks
out there, you know. So that’s the Demasoni. I think we’re sold out of the Sulfur Head
peacocks and orange black Lithobates but let me see
if there’s any big ones left. There might be one or two left. The orange black Lithobates is a new one that
will be available later this summer. But it’s an incredible fish. And we’re getting almost daily requests for
these fish because people know that we’re breeding them. And then also the Sulfur Head peacock which
is also another really nice one. That is nice. Those are just some extra males out of our
breeding groups. I guess I could tell everybody how we filter
these tanks. We have these big sponge filters that we make
in house. So it’s like a big block of foam. And then we have a pipe that goes through
the middle of it that pulls the water into the sponge and then
out the top. So that’s how we filter our tanks. And we get asked that a lot so I figured I’d
go ahead and show you. These are Electric Blue Texas cichlids. Kind of a new fish. One of the guys that was breeding the Electric
Blue Jack Dempsey back in the day. came up with this line. We don’t know really how he made the line
but it’s like a Texas Escondido but it gets really blue when it gets full
grown. These are just kind of juvies right now. They don’t have a lot of blue on them but
you’ll start to seeing it come out on them. But as adults I mean they’re just really bright
blue. Got Sunshine peacocks, red shoulder peacocks, albino sunshines, blue regal, lemon jakes. These are nice, you can see these good from
the top. This is the Electric Blue Ahlis. One of my favorite haps because they are not
super aggressive like some of the other, bigger haps. They don’t get huge, so the color on them
are really popping. Wow. You can see how spectacular they look. Those are really nice. Really nice in an all male tank. And that seems to be the most popular group
of fish in our opinion are the peacocks and haps because of the bright
colors and they’re not super aggressive. Like this is another colorful one here. This is the Red Nyererei but the downside
with this fish is it’s super aggressive so you can’t really mix it with peacocks and
haps because of the aggression level. We get people all the time asking, you know, “hey, I want to get a Red Nyererei and put
it in with my peacocks” and we always tell them not to because of
the high aggression. That’s one nice thing about the internet,
is the information is out there if people do their research. I mean we’ve had people that’s only been keeping
fish for like a year and they’re already on such a high level of
fishkeeping and that’s because they’ve been watching good
informative videos about how to keep these fish, you know properly. So you do have success. This is what the tanks look like when they’re
empty. We put pipes in there to help lessen the aggression so they can hide if they’re getting beat up. That’s the dragonblood strain. These are so nice. I like it with the white in them, I think
it makes the red pop. We have some nice Star Sapphires that are
just now starting to get chips. But this is another one that’s really, really
popular. But everybody wants them already chipped out. Actually I think the bigger ones are in this
tank. And it takes a long time to get them chipped
out. And when we do get them chipped they sell
so fast that we never even get them up on the website. But what I tell people is, you know, your
best bet is to buy one at 3 inch and just grow it out because then you get
to watch the transformation. And that’s pretty cool to watch itself you
know. But a lot of people wanna already get the
chip. Usually a little bit bigger than that they
start getting chipped out. But even when they don’t have the sapphires
on them, they still look really nice. Like this ones starting to chip out a little
bit. But one of my favorites. I think when they’re full grown with the star
sapphires all over them I think they’re one of the nicest looking
fish. So this is like an import room for us. We’ve been bringing in a bunch of really cool
fish from different breeders overseas. So like we have a friend in Indonesia that
actually goes to Papua New Guinea and collects Rainbowfish. So he’s got some really outstanding Rainbows. Of course these are the Bleher Rainbows. This is a new one to us called the Price’s
Rainbow. And they’re just now getting color. But a spectacular fish. If you Google it, google “Price’s Rainbow”. And it’s just a phenomenal looking Rainbowfish. Same thing with these Wapogas. This is another new one. And you can see that male starting to color
up right there. And they’re just a phenomenal looking fish. And these are Rainbowfish that are not very
common in the US. So we’re super excited about getting some
of these guys going. One downside is when we bring in these Rainbows
they’re small. They don’t have color. But what we do is we grow them up until they
have color and then we start selling them. And then we also take good pictures of the
fish. These Millennium Rainbows are ours. But those are not imported. But again you can see the quality of them. They’re really nice. They’re a little difficult to ship, which all Rainbowfish are because they just stress out. They’re a high oxygen, high energy fish that, they don’t like being confined to a
bag. But we’re still able to ship these fish successfully
all over the country with very few issues. Some new tetras that we got. This is a Phoenix Tetra. We’re growing them out cause they don’t have
a lot of color at this size. But when they get a little bit bigger they
look phenomenal. This is one of my favorites. It is the super blue kerri tetra. And I know it doesn’t have lighting on the
tank. I’m hoping that they can see the color on
them but they’re really, really nice. So that’s another one. We’re actually going to, we’re growing some
of these up for breeders. So we’re gonna breed them. Cardinal tetras on the bottom. Those are really nice. In fact they’re, I’ve got a really good supplier
of these guys now and they’re just phenomenal. We haven’t had any issues with them. Cardinals can be a little bit sensitive. So we’re happy that we’re able to find some
tank raised ones that are really nice. Next to us we’ve got the albino millenniums. This is another one that we have a hard time
keeping in stock because they’re so popular. It’s just a little bit more difficult for
us to breed. The fry are really tiny and you have to really
make up some really small cultures to be able to feed them. Like rainwater type stuff. Alright, so this is our breeding room. This is the new room that we’re working on. So right here we’ve got 40 gallon tanks. We just built the racks. We just put the tanks in yesterday. We’re gonna plumb all of it tomorrow. Well maybe not all of it. We’re gonna start on it tomorrow. But it’s gonna, it’s a big, big rack. A total, I wanna say we got 48 40 gallon breeders
on this row right here. And what this is going to give us, is it’s
going to give us a lot more tank space to breed really cool fish in. And a lot of our tanks are 20 gallons and
30 gallon tanks. And we really like the 40 gallon tanks because
you can do a lot of, you know, a little bit bigger fish in them, you can
do group breeding in them. It’s gonna be really cool so we’re super excited. We went all the way down the left side and
we’re also redoing the walls. We’re putting foam insulation on the walls. This will help in the wintertime when it gets
cold to keep the tanks a constant temperature. But as you can see we’ve got some old systems
down here. We’re gonna take all this stuff out and do another row of like 125s. And then we’ll probably do a row of like 20s, and then we’ll probably do a row of 10s for fry. But by the time we get done this room is gonna
be pimped out. It’s gonna be nice. That’s one reason I really I like traveling
the country to all these different fishrooms is I get ideas on how other people were successful you know maintaining their fishrooms and building
their fishrooms. And that’s one thing I do a lot of is I tour
a lot of fishrooms, you know. Some more discus growing out, we’ve got some rummynose tetras in there growing out. Some congos. This is a really cool fish. This is a herichthys minckleyi It’s a fish that’s extinct in the wild so
like, it’s no longer found in the wild. And you see that one right here really coloring
up. It’s a fish that is pretty rare. You can’t find it. We had a professor at one of the universities that was doing a research, you know paper on this And basically he asked us to breed it and
disperse it into the hobby. And I told him I would love to do that. So we’re growing these guys up. We really need to get them in a bigger tank
though because they still get you know to 8, 10 inches probably at full grown. But a really nice fish. Got a pair of discus there. Alright so we’re out, out in the field right
now. This is one of our growout ponds. This has got the dragonblood peacocks in it. So it’s starting to rain a little bit but
you still should be able to see them come up and feed And, they should come up to the surface here
pretty soon. But I don’t know how well it’s showing up
on camera. There you go. You can see them. Yeah. They do really well in the ponds. This pond’s about 30,000 gallons so it’s got
plenty of, you know volume. But what really they benefit from is the live
foods, like the mosquito larvae in particular. In Florida we have a ton of mosquitos. So these guys are getting every day a steady
diet of mosquito larvae and other types of small you know, bugs that they’re eating. Whether it’s dragonfly larvae or glassworms. There’s all types of little microorganisms
that they’re feeding on. So they get a really good diet. And I think that’s the key to growing good
fish is a good diet and having an adequate environment to grow them in. And we have 157 of these ponds so. Pretty awesome. Yeah. This is the net that we use to bring them
in with right here. The net is 30 feet long and four feet in depth. And what we’ll do is we’ll pump the ponds
down about, you know, halfway and then we’ll drag the net and catch
em. I’ve tried other methods but this seems to
be the best. It’s all pretty amazing. Yeah. Well thanks Mike I appreciate you taking us
around and show us everything. And again guys you can buy fish from these
guys. Imperial Tropicals, I’ll link it down in the
description. Be sure to check ’em out. Good people, good fish. Thank you.

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