I decided to take some fish out of the system this weekend. The reasons for this are because a) the fish are ready to eat (that should suffice!) b) I have plenty of smaller fish in the system which actually grow faster and process more food by weight than the big fish, and c) I am actually worried about creating an overpopulation problem which could lead to system-wide collapse/death eventually. Granted, that would still be a few months off.
I'm only talking about three of the largest fish, mind you! There will be plenty left afterwards.
I lowered the water in the fish tank by moving as much as possible into the gravel beds, the raft beds, and into the sump. I set up a small but functional purge tank in an old fridge. Fish go in the purge tank for a few days (recommended is no less than 4) with no food. This results in tastier meat.
The videos below show the various steps involved, and three nice sized Tilapia in the purge tank at the end! This was a little more difficult than anticipated! I will have to get better nets for this in the future.
As for my swirl filter, I will update that next week. I put together a sort of clarifier using a 5-gallon water bottle. I cannot say yet if it works or not. It appears to be too short because there is just not enough head created by the jug to force the solids out like they should be. It does collect solids and I am able to take them out, but it is far from optimal. If I could only find the exact same thing but 5x bigger!