Volusia fish farmers, citrus growers prep for freezing temperatures



VOLUSIA COUNTY, Fla. - Central Florida farmers of all types are getting ready for freezing weather to move in.

The owners of an exotic fish business in Volusia County were busy Monday afternoon preparing for the cold snap about to hit central Florida.

"(We sell) the fancy fish you see in people's aquariums, in their fancy homes," said the owner of Mike's Cichlids Tropical Fish.

The owners said they have one of the last tropical fish farms in the area.

With freezing temperatures moving in, the husband and wife team spent much of Monday insulating the greenhouses where the fish are kept, with Styrofoam, to try to keep the warm air in and the cold air out.

The water temperature is around 72 degrees, according to the farm's owners. They said anything below 55 degrees would be a death sentence for the fish.

The 300,000 fish they have sell for as little as $1 each to as much as $75 apiece.

"This is our only source of income for our family," the owner said.

They said cold weather in 2010 caused serious problems for their business. They hope to get through the next couple of days in better shape.

Citrus growers are also concerned about their crops.

Many spent the day insulating their trees and spraying them with water, which acts like a blanket.

"The only thing we can do is put up dirt around the trees and we have people doing that," said Bill McGee of McGee Groves in Volusia County.

McGee said they have been through hard freezes in the past and that they have navel oranges still on the trees and if they lose those oranges to the cold weather, they lose money.