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Maceration Tank For Swordfish Heads

Discussion in 'Skulls and Skeletons' started by moonshine, Nov 13, 2019.

  1. I’ve been using Beatles for the last 10 years I have a half a dozen large swordfish heads that are approximately 6 feet long looking to set up a maceration tank don’t know anything about it can I set up the tank outside with the cold weather in New York or does the water have to be heated I am new to this method so if I can get some insight I would appreciate it
     
  2. Sea Wolf

    Sea Wolf Well-Known Member

    Water has to be heated 27/7 for this to work. Are you talking whole heads or just the bills? If you attempt to macerate a fish skull, it will come apart into a bunch of pieces that you will have to reassemble. You would be better to try and beetle clean them and soak in acetone to get the grease out.

    Try searching the archives on here for fish skull and you may be able to locate some of the good posts on here from some of our fish pros that have pictures of all the pieces that they fall apart into. Take a look at this video and skip more to the end. You can see a lot of the pieces that this guy has to work with. He macerates the skulls and puts all the little bones back together by hand.

     
    Last edited: Nov 15, 2019
    LilyDay likes this.

  3. Katie T

    Katie T New Member

    24
    10
    I've macerated quite a few skulls and I've found that in my opinion they come out better (less greasy, etc) if the water isn't heated. However, I also make sure to use lake or pond water for maceration so that all the microorganisms can make the meat breakdown faster. It's true that a fish skull will come apart, but honestly I enjoy a little puzzle :)
     
  4. I appreciate the responce, the swordfish heads with the bills, a few are 500 lb fish so ther almost 6’ long, will never fit in the beetle tanks, can i keep them in the freezer till late spring when its warm and just put them outside in tubs and give it time
     
  5. joeym

    joeym Jeannette & Joey @ Dunn's Falls

    I’ve thought about using a hot tub for large items. You can probably find an old one free of charge. They are insulated and would work well for maceration
     
  6. Sea Wolf

    Sea Wolf Well-Known Member

    Would use plastic barrels and use the wrap around barrel heater or even the stainless bucket heater with a thermostat. You don't want it getting too hot. As it decomposes and the bones separate, it won't be 6 ft long anymore. Longest part will be the bill and you should be able to submerge the whole thing at that point standing on end. Macerated, it will look a lot nicer. Easy to get the parts nice and white and free of oils. I say a plastic barrel to avoid any rust contamination. Nowadays, cast off plastic barrels are easy to come by for free.

    I would not just let them lay out in warmer weather. Not only to prevent loss/damage of any parts due to scavengers but swordfish has a ton of oil in it and those bones will be sitting in a stew of rotting grease and you may never get them white or grease free.
     
  7. joeym

    joeym Jeannette & Joey @ Dunn's Falls

    Sounds like swordfish are nothing but pain!
     
  8. i agree might not be worth the headache, ther my personal heads , i didnt realize how much work was involved, i might just through them in the woods and forget about them
     
  9. Katie T

    Katie T New Member

    24
    10
    I've had carcasses in the freezer for literal years and they've turned out fine, but I've never done a swordfish head so no promises. Good luck!
     
  10. Sea Wolf

    Sea Wolf Well-Known Member

    No work at all to clean them. Take one and drop it in a barrel, head down, bill facing up after you have gotten off as much flesh as possible. Get the water warmed up and let it sit. In several days, the head bones should loosen and the bill will separate and the whole thing now should be under water (except for maybe a bit of the tip of the bill). Let it just sit and stew for about two weeks. Gently pour off the stinky water and see what you have. More than likely, mostly cleaned fish bones that you can now set into detergent or ammonia to get the rest of the grease out before whitening them and putting back together. Can't hurt to try one.
    Don't let it sit in unheated water. The flesh won't rot properly and it will be just a nightmare. It would be simple to set the bottom of the barrel on top of a piece of that pink, 2 inch thick, foundation foam and wrap it with house insulation all the way to the top. Put more of the insulation on the top and it should be fine outside. It will be enough to hold in the heat you need for it to rot clean. Actually better to do this in the cold weather because people have their windows closed and won't notice any odor.
    I'm in Mass and I wish I was closer to you. I would love to try one and would do just as I suggested above.
     
    Last edited: Nov 18, 2019
  11. Ok thank you i appreciate the help and info, yes i get them alot from fishing you would be more then welcome to have one if you were closer