Fish In Aquaponics

The Best Fish For Beginner In Aquaponics

Many people have turned to aquaponics nowadays in an effort to create more efficient and organic methods of growing and producing food. Many are attracted to aquaponics because it comes with many benefits. It allows an aquaponics gardener to harvest two products (plants and fish), very low water consumption, low energy usage, environmentally friendly and does not require big space.

If you consider establishing an aquaponics system, one of the critical decisions you will need to make is what fish species to stock it with. Fish plays an essential role in an aquaponics system because fish wastes are used as the nutrients for the plants to grow. Aquaponics is a symbiotic environment where both the plants and fish benefit from each other. So it is essential that you choose the right fish for your aquaponics system for your plants to grow healthy. In selecting the best fish species to raise in your aquaponics system, there are several important factors that you have to consider because not all fish are suitable for aquaponics.

Factors To Consider In Choosing Fish For Aquaponics

Purpose Of Raising Fish

What is your purpose in raising fish? Are you going to eat or sell the fish? These are some questions you need to answer in considering what fish to grow in your aquaponics system. Fish farming or commercial aquaponics systems can be expensive to start and maintain and require proper planning and training. If you want to start quickly and least costly, you need to choose fish for personal recreation only like goldfish and koi. 

Warm Water Or Cold Water

To lower your start-up and maintenance costs, choose a fish species that will thrive in your geographic area. 

Warm Water Fish thrive in a temperature range of 65°F to 85°F. The most common warm water fish often used in aquaponics are tilapia, catfish, and bass. 

Cold-Water Fish thrive in a temperature range of 50°F to 60°F. The most common cold-water fish used in aquaponics are trout and salmon.

 

Availability

Another essential thing to consider in choosing the fish for your aquaponics system is fish availability in your area.  Raising readily available fish can save you the cost of transporting the fish from the seller to your system. These will also help lower your maintenance cost and ease of buying fish foods for the fish. Tilapia, koi, and goldfish are the most common fish used in aquaponics, and they are readily available in most parts of the world.

Growth Rate

Different fish species have different growth rates. In choosing fish to raise, you must consider the growth rate of the fish species you choose to grow so you can plan their harvest to avoid overcrowding your fish tank.

Fish Diet

Fish can be classified into three categories – herbivore, carnivore, or omnivore. The fish suitable for aquaponics is the carnivore or omnivore. 

Carnivores are fish species that require a high protein diet, so they need a commercial feed specifically formulated for carnivorous fish. These fish species cannot be mixed with other fish species in the fish tank because they will eat the weaker fish species.

Omnivores eat both meat and vegetables, except for some grains and plants that they cannot digest. They are easier to feed and can coexist with other fish species in the fish tank. Omnivores are also easy to feed and great for aquaponics farmers who want to save on maintenance by feeding fish with homemade fish food.

Fish Commonly Used In Aquaponics

Tilapia

  • Edible
  • 70 – 80°F
  • pH level 7-8
  • Great for beginners
Tilapia

Tilapia are among the most common fish raised in aquaponics because they are hardy fish and easy to grow and maintain. They are hardy fish, making them excellent for beginners in aquaponics because tilapia is one of the easiest fish to raise. They can withstand pH changes, ammonia level changes, resistant to parasites and diseases, and their omnivorous diet is not difficult to feed. Tilapia are easy to breed and have a higher growth rate.

Perch 

  • Edible
  • 65 – 80°F
  • pH 6.5 to 8.5
  • Great for beginners
Yellow Perch

Perch is one of the best choices to raise in aquaponics because they are hardy, nutritious, taste good, and have a high growth rate. The popular varieties of perch are silver, yellow, and jade. Yellow perch is the most common variety used in aquaponics because it only requires moderate temperature and can withstand a wide pH range. Perch typically reach about 15 inches in size and weigh 2.2 lbs. 

Trout

  • Edible
  • 56 to 68°F
  • pH 6.7 to 7.7
  • Great for beginners
Rainbow Trout

Trout is the perfect fish for indoor, and outdoor systems because they have an excellent temperature range. Trout prefer colder water and thrive in temperatures ranging from 56 to 68 °F, making them ideal for a colder environment. Trout grow slowly and reach about one pound in 4 years in the wild. The three most common types of trout are brown, rainbow, and brook. Rainbow trouts are a hardy fish that can withstand the aquaponics system’s varying conditions. 

Goldfish

  • Inedible
  • 78-82 °F
  • pH level 6 – 8
  • Great for beginners

Goldfish is an excellent ornamental fish for aquaponics that is easy to take care of. They are a tough fish species that can live in a high level of water pollution. Goldfish produce large amounts of excretion that provides plenty of nitrates to the plants. Goldfish prefer temperatures of 78 – 82 °F and prefer a pH range between 6 – 8. Because of their small size and parasitic nature, goldfish are not edible.

Koi

  • Inedible
  • 65 – 78 °F
  • pH 6.5 – 8
  • Great for Beginners
Koi

Koi is one of the most popular ornamental fish used in aquaponics. Koi have a long lifespan and can breed and live comfortably within the aquaponic system. Koi can survive off of many types of food and are also disease and parasite resistant. They can eat just about any food like algae, debris, or plant matter that falls into the fish tank. They thrive on temperatures of 65 – 78 °F and pH level of 6.5 – 8. 

Bass 

  • Edible
  • 65 – 80°F
  • pH level 6-8
  • Not great for beginners
Largemouth Bass

There are many kinds of bass to choose from. Aside from being delicious, the bass is a hardy fish that can handle low water temperatures, making them a great option if you live in a colder climate. Bass thrive in a water temperature of 65 – 80 °F and pH of 6 – 8. Bass can be harvested within one year from fingerlings. Bass do not like bright lights, and they require a strict feeding regime. Although they are not a great choice of fish for beginners, many aquaponics farmers still raise bass because of its growth potential.

Types of Bass
Largemouth Bass
Smallmouth
Hybrid striped
Australian
White bass

Catfish

  • Edible
  • 75 – 85°F
  • pH level 7-8
  • Great for beginners
Catfish

Catfish are one of the best-farmed fish and are popular for their taste. Catfish are bottom feeders and valuable scavengers that can withstand a wide range of water conditions. They are a hardy fish and can withstand a wide range of water conditions. They are not territorial and easy to breed and raise. Catfish thrive at a similar temperature to tilapia 75 – 85 °F and require a pH of 7 -8. They grow relatively fast and can be harvested within three months.

Carp

  • Edible
  • 80-82°F
  • pH  7.5 – 8
  • Great for beginners
Carp

Carp is a good choice for fish to raise in an aquaponics system because they are resilient to changes in the water condition in an aquaponics system. They thrive in a wide range of water conditions and feed on algae, plants, insects, and other fish food, making them the right choice for aquaponics.

Conclusion

Choosing the best fish that will thrive in a newly established aquaponics system is crucial for the overall success of your new system. So if you are a beginner in aquaponics, choosing the right fish to grow must be given important considerations. If you want to succeed, choose a fish that is readily available in your location, adaptable to your climate, and easy to maintain. Starting your own aquaponics system is not difficult to do if you start it right by making the right choice.