Wondering what aquaponics fish to rear?
Hopefully you’ve been convinced of the benefits of aquaponics – organic vegetables and fresh fish straight from your backyard onto your plates. All these with lower costs and less maintenance compared to traditional hydroponics and aquaculture.
No more expensive nutrient solution for the plants and no need for expensive filtering equipment to clean the waters for the fish.
With the higher productivity, you might even have excess vegetables and aquaponics fish to sell for a profit.
More importantly, you can be rest assured that the fish that you are eating is free of toxic chemicals unlike the fish caught from the increasing polluted sea.
But what species of aquaponics fish to rear?
- Do you intend to rear the fish to eat or purely for ornamental purpose? If your intention is to consume the fish, then you should go for ‘plate-sized’ fish such as trout or tilapia. Ornamental fish include goldfish or koi.
- What is the temperature range of the location where you are setting up the aquaponics system? Does it match the optimal temperature of the aquaponics fish of your choice? If not, are you able to maintain the temperature stable at the preferred range of the fish with the use of heating or insulation?
You will also need to understand that different species of fish have different requirements in terms of:
- pH range
- Optimal temperature range - Fish, in general, prefer a constant temperature within their optimal temperature range. The easiest, most energy efficient and cost effective option is to select a fish species that has an optimal temperature range that matches your location’s natural temperature. However, the ultimate decision is still largely based on your personal preference as you can install heating and insulation. This is also essential if your environment has widely fluctuating temperatures. Alternatively you can consider setting up the aquaponics system indoors, such as in the garage, where it is easier to maintain a stable water temperature.
- Population density - Some species are able to live in a denser population while others require considerably more space.
- Rates of growth
If you are rearing fish for food, you will probably want to go for those that grow fast. Fish with higher metabolic rate also produce more wastes; hence they are suitable if you are thinking of growing plants that require higher levels of nutrients (such as tomatoes).
Popular aquaponics fish
Tilapia and trout are among the most popular aquaponics fish. Others include cod, perch, bass and even goldfish. Indeed, the final decision will largely be based on your personal preference. However, you might also want to check out the state laws to find out which type of fish are restricted in your state.
Tilapia is a very popular aquaponics fish as it is very resilient. Compared to other species, they are less sensitive to fluctuations in temperature, pH, dissolved oxygen levels and build-up in waste. They can also grow well in crowded tanks. Moreover, tilapia is able to grow and reproduce very quickly.
Tilapia is suitable for warmer climates as their optimal temperature range is between 82 oF -86oF. They start to lose their resistance to disease and infections below 54 oF. But of course, you can still set up the aquaponics system in a room and keep it heated to grow tilapia if you are staying in colder regions
An alternative aquaponics fish for warm climates is the catfish. Catfish grows best at a temperature of around 80°F. Although they are very resistant to disease, they are more sensitive to dissolved oxygen levels. Hence, you will need a good aeration system and be sure to monitor the dissolved oxygen levels regularly.
If you are living in colder areas and want to grow plate-sized fish, then trout is a good choice as they grow quickly. They have an optimal temperature range of 40 oF-65 oF, though it may vary slightly for different trout species.
If you do not intend to rear aquaponics fish for consumption, you might want to consider rearing goldfish as pets. They are very easy to rear as they are very hardy. The excess goldfish can be sold to your local pet shop or aquariums for profit.
Next Step: Find out more…
Hopefully you’ve found the information and suggestions to be useful. However, for your plants and fish to grow healthily, you’ll need to size your aquaponics system correctly and maintain the fish population at the optimal stocking density.
I strongly recommend you to check out John Fay’s Aquaponics 4 You now. It is the best-selling DIY aquaponics e-book and comes packed with step-by-step instructions, detailed drawings & plans, and information on how to design, build and run your own aquaponics system. Tap into John’s experience in organic farming and learn how to take care of your crops and fish to increase the output of your aquaponics garden today!
You can get all the details here, including how much it cost (which is really affordable) and what exactly is included:
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