The Basics of Aquaponics – What Fish Are the Best?

Fish are what makes aquaponic gardening so unique. The fish provide waste that is an organic food source for the plants. When you are getting your system set up there are some things you need to consider when choosing what fish you will use.

1. Climate plays a part in your choice of fish. There are fish that survive in the cold weather, and some that don’t. Before you buy your fish make sure they can survive in the climate you live in.

2. Some fish are social and others are not. Make sure you pick fish that get along.

3. Pick a fish that is durable and can withstand any environment.

4. Don’t pick a fish that will outgrow the system you are building!

The most common fish used in aquaponic systems are:

1. Tilapia. This is the most common fish used by those who also plan to eat their fish. Tilapia is a warm water fish, so climate is a consideration. Before deciding on Tilapia confirm with your local fish and game that you can raise them in your area.

2. Trout. Trout is another common fish used in aquaponics systems. Trout is a cold water fish and this needs to be taken into consideration when deciding what plants to grow. Trout tend to grow fast, so this is a good fish to pick if you are looking for a food source.

3. Goldfish are the most common fish for aquaponic systems. These are hearty fish and able to withstand most environments. Goldfish produce a lot of waste material which is exactly what you want for your aquaponics system. They may also reproduce if you provide the right environment.

4. Koi. Koi are beautiful and will add a lot of beauty to your system. They have a long life span, and are easy to obtain in most states. They also produce a lot of waste, needed for the growth of your plants. Technically they are edible, but very bony and don’t taste very good, so take that into consideration.

There are so many fish you can use in your aquaponics system, you can really tailor it to exactly what you want. Before settling on one particular fish make sure you remember a few simple guidelines.

The fish you pick must be able to survive in the climate where you live. Don’t pick a warm water fish if you live where it is cold for most of the year. Also, consider how big the fish will grow, and make sure you have enough space for it.

Rebecca R. Ammons

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