If you’re new to aquaponics and you’re still trying to figure out what fish to use for your system, and also what measures need to be in place to ensure the health of your fish and subsequently, your plants, then read this article where I simply break it down.
Location & Environment
The type of fish you have in your aquaponics system really depends on your location and environment. If you’re in a warmer climate such as Australia, then you have the option to have tropical fish and the commonly used tilapia without having to heat up the water.
If you’re in a cooler climate such as in the United Kingdom or Northern parts of the United States, then fish that are naturally suited to that type of weather such as the trout, will be more appropriate.
So it’s important to know:
- The range of temperature that the fish is naturally suited and see if it fits your area.
- Knowing and having the right feed to feed the fish.
Once you know those points, then you’ve pretty much got the first part out the way.
Feeding Your Fish
There are a variety of different feed that you can feed your fish, and that depends on what type of fish you have and the scale of your aquaponics system.
If you have a large operation, perhaps for commercial purposes, then more often than not, you’ll likely have to use commercialized fish feed since they’re cheaper and more readily available.
In order to get different results from your system, you have to do a bit of testing such as using fish feed that vary in amounts of protein, then seeing which feed is the most effective at allowing your fish to produce more ammonia. As a result, there’ll be more nitrogen in your system for your plants to absorb.
At the end of the day, you want to make sure that your plants are as healthy as possible. This means providing them with the nutrients that they need to grow properly, and in order to do that, your fish also needs to be healthy.
Temperature, Ammonia & Nitrate Levels
The three aforementioned elements you need to keep a watchful eye on as they directly affect the health of your fish.
- Temperature – If you have fish in your system that are affected by temperature changes such as tropical fish, then you need to make sure that your water temperature stays within range of the fishes natural element. If it falls out of range, then your fish can potentially die as a result.
- Ammonia and Nitrates – Fish produces ammonia after they feed and it’s then converted into nitrates by the biofilter for plants to feed off. However, too much ammonia in your system is very toxic to fish so ammonia levels must be kept low. In the case of nitrates, they dissolve pretty quickly once they meet the microbes in your aquaponics system especially at the stage of maturity.
There are water test kits on the market which I highly recommend you to get, and they allow you to test the levels of ammonia and nitrates in your system. Without these test kits, you’ll have to resort to the eye test to see if you notice any strange fish behavior or abnormalities of your plants.
To get the most out of your aquaponics system, I highly recommend the following articles, where you can decide from the highest rated and bestselling products for aquaponics.