If you’re new to aquaponics, you need to be aware that you cannot just use any species of fish.
Freshwater fish are the most common of aquatic animals raised using aquaponics, but you can also raise crayfish and prawns.
There are a variety of species of aquaponic fish that serve different purposes, and it’s important that you choose the right fish as they will be providing nutrients for your plants and protein for yourself.
Things To Consider
- To Eat Or Not To Eat: First of all, you need to work out whether you want to raise a fish to be eaten, or just to produce waste for your plants to feed on. For a guide to both purposes, check out my Top 7 Aquaponics Fish Species guide.
- Water Temperature: Depending on what the season is and whether your aquaponics system is placed in your home or a greenhouse, these all affect the water temperature. Certain types of species will thrive in warm waters such as the Barramundi and Tilapia while others such as Trout will thrive in cooler water. Some fish species are adaptable to temperature and can be raised all year round such as the Silver Perch, but they often take longer to mature.
- Amount Of Fish: The amount of fish you should keep heavily depends on the size of your fish tank and how much time you have to look after the fishes. The higher the stocking density the more likely things will go wrong as you will constantly have to keep an eye on the water conditions to make sure everything is within its parameters. Having less fish doesn’t mean your plants will not get adequate nutrients, they will still grow healthily and impressively if your fishes are well looked after.
- Other Aquatic Animals: Freshwater mussels, crayfish and freshwater prawns are among the other aquatic animals you can raise inside an aquaponics system. They can be very beneficial for example, mussels are a great filter-feeder meaning they will effectively clean the water. The Yabby, a freshwater crustacean will do well in cool and spacious waters and as they breed readily and grow fast.
- Costs: I presume that you would want to keep costs as low as possible therefore, common species such as Goldfish (non-edible) and Tilapia are good options. They also feed on plant-based matter so it’ll be cheap to feed them. Also, you need to decide on fry (very young), fingerlings (developed to size of finger) or mature fish. As they get older and bigger, they’re more expensive but produce more waste for your plants to feed on.
If all this seems like a bit too much, you need not worry because generally aquaponic fish are easier to raise than aquarium fish as long as you follow the simple guidelines.
As a general piece of advice, I wouldn’t recommend putting fry and fingerling fish together with mature fish as they may get eaten. Also, don’t mix too many different species together as some are carnivorous, but the biggest factor is the size difference. Keep things simple by having one or two different aquaponic fish species first, then experiment with others.
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.