What Is The Right Stocking Density Of Fish?

fish stocking density

Many beginners of aquaponic gardening often wonder how many fishes should be used to maintain an efficient aquaponics system.

There isn’t really a simple answer to this question because this is all relative to the size and type of your system, and your end goals. In this article, I will briefly explain the basis of stocking density of fish.

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The recommended stocking density of fish in your aquaponics system can basically be narrowed down to two things – Do you have a large commercial system or a simple home based system?

If it’s the former, then it may be the case that you have other expensive equipment that would allow you to stock much more fish than the latter. This would usually be ½ lb of fish per gallon of water.

If your system is a lot simpler, then the general rule of thumb would be 1 inch per gallon of water. Other aquaponics gardeners prefer to use the rule of 1lb of fish per 8-10 gallons of water.

Aquaponic Fish

Based on those ratios, in order to get your water environment just the way you want it by altering nitrates, ammonia or pH levels, you have to feed your fish accordingly.

Now you may have read about how some aquaponics systems can get more fish per gallon of water, that’s generally reserved for more advanced and complex systems. For a simpler system, especially if you’re a beginning, you should keep it simple.

Just by reducing the stocking density of fish, less equipment such as air pumps is required to oxygenate your water tank. So essentially, this means lower costs on your behalf and a much easier system to operate and maintain. You don’t want to end up running into too many problems to solve.

You can also get a bit creative with the stocking density to see what suits your purpose the best. Either lower or increase the amount of fish and adjust oxygen levels accordingly. You don’t always have to stick to the guidelines as long as you’re not too out of bounds. At the end of the day, you want your fish to live in a comfortable environment.


So to conclude this article, tips for the correct stocking density of fish are:

  • 1″ of fish per gallon of water or 1lb of fish (fully grown) per 8-10 gallons of water.
  • Stock at a ratio of less than the above figure since your fish should be expected to grow to 1lb.
  • Bear in mind that this ratio is for simple home aquaponic systems.

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.

  • + Easy! DIY Aquaponics (simple guide on how to build a home aquaponics system for cheap)
  • + Aquaponics 4 You (another step-by-step guide on building a low-cost aquaponics system)
  • + Top 5 Best Water Pump For Aquaponics
  • + Top 5 Best Grow Lights
  • + Top 5 Best Aquaponics Grow Media
  • + Top 7 Water & pH Test Kit Best Sellers
  • + Top 5 Best Aquarium Heater Products
  • + Top 10 Best Fish Food
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