Stocking Your Fish Farm With The Right Aquaponics Fish

There are a number of fish people love to eat, many of which can be raised in aquaculture systems. However, because an aquaponics fish tank needs to be filled with saline free water for your hydroponic fruits and vegetables it’s necessary to choose the right freshwater fish for aquaponics system.

Fish for Aquaponics: What are the precautions?

To prevent disease and infection spreading in your aquaponics fish tank, it’s best to purchase your fish fry from a well established facilities and always make sure that your suppliers keep their stock in sterile conditions.

Never acquire your fish from wild sources as they always have parasites and sometimes other pathogens that could jeopardize your other stock or your aquaponics setup as a whole should they all die.

Considerations When Choosing Fish For Aquaponics Systems

Other things you’ll need to consider is your particular location, temperature and seasonal weather conditions and whether or not a certain fish species can be legally kept in a given area (some species are banned due to invasiveness, over breeding and local species destruction, blocking of waterways, etc). You’ll have to consult your local authorities to find out about any legalities that may involve the particular species of aquaponics fish you’re considering.

Aquaponic fish species and their temperament

Fish temperament is another factor as some fish species are cannibals, some need more space, others less, some grow faster or slower, others do well under a variety of temperatures and water conditions and other fish are more sensitive. It’s important to understand your particular fishes’ characteristics and needs so that you can maintain your aquaponics fish farm by keeping fish stress free and healthy. Start by buying books that focus on your chosen species and learn as much as you can about their care and maintenance. A good general ratio of fish to water in your aquaponics tank is around 10 – 12 fish for every 250 litres of water.

Temperature Considerations For Aquaponics Fish

Usually aquaponics fish are warm water loving varieties as they work well with hydroponic plants that don’t typically do well with cold water. However if your area has cold seasons, or is generally cooler than the naturally preferred temperatures for your fish, you may need to include a water heater in your aquaponics system to keep your fish alive or harvest your fish before they die off. Some fish do well in both warm and cooler weather conditions, such as trout, but these types of fish take longer to mature and may not be a good choice for your fish farm if you want a quick, abundant supply of fish to eat and/or sell. If you’d like to raise cold water fish such as salmon in your aquaponics system you may want to look into a cold water system like “The New Portable Farms tm Salmon Aquaponics System”. These aquaponics systems incorporate a heat exchanger to warm water for the plants and are set up to cool water back down for the fish as it continues through the system and returns to the fish tank.

Another alternative in selecting the best aquaponic fish for your  systems if you have cold and warm seasons, is to raise a cold water stock in cooler months then harvest and replace them with a warm water species in warmer months.

Suitable Fish For Aquaponics

The different type of fish for aquaponics systems include:

Talapia: Among the top chosen species for aquaponics on account of it’s delicious taste, buttery texture, it’s disease and parasite resistance, tolerance to water toxicity, tolerance to high and low temperatures and its ease of breeding, making them the best choice for beginners especially.

Freshwater Sardinella: A endangered type of sardine that lives in freshwater, a great choice as it’s high in Omega oils like other sardine species and raising them would help restore the species.

Carp: Although considered a pest species, carp makes a great eating fish with many species being an excellent option for aquaponics due to their adaptability.

Catfish: This quick growing, bottom dweller makes for a low density stock but can be supplemented with an additional fish species and as long as water quality is kept at a premium, they’re also a hardy species due to their disease and parasite resistance.

Salmon: One of the healthiest fish options for your aquaponics system, however the special heat exchange and cooling system that they require is an added expense.

Barramundi: One of Australia’s favorite aquaponics fish stocks, they have an exceptionally crisp, clean taste and are often purchased at a more mature stage so harvesting time is shorter.

Jade Perch: The fish with the highest Omega oil content in the world, if you don’t mind the oil, it’s a rapidly growing, omnivorous fish that is also well suited for aquaponics use.

Silver Perch: Suited to a variety of conditions, this omnivorous fish is slower growing than other fish species.

Murray cod: Although these fish are quick growing and taste great, in order to maintain the necessary high density stock they must be very well fed because they are cannibalistic.

Trout: Grow very quickly and are also a great eating fish and a wonderful option if you live in a cooler location. However, water must be kept clean and they can limit your hydroponic plant options to those of a cooler variety depending on your aquaponic setup.

Your Aquaponic Fish for sale…Maybe? or Not?

If you’re not so interested in eating or selling fish as food you may also want to raise Goldfish or exotic Koi fish in your fish tanks and sell them for a higher profit to pet shops. Both of these fish are quite tolerant to a variety of water conditions and can be raised together, however, in order to facilitate breeding for the goldfish, it’s advised to include some plant cover.

Other fresh water species can be raised in your aquaponics fish farm as well, some of these include Malaysian Tiger Prawns, fresh water shrimp, mussels which are filter feeders and are great for helping to keep your aquaponics tank clean and crayfish.
Although typically, you can’t raise these alternative species as your exclusive stock in your aquaponics tank as they either can’t produce enough waste to provide adequate nutrients for your hydroponic plants or they can’t be raised in high density conditions, they definitely can be included in your aquaponics fish tank.

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{ 8 comments… add one }

  • Kerry January 6, 2013, 5:04 am

    your automatic subscribe popup is not working properly

    • admin January 6, 2013, 7:03 pm

      thank you very much Kerry, I will check it out right now.

      p.s thanks for stopping by. I am currently working on adding more content on my site and was wondering if there was anything you would want me to talk about.

      talk to you soon.


  • Vincent February 10, 2013, 11:21 pm

    Really, we can farm salmon in aquaponics systems ? It doesn’t need saltwater ?

  • ronald de reuck March 4, 2013, 5:44 am

    My aquaponic and hydroponic system is not flourishing, my plant growth is stunted, I seem to have a fungal infection and a lot of my seedlings are simply dying off…..

    • Jim April 24, 2013, 3:56 pm

      Hey Ronald

      With some more information, I might be able to help out. What type of fish do you have? What about plants? What are the symptoms you describe as a fungal infection?

      In the short term, I’d recommend getting your fish off feed for a while. If your plants aren’t doing well, they won’t be removing nutrients from the water and could result in toxicity for your fish. Your fish can go for days without food, and that will allow your system some time to recover.


  • ronald de reuck March 4, 2013, 5:47 am

    I forgot to say my system is about 4 months old

  • Bob Giese August 29, 2015, 8:53 am

    i wonder if one of the native species of fish here in northwest Florida can be grown aquaponically, and that is bream (aka brim.) Do you have any information on this species and do you have a source where I can purchase fingerlings?

    I like your articles. Keep up the good work.

    Many thanks,

  • Ayisha September 5, 2012, 11:07 pm

    Almost any kind of plant can be grown in an aquaponics setup, however, the best fish and aquatic life are those which are fresh water types (tilapia being a major favorite).

    Another consideration that you may want to conduct some research on, has to do with temperature. Many fresh water fish are warm water loving while some plants may need more heat and light to grow and produce correctly and result in needing more heat then the fish can tolerate. The reverse can be true as well when plants actually require or can survive in cooler temperatures then the fish can tolerate. However, some people solve this problem by learning which plants can be grown in their area’s different seasons and stocking their aquaponic fish tank with a certain species of fish for one part of the year, harvest them, then stock their aquaponic reservoir with another species for the other part of the year. A common practice among Australian aquaponic gardeners.

    Note: This does require a bit of research in any case. My suggestion would be, after deciding which plants you want to grow (that can thrive in your local conditions), see if there is a local species of fresh water fish that survives year round in your area. If there is, find out if it can also be bred and raised in captivity and if so, try to bring them together in your aquaponic setup, or you could opt for another type of fresh water fish species that’s kept either as aquarium fish or a type that’s already farmed in your area.


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