If you looking to build an aquaponics system, but are not sure what type of fish to use, then you have come to the right place. You can grow any type of fresh water fish that you want. But there are some factors you have to take into consideration.
Aquaponics fish do not ask for much, all they need are oxygen, water at the right ph and temperature and of course some food. In turn they make our plants grow super fast and healthy. There are fish you can eat and others you cannot. This poses the question, do you want to eat your fish or not?
This has to be your first decision when you go to select the fish for your tank. If you are like me and become fond of your pets, you might find it hard to eat your buddies that are giving you fresh vegetables every day. Your fish rely on you every day for food and will come to the edge of your tank waiting for their meal. There are many types of fish that actually like to have contact, one such fish is the Pacu. They are a vegetarian member of the piranha group and will eat almost anything. They will meet you at the tanks edge and want to be petted. Do you eat him?? I hear they are mouthwatering over barbeque. Any way that is the decision you will have to make for yourself.
I have read different rules, but the majority of people go with about 1 fish per 5 gallons of water, or one pound of fish for every five to ten gallons of water. It really depends on the size of your fish. And remember, some fish will grow a lot larger than others, so keep that in mind.
What do I feed my fish?
It really depends on what type of fish you have. If you have carnivorous fish like bass, trout or perch then you will need to feed a high protein food around 50 percent protein. If you have omnivorous fish like catfish, bluegill, koi or tilapia then a lower protein feed is ok. And remember younger fish need more protein than older fish.
You can feed your fish bugs and worms, but to get them to grow to their fullest you should buy a formulated food. This will make sure they are on a balanced diet and your plants will benefit too. To keep your fish healthy do not feed them garbage. Some people have resorted to feeding them left over pizza, hamburger, ect. This food will not be good for your fish and will not be digested well. It will pass into the water making it bad for the fish and your plants. Also feeding them this way will leave them nutrient deficient and can lead to disease. So if you can, feed them a good formulated food.
How much should I feed my fish?
When feeding your fish, try to keep the food to a minimum the first two months. Watch your fish when you feed them and only give them what they can consume in a five minute period. Keep this under 1 tablespoon for every 20 fish/day. Your water will go green early, do not worry. Once the water clears up, then you can start feeding your fish more. Feed your fish about 2 or 3 times a day.
Where do I get fish for a aquaponic system?
There are a few places you can buy fish for your system. These include:
Pet stores: Any fresh water fish from a pet store will work well in an aquaponics system. Watch the temperature range for each fish variety to make sure they can survive together in your tank. Also make sure one type of fish does not eat the other. Types of fish from pet stores that are known to work well are Koi, Pacu, goldfish and Oscars.
Hatcheries: Some fish hatcheries will sell small batches of fish to local growers who have aquaponic systems. If there is a hatchery close by that is willing to do that, jump on it. That is a great way to purchase fish to eat.
Online: You can find places online that sell a variety of different fish such as bluegill, catfish and tilapia. This can be very expensive though, so finding something locally might be your best option.