Building an aquaponics system in smaller environments can lead to many challenges. Not only from a space point of view but you’ll also need to choose the best plants and fish for the system as well. In this article I’ll go over some of the best fish for small aquaponics systems and which ones you should choose based on your specific needs.
If you’re new to aquaponics and attempting to set up a small system inside your home or garage this article is for you. Starting a small aquaponics system can give you a general idea of how they function and also what needs you may face during operation of the system. Many people will experiment with different plants and fish in smaller aquaponics systems they create so that they can better judge what works best for them. Aquaponics has a lot of trial and error for your specific environment so keep that in mind when building one of these systems.
A new type of farming that many people are using today is called aquaponics. It’s basically a system that allows the plants to feed off of the fish’s excrements. In turn the plants clean the water for the fish to survive in. This system of give and take helps both grow into sustainable food. You’ll be able to harvest both fish and plants from the system all year as long as the balance of nutrients is kept. The fish in the system play a huge role in the aquaponics system and you’ll need to take care of them. For smaller environments you’ll need to ensure you choose the best fish for small aquaponics systems in order to get the most from your setup.
Depending on where you live you may face regulations on which fish you can use in your residential aquaponics system. However, almost any fish can be used in an aquaponics system. But some do much better than others, especially in smaller environments. Here is a list of the top used fish for aquaponics systems in general:
The small list above are the most common types of fish that many people use in their aquaponics systems however they may not be good to use in yours if it’s a smaller setup. You may also face difficulties getting the fish to survive well depending on where you live and the climate you keep. I’ll go over each fish below and discuss why they may or may not be a good choice for your aquaponics system.
You may not think of a small goldfish as a vital element to an aquaponics system. But it’s actually one of the best fish for small aquaponics systems. You won’t be able to harvest the goldfish for food but they do well in small environment such as aqariums sold in department stores. Overfeeding goldfish will increase their waste which can boost the entire system as well.
Another type of fish that is best for small aquaponics systems is the Tilapia. Tilapia have been farmed for thousands of years. And they remain one of the best fish to use in an aquaponics system. It’s easy to breed, fast growing, and can withstand harsh living conditions. If you’re starting out with an aquaponics system using tilapia may be your best bet. They will require a bit more space however which may be a problem for micro systems.
For people who live in cooler climates trout may be a good choice for your fish. They can survive and thrive in 10 to 20 degrees Celcius water and have a very fast grow rate. Trout also have very high food conversion ratios as well. They are carnivorous so placing them with smaller fish likely means you’ll end up losing the smaller fish. Trout may not be the best choice for smaller aquaponics systems.
Although once a popular type of fish used in aquaponics systems the demand for carp has declined over the past few years. They are edible and have good survival rates in a host of different conditions but may be lower uses because of taste. Goldfish are actually a breed of carp although not edible.
Another one of the best fish for small aquaponics is the catfish. Although catfish don’t have scales they are edible and taste good. They are found on every continent in the world except Antartica. They have been farmed for many years and are fast growing and have an awesome food conversion ratio. For starting off they can do well in smaller environments. But you’ll want a larger system as time goes on for using catfish in your system.
There are other species that you can include in your aquaponic system as well. And they may be a better choice for micro systems. In fact, the best fish for small aquaponics may surprise you. Especially if you include things like mussles, water prawns, and crayfish. All of these things can help you create a small aquaponics system that can be amazing!.