What type of fish to use in your Aquaponic System?

If you can not or do not wish to grow Tilapia, there are several other species of fish that you can culture including Trout, Largemouth Bass, Blue Gill, Catfish, Koi and Goldfish. In Australia where Aquaponics is more well known, they are growing fish that are native to that continent. They include Barramundi, Jade Perch, Silver Perch and Murray Cod. Here are some of the pros and cons that come with culturing these fish.


Tilapia (/tɪˈlɑːpiə/ ti-lah-pee-ə)

Tilapia in Aquaponics

Tilapia (/tɪˈlɑːpiə/ ti-lah-pee-ə) is the common name for over a hundred species of cichlid fish from the tilapiine cichlid tribe.

Tilapia inhabit a variety of fresh water habitats including shallow streams, ponds, rivers and lakes. In the Past they have been of major importance in artisan fishing in Africa and the Levant and are of increasing importance in aquaculture.

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Trout (Salvelinus)

trout in aquaponics
Trout is the name for a number of species of freshwater and saltwater fish belonging to the Salmoninae subfamily of the family Salmonidae. Salmon belong to the same family as trout. Most salmon species spend almost all their lives in salt water. Trout are classified as an oily fish.

The trout is another temperamental fish to grow in an Aquaponic system. It’s very different from the Tilapia in that it’s a cold water fish and likes water temperatures that are much cooler than the tropical 70-75 degrees F of a Tilapia tank. Some growers who reside in colder climates, especially in the winter, will grow Trout during those months. But the cold water makes the selection of plants more limited as many plants prefer the more tropical water temperatures. Trout need pristine water conditions.

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Largemouth Bass

Largemouth Bass
This fish is much less tolerant to unfavorable water conditions than the Tilapia. It can be successfully grown in an Aquaponic system, but it requires a vigilant and patient grower to do so because it takes between 16-17 months to produce a table-ready fish and a lot can go wrong. They do not do well with less than delicate handling. Nor do they like bright light and cannot tolerate poor nutrition. They are one of the most sensitive fish to raise; and their water temperature and oxygen levels need to be monitored daily. The young fingerlings need to be trained to feed on pellets.