In aquaponics you will be growing vegetables and fish. Fish are a tasty food source of protein and omega 3 fatty acids – both essential for good health. Many people would think that it is extremely hard to grow fish in your own home or in your backyard, but with an aquaponics system this is not so. You will be able to grow lots of fish easily, all year round, and best of all cheaply! This is because you’ll be recycling the water and using the fish’s waste as a fertilizer for your vegetables. In turn, the vegetables will filter out the water for your fish, removing the need for expensive filtering equipment!
It is essential that you ensure the fish remain healthy, so that you can benefit from optimal yields of both fish and vegetables. When choosing which fish to grow, check that their optimal temperature is compatible with where you will be placing the set-up. If you are placing it in the garage, and it tends to get cold, then don’t get fish which require warm temperatures. In addition, fish require good levels of dissolved oxygen to thrive. Thankfully there are ways how to achieve this without using a pump; in other words, you can get aeration for free.
When choosing which fish to culture in an aquaponics system, make sure you check the relevant state laws, as there are legal limitations on the species of fish that can be purchased and grown. There are many suitable fish for aquaculture, such as trout, tilapia, cod, perch and bass. Indeed, the final decision will be based on your personal preference.
Perhaps the most frequently grown fish in aquaponics systems is the tilapia, which is native to Israel. Tilapia are fast growing, reproduce quickly and are very resistant. Fluctuations in temperature, dissolved oxygen levels, pH and waste build-up do not have such an impact on tilapia as they do on other species of fish. They have been farmed for over 2,000 years, so there is no reason why you wouldn’t be successful with them!
The tilapia’s optimal temperature is about 26-32′C, although they can live at temperatures as low as 20′C. However, for fast growths and best quality, you should try to give them their optimal temperature.
Carp are another fish of choice for aquaponics systems, because like tilapia they grow quickly and are very hardy. They have also been farmed in Asia for over 2,000 years, and nowadays continue to be farmed in simple ponds. They are tasty, rich in protein and in heart-healthy omega 3 fatty acids.