Top 11 Best Fish for Aquaponics

Aquaponics - Top 11 Best Fish for Aquaponics - Green Garden Tribe

When you harvest fish from your home aquaponics system, there is no greater delight. It not only provides the delight of producing your fish, but it also assures that the fish you are eating is clean, nutritious, and a toxic-free source of protein.

The top 11 fish for your aquaponics system are: Tilapia, Murray Cod, Goldfish, Koi or Carp, Prawn & Shrimps, Red Ear Sunfish (Sunfishus rufus), Arctic Char (Salmon Arcticus), Crappie, Guppy, Tetra Fish and the Bluegill. Details below.

These are The Top Ten (10) Best Fish for Aquaponics Systems

1.     Tilapia

Tilapia - Top 11 Best Fish for Aquaponics - Green Garden Tribe

Tilapia is a delicious and versatile food fish that can be grown in a variety of conditions. Because it is such a hardy fish, it has a varied diet.

They can subsist on algae, worms, insects, and even fish; commercial aquaponic systems commonly employ plant-based meals, but they are not as widespread as other possibilities at this time.

Aquaponic systems are becoming more popular as a result.

Tilapia is one of the most adaptable fish for aquaponics, owing to its hardiness and versatility. They have a well-deserved reputation for being tough to take down.

They thrive at a temperature range of 82° – 86°F, although they may live in temperatures outside of this range as well. A similar statement may be made about their optimal pH range of 6.5 to 9.

When the water temperature drops below 50°F (10°C), they perish.

Tilapia fish may be harvested between six and eight months after they are born, depending on the size you desire and how warm the water is at the time.

You should harvest them after they have reached a weight of roughly 1 pound apiece.

2.     Murray Cod

Murray cod fish - Top 11 Best Fish for Aquaponics - Green Garden Tribe
Murray Cod

The Murray Cod is an excellent choice if you intend to keep many fish in a little amount of space in one tank. A variety of perches appeals to them, and they are particularly fond of perches of various sizes.

Even in a confined setting, this fish will grow at an alarming rate. As they mature, they will consume fish that are smaller than themselves.

It is important to note, however, that you will need to feed it properly and adequately to fulfill its desire; otherwise, the hunger will take control of your fish tank and the fish will battle one another and die.

This species of fish is recommended for persons who have the necessary time to devote to its upkeep and care.

If you take care of them, they may survive for up to 50 years! Maintain the water temperature between 46° and 75°F, with a pH between 7 and 8 on a scale from 1 to 10.

You’ll be able to harvest them whenever they reach 1 pound in weight, which should happen between 12-18 months.

3.     Goldfish

Koi, Goldfish - Top 11 Best Fish for Aquaponics - Green Garden Tribe
Koi, Goldfish

If you do not want to consume fish from your system, you should consider ornamental fish as a possible alternative. Goldfish are a fantastic choice for aquaponics fish since they are easy to care for and maintain.

Even though they are typically seen as beautiful fish or prized at fairs, they are a robust species that can survive in areas with high levels of water pollution.

It is important to note that there are two separate varieties of goldfish: the single tail and the twin tail, both of which are found in the wild.

The single tail goldfish has a reputation for being speedier and more aggressive than its counterpart. Of course, the twin tails tend to be more attractive.

They should be able to reach a pound in weight in 12 months. When utilizing goldfish, however, this is less of a worry because they are not often used for human consumption as ornamental fish.

They can grow to be one foot in length.

Goldfish do best in water that is between 78- and 82-degrees Fahrenheit (25 and 27 degrees Celsius). It will even take a pH range of 6 to 8, making it as tough as tilapia in terms of environmental tolerance.

4.     Koi or Carp

Decorative fish such as Koi are offered as decorative aquarium fish. Given that koi fishes are typically found in artificial ponds, it is quite safe to rear them in a tank.

It is important to note that you may keep koi fish and edible fish together if they are not fighting and there is adequate space in the tank for all of your fish to live.

Koi carp can thrive in temperatures ranging from 35°F to 85°F, which makes them one of the hardiest fish on the planet! Their preference for algae consumption is beneficial to both your health and your money.

To ensure optimal growth and minimal stress, it’s best to keep the temperature in the range of 59 to 77°F (15-25°C).

In terms of pH levels, they favor a range between 7-8, which is less forgiving. However, they may grow as long as 2 feet in length and survive for up to 30 years in the wild.

That’s an added plus in terms of system stability in your aquaponics system!

5.     Prawns & Shrimps

Investing in a shrimp aquaponics system is a smart move if you want to make money from your fish. It is a veritable gold mine.

The little delightful animals are by far the most popular type of seafood consumed throughout the world, even though demand for the beauties is increasing at a slow rate.

They are classified as members of the crustacean family.

Although prawns and shrimp are not the first things that come to mind when thinking about starting an aquaponics system, they are a fantastic choice since they nourish your plants as well as food for you.

They can endure a pH range of 6.5-8, however, they are not very adaptable to temperature fluctuations. You’ll want to make certain that you’ve taken care of these before the shrimp and prawns arrive in your tank.

You should be able to begin collecting your shrimp and prawns after three to six months of planting your seeds.

6.     Red Ear Sunfish (Sunfishus rufus)

In aquaponic systems, the red ear sunfish is a popular choice for consuming snails and other unwanted insects that have gotten into the system.

This fish is used by the UVI system to get rid of snails that have built up under the floating rafts, and it is extremely effective at doing so.

To accomplish this, these fish are commonly found in large commercial operations.

Temperature changes between 65 to 89 degrees Fahrenheit are not a problem for this fish, yet the optimal temperature range for this fish is 73 to 77 degrees Fahrenheit.

The pH level must be always maintained between 6.7 and 8.6 as well. It will take them around one year to grow to a pound in weight, which is plenty for the plate and approximately half their whole size.

They are not intended for consumption, but rather to keep the snail population under control.

7.     Arctic Char (Salmon Arcticus)

Do you live in a cold climate and despise trout? Are you a vegetarian?

If this is the case, you should consider using arctic char in your aquaponics system. It has a flavor and behavior that are quite like salmon, but as its name implies, it is much better suited to colder (arctic) environments.

As a bonus, the colors are stunning.

For those of you who live in colder climates, this is one fish that will require little attention from you. Of course, in hotter areas, it will be more difficult to maintain the water cool enough for them to swim in.

Their ideal temperature range is less than 60°F, and their optimal pH range is between 6.5 and 8.5.

They may grow to be between 2 and 8 pounds in weight when fully mature, but you’ll be able to harvest them at plate size in less than a year.

8.     Crappie

Crappie is a member of the sunfish family of fish. Crappie is found in two different species. These are the black and white crappie, as the name suggests.

The black crappie may grow to be between 5″ and 19″ in length and weigh between 12 and 1 pound on average, however, the largest specimens can weigh up to 3 or 4 pounds.

In comparison to the white crappie, which grows between 6.7″ and 20.9″, the black crappie has a more deep and darker body color. The white crappie weighs about the same as the black crappie.

Both black and white crappies are durable, withstanding temperatures ranging from 55°F to 80°F, with temperatures between 60°F and 75°F being their preferred range.

The pH has a greater limiting effect. They require a pH value between 6.5 and 8.2 for this.

Ideally, they will reach a harvesting size of 1 pound in two years.

9.     Guppy

There are two primary species of guppy.

These two types are: the common guppy and the Endler guppy.

The common guppy is sometimes known as the million fish, the rainbow fish, or the rainbow fish and rainbow fish. It is vibrant and will make an eye-catching addition to your aquarium.

The Endler guppy, on the other hand, is even more attractive to look at.

In terms of temperature, they have a narrow range that goes from 74°F to 82°F. Furthermore, you’ll need to always keep the pH level between 7 and 8. You will be able to locate the ideal setting for these fish thanks to the large selection.

Most people are not shocked to find that it is preferable not to mix them with other types of fish. In general, they are resilient fish that look excellent. They grow to just 1 inch in length and are not intended for consumption on a plate.

10.     Tetra Fish

There are many various tetra fish species available for you to pick from, each one more attractive than the others.

Neon tetras, cardinal tetras, serape tetras, diamond tetras, and glowlight tetras are some of the most popular alternatives available.

Because they are small and are not intended for consumption, these fish are mostly employed in small indoor aquaponics systems.

They enjoy temperatures ranging between 70°F and 81°F, as well as pH levels ranging between 7 and 8 on the scale.

Because they are not the hardiest of fish, it takes a lot of time and effort to care for them properly.

It’s important to note that they develop rapidly and will be completely grown by the time they are six months old.

Many different types of fish may be raised in a confined environment. You may keep a large variety of fish in your tank if you use aquaponics techniques.

It is strongly advised that you investigate the best fish for aquaponics that are available in your surrounding location based on weather conditions and legality before purchasing any.

In addition, you will not require permission or license to keep certain sorts of fish in your house, which makes them more convenient to procure.

If you intend to purchase foreign or unusual fish, you should be aware that there may be legal limits in place, and you should speak with a professional.

While many varieties of fish may flourish in a closed environment, some will require particular attention, while others are rather simple to keep alive.

11.     Bluegill Fish 

Bluegill in Aquaponics Tank - Top 11 Best Fish for Aquaponics - Green Garden Tribe
Bluegill in Aquaponics Tank

This fish is added as a bonus and you can read more about this special fish here: Why Use Bluegill Fish in Your Aquaponics?Opens in a new tab.

What Factors Should You Consider When Choosing Your Fish?

  • When constructing a successful aquaponics system, you must carefully pick the fish that will flourish in your environment, location, and availability.
  • Given that fish and plants flourish at various temperatures and pH levels, you must determine ahead of time what sort of veggies you will be growing with your fish.
  • It is also vital to understand and arrange for the function of the fish in your system before introducing them.
  • Are the fish you’re growing for your use, commercial purposes, or recreational purposes?
  • Some important factors to consider while picking the ideal fish for your aquaponics system are listed below.

Choosing Between Ornamental Fish & Edible Fish

The edibility of the fish will be a crucial element in the choosing of the fish species.

Building a system around food species such as Tilapia, Catfish, Carp, and Largemouth Bass will ensure that you get the most out of your fish farming endeavor!

You can consume these edible fish species, but they are frequently more difficult to keep alive and require special environmental conditions to thrive.

Inedible fish species such as goldfish and koi are less costly and simpler to maintain than edible fish species because they are more resistant to illnesses and parasites.

The use of ornamental fish species such as angelfish, tetras, and danios in indoor aquaponics systems has been proven to be successful.


Since fish are cold-blooded, they have a limited capacity to adapt to a wide variety of water temperatures.

Some fish do well in cold water, while others do best in warm water, and vice versa.

So, the first thing you should evaluate is whether or not the fish you intend to raise will be able to withstand the temperature range of your chosen site.

Fish thrive at specified temperatures and maintaining a consistent temperature within their proper tolerance range keeps the fish healthy and helps them develop quicker.

You will be able to pick the ideal fish for your aquaponics system if you are aware of the temperature fluctuations and the temperature preferences of the fish you intend to produce.

Availability of Fish in Your Geographical Area

The availability of fish in your area is the second most crucial factor to consider while planning your trip.

Some fish, such as the Barramundi, is exclusively available in specific geographical locations.

This fish is difficult to get in the United States, although it is frequently accessible in Australia.

The simplicity with which fingerlings may be obtained is also important when deciding which fish to raise in your aquaponics system.

Tilapia is the most often used fish species in aquaponics because it is hardy and readily accessible in most parts of the globe. Tilapia is the most used fish species in aquaponics because it is hardy and readily available in most regions of the world.

What Kind of Fish Can You Legally Raise in Your Area?

It is not always permitted to acquire and cultivate all types of fish in various states and provinces.

As a result, it is critical that you first verify with your local fish farming legislation to confirm that the species you wish to employ in your aquaponics system is legal in your area before proceeding.

The Type of Fish and the Difficulty of Maintenance

Some are delicate and difficult to raise, yet others are sturdy and inexpensive to produce while some more are sensitive and expensive to raise.

A resilient fish that is resistant to illnesses and parasites is ideal if you don’t want to spend a lot of time and effort keeping your system up and running.

Tilapia, goldfish, and Koi are resilient fish that are ideal for novices who are just getting started with aquaponics.

Dimensions and Space Requirements

The size of your fish tank will influence the types and numbers of fish that will be suited for your system.

Make certain that you understand the mature size of the fish you intend to rear, as well as the size of the tank required.

If you want to raise fish that demand a lot of room, be sure you know what their maximum adult size is before you start raising them.

For example, a channel catfish may grow to be 40-50 pounds in weight, necessitating a big fish tank of at least 250 gallons.

Capacity for Filtration

The filtration capacity of your aquaponics system dictates the number of fish you can keep in your fish tank at any given time.

It would aid in maintaining a balance between the demands of the fish and the capacity of the plants, ensuring that the fish were not over-or under-populated.

Overcrowding in a fish tank can cause the water’s oxygen level to drop dangerously low.

Generally speaking, you should have a fish length of one inch per gallon of water, as a general rule of thumb.

Habits of Reproduction

When selecting fish to raise in your aquaponics system, it is important to consider their breeding patterns as well as their size.

Some fish species, such as tilapia, are incapable of reproducing in captivity, but other fish species, such as salmon, are capable of reproducing swiftly and readily.

Occasionally, fast reproducing fish species can cause issues in poorly constructed systems by causing a reduction in the density of the fish population.

You may need separate tanks for breeding fish to allow them to spawn and preserve the baby fish alive and healthy.

Food of Fish

Dietary requirements for fish are one of the most important factors to consider when selecting fish for your aquaponics system.

Fish require the proper mix of proteins, lipids, carbs, vitamins, fats, and minerals to live, while plants require the proper balance of nutrients to develop.

The type of fish food you use, and the availability of fish food nutrients can have an impact on the maintenance costs of your system.

It is strongly suggested that commercial feed pellets be used in small-scale aquaponics systems, especially in the initial stages.

You may also feed your fish homemade fish food, but you must pay close attention since homemade fish food may not be well balanced in the key nutritional components required by the fish in some circumstances.

The Water Quality 

Toxic to fish are the compounds ammonia and nitrite.

Ammonia and nitrite are deemed dangerous when their concentrations are above 1 mg/liter, however, any amount of these chemicals might lead to stress in fish and the development of other illnesses in fish.

Even though fish can withstand a broad range of pH values, they flourish in the range of 6.5 to 8.5. A significant fluctuation in pH levels over a short period can be detrimental to the fish’s health. As a result, maintaining a steady pH is critical.

Dissolved oxygen (DO) is required for the growth of fish as well as the growth of helpful bacteria that convert fish waste into nutrients for plant growth.

It is advised that the levels of dissolved oxygen in aquaponics systems be maintained at 5ppm or above to ensure optimal performance.

Increasing aeration in your system by utilizing a bigger pump or adding air stones may be necessary if the dissolve oxygen levels are too low in your system.

Also, avoid overstocking your system with fish to avoid low dissolve oxygen levels.

The Contrast Between Light and Darkness

To avoid algae growth, it is necessary to reduce the amount of light in the fish tank.

However, the tank should not be entirely black, as fish will get stressed and fearful if a fully dark fish tank is suddenly exposed to light when opened.

The best lighting is provided by indirect natural light, which is achieved by shade, and this will avoid algae development as well as fish stress.

Final Thoughts on Top 10 Best Fish for Aquaponics

We must warn you – this is an addictive pastime because it is so rewarding. We wish you all the best with your ten little fishes and hope things go ‘swimmingly well’ for you!

Spread the love on the water and go fishing!

Read More: 

Best Mosquito Eating Fish for PondsOpens in a new tab.

How to Grow Strawberries In Aquaponics – Expert Secrets Revealed!Opens in a new tab.

Patricia Godwin

Patricia has many years of experience as a content writer on various subjects, but her first love is gardening. She’s never met a plant she didn’t like and, consequently, she writes about every type of plant you can think of. Once an avid gardener with a herb garden, a succulent rockery, and a rose garden – to mention a few. Nowadays, she’s constantly on the move searching for interesting plants to bring to your attention; and explain to you all the details you need to grow, care and maintain these plants.

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