Farming For the Right Fish?

Growing fish and vegetables together with aquaponics is a great way to produce low cost organic food for you and your family. The amount of production can be high for the small amount of maintenance you put into it. But in order to get good results, you need to choose the right fish for your aquaponics system.

Fish are a very important component of any aquaponics garden. They are the ones that supply all the nutrients that your plants need to grow. Although fish are easy to grow, they do have certain requirements in order to survive and flourish. Different types of fish have different requirements, mainly with water temperature. Before you decide which type of fish is best for your aquaponics system, you will have to decide what kind of water temperatures you can maintain.

If you have an indoor system, and are in a cold-winter climate like Iowa, warm water fish like tilapia and Chinese catfish will need supplemental heat. If your system is outdoors, or you will not be keeping the water warmed, fish like bass, crappie, bluegill and some perch are well suited because they can tolerate both warm and cold waters. If you have the ability to maintain cool water year round, consider yourself lucky. This opens up the possibilities for growing cold water fish like trout and salmon. For most people to be able to grow these fish, they need cooling systems for their water, which can be costly.

Another thing to consider when choosing a fish is whether or not it is banned in your area. Tilapia, for example, are banned in many parts of the world with warmer climates because of their ability to survive in the wild and become invasive pests if released. In Iowa, tilapia are not banned but are certainly regulated. You can check with a local extension agent or with your local fish and wildlife department to learn more.

With a little research into the requirements of different fish species, you can determine which fish will be the best for the environment that your aquaponics system will provide. Making sure you have the right match to produce healthy fish will help to ensure you also have healthy productive plants.

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