The Top 10 Best and Worst Plants for Aquaponics


Aquaponics is a sustainable method that involves concurrently cultivating fish alongside plants. This technique creates a mutually beneficial relationship between hydroponic plant cultivation and fish farming. It operates via fish waste providing necessary nutrients in feeding crops/fish food as well as using crops for filtering water intended for healthy fish living environments – this way cultivating the best aquaponic ecosystem backed by several benefits such as efficient use of water resources, decreased need for chemical fertilizers among others.
The article aims to discuss suitable crops within an aquaponic context starting with a list ranking the 10 best plant species that thrive in this agricultural setting followed by identifying those posing challenges within the same environment and offering guidance on successful crop care under these varying conditions respectively.

Best Plants for Aquaponics

1. Leafy Greensleafy greens

Aquaponics enthusiasts are advised to consider including leafy green vegetables like kale, chard, lettuce, and spinach in their operations due to their attributes favoring speedy growth rates coupled with the ability to withstand varied water conditions; both of which make them favorable choices for beginners.

2. Herbs

herbs basilYou should consider growing herbs like basil, cilantro, and parsley in your aquaponic systems due to their ability to thrive with relatively fewer nutrients. The three herbs have modest nutritional demands making them suitable for smaller setups with a limited number of fish.

3. Tomatoestomatoes

Aquaponic enthusiasts often opt for tomatoes as they display tolerance towards diverse aquatic environments. Nevertheless, these vegetables have higher nutritional demands compared to lettuce and its related produce; consequently, an appropriate quantity of fish must be present in the system to sustain their development.

4. Strawberries

strawberriesThe successful cultivation of strawberries in aquaponic environments depends largely upon attentive pruning practices and diligent monitoring of plant health.

5. PeppersFree photo front view colorful bell-peppers with peppers on the brown desk vegetable color

Aquaponics provides a viable option for growing various types of peppers, like bell or chili varieties, with ease. However, it is crucial to keep in mind the specific demands that these crops entail; specifically, they require a little bit warmer water and comparatively richer nutrient concentrations than other types of crops do not require. As you put together your hydroponic nutrition management plan, adjust it according to what your pepper plants need most!

6. Cucumbers

Free photo top view cucumber on brown wooden horizontalCucumber cultivation in aquaponics settings offers several advantages due to their accelerated growth and heightened moisture levels. Nevertheless, it should be mentioned that these crops have slightly elevated nutrient specifications which mandate a commensurate increase in aquatic life support within your system.

7. PeasFree photo green peas

Pea plants’ adaptability in aquaponic systems is derived from their ability to grow upwards, thus economizing in aquaponics while having a modest nutrient consumption rate.

8. Beans

Free photo mix beansIncorporating bean plants into aquaponics has gained popularity amongst growers due to their compatibility with pea plants. Given that both plants favor similar environmental conditions and growing cycles, cultivating them simultaneously would maximize the output yield within minimal space utilization. Therefore, it is worthwhile considering this dual cropping method for increasing garden efficiency.

9. ZucchiniFree photo fresh zucchini

Aquaponic enthusiasts often opt for zucchini because of its expeditious development and abundant yield. Nevertheless, this type of plant necessitates more nutrients than others within the system. Consequently, fish stockings should be appropriately adjusted.

10. Broccoli

Free photo broccoli in ceramic bowl and on pink clothAchieving profitable yields with broccoli in aquaponic systems necessitates keeping cooler water temperatures coupled with increased nutrient levels as compared to most other crops. Being meticulous about monitoring and maintaining optimum aquatic conditions becomes paramount for successful production.

Worst Plants for Aquaponics

1. CornFree photo seeds and sweet corn on wooden table.

Given its need for substantial space and nutritional requirements, corn stands out as a less viable option for most aquaponic systems.

2. Root Vegetables

Free photo closeup shot of fresh organic beetsInadequate substrate availability is a significant challenge when attempting to cultivate root vegetables like carrots or potatoes in aquaponic setups. Given their dependence on soil nutrients, these types of plants cannot thrive without access to adequate soil quantities.

3. GrapesFree photo green and red grape isolated on white

The insufficiency of space and the necessity of an amplified root system disqualify grapes from being a suitable crop for implementation within aquaponic frameworks.

4. Melons

Free photo front view sliced fresh melon on dark-light backgroundMelons pose a challenge to aquaponic systems since they necessitate significant amounts of nutrients and spacious conditions, rendering them an unsuitable choice for such environments generally.

5. PumpkinsFree photo top view of fresh pumpkin sliced fruit on the dark background

Pumpkins’ greater space and nutrient requirements mean that only a few aquaponic systems can accommodate them.

6. Cabbage

Photo close up fresh wet green cabbageCabbage’s extensive maturation duration coupled with its nutrient-intensive character makes it an unwise choice for production under hydroponics.

7. Cauliflower

Free photo cauliflower on the wooden floor.Aquaponic systems are not recommended for cultivating cauliflower because of the plant’s long growing duration and heightened nutrient requirements, which resemble those of cabbage.

8. Asparagus

Free photo fresh asparagusAsparagus, with its perennial nature, necessitates a specialized growing location and extended establishment period making it inappropriate for the majority of aquaponic systems.

9. OnionsFree photo bunch of red onions on marble.

Considering their extensive growing cycle and nutritional requirements, onions do not make suitable candidates for aquaponic systems.

10. Garlic

Free photo fresh raw garlic ready to cookDue to its long growing season and high nutrient demands, garlic is not a suitable option for aquaponic systems, as is the case with onions.




The best-suited species for aquaponics cultivation require careful consideration surrounding specific elements such as nutrient demands, water chemistry balance, and area availability within the system’s parameters. This approach equates to maximized crop production while promoting eco-friendly alternatives for sourcing fresh produce.

Recommended Reading: Preventing Fish from Dying in Aquariums and Keeping Fish Alive in a Bowl

Leave a Reply