10 Best Edible Fishes For an Aquaponics System

best edible fish

Ever wonder what fish are edible for your aquaponics system? One very important factor to consider is that the fish you choose need to be compatible with each other and with your plants. If there is too much of a struggle for resources, it can ruin even the most carefully planned system.

However, if you’re like the rest of us and want to grow fish for a tasty low-carbon protein that is also nutritious for you and your family, then I have a list for you.

10 best edible fish for aquaponics.

  1. Catfish
  2. Tilapia
  3. Trout
  4. Largemouth bass
  5. Carp
  6. Barramundi
  7. Perch
  8. Sunfish
  9. Koi fish
  10. Salmon

Aquaponics is an amazing system for growing plants using fish effluent. Freshwater fish give off ammonia in their waste and this ammonia becomes toxic to fish if not diluted with a higher volume of water. When using an aquaponics system, the water passes from the fish tank through filters containing bacteria that convert the ammonia into nitrates. These nitrates are then used by the plants as nutrients. As fish are the source of this wonderful fertilizer, they are essential when building a system.

  1. Catfish


Did you know that catfish are a great fit for aquaponics systems? Not only do they provide nutrients to the plants and help your aquaponic system flow properly, but they are also delicious! When people think of catfish, they usually associate it with a destructive predator that wreaks havoc on ecosystems across the world. Nothing could be further from the truth. They are safe and nutritious fish with a good aftertaste.

Catfish are strong and can withstand a variety of harsh water conditions. They can be kept at higher stocking densities and are not territorial. Catfish are easy fish to rear and can be harvested for cooking after 3 months or more. Catfish can also thrive in a similar temperature range to tilapia.

Many catfish species are known to be beginner-friendly options for aquaponic systems. These include Eel-like fatty fin catfish, Channel catfish, and African catfish.

Due to their behavior and muddy adaptability, it is better to keep them in a wider aquaponics system rather than taller ones. They prefer to swim near the bottom of a culture system and will appreciate the horizontal space.

  1. Tilapia


Tilapia is one of the most widely produced and consumed freshwater fish around the world. It is estimated that over 2 million metric tonnes of tilapia are produced on an annual basis by aquaculture, making it by far one of the most cultured fish in the world. They can survive in warm climates, but the ideal temperature for them to breed is between 68/75-degree F (20/24-degree C). They have an average lifespan of about four years in farming conditions.

Tilapias are popular because they are easy to tame, fast-growing, and have a sweet taste. Moreover, tilapia have a high tolerance for environmental changes and therefore even the less experienced people could raise successfully this fish in an aquaponic system.

They also don’t need a complicated tank of aeration and filters to survive. This makes it easy to keep them on an aquaponics farm as it does not require a lot of effort to maintain their health and survival. Also, tilapia fish for aquaponics culture is quite cheap when compared to other niche fishes available in the market.

  1. Trout


Trout is not just another fish to fill the gap in aquaponic systems. They are fish that can be grown and harvested easily. Trout is hardy fish, due to its long and resistant life cycle. It can survive even in poor conditions and can be easily raised in aquaponics. Its moderate size and good taste make it one of the most popular aquaponics fish. Trout also has some important benefits for humans and for the culture itself.

Trouts are one of the most sought-after fish in the world. In fact, it was not so long ago that restaurants were considered chic when they included trout dishes on their menus. Good trout should have a sweet flavor with a smooth buttery texture.

They can be grown easily with little cost and effort. They are also easy to care for since they are a cold-water species that functions best when kept at a constant temperature.

  1. Largemouth bass

largemouth bass

The largemouth bass is an omnivore fish that can survive well in a high protein diet in the aquaponics system. There are eight species of largemouth bass, of which the northern largemouth bass is known for its fast growth and impressive size. This fish is native to North America, having its habitat in lakes and rivers.

Its common name comes from its large mouth that can easily suck prey into the mouth. It has a powerful bite, particularly when hunting for food. It has a streamlined body with deep flanks.



  1. Carp


Carp is easily the most valuable fish in aquaponics culture. They have much nutritional value and when they are young they weigh up to as much as 5 pounds or even more. They are great fish to eat if you like eating white fish because they are soft and easy to cook.

Carp is one of the oldest fish to be domesticated and has been regarded as a delicacy in many Asian countries. The meat tastes sweet with a moderate amount of fat-rich omega-three which makes it popular and highly demanded by aquaponics enthusiasts.

Carp can grow in large numbers if provided with proper food so it is ideal for vegan, vegetarian, and eco-friendly gardeners. Carp thrives well in warm water temperature variance and grow best in an environment that has a pH level of 7.0-8.5.

They are species of fish that are readily available in every big and small river, stream, canal, and pond. At the same time, carp is one of the most satisfactory edible fish.

  1. Barramundi


Barramundi is one of the best seafood fish ever. It comes with an excellent flavor, and a meaty texture and is always sold at a low price in the market.

Barramundi fish is a popular fish species loved by seafood lovers everywhere. The barramundi was originally bred in captivity by aquaculturists and professionals that are now engaged with mass commercial production. As a tasty fish, it’s generally sold as fillets or steaks that are low in fat and very light flavored; although it is also excellent as sushi or sashimi.

These interesting-looking fish can grow up to a meter long, and are one of the largest freshwater fish from the carp family with a very wide distribution area, extending from India and Sri Lanka all the way through mainland Southeast Asia to Northern Australia. With worldwide distribution, it is likely that barramundi was introduced in many locations by humans.

  1. Perch


Perches, in general, for aquaponics culture are phenomenal fish. Their size makes them good for aquariums and ponds alike. The fact that they can eat a variety of foods makes them great for use in enclosed systems where fish food is scarce. And they’re impressive-looking fish!

There are several reasons why perch is a very friendly fish in aquaponic culture, they are an excellent fish because they grow fast and consume smaller fish, their meat is greatly preferred by people as a food and it also has a good taste.

They are fun to watch and easy to harvest—the whole family can enjoy them! Perch will breed in tanks that are not cycled too, making them compatible with just about any setup. The mild taste of perch makes the fish dish the most versatile food in terms of recipes.

  1. Sunfish


Sunfish (Lepomis), is also an ideal fish for aquaponics systems. They are plant eaters and herbivores. Since they do not have teeth, they cannot bite the roots of plants.

However, they provide excellent control over green algae and provide foliage cleaning services as well. Sunfishes are common warm water fishes that are popular as aquarium fish as well. In aquaculture, sunfish are also used to control weeds but this fish is also a delicacy for some people.

Ideal Temperature: 65℉ (190C) to 68℉ (220C)

Adequate harvest age: 3 to 5 years

  1. Koi Fish

Koi Fish

Koi fish is an ornamental fish and it is also a food fish. This fish originally originated from China. Koi first domesticated in China thousands of years ago. The fish has been widely raised for food and also mainly as an ornamental purpose in Japan for many years prior to their introduction to the U.S.

Koi fish are an interesting species to study in order to establish which other fish can live in harmony with them and which ones cannot. This will allow you to enjoy the beauty and aesthetics of Koi fishes together with the practical benefits that they bring to your aquaponics garden.

  1. Salmon


Salmon is a fish that has great nutritional value and large size of meat. They are edible and have good compatibility with other fish in aquaponics culture. Salmon can produce a large amount of waste that can be used to generate organic fertilizer for plants growing in the same system. This can be achieved because it comes with a strong swim bladder that enables it to stay afloat even in an aerobic environment such as aquaponics.

Salmon are carnivorous fishes that feed on other fishes and invertebrates (shrimp and crays). They do not eat plants or algae like other fishes. From a nutritional point of view, salmon has fatty deposits that are rich in n-3 fatty acids as well as a high composition of protein.

To sum up, in this guide, I’ve told you ten of the best edible fish for aquaponics. Make a comparison again and pick what fits your needs the best. Add color and life to your aquaponics system with these ten splendid fishes.

Understanding the best fish for aquaponics culture and their compatibility will allow you to set up your aquaponics system most effectively. As a rule of thumb, white fish tend to grow faster than oily fish; they also have very thick skin which means they hold on to waste matter more efficiently.

Recommended Reading: Signs of High Nitrates in an Aquarium

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