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Fish play a crucial role in an aquaponics system. After all, they are the source of food for plants you are cultivating. However, you can’t just add any fish to the system. Not all fish types can thrive in aquaponics, and each one has different needs for survival. If you live in areas with warm climates, and you’re planning to establish an outdoor setup, it would be wise to choose fish that generally love warm waters. So what are the best fish for warm water aquaponics?
Warm water fish are species that can survive and thrive in water temperatures greater than 68 deg F. Some of the hardy warm-water fish you can add to your system include:
In this article, we will discuss different fish species suitable for warm water aquaponics.
Warm Temperatures In Aquaponics
Fish are classified as cold-blooded animals, which means they are unable to regulate their body temperature. To survive, they depend on the changes in their environment. For this reason, maintaining the right temperature is one of the most important aspects of aquaponics.
The right temperature will depend on the region where the fish is native to. An example would be tilapia, which originates from Africa, making it able to survive in waters over 70 degrees. That said, when choosing the best fish for aquaponics, you have to be mindful of the water temperature in your tank.
When talking about warm water-loving fish, these species don’t mind being in water temperatures of 68 deg F and higher. When your region’s temperatures are not ideal for your chosen fish or if nights get too cold in your area, installing a heater may be an option to consider.
Types of Warm Water Fish
Warm-water fish are generally considered as the most versatile, which makes them a popular choice for aquaponics. While they do love warm temperatures, that doesn’t mean the cold will instantly kill them. Some of them can still survive low temperatures, especially during the winter in the North. However, they won’t grow as robust as they do in higher temperatures.
If you prefer to have warm water fish for aquaponics, the best species to go for are the following:
Tilapia are usually the go-to fish for aquaponics for many novices and experts. They are known to withstand poor water conditions. Not only are they hardy, but they can grow fast depending on the variety. They also have a varied diet, making it a lot easier to care for them. Another bonus to keeping tilapia is that they’re a great-tasting fish perfect for a variety of dishes.
Tilapia do well in water temperatures between 72 deg and 86 deg F, but a consistent temperature of 80 deg F is ideal. Anything out of the acceptable range will cause the fish to struggle.
This bottom-feeding fish is another common choice for aquaponics because of their flavorful meat. They are also known to convert food into body mass efficiently, which means they can grow fast and are ready for harvest in about three months.
While catfish can be considered another hardy fish, close monitoring of water temperature is still vital to their survival. That said, making sure water in a catfish tank remains around 80 deg F.
For more information on caring for catfish, click here.
Barramundi is another excellent aquaponic fish that thrive in 78 deg to 83 deg F waters. However, Barramundi are not for the faint-of-heart and are only reserved for those who have experience in aquaponics. When it comes to growth, these predatory fish tend to increase in size rather quickly.
More detailed information on barramundi care can be found here.
Bass is a less hardy species compared to the others mentioned above as they generally cannot tolerate poor water conditions. Their waters need to maintain the right pH, cleanliness, and a temperature range of 75 deg F to 85 deg F. Still, bass are also considered a top choice for aquaponics since they are readily available locally.
Click here to read more about caring for bass.
Perch is a hardy species ideal for novice aquaponics practitioners. They can tolerate a wide variety of water conditions, including the cold making them a more versatile species. Perch usually thrive when temperatures are in the 70s, but they can still do well even when it gets cold within the 50s.
Click here to read more about caring for perch.
Conclusion: Best Fish For Warm Water Aquaponics
Water temperature is an important aspect of aquaponics one shouldn’t overlook as it impacts the system’s overall health. The readings should be in the ideal range based on your chosen fish type.
However, a warm-water fish’s preference for higher temperatures shouldn’t discourage you from keeping them, even if you live in colder climates. Although an added expense, the use of tank heaters, can be the best solution to ensure your preferred fish thrive in winter or keep up with the temperature fluctuations at night.