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Caring for Carp in Aquaponics Systems

Caring For Carp In Aquaponics Systems

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Often considered a nuisance by fishermen, Carp are not generally considered to be the ideal fish breed for aquaponics systems at first glance. However, Carp are tough and able to survive even in low water quality compared to other fish, making them a great option for aquaponic environments. Also, when combined with a searing-hot pan of garlic butter and glass of Chardonnay, you can turn a rather pedestrian tasting fish into a great dinner plate companion. Caring for Carp in aquaponics systems will take time, but in return, you will have a great starter fish for your system.

In this article, you will learn valuable tips on how to raise Carp in an aquaponics setup.

Why Raise Carp in Aquaponics Systems?

Carp (Cyprinus carpio), originally native to Europe and Asia, are found in different environments all over the world. In other countries, like Australia, they are a noxious and invasive species that spread massively in the wetlands and rivers. 

Still, one can’t deny that Carp can be an ideal addition to your aquaponics system. Compared to the more popular tilapia, Carp can do well in various temperatures, making them able to survive both in the low and high temperatures in winter and summer, respectively. That makes them lower risk compared to most commonly used fish types for aquaponics.

Carp also tend to grow rapidly, which is good when you’re thinking about harvesting them for food. But the taste of their meat, especially wild-caught ones, are not widely appreciated because of a distinct “muddy” taste. When caring for Carp in aquaponics systems, however, you’re raising the fish in a clean and controlled environment. In such a method, Carp raised can have better-tasting flesh.

Different Carp Varieties

Carp belong to the fish family called Cyprinidae, which also includes the popular ornamental fish koi and goldfish. It is worth noting that koi is a descendant or a result of the selective breeding of the common Carp. Other species of Carp that are favored for their meat include mud carp, crucian carp, and grass carp.

Requirements for Caring for Carp in Aquaponics Systems

Below are factors to consider when raising Carp in your aquaponics system:

Stocking density

Ideally, you need 200 gallons of water for every mature Carp.

Tank size

The size depends on how many Carp you want to keep. Given the stocking density, a 1000-gallon tank will be enough to house five carp. But of course, the bigger the tank, the better as this gives your fish more space to swim around. Click here to see some good tank options.

Water temperature

Carp prefer warm and temperate climates, just like tilapia and catfish. While they can survive water temperatures between 82 and 86 °F, the ideal range for optimum growth is 68–77 °F.


Sunlight can be beneficial for your Carp tank, but make sure you can provide a shaded area where they can hide and cool down from the hot sun.

pH Level

You should maintain a pH level ideally between 7.5 and 8.0 As always try to use a quality pH meter.

Oxygen requirements

Carp do well in dissolved oxygen concentrations 5 mg/L and higher. However, they can still tolerate below 2 mg/L and survive below 1 mg/L.

Fish diet/nutrient requirements

Carp are omnivorous fish; they can eat aquatic plants but prefer crustaceans, crawfish and insects more, which is why they need a medium levels of protein in their diet. A complete pelleted feed is ideal for Carp.

Feeding Frequency

Feed your Carp once a day as much as they can eat within five minutes. If there’s any leftover feed, scoop them out to avoid ruining your tank’s water quality.

How to clean the tank

Replace 10-20 percent of tank water with fresh tap water once a week. Keep in mind that if you use tap-water you should use a chlorine remover before adding it to the water tank.

Common diseases

The common fish louse is a parasitic crustacean that loves to feed off freshwater fish. Basically, these parasites attach to the host and feed on their blood. In Carp, the common fish louse can be a carrier of the virus that causes swim bladder infection.

To reduce parasite load on the Carp, Isolate the affected fish, and give it a short sodium chloride bath. Be careful when doing this treatment, though, as having a solution that’s too diluted will make the treatment ineffective. On the other hand, if the bath is too concentrated, you are endangering your fish.

Aquaponics plants best suited for

Carp can help you grow a variety of crops in your aquaponics garden, including tomatoes, strawberries, watercress, and thyme.

Best Breed To Use

Common Carp is a popular carp variety used in aquaponics setups. They can grow quickly and they can have a pleasant taste.

Water filters

Carp are considered heavy waste producers, so an efficient filtration system is required. If you have an indoor tank, a large pump filter is needed. If you have it indoors, getting an external and internal tank filter is recommended.

Can they be mixed with other breeds?

Common Carp can be mixed with their relatives, the goldfish, and koi. However, keep in mind that they can breed and produce hybrids. In general, Carp can coexist with other fish types as long as they’re not predatory.


Water temperature and dissolved oxygen levels should be suitable to encourage spawning. Clear water, low fish population, and absence of predators are also factors that can help. To breed, a mature male and female are separated and placed in their own tank. Ideally, the breeding tank should have weeds or areas of grass. The fish will spawn and fertilize the eggs, which will be left to stick in the grassy or weedy areas. In about two days, the eggs will hatch into fry.

The Campbells love finding sustainable and fun ways to increase their independence from traditional brick and motor supermarkets. Aquaponics provides a full lifecycle food source for families and a great hobby. #aquaponicslifestyle

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