10 Types Of Fish For Aquaponics: The Ideal Fish Species for Your Aquaponics System

Types of Fish For Aquaponics

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Do you want to know the types of fish for aquaponics?

The purpose for creating an aquaponic system differs; it could be for decoration, or sale, or you could set it up for consumption. Whichever one you decide, there are specific fish suitable for these purposes.

For instance, if yours is solely for decoration and sale, Goldfish, Yellow perch, and Koi are best for this purpose.

However, if you are rearing them for consumption only, you may look out for fish like Catfish, Tilapia, Carp, and more.

I implore you to read to the end to learn more about the different types of fish species for aquaponics, as I dive deep into all the relevant details you need to know to help you get the right fish for your aquaponics system, starting with the important factors to consider.

Things To Consider When Selecting The Type Of Fish For Aquaponics

To make the best decision on the fish to use for your aquaponic system, you need to be careful with the selection because the process can be quite challenging, 

This is why there are some essential things you need to consider before selecting the best type of fish for aquaponics.

Which are:


Firstly, you need to consider the water temperature because fish are cold-blooded.

Also, they can be classified into three different categories: cold water, cool water, and warm water.

Therefore, if you are in cold regions, you should go for hard or cool water fish; likewise, if you reside in a warm region, you should opt for warm water fish.

Cold-water fish can survive in wide and deep water so that they can swim freely and enjoy the cold.


Secondly, when it comes to maintaining fish, you will need to be very careful in this aspect.

As we have said earlier, venturing into this can be quite a handful; nevertheless, it can be interesting and fulfilling.

Some fish are expensive and complicated to maintain, while others require minimal maintenance effort.

Therefore, consider going for fish that suit your skills, knowledge, and lifestyle, especially if you’re just starting aquaponics.

Fish Diet 

Consider this aspect when you want to start an aquaponics system. 

Although there are three classifications of fish based on their diets, they include carnivores, omnivores, and herbivores.

Carnivore fish feed on only meat, which means they cannot be with any other fish in a tank or pond; if not, they will feed on them.

But that doesn’t mean you can’t use carnivore fish for aquaponics, all you need to do is make sure you get fish of the same size and species so that they won’t feed on themselves.

Herbivores are not suitable fish for aquaponics because they feed on only plants and fruit, they also eat at close intervals.

As a result, it may not be easy to feed them frequently.

I suggest you go for omnivorous fish because they feed on plants and meat.

Also, they can co-habit with any omnivorous fish species with little or no issues.

Growth Rate

Further, depending on their growth rate, you may decide which fish to use for aquaponics. Some grow faster, while others grow slowly.

It depends on your choice, but I suggest you go for the ones that grow fast to make money.

 Apart from making sales, if you want to rear them for consumption, you also need fast-growing fish for that purpose.

Regulatory Bodies

Knowing the laws, rules, and regulations governing aquaponics in your state or country is also important.

This is because every state has its own rules, and failure to obey may lead to serious punishments or jail terms. 

In that light, you should become familiar with the rules to avoid any issues.

Lastly, you should also register and get the necessary certificates as an agriculturist.

10 Types Of Fish For Aquaponics

These are some of the fish suitable for aquaponics, you may buy any one based on your preference.

1. GoldFish

Goldfish in a tank

Goldfish are freshwater fish that are suitable for aquaponics because they are not fragile. They also produce enough nitrates for the plants, all thanks to their large amount of excretion.

However, you need to be mindful when selecting goldfish for your aquaponic system because there are two types. The weaker ones are called twin-tailed while the stronger ones are called single-tailed.

The twin-tailed goldfish are weak and slow. Hence, unlike the single-tailed, they cannot cope and adapt.

In that light, you should keep the twin-tailed ones together, and the single-tailed ones can stay together to prevent issues. 


  • They are tough.
  • They can withstand any water conditions.
  • Easy to breed, especially for beginners.


  • They produce plenty of waste.

2. Catfish

Catfish Farming

Catfish are omnivores with barbells resembling cat whiskers on their upper jaws. They are one of the fish people consume due to their nice taste.

This is one of the reasons fish farmers like to stock catfish because they can sell them and make cool cash. 

Furthermore, they are not too expensive to breed; they are sturdy and can easily adapt to any water conditions. 

As such, this is one of the best types of fish for aquaponics that won’t stress you out.


  • Not too expensive to breed.
  • Delicious taste.
  • Sturdy and suitable for beginners.


  • They need high-protein fish food.

If you want to start a catfish farming business, you can read the article on how to start a catfish farm. It will guide you right.

3. Carp

Carp is yet another type of fish for aquaponics that is easy to breed and grows rapidly. They are often reared as food and can be found in Europe and Asia, where they have large amounts of fish.

They are also omnivores. They have a reproductive system and can withstand any weather situation.

Moreover, in terms of longevity, carp have a long life span, which is one of their greatest attributes.


  • Good reproductive system.
  • They can withstand any water condition.
  • Long life span.
  • Edible and healthy for consumption.
  • Easy to breed and grow rapidly.


  • They should be kept away from other fish species.

4. Koi

Koi Fish

Koi are one of the most popular ornamental fish used in aquaponics, they also have a long lifespan. Being ornamental fish means they are not reared as food but for beautification.

Also, they are omnivores and can eat algae, debris, and plant matter that comes their way. 

However, if you have koi fish, you must carefully monitor their waste production to avoid any problems. 

You can put a wide filter so that the waste will not mix with the water

Nevertheless, you will not have issues because they are parasite-resistant and can easily adapt to their environment.


  • Parasite-resistant.
  • Beautiful colors.
  • They have a long life span.


  • They need frequent maintenance due to their excessive waste production.

5. Trout

Trout usually live in freshwater, although they live in the sea for two or three years before returning to freshwater when it is time for spawning.

For clarity, spawning is when fish release eggs and sperm.

 They are one of the most suitable fish for aquaponics. However, unlike catfish and tilapia, trout cannot adapt to dirty water. 

Further, they are related to salmon and feed on soft-bodied aquatic invertebrates such as flies.

Trout fish have three most common types: brown, rainbow, and brook. However, rainbow trout are the most suitable type for aquaponics because they are sturdy.


  • They can feed on different foods like insects, flies, fish, etc.
  • They are sturdy.
  • For consumption.


  • Trout do not do well in dirty water.

6. Yellow Perch

Yellow Perch fish in a hand

It is edible and a sport fish. They are also impressive for aquaponics.

Yellow perch are omnivores and feed on insects, invertebrates, and other smaller fish. 

Moreso, they can be consumed since they are edible and taste good. Also, they have a good growth rate, which is one of the reasons they are used in aquaponic systems.

Specifically, perch have three main species: yellow perch (US and Canada), European perch (Europe and Asia), and Balkhash perch (Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, and China)

However, if you desire impressive results, the yellow perch is the most suitable for aquaponics.


  • Good growth rate.
  • They are edible and taste good.
  • Easy for beginners to rear.
  • Lastly, they are sturdy.


  • They can feed on themselves when they are not the same size.

7. Barramundi


 Barramundi fish live in freshwater, saltwater, and estuaries. Estuaries are where freshwater and saltwater meet.

Furthermore, they are born male, but when they reach four years old, they turn female, female-meaning the female can only date young males.

This fish is one of the best for aquaponics because it produces millions of eggs in a season.

However, unlike most of the fish in this article, barramundi is a carnivore. Therefore, it is not suitable for beginners.

Nonetheless, they grow rapidly and prefer warm water to cold water.

You should pay more attention to these fish for a successful aquaponic system because they can injure themselves.

So, the smaller ones should be separated from the larger ones to prevent complications. 

Apart from the necessary care, barramundi has a fast growth rate and is suitable for aquaponics.


  • Fast growth rate.
  • It produces waste for the plants to grow well.


  • Not suitable for beginners.

8. Bluegill

This fish is also among the best types of fish for aquaponics because it is hardy and can thrive in any water condition.

Also, it grows fast, requires little maintenance, and can be consumed, which makes it suitable for aquaponics.


  • They do not need much maintenance.
  • They are hardy and can handle any temperature.
  •  Feed on plants and insects.
  • Finally, they can be consumed.


  • They need to be fed at regular intervals.

9. Salmon

Salmon is also known as one of the best fish for aquaponic systems due to its fast growth rate, tolerance to any condition, and delicious taste.

However, you will need a big tank if you want to grow fast and bigger.


  • Tasty and healthy for consumption.
  • They can tolerate cold weather.
  • Beginner-friendly.


  • They are prone to diseases if not well maintained.

10. Murray Cod

Finally, the last but not the least good fish for aquaponic systems on this list is the Murray Cod.  It is also hardy and can tolerate any other type of fish.

However, you need to change its tank while it’s growing so it won’t feed on the smaller fish.

Ultimately, it grows fast and has a long life span.


  • Long life span.
  • They are hardy and suitable for beginners.
  • They grow quickly.


  • You’ll need to closely monitor the growth rate of the fish and separate the bigger ones from the smaller ones to prevent cannibalism (fish eating one another).

Now, you know the type of fish to use for aquaponics.

Remember to consider the purpose of creating the aquaponics when deciding what type of fish to go for.

Benefits of Aquaponics

There are several benefits to setting up an aquaponics system. These include;

  • Reduces Water Waste

You do not need to use plenty of water; unlike traditional farming, the water used for aquaponics can be reused, thereby reducing water waste.

  • Nutritional Benefit

Thanks to the aquaponic system, you will only use small amounts of chemicals, or you may not necessarily use any since it is an organic type of farming.

The fish and plants are not exposed to harmful substances like pesticides and other chemicals.

As such, you will have healthy and fresh plants and fish for sale and consumption.

  • Your plant will grow faster

Furthermore, another benefit of aquaponics is that it allows plants to grow rapidly due to its rich and natural fertilisers.

The plants also have access to enough water and nutrients to allow them to grow well.

  • Profitable

This is gradually becoming a lucrative business where aquaponics users make cool cash.

 After harvesting your plants and fish, you can sell them to potential buyers and make money.

You don’t need to rely on the weather before planting since you are using the organic method.

Challenges of Aquaponics

  • The initial start-up capital is expensive

Setting up an aquaponics system from scratch is usually capital-intensive.

So, you may be discouraged from starting an aquaponic system if you are not financially capable.

  • The selection of fish may be tricky

If you are not careful with the fish selection process, it may lead to huge losses.

This is why you should know the types of fish and other procedures before starting.

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Where Can I Get Fish For Aquaponics?

You can get them in local hatcheries, lakes, and rivers.

  1. Can I Eat The Fish In My Aquaponic System?

Yes, you can, this is one reason why aquaponics is important.

However, not all fish for aquaponics are edible, check carefully before selecting any fish.

  1. Edible Fish For Aquaponics?

Some edible fish for aquaponics are Tilapia, Catfish, Trout, and Carp.

  1. What Can You Do With The Fish In Aquaponic System?

It depends on the purpose for creating your aquaponic system, you may decide to sell, consume, or use them for aesthetic purposes.

  1. Which Fish Is Best For Ornamental Purposes in Aquaponics?

Goldfish are the best for aquaponics systems.

Conclusion on Types of Fish for Aquaponics

All in all, the best fish for aquaponics depends on the purpose of starting the aquaponic system.

For successful aquaponics, you should select suitable fish species and maintain them well to avoid losses.

To recap, below are the 10 types of fish you can raise in aquaponics:

i. Goldfish

ii. Catfish

iii. Carp

iv. Koi

v. Trout

vi. Yellow Perch

vii. Barramundi

viii. Bluegill

ix. Salmon

x. Murray Cod

As such, you can go for any fish species in this article because they are easy to breed and grow fast.

Furthermore, you should clean the fish pond by draining it and filling it with clean water.

Be consistent and put in your best effort to achieve amazing outcomes. 

I wish you a successful aquaponic system.


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