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April 25


Aquaponics Fish — Feeding Fish or Non-feeding Fish

By Healthnut Bill

April 25, 2013

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You actually have quite a bit of choice when it come to aquaponics fish selection.

You might not think that a wide variety of fish would flourish in this rather closed system, but they do. You  

aquaponics fish

will have a wide choice for the type of fish you will want to use with your system, depending upon availability of course.  You will also want to take into consideration whether you will want to harvest the fish and eat them.

Choosing between Aquaponics Systems with Feeding Fish or Non Feeding Fish has its advantages and disadvantages. We are not talking about non-feeding fish. All fish eat something. The question is what?

Actually, the trade off comes down to your Nitrates. In a non-fed fish tank, the fish eat the algae that grow on the walls of the tank. Algae need to be exposed to light and it grows off the Nitrate in the water. This means some of the Nitrate is diverted from your veggies and goes to growing algae. This means you can grow about half of the amount of veggies and plants than a fed Auqaponics system.

The general rule of thumb for sizing your fish tank to the amounts of veggies grown is anywhere from 1:1 to 1:3 by volume. In this case, you may want to consider ratios of 1:0.5 to 1:1.5 or 2:1 to 2 to 3 by water volume to grown veggie volume.

The advantages to a non-feeding Aquaponics system are:

• you don’t have to feed the fish

• your upkeep work goes down to zero

• the fish eat almost anything including the stuff on the bottom of the tank so less cleaning

The disadvantages to a non-feeding Aquaponics system are:

• the system does not produce as many veggies as a fed system

• you need to keep an eye on your algae growth and light exposure

Picking Fish for Non-Feeding Aquaponics System:

The type of fish for this application has to love to eat salads. Yes, they need to be vegetarian or at least mostly vegetarians. In think in this case, they would be vegan.

If you are interested in non-feeding aquaponics fish, you need to pick only plant eating fish. While picking fish, you need to pick fish that live at the same or similar temperature ranges. A good combination is Feeder Goldfish and Tilapia. Both fish eat algae and live almost in the same temperature range. And the best part, they don’t each other.


Depending on where you live in the world and the type of climate you live in will also affect your selection of aquaponics fish.

aquaponics garden
Apache Trout

Certain fish, of course, may not be available in different parts of the world and different fish thrive better in different water temperatures.  I think you will find if you do some research on a variety of systems that most people will recommend fish from a fairly limited list based on their own experiences. 

The type of fish you choose will depend on where you live in the world and what is available. In the case above, I can find cheap Tilapia fish in Asian markets. I just bring in a 5 gallon bucket to the live fish counter and ask for Tilapia. They will take the fish out of their tank and weigh it. After, they fill your bucket up with water and dump the fish in. Make sure you bring a lid or some sort of top with you. In the drive home, the water has a tendency to slosh around and get your trunk or car seat wet.

When getting fish from the Asian market, they are often much stressed. They may be compromised physically because they are in a strange place, the pH may be off and they are not fed in the super market. Before putting you new fish in your Auqaponics system, you may want to give them a salt water bath to kill anything on the fish. For more details see the chapter on choosing fish.

Feeder Goldfish is also a good choice. They are very cheap; generally, 1 USD for a dozen fish. They will start to eat algae right away. If you system is outside and the weather turns cooler, they will go dormant. This fish is great for climates where the tanks are outside and you receive freezing winters. The fish will go dormant. Just make sure to keep a small hole in the ice so the fish can get air. It is possible for the Goldfish to die in frozen water because lack of air.

Feeder Goldfish grow to the size of your tank. That means if you have a 300 or 400 gallon tank, your fish my reach lengths of up to 7 or 8 inches in length.


Here is a list of fish to choose from for the non-feeding type system.  I’m not sure how many of these are considered good eating fish other than the Tilapia.  My personal opinion is that I would rather feed the fish a good fish food and then enjoy the benefits of eating fresh healthy fish on a regular basis than not.  I would also like to produce as much produce as possible from my aquaponics system to save on groceries.

Gold Fish
Veggie eating Carps
Jade Perch

Picking Fish for a Feeding Aquaponics System:

Blue Carps
Murray cod

As you can see, you will certainly have a choice when it comes to stocking your aquaponics fish.  Your choice will revolve around the size of the aquaponics garden you decide to construct, where you live, and the temperature where your system will be located, and most likely what you like to eat. If you would like to learn more about this subject, you can access the original article by clicking here.


Here’s How You Can Get Started?

The easiest and fastest way to set up your own Aquaponics System is to follow a simple step by step guide. Here at, we thought we would help you out by doing reviews for several of the most popular programs that have been designed specifically for people who want to learn more about Aquaponics and set up their own systems.

Learn more here by watching my video reviews of each product:

#1 Rated Option:   Aquaponics 4 You
#2 Rated Option:   easy! DIY Aquaponics
#3 Rated Option:   The Ultimate Guide to Home Aquaponics System

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