The trout is another temperamental fish to grow in an Aquaponic system. It’s very different from the Tilapia in that it’s a cold water fish and likes water temperatures that are much cooler than the tropical 70-75 degrees F of a Tilapia tank. Some growers who reside in colder climates, especially in the winter, will grow Trout during those months. But the cold water makes the selection of plants more limited as many plants prefer the more tropical water temperatures. Trout need pristine water conditions.

The catfish is a hardy fish that is resistant to both disease and parasites when living in quality-controlled water. But if oxygen and ammonia levels aren’t properly maintained, they will have difficulties. Like Tilapia, Catfish thrive in warm water and prefer a temperature of 80 degrees F. They are bottom dwellers, meaning they occupy only the bottom portion of the tank making for a low density fish crop if you raise them alone. Therefore, many farmers raise them with Blue Gill who use the upper portion of the tank and thrive in the same tropical conditions.

As the household cat is to the lion, the domesticated Koi is to it’s often huge, wild counterpart, the Carp.  Koi are brightly colored, miniaturized Carp. They are considered to be ornamental fish rather than food fish even though they are quite tasty. Koi demonstrate a high tolerance to a variety of water conditions and can, therefore, be a good choice for an Aquaponic farmer. They can also be sold to individuals or pet stores for considerably more money than fish sold as food. However, if your goal is to become food independent, raising fish you want to eat is a better choice.

This fish is quickly becoming one of the most popular eating fish in the US because of it’s mild taste and firm, porous texture which readily absorbs the flavors around it.  It also happens to be the easiest fish to grow in an Aquaponic system (especially for beginners). The Tilapia is a tropical fish whose native home is Africa and the Nile River Basin in lower Egypt. They are perhaps the oldest farmed fish on the planet as there are documented accounts of them having been farmed as far back as ancient Egypt. One of the oldest accounts of Tilapia farming is a bas-relief that was found in a 4,000 year old Egyptian tomb showing Tilapia held in ponds. The Tilapia was such an important food source for the Egyptians that it has it’s own hieroglyph (see above).  Currently, they are the most popular fish of Aquaponic farmers; and many Tilapia species are being farmed. The Nile Tilapia and the Mozambique are two of the favored species because they grow very fast while refraining from breeding until they are older. Due to this prolific farming of Tilapia, several hybrid species have been created as well.  It’s full pouty lips, (many women have paid a pretty penny for lips like this) are the doorway of the nursery for a mother Tilapia who scoops up the fertilized eggs she laid in the nest built by the male and carries them in her mouth for 4-8 days.  She continues to carry the newly hatched baby fish called “fry” for another 3-5 days. At this point the fry hang out in schools all rushing back to the safety of these prominent lips when danger approaches. As a Tilapia grower, you are gifted with the beauty of observing this natural cycle right in your Tank as adult female Tilapia  spawn every 4-6 weeks.

Why Grow (culture) Tilapia?

Tilapia are tough fish--not to chew--in that regard, they’re as soft as butter. Rather, they’re rugged, resistant to disease and parasites and can tolerate lots of beginner learning-curve issues. They can handle a wide range of water quality and temperature challenges; and they can survive longer in a toxic water environment with low oxygen and/or high ammonia levels. Tilapia thrive in water temperatures between 60-80 degrees F preferring the 80 degree end of the scale; but they are usually raised in temperatures between 72-74 degrees F to better serve the plants. They are also easy to breed; and they grow to maturity faster than most other cultured fish.  In the best of environments, a Tilapia can grow to 2.5 lbs. in seven months. That’s the up-side.


Here’s the down-side.  Because they’re so easy to breed and spawn every 4-6 weeks, your system can quickly become overrun with the little schooling frys creating a negative impact on the ability of the more mature fish to grow. So you have to get a handle on breeding early and have a second tank available for your frys. Selling the frys can be a lucrative business in itself as they can be difficult to get in some areas. Tilapia are omnivores.   They eat both plants and organic materials. Although they do not eat other fish, their resilience and hardiness makes them dominant in the waterway; and they soon crowd out the native fish. This explains why the Tilapia has been outlawed in some communities. If you are considering culturing Tilapia, you need to check your local ordinances before doing so.

What Other Types Of Fish Can You Grow?

If you can’t or don’t wish to grow Tilapia, there are several other species of fish that you can culture including Trout, Largemouth Bass, Blue Gill, Catfish, Koi and Goldfish. In Australia where Aquaponics is more well known, they are growing fish that are native to that continent. They include Barramundi, Jade Perch, Silver Perch and Murray Cod. Here are some of the pros and cons that come with culturing these fish.

If you give a man a fish, you feed him for a day.  If you teach a man to grow fish, you feed him, his family and his community for a lifetime.

Time to feed your Tilapia.  Just click their tank.

   

Here’s a real interesting discovery. Angel Fish are related to Tilapia but not these guys. These are salt water Angel fish. It’s the fresh water Angel Fish that is a relative of fresh water Tilapia. Both species are from the same family. It’s the the family Cichlidae in the order Perciformes. This is one of the largest vertebrate families with an estimated number of species ranging from 1300 to 3000 species and new species are still be discovered. Cichlids span a wide range of body sizes, from species as small as 2.5 centimeters (1.0 in) in length to much larger species approaching 1 metre (3 ft) in length. Many cichlids, particularly the Tilapias, are important food fish, while others are valued game fish (eg. Cichla species). Many species, including the Angel fish, Oscars, and Discus, are also highly valued in the aquarium trade.


Many fish lovers have also taken to raising Tilapia as their tropical aquarium fish because they find them to be highly intelligent, aggressive and interesting to observe in their see-through tanks. If you’re a vegan who is not interested in eating fish, Tilapia would still be an excellent choice in your Food Forever™ tank. Below is a Banner Ad that will take you to an excellent book about the care and feeding of Cichlids that was written for the aquarium trade; but is also beneficial for us carnivores who are raising Tilapia as food. Click the “Click Here!” Hop Link on the banner and hop over to the site.

  

Oops! We’re not at all sure how these guys got in the line-up.  No, you wouldn’t want to farm Angel Fish or any of their cohorts.  Can you imagine staring down at a lovely Angel Fish on your plate? But aren’t they beautiful to just watch? We’ll save this space to talk about Fish Food in the near future.  In the meantime, sit back, relax and enjoy the fish parade.

Aquaponic farmers the world over are experimenting with several species in their search for the tastiest, hardiest and most economical fish to harvest. And for the time being, the Tilapia has risen to the top in that contest. The University of the Virgin Islands at St. Croix is presently offering a one week course in Aquaponics featuring the production of both Red and Nile Tilapia along with the cultivation of vegetables, herbs and ornamental flowers. The UVI’s Agricultural Experiment Station is headed by Dr. James Rakocy. He and his Department have been  forerunners in Aquaponic technology and research since the early eighties. So technically, the United States has contributed a lot to the growth and development of this technology that can quite literally save people from starvation. However, perhaps because of the off-mainland location of UVI, the Aquaponic story has been relegated to the backwaters as far as most Americans are concerned; and now is the time to bring it into the mainstream (pun intended). Aquaponics USA is so much more than a web-based business,

IT’S A MOVEMENT!

This fish is much less tolerant to unfavorable water conditions than the Tilapia. It can be successfully grown in an Aquaponic system, but it requires a vigilant and patient grower to do so because it takes between 16-17 months to produce a table-ready fish and a lot can go wrong. They do not do well with less than delicate handling. Nor do they like bright light and cannot tolerate poor nutrition. They are one of the most sensitive fish to raise; and their water temperature and oxygen levels need to be monitored daily.  The young fingerlings need to be trained to feed on pellets.

Like their first cousin, Koi, Goldfish are also miniaturized Carp. They are hardy and can be cultured right along with their Koi cousins.  Goldfish have a shorter dorsal fin base and a more forked tail than Koi. Like Koi, they can be sold for their ornamental value rather than their food value. However, if the horrors of food shortages actually do show up on American soil, and you can’t picture your dinner plate with a cute, little, fried goldfish laying on it, grow edible fish instead.

Here’s a Fish List. These are a few of the fish that can be grown in an aquaponics system. There’s a lot more information on  Tilapia on the “Our Tilapia” page.

Bass Fishing Essentials

Learn Powerful Fly Fishing Tactics

Build an easy & beautiful  KOI Fish Pond

Secret Fish Bait Formulas Revealed

Have the Fish Pond of your Dreams

There do seem to be quite a few fish around here.
Since we seem to be totally stranded on this website, you might as well get out the fishing pole.

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To interact with the widget below, just Click on the scene, relax and take a Shark Break!

Looking to buy Live Tilapia? You’ve hit Gold, especially if you’re looking for Hawaiian Golds, which is one of seven species we’re selling on our new page Tilapia For Sale.

Since we seem to be totally stranded on this website, you might as well get out the fishing pole.
Since we seem to be completely stranded on this website, Ralph, you might as well get out the fishing pole.
There do seem to be quite a few fish around here.

The Fish-Talapia