Expert Recommendations for Top 8 Best Fish for Aquaponics

Setting up a modest backyard aquaponics system may provide you with fresh herbs and greens on a regular basis, as well as homegrown fish!

But which fish? We solicited the assistance of our gardening experts, who recommended the following:

  1. Tilapia
  2. Goldfish
  3. Carp

Read our article to find out more!

Melanie Musson from


Tilapia is the most popular fish to use in aquaponics because they’re easy to source, resistant to disease, and tolerant of varying conditions.

They’re top feeders, so you can adjust the amount of food you give them by observing how much they eat. If they leave a lot of food floating, give them less. If the food gets instantly eaten, feed them some more.

Tilapia like warm water. They can survive in water as cold as 55 degrees, but they prefer the mid-80s.


Trout prefer cold water and are an ideal aquaponics fish for cold climates. However, they need a more carefully maintained environment than tilapia.

For example, you’ll have to keep their water oxygenated, give them plenty of space, and keep their water clean and filtered.


Goldfish, while not edible, are attractive ornamental fish that are well-suited to an aquaponic environment. They’re hardy and don’t even need clean water.

Their waste is highly nutritious for their complementary plants. They’re a great fish to get started in aquaponics because they’re so tolerant of beginner mistakes and less-than-ideal conditions.

Aditya Abhishek from Agriculture Review

Cat Fish

Catfishes are hardy and very delicious. These hardy fish can even survive in polluted fish tanks with high ammonia levels.

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They can reach one pound within 3 months. You can also breed catfish with other equal-sized fishes.

For an excellent growth rate, catfish require a temperature range of 75 to 86 degrees F and a pH range of 7 to 8.5. Warm temperature favors the rapid growth of catfishes.

Moreover, catfishes are bottom feeders and require larger horizontal space than vertical space. You can also raise other fishes like tilapia or perch along with catfish.


Mollies are ornamental fish that are hard to kill and multiply very rapidly. They are colorful fish, and one single mother can produce 70 to 100 fries within a month.

Mollies are very popular for their hardiness and can be a good choice if you are a beginner in aquaponics.

For an excellent growth rate, molly requires a temperature range of 72 to 78 degrees F and a pH range of 7.5 to. In addition, they are omnivores which means they can eat both plant and animal-based feed.

Emma Sophie from Evergreenseeds

Rainbow Trout

Rainbow trouts are famous for their beautiful appearance and exceptional taste. However, these fish cannot be grown in a cold climate and hence need a temperature of around 60° F. Ideal thriving temperatures would range between 45° to 72° F.

If you take care of the Rainbow Trout properly, it can take up to nine months to grow fully. It should be noted that the oxygen should not be dropped below 5.5 ppm as these fish require clear water to survive.

That also implies that the water needs to be purified regularly as Rainbow Trouts are sensitive species. Usually, a fully grown Trout costs about $20.

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Ryan Smith from Ant & Garden Pest Control


Koi isn’t just famous for their beauty; they are also perfect for your aquaponics because of their ability to tolerate a wide range of temperatures. This means less work for you heating the system’s water.

You might need to use a tank that can hold more than 200 gallons to accommodate Koi since they can grow up to 36 inches long.

Position your tank in a shaded area with indirect sunlight. If treated well, Koi can be the best fish for creating nutrients for your aquaponics.


Although they may not be your first choice for aquaponics, carps are resilient fish compared to others. They can survive in low-quality water and the environment.

They prefer a warm climate, but they can thrive even in extreme temperatures. You can place their tank under the sun, but you should also be able to provide shade. Carps are omnivorous, and they can grow rapidly.


Harvesting fish from your home aquaponics system is an amazing experience. It provides not only the delight of producing your own fish, but also the assurance that the fish you consume is clean, healthy, and devoid of hazardous substances.

Try it out and leave a comment with your results!

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Jill Sandy

I am a sustainable focus gardener. I love decorating my home backyard with beautiful landscape design and creative garden care techniques I develop myself.