Aquaponics fish you raise yourself provide you with a healthy, self-reliant alternative to buying fish from a store. The recent Fukushima meltdown, as well as the increased pollution of our waterways means that much of the fish you find in the store has likely been exposed to cancer-causing agents you don't want in your own or your family's diet.
By raising fish for food using an aquaponics system, you have not only have a good source of healthy protein, you also have a great way to grow healthy plants indoors or out, providing some of the best fertilizer out there for your leafy greens and broccoli.
In order to raise aquaponics fish, you will need a tank that holds 100 gallons of water, baby fish (also called fingerlings) and fish food. You also need an aquaponics system that will pump the water from the fish tank to your garden beds (usually plants in a growing medium such as expanded clay pebbles), sitting on a table or platform above your fish tanks.
As the fish water slowly drains through the growing beds and down through a drain pipe, it is filtered and comes back into the fishtank clean and free of nitrates that in large numbers are deadly to fish, but great for your plants.
Tilapia is a great fish because it is low in fat and doesn't have a strong fishy taste, making it good for baked dishes. It is also easy to grow and breeds quickly; these little guys are ready to eat in a little over four months. You can also grow a lot of Tilapias in a small place, a plus for those wanting to raise food indoors.
One caveat with Tilapias is they need warm water to grow in and do better either indoors or in a warmer climate. If you live in Canada and want to have an outdoor aquaponics system, this isn't the fish for you, but if you live in a southern climate or want a good indoor fish, you can't go wrong with Tilapia. (You can find Tilapia fingerlings online here.)
If you do live in a colder climate, you could grow Trout. They do well in colder temperatures (between 46 degrees Fahrenheit and 72 degrees Fahrenheit) and are delicious to eat. A downside to this is you'll be limited to the vegetables you can grow (think winter gardening), but it will likely work for broccoli, peas, cabbage and other greens.
Another aquaponic fish to consider is the Crappie, a very tasty fish. Like the Tilapia, they do great in tanks but do take longer to grow (two years with the Crappie as opposed to four months with the Tilapia).
Sadly, other fish think Crappies are delicious as well, so don't keep Crappies with other breeds, or your investment will turn into fish food.
Sam Adams, a certified organic farmer and an aquaponics expert, created a video course that will show you step by step how to build your own aquaponics system.
This aquaponics video course will show you how to build your own aquaponics system.
Aquaponics 4 Idiots has step-by-step instructions, secrets and common mistakes to help you avoid pitfalls and succeed. With your own aquaponics system, you can grow up to the times the plants, grow healthy, great-tasting produce faster and avoid weeding or messing around with soil fertilizers. You can learn more here.