The Best Edible Fish for Aquaponics (13 Examples)

Written by Desiree Vilar in Aquaponics

Fish grown in aquaponic systems for human consumption are valued for both their delicacy and the nutrients they contain. When you choose the type of fish to raise in your setup, you first have to set a goal. If your goal is to consume or market your fish, then you should opt to raise edible types of fish.

Some of the best edible fish that grow well in aquaponics setups are catfish, bluegill, largemouth bass, tilapia, perch, Murray cod, trout, salmon, carp, sturgeon, barramundi, walleye, and pacu fish. Some of these fish are easy to raise and have a high market value.

Aside from their edibility, these types of fish also possess profitable characteristics that can make your aquaponics business a success. Let's find out more about the characteristics that make these fish suitable for aquaponics.


  • When choosing the type of fish to raise in an aquaponics system, you first have to set a goal. If your goal is to eat or sell the fish, then you should opt for edible types of fish.
  • Catfish, bluegill, tilapia, perch, largemouth bass, Murray cod, trout, salmon, carp, sturgeon, barramundi, walleye, and pacu fish are some of the examples of edible fish that grow well in aquaponics.
  • Edible aquaponics fish are not only known for their deliciousness but also for their nutritious contents. Some of them are also easy to maintain and have high market value.

13 Best Edible Fish for Aquaponics

The type of fish you decide to grow in aquaponics depends entirely on your goal. If your goal is to keep fish for the sole purpose of being nutrient makers for the plants and for aesthetic additions, you may opt for ornamental fish such as goldfish or koi. But if your goal is to raise fish to be consumed and sold in the market, you must select edible types of fish.

Most growers choose edible fish that are not only delectable but are also easy to raise and manage, capable of withstanding changing conditions, have a wide range of diets, and are nutrient-filled. Some examples of these fish can be found below.

Catfish has good-tasting meat and thrives well in aquaponics

One advantage of adding catfish to your aquaponics tank is their delectable taste, which is contributed by a variety of foods they eat, such as pellets, bugs, other fish, and plants. Their meaty taste makes them a significant ingredient in many delicacies worldwide.

Catfish are hardy fish species, which makes them suitable for aquaponics. They also have many varieties to choose from, but not all are edible. They grow well in water with temperatures from 50° to 80°F and a pH of at least 5–7. They can be harvested in about 5–10 months.

Bluegill is another type of aquaponics fish that can be eaten

Bluegill has a sweet, mild taste that is not too fishy. They grow well in warm water temperatures ranging from 65°F to 90°F and with a pH of 6.5–8.5. They can be grown together with other fish without a problem.

However, bluegill fish do not give as many harvests since they take a long time before reaching maturity.

Largemouth bass has a tasty and meaty flesh and grows well in an aquaponics system

If you have a bigger aquaponics setup, the largemouth bass should make it to your list of edible fish species. They are an irresistible choice because of their tasty flesh and growth potential, reaching a length of 15–20 inches and weighing between 4 and 12 pounds.

Largemouth bass, however, are not for beginners because they are difficult to manage and will require strict feeding practices because they are solely carnivorous. They are also high maintenance, requiring regular monitoring of water quality and taking years to mature.

Nonetheless, the challenges of growing largemouth bass are worth it because they give great and heavy yields of fish.

Tilapia is one of the best edible fish choices in aquaponics

Tilapia has a mild taste, which makes it a top choice for cooking either fried, grilled, steamed, or with sauce. This fish is both delicious and nutritious at the same time because it is high in protein.

One good quality of tilapia that makes them suitable for aquaponics is that they can adapt to different environmental changes. They are even known to grow in poor-quality water.

These fish also mature quickly, reproduce quickly, and are flexible eaters. They can feed on worms, insects, plants, and plant-based materials.

Perch are edible fish that are good for beginners in aquaponics

Perch are a tasty and nutritious type of fish that can grow well in aquaponics. They feed on fish feed, small fish, and shrimp, which adds to their taste.

They grow well in water with an ideal temperature of 75°F to 80°F and a pH of 6–9. They can grow up to 15 inches and weigh more than 2 pounds. They are also quick growers and can be bred on a large scale.

Murray cod grown in aquaponics can be consumed

Murray cod has a pearly white flesh that can be cooked by steaming, poaching, pan-frying, or roasting. It contains low-energy protein and is a good source of omega-3 fatty acids.

In nature, this fish is enormous, growing up to 6 feet. Murray cods are carnivorous, aggressive, and territorial in nature. However, when grown in aquaponics systems, they only grow between 21.5 and 25.5 inches and weigh up to 4.5 to 11 pounds.

Still, these fish have the tendency to cannibalize and eat other cod in a tank, so it is important to keep the large ones separated.

Trout are bony fish species with delicious-tasting meat

Trout are carnivorous, bony fish that feed on smaller fish and other aquatic animals, which explains why their flesh is deliciously meaty and packed with protein and fatty acids.

They grow best in cooler water temperatures between 56° and 62°F and with a pH between 6.5 and 8. Given ideal conditions, they can mature within 12 to 18 months, and produce large amounts of fish.

Salmon are great-tasting fish suitable to grow in aquaponics

Salmon is one of the healthiest and most delicious-tasting fish that can be raised in an aquaponics setup. They are usually fed fish pellets containing 70% vegetable ingredients supplemented with 30% fish oil and fish meal.

These fish have a high market value and are easy to breed, which allows them to work well in large-scale aquaponics setups. They are also social and friendly, so they can be kept with other fish. They have a high tolerance for colder temperatures as well.

However, salmon take about 2 years to mature before harvest and will require larger tanks to survive.

Carp can have a better taste if given ideal growing conditions in an aquaponics setup

Carp are usually disregarded by fishermen since their meat has a distinct muddy taste. However, in an aquaponics system, carp have better-tasting flesh because they are in a clean and controlled environment.

Although often overlooked, these fish are tougher than tilapia and other fish commonly raised in aquaponics. They are known to survive in waters of poor quality and to tolerate either high or low water temperatures. Carp also mature quickly, which is advantageous if you’re raising them for food.

Pacu fish produce a lot of delicious meat and prove to be a low-maintenance fish in aquaponics

Pacu fish are well-known for being a delicious meal in South American restaurants, usually served fried with side dishes of rice, lettuce, and onions. Their taste is comparable to that of trout and tilapia, which have a mildly sweet flavor.

The good thing about pacu fish is that they are easy to raise and breed. Also, they produce lots of meat, with an individual fish weighing at least 30 pounds despite growing to a length of only 6 inches.

Barramundi is a highly valued edible fish that thrives best in aquaponics

Barramundi thrive best in warm water with good quality and lots of dissolved oxygen. They can weigh up to 30 pounds and are therefore deliciously meaty. Their meat is highly valued because of its distinct taste and nutritious quality, containing plenty of omega-3 fatty acids.

However, if you’re a beginner, raising barramundi may not be a good start because they are challenging to raise compared to other fish species.

Sturgeons are giant aquaponic fish that have delicate-tasting meat

They may not look like it, but sturgeons can be eaten and are very delectable. They have a salty, fishy meat taste, which fish lovers enjoy. Aside from this, they produce one of the most sought-after delicacies, caviar.

These fish are one of the easiest to maintain in aquaponics. You only need to monitor the oxygen level in the water and provide them with a reliable food source to keep them healthy.

Walleye is proven to be one of the healthiest and unique tasting fish to grow in aquaponics

Walleye, also known as yellow pike or pickerel, is a popular, unique-tasting fish in the USA and Canada. They have a mild flavor and have very few bones, which means you’ll get more meat. They can be cooked either grilled, baked, or stewed.

They can grow well in tanks and are easy to maintain as they are non-aggressive to other fish. They often grow as big as 18–28 inches and weigh between 2 and 12 pounds.

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