Aquaponics Fish Food Explained – What Options Do You Have?

aquaponics fish food

An aquaponics system would not be able to run without fish. They are responsible for the waste that plants use as food. The happier your fish are, the healthier and more productive they will be. But then, dieting requirements can be confusing for some. Deciding on the right aquaponics fish food can be a little challenging. So, what kind of food do you need?

You need to know that different types of fish come with different requirements, so this is your primary concern. Once you decide on the fish, you should educate yourself on their requirements and figure out what keeps them happy and healthy.

Carnivorous fish

There are more types of carnivorous fish, and they all have many things in common. Trout and barramundi are among the most popular ones. They are quite aggressive and require lots of protein. Both dead and live food is accepted – meaty food. Such species are predatory, so they will go for other fish or animals that are small – larvae, insects, and so on. Their diet may also include critters, live fish, or even brine shrimp.

Herbivorous fish

Herbivorous fish are different. The aquaponics fish food should only consist of plants. Such species need plenty of fiber, rather than protein. For instance, tilapia – some of the most popular fish in aquaponics – rely on aquatic plants or algae in the wilderness, so you need to provide the same type of food in your aquaponics system. Veggies and fruits may also be accepted, but then, they will still require small amounts of protein. All in all, to keep your fish happy, bring in a mix of aquatic plants, fruits, and vegetables.

Suggested article: Tilapia Aquaponics Basics – What to Know Before Starting It


Omnivorous fish

Omnivorous fish are among the most popular choices out there because they provide lots of flexibility. You have more options in terms of food, so you can always find something handy around. Their preferences vary widely, and their diet is varied, so they are quite easy to look after. When it comes to aquaponics species, koi and catfish are among the main species out there. The diet is based on a mix between what you would give herbivorous and carnivorous fish. Of course, each species will have a few favorite foods, so educate yourself on their requirements.

Suggested article: Top 3 Best Species To Use In Catfish Aquaponics

Now, when it comes to choosing the best aquaponics fish food, you will need to determine the profile of your fish. Ideally, you should bring in the same type of food your fish would normally find in the wilderness. At this point, there are two main categories of fish food you can find.

Homemade fish food

Homemade fish food is more appropriate for small systems – great if you like preparing the food yourself too. This way, you know for sure that your fish gets the right type of food – the optimal nutrients, no chemicals or toxins. If you grow fish to eat them, you would never have to worry about potential toxins because you know precisely what goes inside their food.

There are a few other reasons wherefore lots of people stick to homemade food – cost-efficient, full control over the diet, and the right nutrients for fish. Going down this route, you have to educate yourself and ensure your fish will get all the required nutrients to thrive.

Commercial fish food

Commercial fish food may come in more shapes and sizes, but one type in particular is more common and dominates the market – pellets. They are available everywhere and they are not too expensive. Plus, they make a very practical option if you have a large aquaponics system. There are more types of pellets out there and they are rich in various nutrients – hence the necessity of knowing what your fish require.

Commercial food may include chemicals and GMO ingredients. If you want to eat the fish, you should avoid such things. While some genetically modified species of fish are accepted as safe, there are still lots of concerns and controversies, so double check what is inside the food. Research each ingredient and make sure it is safe.

If you are not too worried about this thing, your options are more diversified – apart from pellets, you can also opt for flakes. Stick to high-quality aquaponics fish food for a great balance of nutrients though. As a short final conclusion, sticking to quality food for your fish will help the whole system – fish will be happy and healthy, while plants will thrive. This aspect requires much thought and consideration. You can make your own food or buy commercial food – the commercial alternative will require some research on ingredients. But then, homemade food is easy to make and inexpensive, despite requiring education on your fish’ nutritive requirements. This aspect is even more important if you want to eat the fish – keep in mind that you will end up eating whatever your fish eat.

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