Best Fish For Aquaponics

What are the best fish for aquaponics? Before you even start building you need to learn how to chose the right fish for your aquaponics system. You may know what kind of plants you want to grow, how big of a system you want, and where you want to put it, but you also need to decide what kind of fish you will use.

Before you pick your fish there are some criteria you need to consider.

  • How durable is this particular fish? Some fish do well in any environment, and that is the fish you want.
  • What is the average temperature where you live? Some fish hate the heat, some fish hate the cold. Confirm the fish you pick will do well in your climate.
  • Are they social? Some fish do well with other fish, some don’t. Focus on picking fish that can “play” well together.
  • How big will they get? Get fish that will not outgrow your tank.
  • Do you plan to eat the fish? Make sure you pick fish that are edible!


The most common fish used in aquaponics.


  1. Talipa

    Tilapia. Probably the most preferred for those who choose to eat their fish. If you are on a low-fat diet, you need to consider tilapia. This is a hardy fish able to tolerate hard water conditions. Trout is a warm water fish, so the water temperature is a consideration. You need to check with your local fish and game agency to see if raising tilapia in your area is legal.

  2. Trout

    Trout. Trout is delicious and a popular choice for aquaponic gardens. This is a cold water fish only.  Keep this in mind when you are deciding on what plants to grow. Trout tend to grow fast so if you are looking for a food source, this is a good choice.

  3. Carp

    Carp. This is a freshwater fish that can quickly adapt to a new environment. They grow fast and reproduce fast. You can find them almost anywhere. Yes, you can also eat them, but they don’t taste as good as Tilapia and Trout.

  4. Goldfish

    Goldfish. If you are not interested in eating your fish then Goldfish is a top choice for aquaponics. Goldfish are hearty and are able to withstand most environments. They’re  known for producing a lot of waste material, which is what you need to grow a successful garden. They will also reproduce if you provide the right plant cover in their tank. 

  5. Koi

    Koi. This is a Japanese fish that is perfect for an aquaponics system. They are a beautiful fish that will add aesthetics to your system. They have a long lifespan and eat primarily plants. Koi are easy to get and are legal in most states. They produce a lot of waste, keeping your plants in the nutrients they need. Yes, they are edible, but they are very bony and really don’t taste good. 

This isn’t an exhaustive list of the best fish for aquaponics.  If you want to use a fish that isn’t on this list first make sure it is legal in your state before you purchase. 


Your choice of fish determines what plants you can grow. 


When picking fish you need to make sure you know if they are warm weather/water fish or cold weather/water fish. To guarantee the success of your garden take into consideration the climate where you live. Don’t try to use warm water fish if you live in a mostly cold climate for much of the year. 

Once you have picked your fish, then you can make a decision on what kind(s) of plants you want to raise. The same rule applies, make sure the plants you pick do well in the climate where you live. For example, Tilapia like temperatures between 74-78 degrees. This may not be the fish for you if you live in Alaska!

Picking the best fish for aquaponics depends on a few things. The climate where you live, whether you want to eat them or not and how big they grow are a few factors. Take some time when deciding on your fish before you head to the store, do your research and you will end up with just the right kind of fish for you.