Aquaponics is a bio-integrated system that connects circulating aquaculture with producing hydroponic flowers, fish, herbs and vegetables, according to the Appropriate Technology Transfer for Rural Areas. This is a method of growing fish and crops together in a larger fish tank. Usually, crops grow on raised beds in a vertical manner. The fish provides nutrients for the plants to grow, while the crops or plants filter the water for the fish to live. Aquaponic systems range from the size of a small fish aquarium to as big as an entire backyard.
Some growers may opt for growing perch in their aquaponics system. There are numerous types to select for aquaponics, such as jade, golden and silver perch. The perch is a part of the percichthyidae family and ranges in colour from light silver, brown or dark green. Some perch have white and yellow markings on the stomach. A perch reaches up to 760 millimetres in length.
Tilapia is a type of fish grown in an aquaponic system. This kind of fish resists numerous diseases, parasites and adapts to the changes of water temperatures and quality well. However, tilapias flourish in temperatures ranging from 15.6 to 26.7 degrees Celsius. Typically, tilapias grow to maturity faster than other fish, weighing about 1.13 Kilogram within seven months. The females breed easily and have offspring every four to six weeks, which can result in an overabundance of fish in the aquaponic system.
Miniaturised carp are another type of fish that can withstand a wide range of water temperatures and conditions in an aquaponic system. The domesticated koi is a smaller carp with vibrant colours. Koi are tasty to eat, but these fish are largely ornamental. Goldfish, another kind of miniaturised carp, is also ornamental. Usually growers sell both types of fish to pet stores and individuals.
Another well-suited fish for aquaponic systems is the trout. Some kinds of trout fish include brown, rainbow and brook trout. Trout can withstand cooler temperatures, ranging from 70 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit. Growers, who reside in colder climates, may opt for trout in winter months to grow in an aquaponics system.