Aquaponic Gardening

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So, the aim of aquaponics is to raise fish to eat, right?  Well, what if you don't really want to do that, but still want to make some sort of money?

There are several species of pet fish that will very easily breed in your tank.  If these fish breed in your tank, you can sometimes sell them back to the pet store, for some cash, or at least trade them for some fish food.   

Stores like Petsmart, or Petco will not take your fish for any sort of compensation.  But privately owned ones often will.

SO, here is a brief list of fish that will easily breed and are popular fish.

Mollies (there are several types, just make sure you get a group of the same species)

Guppies & Fancy guppies (You probably cant sell back female guppies or male feeder guppies, but if you breed the fancy tail ones, you can)

Amazon Swordtail (somewhat popular, but easily bred)  I've bred them successfully for the past 3 years with pretty much no effort.

With the breeding, you can basically throw 2-3 males of the species with 5-10 females.  You always want to have at least 2x more females than males, because the males will harass the females too much and stress them out.  

The only other consideration you need to make is an area in your tank for the fry to safely live while they grow up.  They'll survive on crushed up fish flakes just fine, but they need a place where the big fish cant get to them, they have plastic breeding grass at pet stores, one 3''x3'' bock would be fine.

Call the pet store before you bring the fish to see if they are willing to trade.  If so, you will essentially be able to cut out the cost of fish food from your aquaponics budget!

Im an aquarist and have been for years, the best place for fish keeping information can be found at the website Aquahobby.com   I used it for years and was on their forum a lot.

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tropicals are only suitable in warm climates, warm seasons, or for heated indoor setups.

koi work in any setup and can fetch a pretty good price too.

You are correct, I forgot to mention that these kinds of fish will have to be kept indoors in a heated aquarium or in a year-round warm climate.    Koi are pretty expensive even when they're only 2 inches long, but if you can raise them to a large size, they can go for several hundred.

My suggestion is for people who have a smaller setup, maybe 100 gallons or less.

Averan said:

tropicals are only suitable in warm climates, warm seasons, or for heated indoor setups.

koi work in any setup and can fetch a pretty good price too.

I've got 8 koi in a 55gal tank.  100gal would be even better and certainly suitable for AP and allow for a larger size fish.  The other quality they have that is important for AP is that they eat a lot!  They also grow quickly, getting bigger and eating even more, which all adds up to a very efficient plant-fertilizer-making machine.  ;)

Just keep in mind that in many states, you need a permit, certification or license to breed and sell fish.  Not it isn't necessarily that big a deal to get such a permit  (if FL it is probably $100 plus an inspection) but if you are going to be advertizing the sales of your fish, it might be worth the yearly fee to avoid perhaps a substantial fine.

Livebearers are a good bet; I have also had good luck with cave/shell breeders such as some cichlids, plecos, freshwater gobies and sleeper-gobies.  Many of these fish fetch higher prices, and it is easy to remove the whole cave to a nursery tank.  It is important to find out before hand if any of your local fish stores with take fish on trade for food/supplies, as many do not.  It is also notable that most stores give more in credit than in cash (ie. you might get 1/3 of the sale price of the fish on trade and only 20% in cash.)

Ornamental fish are great for small systems - I am in an apartment, so I don't currently have the space for food fish.

yea, i've bred convict cichlids very easily, just make sure you remove the male about 2 weeks after, or he'll start killing the babies

watch raising convicts they breed like no other fish i have ever owned they breed as fast as algae lol.Each mom has minimum 200 babies if some get eaten your lucky ,i ended up with over 500 in a 95 gallon tank because i left for 4 months on vacation roommate didnt notice .

I am getting ready to put together an outdoor setup with my African Cichlids.  I have several extra heaters for the tanks.  I don't plan on growing them year round outside, but I have decided to take my 500 cichlid fry and grow them up this summer in 150g rubbermaid stock tanks.  These ornamental fish will rarely make you over $100, but my wild caught Neon Blue offspring known as F1 Neon Blue, have made me $60 per pair.  I list most of my fish on Craigslist when they are big enough to sell and I am making an average of $8 per fish.  I have also found mom and pop shops that would love to take them at wholesale prices, but I never have enough left over to even sell to the stores.  I would think that with a good heater, anyone could grow tropical fish outside during the summer time.

Thanks bill, for reinforcing my concept.  I actually didnt think about craig's list, but you are allowed to put animals for sale on there.  Ill try it once my amazon sword tails start to proliferate.

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