I am a high school science teacher with a climate-controlled greenhouse and a new Crop King aquaponics system. It has a 200 gal tank, 4'x8' growing bed and is constant flow. I will be tasking a group of students with deciding what species to grow and then managing the system once stocked. As part of this process, I am creating a document-based case study for my students to complete which requires "documents" (text, email, web sites, etc) from which students must glean relevant information and make decisions. I was wondering if you could provide me with a sort of "pro's" and "con's" list comparing tilapia, bluegill, catfish, yellow perch, walleye, and trout for this type of culture. This is the choice I plan to give them in the case study, so please make any comparisons you feel are relevant!.
I've had a little experience with trout in a small setup (150 gallon tanks). Trout grow fast, taste great, and are fun to watch at meal time. But they do best in cooler water and are sensitive to water quality and dissolved oxygen levels. In my experience, they also tend to be combative with each other in a small fish tank. I lost quite a few fish to injuries and the growth rates in my tank were very uneven as the more dominant fish got more food. I just started with perch, so I don't know how they will work out. I chose perch because they don't require cooling, they tolerate more variations in water quality, and they are reputed to be less fratricidal than the trout.
I'm in Wisconsin and have grown catfish and tilapia, and am starting trout.
Tilapia have the reputation for being easy to care for, but mine would die easily at temperatures below 75, which is an expensive temperature to maintain even in the summer.
I lost about 5 catfish in the first two weeks for no reason that I can tell, but since then they've been reliable. They're good in both warm and cold temperatures, anywhere from 32-90, as long as you don't change temperature too fast. Now that the water is below 55, they've stopped eating but I hear that's normal. They just don't eat in winter.
So far, despite their reputation, rainbow trout seem really easy. I've had them a week and haven't lost any. I suspect the challenge will be keeping the nitrate levels under control since the plants aren't growing that much with the limited daylight.