Aquaponic Gardening

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I'm brand new to AP but have been reading and, hopefully, studying for about a year or so. During that time, I knew I wanted to have tilapia as my fish, but am fairly sure I won't be able to sustain temps that they need during Spring, Fall and Winter (it is Washington, after all).

My AP system is in a hoop house with 6mil cover, 330gal IBC FT with 1 gravel bed and 1 dwc bed so far. 

I began thinking trout, but am pretty sure they'll go insane in the heat we're having.

So, I hope y'all would help me out by letting me know what fish you're using in your Western Washington AP systems... especially if you aren't heating or cooling your water.

Thanks so much!

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Replies to This Discussion

Grow tilapia in the summer and blue gil the rest of the time, another fish that can take the cold.

Thank you, Linda. That's a great idea.

Yellow Perch is another good species that is available everywhere.

What about housing the trout outside, they do not have to be in the heat.

Trout are really picky about water temp., and oxygenation. They require a lot of cold moving water. 

Blue gill, Pumpkin seed sunfish,  perch or catfish will do fine.  Maybe bass...

They could all be outside, they all have an acclimation range I agree, I suppose I must be too picky about my water quality.

I do want fish for harvesting, so I'm not a big fan of going with smaller fish (blue gill, crappie, etc...). Catfish I've thought about just a little bit but didn't know what their temperature range is.  Could they take the colder temps during the winters here and the warm temps during the summer?


You are beginning to understand the limits of aquaponics in our area.  While tilapia would be a great fish to grow you will have to heat the tank during the winter.  Trout are difficult to grow in smaller tanks because of temperature regulation, oxygenation and water movement.  Bluegill are possible but they are small and are not the high quality meat you want to harvest.  Catfish and bass will work but will take 2 or more years to reach a harvestable size.  Perhaps koi would work in your system.  You don't harvest them but they are tolerant of temp fluctuations and water quality, they have a long lifespan (as long as raccoons are kept at bay) so replacement cost is minimal. 

Chris thanks for the honest statement on growing fish in the NW.  I have grown tilapia, cat fish, blue gil, shumunkin, and gold fish.  I didn't like the taste of the tilapia, sold the blue gil and cat fish, and found that shubunkin and gold fish gave me the best results for growing veggies.  I still have some cat fish.  I grew a tomato plant with shubunkin in a 50 gallon fish tank and a half blue barrel that produced 70 pounds of tomatoes. 

Linda, I hadn't heard of shubunkin before.  Can you tell me more about them? The descriptions call them hardy, the poor man's koi, a beginner's fish.  What and how do you feed them?  And where did you get your fish? I, too, live in Ptld.

One of the members of the NW Aquaponic group had them.  Contact Anne Phillip (Micro Mobius) for who it was.  Check with local fish stores.  There's a koi store in outer SE that might carry them,  I feed them like goldfish.  I had 15 plus a pleco in a 50 gallon barrel.  All did very well.  I sold them when I temporarily shut my system down.

Thanks, everyone, for your input. I really appreciate the feedback.  I think I'm heading in the direction of catfish but not quite sure on this yet. Still a little time to decide, though not long.


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