Where to buy fish for aquaponics system depends on the size and stage you want to begin with for your aquaponics system. It is possible to buy live fully grown fish for aquaponics if you are focusing on the hydroponics component of your aquaponics system and not planning to harvest your fish. Otherwise, grow out starting with fish fingerlings or juvenile fish from fish nurseries that supply to aquaculture farms. Buying fish for aquaponics is essential for practitioners who prefer to harvest their fishes regularly. Remember that harvesting fish and starting back with juvenile fish or fingerlings will reduce the biomass in your system. With a lower biomass in your system, the feeding ratio gets lower and lowers the amount of nitrogen for plants.
Where To Buy Fish For Aquaponics?
Fish nurseries supply fish fingerlings to aquaculture farms. These nurseries usually focus on a specific species of farmed fish, and will supply fingerlings to large aquaculture operations. Personally, I prefer to buy fully grown adult fishes for use in the system to ensure the biomass of my fish is consistent. A consistent biomass for your aquaculture system lessens the fluctuation of nitrogen in your system.
Before Deciding Where To Buy Fish For Aquaponics, Plan Out Your Aquaculture Biomass
Juvenile fishes will grow constantly until they hit harvestable or adult size. This growth increases the total biomass of your aquaculture system. Your feeding ratio is dependent on the total biomass of your fish in your tank. As your fish will grow, this increases the nitrogen input for your system, possibly causing imbalance in your system. It is important to design your aquaponics system to take into consideration the fluctuation in the feeding amount. Having smaller fishes will lead to deficiencies until your fishes reach full size. Supplementing your plant growth is possible although requires constant adjustment. Depending on whether you choose to go with fully grown fishes or juveniles that will be grown out, you can choose between nurseries, aquaculture farms, or even the live fish market.
Where To Buy Fish Fingerlings For Aquaponics? Try Local Fish Nurseries That Supply Freshwater Fingerlings For Aquaculture Farms
Some companies and businesses run fish nurseries and hatcheries that prepare fish fingerlings for aquaculture farms. Nurseries generally have more stringent filtration and environment controls than commercial aquaculture farms due to the sensitive nature of fish fingerlings. These nurseries and hatcheries allow fish to mate to produce eggs then go on to hatch them. Once the eggs have hatched, they are grown until they reach juvenile or fingerling stage. As fingerlings, they are sent out to different aquaculture farms to be grown out in commercial aquaculture systems. Similarly, you can purchase these fingerlings to grow them in your aquaponics system as well. The US Fish and Wildlife Service has a national hatchery program where you can visit hatcheries in your state easily for more information on procuring fish fingerlings.
If You Are Focusing On Your Hydroponics System, Buy Adult Fishes From The Live Fish Market Or Aquaculture Farms
Adult and market-size fishes can be bought from live fish markets or directly from aquaculture farms. Personally, I have bought live catfish from the supermarket to bring home for my aquaponics system which works well. Older fish tend to be more resilient in adapting to new environments as well. This makes it easier to introduce new fish into your existing aquaponics system. There are a lot of different aquaculture farms and live fish markets to choose from around the US. Choose from local fish markets or aquaculture farms close to your area that produce the fish species that you are looking for. Closer sources of fish lessens the travel time and reduces the stress the fish is exposed to.
Read more about: How Many Fish Can You Put In A 5 Gallon Tank
Choose Fishes That Are Similar In Age and Ideally From The Same Stock
Some fish species will cannibalize each other or eat smaller fish of the same species. To avoid this, buy fish that are of similar age and size. Usually, if they come from the same tank or stock, they will also get along better. Species of catfish or pangasius from my experience attack each other, especially in smaller tanks. If fish come from the same tank or batch, they are familiar with each other and will less likely attack each other in a new environment.
Use Separate Tanks Or Have Dividers For Fish Of Different Sizes Especially For Carnivorous Fish Which Helps In Cycling Your Harvest
If you choose to mix big fishes and small fishes that are carnivorous, use separate tanks to grow the fish. This also makes cycling the fish easier for your aquaponics operation. This helps avoid fishes attacking each other or competing for the feeds. Use mesh nets to separate the fish of different sizes grown in the same tank. Herbivorous fish like tilapia adapt well to fish of different sizes since their diet consists mainly of plants. If you plan on harvesting the fish, it will be difficult to do so on a large-scale system if they are not cycled. Proper cycling also allows you to balance out the nutrient input in the system when harvesting fish. As discussed in a previous article, your nutrient balance for the plants depends on the feeding ratio. Cycling the fish to have a constant fish biomass in your system reduces the fluctuation of nutrients.
Where To Get Fish For Your Aquaponics System?
Where to buy fish for aquaponics depends on the species and age you choose to start with. Nurseries and Hatcheries sell juvenile fish or fingerlings for grow-out operations of aquaculture farms and ponds. Aquaponics systems can also use juvenile fish and fingerlings to grow them out but this will cause an imbalance in the nutrient input for your system. As fish grow, this increases the total biomass of your aquaponics system, raising the amount of feeds needed. Buying adult fish will give you a stable source of nutrients but less growth of fish. For aquaponics systems that focus on selling vegetables, you can benefit more from fully grown fish. Adult fishes can be bought from live fish markets or directly from aquaculture farms. Depending on the species and age of the chosen fish for your aquaponics system, there are local resources near your area for purchasing.