Aquaponics and Aquarium Fish

Aquaponics is a production system that combines aquaculture (raising of aquatic animals) with hydroponics (cultivating plants in water).  In an aquaponic system, water from an aquaculture system is fed to a hydroponic system where the by-products are broken down and utilized by the plants as nutrients. The water is then recirculated back to the aquaculture system.

Native fish are well suited to aquaponics because of their large temperature range 5oC – 33oC. That is they are adaptable to cold water and can tolerate tropical waters. The stocking rate for aquaponics systems is 1 fish per 20 litres of water (backyard systems), up to 1 fish per 10 litres of water for semi-commercial level systems.

With respect to aquarium fish, a 150 litre aquarium should be capable of supporting between 10 – 15 medium (6 cm to 8 cm) sized fish. This level is struck assuming an adequate degree of biological filtration and aeration exists.

Bidyanus bidyanusSilver Perch

  • Not fussy about water conditions. Temperature range 5oC – 33oC, hardness 0 – 150ppm but best at >80 ppm, pH 6.5 – 8.0 but prefers 7.00.
  • Silver perch are omnivorous, feeding on both plant and animal life. They readily accept fish pellets.
  • Not very territorial and several fish can be kept together.



Tandanus tandanusTandanus catfish

  • Active fish which becomes quite tame and is not aggressive to other fish.
  • Temperature range 7oC – 33oC, hardness 150ppm but can tolerate 0-100ppm, pH 6.5 – 8.0 but prefers 7.00.
  • Ideal cold water scavenger that will readily accept fish pellets.



Maccullochella peeli

Murray Cod

  • Can live in cold or tropical conditions but their preferred range is 18oC – 22oC. They will live down to 8oC.
  • They are territorial in nature and will cannibalize so keep fish of a similar size together.
  • Not fussy about water conditions, pH 6.5 – 8.0 but prefers 7.00, general hardness 50 – 200 ppm.
  • Will readily accept a fish pellet. The natural feeding time of the Murray cod is in the evening.



Macquria novemaculeataBass

  • Species prefers live food but can be trained to accept pellet feed.
  • Usually compatible with fish their own size.
  • Juveniles show an attractive pattern of dark “stripes”.




Macquaria ambiguaGolden Perch

  • Prefers live food but in rare instances can be trained to take pellet food
  • Not nearly as territorial as the Murray Cod enabling several fish to be kept together providing they are about the same size.