Choose the Right Fish Food for Your Fish
There is a wide range of fish food to chose from for your aquaponic fish. People often ask if you can just feed their fish duckweed. You couldn’t live on lettuce alone and neither can your fish. Fish need a diet of protein, fats and carbohydrates. In the wild fish get their nutrients from bugs that fall into the water as well as plants the grow in their environment. Lucky for you, or should we say your fish, you can feed your fish pellets, insects, worms, prepared foods, cultured foods and plant scraps to give them all the nutrients they need. The food a fish needs all depends on their age and size. This is what determines the level of protein required for their development. A young fish needs a lot more protein than an adult fish simply because it’s growing.
So here are some fantastic ways to feed your fish:
- Grow your own worms and insects – some great options for insects to raise as fish feed are black soldier flies, crickets, cockroaches, and Wingless flies. There are many easily grown worms as well such as earthworms, red wigglers, microworms, blackworms, and grindal worms. All have various amounts of protein due to their own size and species variations.
- Grow your own aquatic plants – various types of duckweed, algae, elodea, water lettuce, and azolla are very easy to grow in a side stream system. While these can flourish in your aquaponic setup, use caution as they can easily spread and clog pumps, and plumbing as well as consume oxygen and nutrients as they grow, complete their lifecycle and decompose. It is best if using aquatic plants to dry them (possibly even sun dehydrate) before adding them back as a food source.
- Purchase flake or pellet food – While some enthusiasts go all out growing fish food, a large majority find its easier to feed your fish a well balanced pellet food. At the Aquaponic Source, we offer a variety of protein content, ingredients and pellet size. You can follow the infographic below to learn which food is best for your fish. Our AquaNourish feed is based on the size of your fish and is a complete balanced diet perfect for tilapia, catfish, bluegill, perch, koi, and many other common aquaponic fish species.
- Consider Organic fish food – If you or your customers are eating your fish, you may choose an organic fish food designed for the last few months of growout. Our AquaOrganic is one of the only USDA certified Organic and Non-GMO fish feeds on the market.
- Glean goodies from your garden – Many plants from your garden also make great fish foods. Veggies and fruits that fish love include apples, grapes, pineapple, kale, lettuce, watercress, garlic, and pepper leaves. It may take a little learning for your fish to catch on if they have only eaten pelletized food, but once they figure it out, they will love the variety of treats.
If you’re really passionate about fish food, there are many ways to grow your own and recipes you can create using your local ingredients. We cover some of these complicated but compelling avenues in our Advanced Aquaponics Course.
Remember in aquaponics, fish food is not just about the fish nutrition, it is also going to provide nutrients for the plants. I hope this gives you some new ideas into what to feed your fish. Share with us your favorite ways to keep your fish happy, healthy and well fed. A diverse diet is the key to great fish health, good water quality and abundant crops.