How to Raise Goldfish in Aquaponics

One of the considerations you have to make when setting up an aquaponics system is what kind of fish to use. Fish play a vital role in an aquaponics system because they provide the waste that is converted into consumable plant food. Many fish species are well-suited for aquaponics, such as tilapia, goldfish, koi, bluegill, trout, and other aquatic animals. This article explores the goldfish and why it is one of the best fish to raise in an aquaponics system. 

Why Raise Goldfish in Aquaponics System?

Goldfish is an ideal choice for aquaponics, especially if you’re just starting out or have a smaller system. Not only are they inexpensive and will look great in your home, but they are also a hardy fish species that is easy to take care of. Goldfish can survive in a wide range of temperatures, water conditions, and changes in water pH levels. They also produce large amounts of waste, which provides plenty of nutrients to your aquaponics plants. Here are the reasons why goldfish are ideal for aquaponics:

  • Easy to breed: Goldfish are hardy and easy to breed, which is an advantage in aquaponics systems. 
  • Readily available:Goldfish of different sizes are readily available all year round all over the world. 
  • Affordable:Compared to other aquaponics fish species, most goldfish are inexpensive. Their food is all cheaper and available globally.
  • Water quality tolerant: Goldfish are resistant to poor water quality conditions. 
  • Great indoors: Goldfish are great for smaller indoor aquaponics systems. Their beautiful colors can complement any indoor decorations and settings. 

Goldfish Varieties

Goldfish belong to the carp family, Cyprinidae. Controlled breeding has resulted in many goldfish varieties. Several goldfish species are suitable for aquaponics; however, there are only two distinct goldfish varieties that you need to keep in mind.

1. Single Tailed Goldfish

The single-tail or slim-bodied goldfish are hardy and very active fish that can survive in wild ponds and lakes. Most single-tailed goldfish varieties can grow up to 12 inches. They are an excellent choice of fish for outdoor aquaponics systems. The single-tailed goldfish are the following:

Common Goldfish Variety

  • The Common Goldfish

The common goldfish are the traditional orange/goldfish that you often see in aquariums. It can grow to one foot long, and it is the hardiest and fastest goldfish. 

Comet Goldfish

  • Comet

The comet is also a fast goldfish but is more agile than the traditional, common goldfish. It has a long tail and deep fork that can also reach up to one foot long. Comets are orange, white, red, or yellow.

Shubunkin Goldfish

  • Shubunkin Goldfish

Shubunkins are multi-colored goldfish but have a similar appearance to the common goldfish. They are also hardy and can grow up to 15 inches long. 

2. Twin Tailed Fancy Goldfish

The twain-tailed or fancy goldfish have egg-shaped bodies and are preferred for ornamental or decorative aquariums because of their eye-catching colorful appearance. These varieties are better suited for indoor aquaponics systems. 

Fantail Goldfish

  • Fantail

Fantail is the hardiest of all the goldfish and is an excellent choice for aquaponics beginners. Fantails are a variant of Ryukin, and they have a broad head and short body. 

Black Moor Goldfish

  • Black Moor

The black moor is black goldfish with an egg-shaped body. It is smaller than the common goldfish and can grow up to 8 inches long. Black moor is also a hardy goldfish with protruding eyes and poor sight.

Ranchu Goldfish

  • Ranchu

Ranchu is very similar to Lionhead, but they have shorter tails, arched backs, and no dorsal fin. They can be in a variety of colors, including red, black, or white. Ranchu can reach up to 8 inches long in the right environment. 

Lionhead Goldfish

  • Lionhead

Lionhead is a common ornamental goldfish that has a distinctive head similar to a lion’s mane. They can be orange, yellow, or white and can reach up to 6 inches long. 

Pearlscale Goldfish

  • Pearlscale

Pearlscales have large midsections and a pearlescent appearance on their scales. They are one of the hardiest of the twin-tail variety. Pearlscales are poor swimmers, so they will struggle to get food if you keep them with other fish.

Requirements for Raising Goldfish in Aquaponics 

Goldfish may be one of the best fish to raise in aquaponics systems because it is hardy. However, there are still important considerations that you need to pay attention to in creating a healthy environment for them. Below are some requirements you need to consider in raising goldfish in aquaponics systems.

  • Water Temperature: The ideal temperature for raising Goldfish should be between 65°F and 72° F
  • Stocking Density: For fancy Goldfish, the general rule of thumb is one fish for every 10-20 gallons of water. Single-tailed goldfish need more space, so the ideal stocking density is one fish for at least 40 gallons of water and 20 more gallons for every additional fish.
  • pH Level: The ideal pH range for Goldfish is 7.2 to 7.6 pH levels.
  • Oxygen Requirements: The minimum DO concentration for Goldfish is 5mg/L. 
  • Tank Size: Goldfish need space to swim around, so it is essential to use a longer and bigger tank if you’re planning to keep more than one fish. To choose the right fish tank for your aquaponics system, check our article on how to choose the right fish tank for aquaponics.
  • Sunlight: Goldfish do not need direct sunlight, but for them to remain healthy, it is essential to give them some light. The best approach is to provide some shade if your fish tank is exposed to the sunlight. 
  • Nutrient Requirements:Goldfish are omnivorous, but it is recommended to feed them with pelleted fish feeds that are high in protein. 
  • Feeding Rate: Goldfish will eat whatever food they can get even if they are not hungry, so be careful with overfeeding them. Only feed your goldfish as much as they can eat within two to three minutes twice a day.

Goldfish Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some of the most commonly asked questions in raising goldfish for aquaponics. 

What are the common goldfish diseases?

Goldfish are hardy fish but are not invincible and can still be affected by diseases. They become susceptible to parasites, fungal diseases, and bacterial infections if kept in poor water quality. So be sure to maintain the excellent water quality in your fish tank and address the problems to ensure the overall health of your aquaponics system.  

Always observe your fish behavior during feeding. You can tell they are sick when their behavior changes, or they have spots or redness on the tail and other parts of the body. For a guide on fish health and diseases, check out this article

What do Goldfish eat?

Goldfish are omnivores; they eat insects, larvae, small crustaceans, all matter of vegetation, and even dead and decaying plants and animal matter in the wild. In aquaponics, goldfish can easily consume fish food high in protein and in a pellet form. Be careful with overfeeding your goldfish because they are generally greedy and will eat if food is available, even if they are not hungry.

How long do goldfish live?

A goldfish can live up to 10 to 15 years, but this will depend on how well you feed and maintain their environment.

Where can I buy goldfish?

The great thing about raising goldfish for aquaponics is that you can purchase them at any fish or pet store. They are also available for purchase online. 

What aquaponics plants are best suited for goldfish?

Goldfish can be paired with any plant because of their hardiness. Our article on the best plants for aquaponics can guide you in choosing crops to plant in your aquaponics system. 

Can I mix goldfish with another breed?

When raising goldfish in aquaponics systems, it is essential to know that twin-tailed and single-tailed goldfish breeds should not be put together in one fish tank. Single-tailed goldfish are faster and more aggressive than the twin-tailed breeds; thus, single-tailed might eat all the food before twin-tailed can get their chance. 

Goldfish can live with other fish species in one tank without problems. Many aquaponics growers mixed goldfish with carp, tilapia, or koi without any issues. Just make sure that they are of the same size.

Can I breed goldfish from my own aquaponics system?

Yes, you can. To breed your goldfish, separate a male and female and put them together in a breeding tank. Wait for the female to lay eggs. The male will spray sperm on the eggs to start fertilizing them. Goldfish eat their own eggs, so remove the male and female fish once fertilization is done.


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