Largemouth bass may not be the first thing that comes to mind when discussing the best fish species for aquaponics systems. But the largemouth bass is a good choice and is considered one of the best fish species for aquaponics systems. Raising largemouth bass in your aquaponics system is relatively easy because they are easy to look after, can tolerate a wide range of temperatures, are hardy, and taste great. This article will discuss largemouth bass and how to raise them in your aquaponics system.
Why Raise Largemouth Bass in Aquaponics?
The largemouth bass is one of America's favorite game fish. It is part of the sunfish family, a black bass species native to North America. The largemouth bass, also known as Micropterus Salmoidesis, has several regional names, such as Black bass, Widemouth bass, Bigmouth bass, Bucketmouth, Green bass, green trout, and Oswego bass, and traditionally live in rivers and creeks.
Largemouth bass are edible fish and less tolerant of unfavorable water conditions. They are not the recommended fish for aquaponics beginners because they are more demanding in terms of care than Tilapia. However, many aquaponics growers still choose to raise largemouth bass because of their great taste. They can be successfully grown in aquaponics if their growing requirements are followed.
Advantages of Raising Largemouth Bass in Aquaponics
- The largemouth bass is a hardy fish and can survive significant environmental changes without getting sick.
- They are top feeders, so it's easy to see how much food you give them.
- Largemouth bass does not need a high-protein diet, which makes it easier to look for them as they don't need a strict diet.
- Largemouth bass has a fantastic taste.
Disadvantages of Raising Largemouth Bass in Aquaponics
- Bass are sensitive to potassium changes in the water. If the water has a high potassium level, it will become ill.
- They do not like bright light and cannot tolerate a poor feeding routine.
- They are sensitive to rise, and their conditions must be monitored closely to ensure the water is clean and has proper oxygen and pH levels.
- They require big fish tanks.
- It takes between 12 to 18 months to harvest largemouth bass.
Types of Largemouth Bass
The two types of largemouth bass you can use for your aquaponics system are the northern largemouth (Micropterus salmoides salmoides) and the Florida largemouth (Micropterus salmoides floridanus).
They can be distinguished by their size and growth rates. The Northern largemouth can only grow up to 10 pounds, while the Florida largemouth can grow up to 20 pounds or more.
As for their growth rate, the Florida largemouth grows faster and reaches larger sizes in warm waters than the Northern largemouth. The Northern largemouth can reach 14 inches in three years and then slow down in the following years. On the other hand, the Florida largemouth can reach up to 14 inches in two years and increase by at least a pound per year.
Growing Requirements for Largemouth Bass
pH Level: The ideal pH level is between 7 and 8.
Water Temperature: Largemouth bass prefers a temperature between 82 to 84 °F. They can also withstand temperature ranges of 55 to 85 °F without problems. However, largemouth bass prefers mildly cooler water. They become uncomfortable when the water temperature rises above 80°F. The too cold temperature slows down their metabolism, digestion, food consumption,, and nervous system.
Oxygen Requirements: Largemouth bass needs at least 3mg/L of dissolved oxygen.
Sunlight: Largemouth bass avoid sunlight and seek shade because they lack eyelids.
Nutrient Requirements: They can be fed with floating commercial pellets, insects, and worms.
Feeding Frequency: Feed them once a day or as much as they can eat in 15 minutes. Remove the uneaten fish food and,, as much as possible, feed them at the same time every day so they will know when to eat.
Stocking Density: The rule of thumb in raising largemouth bass in aquaponics systems is to keep 1 inch of fish per gallon on water. Largemouth bass grows up to 8 inches in the first year and fully mature at about 10 inches in two years.
Tank Size: Largemouth bass requires bigger fish tanks because they need more swimming room. For a starter, a 100 to 150 US gallon fish tank is a great size to start with.
FAQs for Largemouth Bass in Aquaponics
How to clean the fish tank?
The largemouth bass are heavy waste producers, so ensure your tank has a good filtration system to keep up with their waste. Ensure you also follow the fish to plants ratio to ensure your fish and plants' health and growth.
What are the common diseases for largemouth bass in aquaponics?
A disease called largemouth bass virus is one of the most common diseases for this fish species. This disease can affect the swim bladder, which can cause mortality. There is no treatment for this virus, so it is better to immediately remove fish from the fish tank once the disease is observed. For more information on fish diseases in aquaponics systems, click here.
Can you mix bass with other fish?
Largemouth bass are good at mixing with other fish, such as trout and catfish. However, you need to be aware of the growing requirements of the other fish species you want to mix with your largemouth bass the ensure they are compatible.
What plants are best suited to largemouth bass?
Largemouth bass can be used to grow different kinds of aquaponics crops like tomatoes, lettuce, cabbage, beets, herbs, and other plants. This is because they are tolerant to a wide range of temperatures.
How to breed largemouth bass in aquaponics?
Upon reaching their first year, largemouth bass will become sexually mature and begin spawning when the water temperature is at a steady 60°F. The males will use the debris they can find at the bottom of the water to build their nests. Once their nests are built, they will swim around to look for female largemouth bass to begin mating. The pair will then mate around the nest and deposit the eggs and sperm in the nest.
Largemouth bass can be successfully grown in aquaponics systems if you follow its growing conditions, maintain the water quality and monitor your system for early. Read our article, "How to Prevent Fish Diseases in Aquaponics," to prevent diseases in your largemouth bass.
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