The Best Fish for Desktop Aquaponics Systems - Go Green Aquaponics
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The Best Fish for Desktop Aquaponics Systems

If you want to start a desktop or mini aquaponics system, one of the essential components you need to consider is choosing the right fish species. Fish function as a nutrient providers for the plants. Therefore, selecting the right fish species to raise in your desktop aquaponics setup is essential because fish have specific living conditions.

So, in order to have a successful desktop aquaponics system, you need to have healthy fish that produces enough nutrients for the plant's roots to absorb and grow healthy. This article discusses the best fish for desktop aquaponics systems and why they are ideal for small systems.

What is the Best Fish for Desktop Aquaponics Systems?

Unlike standard aquaponics systems, a desktop aquaponics system is a small-scale system that can be set up on a desk, table, or countertop. This type of system is smaller and does not use edible fish as there is not enough room for bigger fish to grow. The best fish species for desktop aquaponics are small species‌ that do not grow big even when they reach maturity. These fish species are:

1. Fancy Guppy
2. Tetras
3. Betta
4. Pencilfish
5. Dwarf Gourami
6. Goldfish 

 

Guppy Fish in Aquaponics

Fancy Guppy

Ideal Temperature Range: 72°F - 78°F
Ideal pH: 6.7 -8.5
Diet: Omnivores
Common Varieties for Aquaponics: Common and Endler guppies

The colorful fancy guppies are one of the best fish species for desktop aquaponics because they are hardy and great for mosquito control. They come in various bright colors and will look great on your desktop system. 

Guppies can grow up to two inches long and are adaptable, and can tolerate different growing conditions. 

Guppies are not picky eaters and feed on mosquito larvae, bloodworms, flakes, and pellets. They have small stomachs, so it is easy to overfeed them. Feed them once or twice a day with as much food as they can eat in a minute, and always remove uneaten fish food to avoid water quality issues

You can add some plants and decorations to your aquarium for your guppies to hide in or add beauty to your desktop aquaponics system. 

Advantages of Raising Guppies in Desktop Aquaponics:

  • Hardy Fish
  • Low maintenance
  • Guppies are affordable
  • It comes in different fin designs and colors
  • Great as colorful ornamental fish

Disadvantages of Raising Guppies in Desktop Aquaponics:

  • Guppies reproduce quickly. 

 

Neon Tetra Fish in Aquaponics

Tetras

Ideal Temperature Range: 70°F - 81°F
Ideal pH: 6 to 7
Diet: Omnivores
Common Varieties for Aquaponics: Neon tetras, Serpae tetras, Glowlight tetras, Diamond tetras

Another best fish for desktop aquaponics is tetras because they can thrive in smaller tank tanks of at least 5 gallons. They are also attractive aquarium fish that will help your plants grow and add colors to your desktop system. 

Tetras grow up to 1.5 inches long, and if you want the keep them happy, you’ll need at least a 15- gallon aquarium. These fish are pretty tricky to raise, but if you ensure your system's water quality and feed them the right food, they can live up to ten years. 

When it comes to feeding, feed them once or twice a day with fish food that contains at least 40% protein. Give the fish food that they can consume in two minutes and remove uneaten fish food after feeding. 

Advantages of Raising Tetras in Desktop Aquaponics:

  • Tetras are fast-growing fish
  • Colorful fish

Disadvantages of Raising Guppies in Desktop Aquaponics:

  • Prone to neon tetra disease
  • Do not pair well with other fish in the aquarium
  • Temperature sensitive

 

Betta Fish in Aquaponics

Betta

Ideal Temperature Range: 76°F - 81°F
Ideal pH: 6.0 - 8.0
Diet: Carnivores

Bettas are also famous for small aquaponics systems and can do well in a mason jar aquaponics system. They are also an excellent fish for beginners in aquaponics because they require little maintenance.

Although they are great for mason jars, bettas thrive well in at least a 5-gallon tank.

They require a lot of protein in their diet, so keep in mind to give them insects such as bloodworms, larvae, and other insects as a treat. Keep in mind to avoid overfeeding them and remove leftover fish food after feeding. 

Advantages of Raising Betta in Desktop Aquaponics:

  • Easy to maintain
  • Beautiful ornamental fish

Disadvantages of Raising Betta in Desktop Aquaponics:

  • Do not do well with other fish in the aquarium
  • More prone to diseases 

 

Pencil Fish for Aquaponics Systems

Pencil fish

Ideal Temperature Range: 71°F - 82 °F
Ideal pH: 5.5 - 7.0
Diet: Omnivore

Pencil fish are slim and pencil-like bodies, which are also one of the best fish for desktop aquaponics systems. They don’t grow more than 3 inches and require an aquarium of about 5 gallons (19 liters).

Pencil fish are peaceful fish species and can get along with other fish such as guppies, gouramis, and tetras.

They are energetic fish and often swim on the surface, so it is recommended to cover your aquarium to prevent them from jumping out. But they also love hiding, so you can add tank decors such as driftwood and other aquarium plants. 

You can feed them flakes or pellets, but they also like mosquito larvae and brine shrimps. 

Pencil fish are sensitive to nitrate levels, so always monitor your system's water quality often to ensure their good health.

Advantages of Raising Pencil fish in Desktop Aquaponics:

  • Hardy fish
  • It comes in attractive colors
  • Can live with other fish in the aquarium

Disadvantages of Raising Betta in Desktop Aquaponics:

  • More tricky to raise
  • Aggressive feeders
  • Sensitive to the water quality

 

Dwarf Gourami for Aquaponics

 

Dwarf Gourami

Ideal Temperature Range: 65°F - 72° F
Ideal pH: 7.2 to 7.6 
Diet: Omnivore

Dwarf gouramis can grow up to 3.5 inches and require at least five gallons of fish tank to thrive. They can breathe the air above the water, which can help them survive in the tank when the oxygen levels decrease. 

They can get along with other fish in the tank, but ensure to pair them with non-aggressive fish. 

Dwarf gouramis like clean water, so ensure the water quality of your fish tank often to keep them happy. 

Advantages of Raising Dwarf Gourami in Desktop Aquaponics:

  • They are low-maintenance fish
  • Hardy
  • Can exist with other fish in the fish tank

Disadvantages of Raising Betta in Desktop Aquaponics:

  • Prone to diseases

 

Goldfish for Aquaponics

Goldfish

Goldfish are ideal for small aquaponics systems with at least 20 gallons of water. Goldfish living in the wild can grow up to 12 to 14 inches, but when kept in a small fish tank, they can roughly grow to about 1 to 2 inches long and not develop into more than 6 inches. 

Goldfish are easy to care for and do not require much maintenance as the other fish species. They are also attractive fish that add beauty to your mini garden.

They 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.

Advantages of Raising Goldfish in Desktop Aquaponics:

  • Goldfish are hardy and easy to breed
  • Goldfish of different sizes are readily available all year round all over the world. 
  • Compared to other aquaponics fish species, most goldfish are inexpensive. Their food is all cheaper and available globally.
  • Goldfish are resistant to poor water quality conditions. 
  • Great for smaller indoor aquaponics systems. Their beautiful colors can complement any indoor decorations and setting. 

Disadvantages of Raising Goldfish in Desktop Aquaponics:

  • Goldfish need larger tanks or aquarium

Conclusion: Which is the Best Choice?

Your choice of fish to raise in your small system will depend on your choice and need. But keep in mind that when choosing the best fish species for your desktop aquaponics system, smaller, ornamental fish are suited well for this type of system. 

No matter what fish species you choose, make sure you meet their needs and always monitor your system's water quality to ensure their health and success. Thank you for reading our article. If you want to learn more about aquaponics, read The Ultimate Aquaponics Beginner's Guide.

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