Life after tilapia, pt. 2: diversifying aquaponics

This is just a sampling of other fish species that have been tried, or should be tried, in aquaponics, and a quick rundown of the pros v cons that we’re aware of.

5. Yellow perch. Pros: Delicious! These little guys are super popular up in Wisconsin where I’m from. They fry up like a little piece of heaven. People are used to buying them small so you don’t have to keep them for eons before you can sell them, and they clean surprisingly quickly for something only 6-12 inches long. (Like so.) Cons: People in Florida don’t know yellow perch. It might be a little bit too warm to grow them down here in FL. We’ll keep an eye on system temperature during the pilot scale and see if yellow perch will be a possibility for us.

The Incredible Hulk of yellow perch.

The Incredible Hulk of yellow perch.


6. Hybrid striped bass. Pros: delicious, marketable, and handles Florida temperatures with aplomb. Cons: Plants need a relatively large amount of potassium compared to fish. Most fish are ok with extra potassium but for some reason striped bass can’t deal with it. Alas, hybrid striped bass is right out.

7. Carp. Pros: tolerates both hot and cold water, hardy, low protein demand. Cons: Americans don’t eat carp. It’s silly but it’s the way it is and it isn’t changing without a decade-long marketing campaign. If we were independently wealthy enough to launch a decade-long marketing campaign, we wouldn’t be trying to start a business!

8. Crappie/speckled bass/specks. Grows wild in Florida; should be ok with our temperatures. It’s yummy so it’s the one game fish that people usually eat after they catch it. Cons: Scientists are still putting the finishing touches on how to grow it up captivity; it’s also on the bony side. We’re keeping an ear to the ground on ongoing research at Lincoln University about selecting strains for more meatiness and learning how to keep them happy in captivity.

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