Raising Fish for Food


I know it is very appealing to think you can create an aquaponics system to give you weed and fish to eat, but that is not the experience of commercial aquaponics growers. You really get very few fish out of it, and your existing fish are more valuable as nutrient makers than as food. The commercial growers in Hawaii make money off their gourmet organic lettuces they sell to fancy restaurants. They don’t make anything off their fish.

You can grow good weed with it, and if you had a way to sell it, the whole thing could more than pay for itself off the weed crop. But I’m not sure it would be economically competitive with just buying nutrients in bulk.
I’m a systems ecologist by education and my wife did a graduate degree program in aquaculture and fish pathology, so I am not just pulling this out of my butt.

If you are going to do it, do it for a hobby because if you try to scale it up into a business you will probably go broke.


Yup well said @1BigFella
I so wanted to do aquaponics but the wife said she could not eat a fish that we raised as she would see them as pets. I am not sure if I could bring myself to kill em either
So I looked into ornamental fish and wanted to do it outdoor
Being in las vegas it gets HOT
So I picked the brain of a local exotic fish store/aquarium guy here in town and the start up cost and the size of the tank , pumps , and other odds and ends not to mention the trial and error involved for the scale I was looking to do it on just peeled my wig back!!
It would be cool to atempt it on a much smaller scale indoor though like an 80 gallon aquarium with a 4 plant grow
Cool post , neat background you and your wife have
Always love your posts , feed back , and direction
Thanks again @1BigFella


Same problem! My wife wants chickens, but we wouldn’t be able to butcher them so they would end up being pets when their egg-laying days are over. I don’t want to create a rest home for elderly chickens.


I’ve raised all types of animals, it’s super hard to slaughter them after getting attached, even fish. I’ve raised tilapia and channel cat. Growing up on a farm, I had to eat slaughtered pigs, goats, rabbits, cows ect… , try and get your 15 year old to sit down and enjoy a family meal after slaughtering there favorite pet. It’s not Gona happen, your kids would probably cry and go to there rooms. If you don’t have kids you wife probably think your insane, since getting McDonald’s would be easier. I hate to say it but things are changing. I myself, don’t slaughter my animals anymore due to grocery stores for my kids and wife, but I get my wild animal fix bartering with my hunter friends. Back to the point, is it possible to raise fish aquaponiclly for food, very possible, for profit, not quite. If thinking of making that investment go small scale first, just to see what types of adventure your in for, some people are in touch with nature and have been successful with very little money invested , while I have seen successful business people not in touch with nature lose fortunes trying to tame Mother Nature. I have been experimenting with aquaponics for about a year now and been making good progress thanks to the info of other aquaponic growers here.

is it impossible no at all. I can easily farm tilapia but also can easily catch some 3 min walking distance at the river. My family would eat it, knowing I farmed it. So iI raise koi , goldfish, silver mollies and shortfin mollies. I also grow and raise black soilder fly larvae for my fish. All the work I do is for enjoyment, would it be easier to buy fertilizer, probably, just not as fun. (upload://2q26b7kZPzIxOBrcCz7vWoXur0g.JPG) Just my opinion, aquaponic bud has a better flavor than hydro. Hydro just gives you bigger yields. Aquaponics nugget also just my opinion , a freshly slaughtered fried chicken dinner,taste better than KFC or churches chicken


My wife had a research project with a few hundred wide-mouthed bass swimming around in a 500 gallon tank. Much easier when you have so many you don’t get attached. Lots of aquaculture projects just raise critters up to survivable size and then release them into the wild. Those would be fine. I think I could raise a flooded field of catfish or crawfish without any problem, too.


So awsome @1BigFella your wife’s jobs sounds so interesting. I had a chance to work at a catfish farm, 20 acres of channel cat,we breed ,raised and slaughtered. I learned a lot with that experience, and totally agree with you, probably not a good idea trying to go commercial with aquaponics but instead a home based systems, I rather go into breeding smaller fish that reproduce fast. My new adventure is rasing and breeding shortfin mollies, Very hardy,can with stand ph fluctuations and have even survived in hydrogen sulphide(h2s gases) Springs. Also liver bearing fish.Am also Gona try and get some minnows started. Will post some pics tomorrow of my mollies. Have a goodnight my friend.


If you live were the weather doesn’t freeze, tilapia may be the way to go. In Hawaii they call them “ditch fish” because they thrive in the sugar cane field drainage ditches. Of course, your state might get upset if they accidentally escape into the wild and took over, being an exotic and all.

20 acres: That’s a LOT of catfish! I know you wouldn’t grow them too big for a commercial harvest, but did you ever go noodling for wild ones? For the uninformed, that’s where you stick your bare hand down in a catfish hole and try to get a BIG one to swallow your whole arm.



here’s an view of the farm, never had a chance, but yes a couple guys got too do some noddling, there were some big sucker out there. The channnel cat never got that big, but there were some monster blue cats, one that was caught over 100 pounds. Here are the shortfin mollies, and yes, it rarely frezzes over here. I live in a sub tropical climate, they were caught in a sugarcane irrigation ditch , they love brackish water, that’s why I took them in consideration, they can withstand fertilizers used for sugar cane and other crops, I had tilapia ( Rio grande cichlids) just didn’t have enough room and have since then been released back to where they were caught. Here’s a pic of one of the baby’s we kept ![image|375x500] we had about 30 of them in a 50 gallon tank and reproducing, she now lives with a mix of cichlids .(upload://wGjNVm9mKo44fFe0BNGnC0E0itB.jpg) So here’s my outdoor setup they have been breeding like crazy, at least 200 in there, had to screen it up to stop the toads having a buffet at night. The orange Coleman thermos works as my biofilter and use it to charge my biochar from time to time then my second filter is the green ice chest that traps any fine dust and I’m using cattails as my third fillter and to help maintain ppms stable and not have nitrate spikes. I read that cattails have been used as water fiktaration systems in third world countries to leach out cyanide in contaminated water. So far so good this Is just my prototype after this harvest if things go well, I should get the ball rolling and make a complete system including a bio-chiller since we don’t freeze we sizzle, with temps getting close to 110 degrees . I will keep you updated,Have a wonder weekend my friend The first pic didn’t load but here my tilapia in the cichlids tank


Cool! Very DIY, which is the only way to do it as far as I’m concerned. If you went into a tropical fish store to buy the biofilter, etc. it would cost a small fortune.


Ohh yes, not going that route at all, but first in going to finish remodeling the grow area and hopefully there’s enough $$$ left over to get outdoor pond project started. I do all the labor, I’m a jack of all trades, master of none, have a great afternoon my friend.


You might want to buy an EPDM pond liner. Pretty hardy and lowers the amount of water sinking into the ground. On the other hand maybe you are someplace the water table is so high, you just dig a hole and it fills up.


@1BigFella that’s exactly what I was looking into I think the kit came with pad, 45 mil liner and pump , great minds think alike.:+1:t3::v:t3:


You are such an inventive fellow! I love reading all your info. Really informative!


Thank you for your kind words@Laurap growing up dirt poor made me think, always outside the box, and living in a rural area we never had the modern stuff till later when it was outdated. So any chances of me working as a young kid in any other job not being ranching, sign me up, I’m greatful for all my experiences, have a great day sweetie.


You too as well.
Happy Fathers Day!!


Always love reading your posts!


@FNG101v2 thank you my friend