Introduction of Aquaponic Fish Feed
Today, Let us talk about Aquaponic fish feed.
Aquaponics is a system of farming in which the hydroponic farming, which involves growing the plants without soil is mixed with the aqua farming which involves basic fish farming. This method is very much efficient in producing both fish and plants simultaneously. The waste generated by fish in the aquaculture portion will be separated into bacteria with dissolved nutrients like nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium which in turn help the plants to grow in a healthy way. The removal of nutrients will help for the improvement in the quality of water. Moreover, it also reduces the overall consumption of water by controlling the liquid waste released.
Aquaponic Fish Feed/Food:
There are many kinds of foods available to treat your Aquaponic fish in the right way. Few Aquaponic farmers go with the duckweed. But you could not go with it alone as fishes do have some preferences to eat. Fishes will definitely need a mix of feed which consists of carbohydrates, fats, vitamins, minerals and proteins. Getting food for wild fish is easy as they feed on the insects that fall into the water and the plants that grow naturally in the water bodies. When coming to the pond fishes or commercial fishes, you need to feed them with pellets, flakes, insects, bloodworms, prepared foods, cultured foods. Moreover, the feed you provide is completely dependent on the size and age factors of the fish you are growing. If the fishes are young, they need high content of proteins for their growth.
Read: Aquaponics Faq.
Worms and Insects: You can grow the worms and insects by yourself. You can raise dragonflies, wingless flies, cockroaches, earthworms, bloodworms, black worms, etc. These insects or worms have a different amount of proteins in them and this completely depends on their size.
Aquatic plants: You can grow water plants such as different types of duckweed, algae, water lettuce, Azolla etc. These can be grown in a simple way using a side stream system. Though they can be grown easily, you need to take proper care as they would be clogging the pumps in the aquaculture. These plants also take off oxygen and nutrients from the water. Once, their life cycle is done, they will decompose immediately. So the best way to use these plants is to dry them before adding as a portion of food to the fish.
Pellets or flakes: Fish farmers will be very much interested in growing their own fish food, whereas a few would love to feed their food with balanced nutrients and proteins by offering them pellet foods. Pellets are the fish food which sinks in water, whereas the flakes float on water. Flakes will remain on water expecting the fish to come up and swallow. The advantage is that the water does not get spoiled and they stay on top of the surface of the water, but the disadvantage is that the fish will gulp air while swallowing fish foods which causes health issues. Pellets will sink into the water. The advantage of pellets is that the fish can swallow its food naturally as they sink into the water and the disadvantage is that the pellets have to be taken out if they remain uneaten as it’s not good for the quality of water.
Organic fish food of Aquaponics:
- A tank is required, which do not have any fishes in it. It should be connected to the Aquaponics system.
- You need pipes to connect the tank to the Aquaponics system.
- Duckweed is required. Take a handful of it.
- A wide-mouthed plastic bottle is required.
Preparation method of Aquaponic Fish Feed:
Step 1: The first thing you need to do is to put the plastic bottle at the centre of the tank which does not have fishes. Then start drilling two holes on two sides of the bottle
Step 2: Now take a teaspoon of duckweed and put it in water.
Step 3: You need to check that the water is flowing into the bottle and then through the bottle, it is going into the tank. The main motto here is to have water aerated without agitating the duckweed too much. The arrangement should be in such a way that bubbles should be formed when the water is getting poured into the bottle.
Step 4: You need to avoid sunlight and make sure that the average temperature is maintained. This makes your duckweed grow, which is considered to be very healthy while raising fish through Aquaponics.
Garden plants: If you have a garden in your house, then a lot of food is available there for your fishes. You can treat your fishes with many veggies and fruits from the garden. Fishes love to have watermelon slices, apple slices, citrus fruits like orange, garlic leaves, pepper leaves. If your fishes are habituated to pelleted food, then it takes time for the fish to get habituated to these naturally grown foods.
Read: RAS Fish Farming.
Types of Aquaponic fish and Aquaponic fish feed:
- Tilapia fish: These are warm water fish which are omnivorous in nature. They feed on pellet food, duckweed and other veggies in the Aquaponics system.
- Yellow perch fish: This type of fish is very good to grow in the recirculating systems. They prefer being in cool water and are very much adjustable to the changes in pH level of water. These fishes feed on the pellets and other veggies.
- Trout: These types of fishes are very difficult to maintain in the Aquaponics systems. These fishes prefer being in cool temperatures and are also carnivorous in nature. They require high levels of dissolved oxygen. They generally feed on small fish. They can also survive on pellet fish food.
- Bass, Catfish and Bluegill: These fishes are raised in ponds. These fishes are very sensitive to temperature, water pH levels and quality of water. These fish feed on pellets and these are bottom feeders.
- Goldfish, Carp and Koi fish: These fishes very well grow in a pond. These are the fishes which should not be chosen for eating. Koi fish are completely fancy fish. These fishes feed on both flake food and pellet foods, bugs and also the roots of the plant.
Aquaponic Fish Feed Schedule and Feeding Methods of Aquaponic Fishes:
- Feeding of fish should be done for twice or thrice a day.
- Make sure that you are not overfeeding your fish mainly when the temperature is cool. When the temperature is cool, the fishes will have a low metabolism. So if you overfeed, then there would be the occurrence of digestion issues with the fish.
- Fishes generally eat 2% of their body weight per day. Feeding should be done for only 10 minutes. Allow the fish to eat as much they can at that time. After feeding the feeding is done, wait for 5 minutes and remove the uneaten food immediately as these foods when mixed in water reduce the quality of water.
- Make sure that the quality of the water is checked on a regular basis. Keep adding water or removing water whenever necessary. This should be done by monitoring the behavior of the fish.
- If you have less number of fishes in your Aquaponic system, then you need to feed your fish frequently so that they will produce the wastes which are necessary for the plants to grow. If you have many fishes, then you need to decrease the number of times you are feeding the fish.