Is it healthy to eat commercially grown aquaponics farm fish or your own backyard aquaponics fish?
Is it safe and healthy to eat fish grown in commercial aquaponics farms? Or alternatively, if you are able to get over the problem of having to kill your own fish for the dinner table, are home-grown aquaponic fish healthy to eat? Let’s take a look…
Are aquaponic fish healthy to eat in 20 seconds…
Aquaponic fish grown in an aquaponic system is an efficient and organic way to grow healthy food. The food is organic because you’ve eliminated the need for soil and chemical fertilisers. Plus you can’t use chemical pesticides in an aquaponics system either, otherwise the fish will be harmed. Which means that by combining aquaponics fish with aquaponics plants, you not only reduce the amount of water used by up to 90%, but you also get two harvests from one system. Both of which are healthy and good to eat. Plus they can all be grown right in your own home or backyard.
Are aquaponic fish healthy to eat?
The answer to the question about whether aquaponic fish are healthy to eat depends. If you asked; is it safe to eat aquaponics fish grown in China or certain other suspect countries: Then I’d say no it isn’t. For more information on this, please take a read of this article: Why you should never eat tilapia (But why aquaponics tilapia are OK to eat).
However, if you avoid aquaponics fish produced in China or in these other suspect countries, then aquaponics fish are not only safe to eat, but also healthy to eat too.
Why aquaponics fish are healthy to eat
Now let’s take a look at why aquaponics fish that are grown in reputable aquaponics farms or at home in your own backyard aquaponics system are a good healthy option for the dinner table.
- An aquaponic system works by using the waste matter that the aquaponics fish produce naturally as nutrient-rich food for the plants that are grown in the same system.
- The aquaponic plants in the system clean the water by extracting these nutrients that’s been broken down by micro-bacteria. This makes it a safe environment for the fish to live in happily.
- If you use quality organic fish foods, it’s possible to keep the entire aquaponics system organic. So not only are your fish organically produced, but so are your vegetables.
- Due to the natural environment required for keeping fish and growing the plants in the same system, you can’t use chemical pesticides. This makes the fish (and the vegetables) a healthier option.
- Aquaponics systems produce all the nutrients required for healthy plant growth. Which means there’s no need to add chemically produced fertilisers. This makes the fish an organic healthy option.
The added benefits of an aquaponics system
Not only does an aquaponics system produce healthy organic fish for the dinner table, as well as organic vegetables too, but the whole system is a benefit to the environment a well. Aquaponics system use around 90% less water than conventional farming does. The other advantages of an aquaponics system include a system that produces plants that tend to grow faster (which can be as much as twice as fast) and you can get 10-times the crop in the same area.
For you to get the benefits of healthy aquaponics fish and for you to start your own aquaponics system, a good starting point is to determine which type of fish you want to grow for you to eat.
What are the best eating fish for aquaponics and what are the factors to consider when choosing your aquaponics fish?
To choose the best fish for an aquaponic system, you need to consider a number of factors.
The factors involved include the following:
- Are you a newbie to aquaponics? If you’re new to aquaponics, I suggest you start with tilapia. These fish are almost indestructible. They are more tolerant to beginner errors in keeping a healthy aquaponics system. Tilapia are easy to breed, they grow extremely quickly, and can tolerate poor water conditions.
- The best eating fish for aquaponics: The best eating fish is a very personal thing. But top of this list of best eating fish for aquaponics includes: Tilapia, bluegill, trout, catfish, bass, salmon and Koi carp. Although some argue Koi fish are not good to eat, but this article on Koi Carp may change your mind.
- How easy the fish are to breed: If you intend to breed your own fish to replenish stocks, this is an important factor to consider. But if not, the next factor is important.
- How easy is it to buy your fish for aquaponics as fish babies or fingerlings: The fish you choose for your aquaponics system will be constrained by how easy you can get stocks of new fish to replenish your fish tank.
- The cost of buying new fish stocks: Different fish will have varying costs associated with buying new stocks.
- Whether you want to grow fish for food or for ornamental purposes: Not all aquaponics growers keep the fish to eat. This means if the fish are purely there to fertilise your aquaponics plants and vegetables, you could even use goldfish or other ornamental fish instead.
- The degree of difficulty associated with growing the fish: Some fish are more difficult to keep than others. If you want an easy life, go for tilapia. Or alternatively, if you want a challenge and you love the flavour of salmon or trout, go for these types of fish.
- Cost and type of feed required: Depending on the type of fish you stock will require different feed requirements. Some feed will be expensive. Whereas other fish food is less expensive, depending on what the fish will eat.
- How quickly the fish grow: Different fish grow at differing rates. Where for example tilapia grow very fast, whereas trout grow quite slowly.
Are fish grown in aquaponic systems healthier than fish grown in typical farms?
The answer to this question depends on where the ‘typical farm’ is located either in the country concerned or in which country. Typical farms are subject to surface water run-off, which may contain chemical fertilisers and pesticides. These chemical fertilisers and pesticides are not only harmful to the fish, but they contaminate the fish too.
On a typical fish farm in the US, the water is monitored. It is also illegal for pollutants to be discharged into the US waterways. The pollutants concerned can come from either industrial manufacturing. Or it can come from agricultural chemical pollution as surface water that can contain fertilisers and pesticides.
However, in places like the Mekong Delta in Vietnam there are no such controls in place. There’s no monitoring of the surface water to manage and control pollutants. Plus there’s no testing or certification of the fish produced.
Which means that you should always check where the fish has been imported from. The US FDA prevents imports of farmed fish from China for good reason, as their feeding tactics are less than safe. Fish produced from traditional farms or aquaponics farming in China are likely to contain toxic chemicals!
More reasons to start your own aquaponics system or buy your fish from local aquaponics farmers
This is all the more reason to start your own backyard aquaponics system. Where you’d at least you know your fish are healthy and are grown without contamination. But failing this, make sure to buy fish either produced locally in your country or that are imported from countries that have strick controls over their fish production, like the USA, the UK and most European counties, Australia and New Zealand.
A large number of fish imported from China and Vietnam and sold in at least some U.S. supermarkets contain unnatural levels of formaldehyde, a known carcinogen, according to tests performed and verified by researchers at a North Carolina chemical engineering firm and North Carolina State University. Around 25 percent of all the fish purchased from supermarkets by researchers in the Raleigh, N.C., area were found to contain formaldehyde, a toxic chemical compound commonly used as a medical disinfectant or embalming agent. All of the fish found to contain the compound were imported from Asian countries, and it was not found in fish from the U.S. or other regions.Food Safe News – Formaldehyde Detected in Supermarket Fish Imported from Asia
Based on the above quote, I’d say that the fish grown in your local farmer’s aquaponic system are probably the safest fish to buy.
I hope you enjoyed this article about are aquaponic fish healthy to eat
If you’ve benefitted from reading this article on “are aquaponic fish healthy to eat” please share it on your favourite social media site.
Also, if you have anything to add or if you have any questions, please feel free to comment below too.
There will also be many more articles about DIY aquaponics for you to read and learn about, so please bookmark this blog.
Happy DIY aquaponics.