What is the fish to plant ratio in aquaponics? (Key aquaponics formulas)

If you want to have the most efficient aquaponics system, there’s a balance to be had between the nutrient production from the fish culture and the nutrient uptake by the aquaponic plants. But what is the fish to plant ratio in aquaponics? Let’s take a look…

What is the fish to plant ratio in aquaponics - Key aquaponics formulas

What is the fish to plant ratio in aquaponics in 15 seconds…

The fish to plant ratio in aquaponics is roughly 1:2 (one fish:two plants). By having one fish per two plants this should provide for optimum fish production, as well as good plant growth. An optimum aquaponics system will mean the plants will work well at the nutrient removal, but also that the plants will receive enough nutrients to grow.


What is the fish to plant ratio in aquaponics?

There are three main considerations when looking at the fish to plant ratio with aquaponics systems. You can’t look at the fish vs plant ratio in isolation, as you need to consider the type of fish you’re keeping and how much water they need to thrive.

Fish to volume of water formula

The first consideration to look at when looking at the fish to plant ratio in an aquaponics system is how much water the type of fish you intend to keep needs. But with this consideration, you need to look at it with the end in mind.

More Reading: What kind of fish can you use for aquaponics (Choosing the best fish)

Number of fish should be calculated with the end in mind

When I say start with the end in mind, think about it this way; there’s no point in working out how many fish you can put in your chosen fish tank size with the size that the fish are at the point when you first put them in. The reason for this is that your aquaponic fish will grow in size.

This consideration is particularly important if you intend to grow your fish as a secondary harvest from your aquaponics system. What you need to work out is how many fish your tank size will take when the fish are fully grown. When I say fully grown, what I mean is the size they will be at the point you intend to harvest them.

However, you will need to think about how you re-stock your tank at the point you begin harvesting your fish. The point being, is that whilst there are certain formulas of how many fish vs the volume of water, it’s not quite as simple as that.

Fish vs water formula

To give you a rough guide is to work with 25-45 litres (5.5-10 gallons) of water for every 450-500 grams (1 pound) of fish. But it’s important to understand that you mustn’t over-stock your fish tank, as your fish will suffer and could even die as a result.

Type of fish will affect the ratio of fish to water volume

The second consideration is the type of fish you choose for your aquaponics system. Different types of fish will have slightly different fish to water volume ratios. But stick to the formula noted above and you shouldn’t go too far wrong.

The fish to plant ratio

When looking at the specific fish to plant ratio for your aquaponics system, this is best balance by having a one to two ratio, that means for every one fish you have, you can grow two plants in your aquaponics system.

Plant choice also affects the fish to plant ratio

It’s also worth mentioning that the type of plants you choose to grow in your aquaponics system also impact the ratio between fish and plants. Having said that, it’s still worth working off a rough ratio of 2:1, i.e. two plants for each fish.

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Happy DIY aquaponics.

What is the fish to plant ratio in aquaponics? (Key aquaponics formulas)

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