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Fish Population Size

The next big consideration is how many fish should you have. This has to be balanced by the size of your plant grow bed, so you have to do some measuring of your plants before you decide on fish. On average, having 500 quarts (or litres) of growing medium would roughly allow for about 25 fish. Fewer fish are easier to care for but you can end up with nutrient poor water. It's a bit of a balancing act.

Starting a system with the right number of fish will still mean a very empty tank when they are all very small. That can also mean you hve to add extra nutrients to water anyway. Don't make the mistake of starting with too many fish at the beginning though. Plan your numbers out to work as the fish get bigger down the road.

If you are hoping for a larger harvest in fish than your plants can accomodate, you can still make it work with some additional mechanical filtering to keep the water clean. Again, monitor the nutrient levels frequently to make sure you're not over-fertilizing your plants from the high fish density. Having lots of fish can be nice but the underlying purpose of aquaponics is to create a balance between plant and animal populations. If you really want tons of fish, it might be better to stick with conventional aquaculture and leave the plants out of the system entirely.

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