A question people new to aquaponics or those who wish to do commercial aquaponics is ornamental or edible fish? There are several factors that can influence this decision. Here are some thoughts…
If someone plans to just try their hand at aquaponics as a novelty and perhaps produce some microgreens, ornamental fish are best (Bettas, Platies, Black Molly, Swordtail, Goldfish). The reason for this is that such small systems tend to be aquariums with a small grow bed directly resting on the aquarium or just above it. By opting for this, and with a little care, chances are you will have a good production of microgreens and a beautiful aquarium to admire. And this is without the constant vigilance necessary for a family-sized or commercial production unit.
Ornamental fish tend to be hardy and forgiving when it comes to water quality, especially goldfish. They can and do survive in low-quality or polluted water. This is not to say one should be remiss with respect to water quality. After all, in an aquarium or small family unit, it looks terrible and smells worse. Instead, the reason is if something goes wrong, it does not affect you financially to the point of having no greens at all to feed the family or on a larger scale oblige a costly start over in commerce. Besides, who wants to eat greens that have been grown in polluted water?
A larger family-sized unit can also benefit from ornamental goldfish in the sense that they have the above advantages, but they are not edible, at least, not pleasantly so. However, such a family-sized unit can be a small business of sorts with respect to selling their stock since they do not eat it.
Family-sized units can also stock carp varieties (common carp, mirror carp, leather carp, grass carp, crucian carp, ghost carp, koi carp and F1 carp) which are hardy and edible (for some) but are consumed in many parts of the world. They are “oily” fish because in the wild, Carp are bottom-feeding fish, making them likely to pick up toxins, chemicals, and generally unpleasant flavors mainly in their oil. In a tank, however, they are fed the good stuff, making them edible. They can grow quite large and are plate-sized in one season meaning they can reach 0.6 to 1.0 kg bodyweight depending on feeding and feed quality.
The carp variety considered being the best for ornamental purposes and profit is the Koi. There is quite a market for these fish and it is growing.
Quality Koi tend to be the ones that make it to the market. They can be expensive because of low supply and high demand. A female Koi lays about one million eggs, but of those one million eggs, approximately 60% hatch, making it difficult for ornamental fish farmers to have a really good turnover with regards to quantity.
How much can koi fish sell for
In this business, some breeders will pay from several thousand up to twenty thousand plus for a highly prized adult koi. It may seem like a lot for one fish, but these people breed and trade in these animals. This makes them very particular and they have to be very careful in every respect to make their charge bring them a profit. Consider that they are treated with the same care as thoroughbred horses.
For the small family business, younger koi some 10cm long can sell for up to ten dollars or even less for amateur koi owners. But like everything, pricing varies globally.
Best koi to buy
The Kohaku koi is one of the most popular koi fish types because they are quite easily sourced, easy to care for, and fairly resilient. There is a range of prices for Kohaku koi, depending on size, coloring markings, etc.
The most expensive koi
Before becoming excited about becoming a millionaire in the Koi business, keep in mind that it is not just any Koi that can be sold for huge profits. Although to be fair, a red and white Koi fish almost 1 meter long was sold for a record $1.912.000 in Japan making it the world’s most expensive fish to date.
Fish tanks for a business venture on a small scale of this kind, must start with at least 1000 liters and can include a window for viewing of the fish, or a bespoke aquarium.