The ideal temperature range for this species is between 18.3°C and 26.6°C. It is a viable, popular aquaponics fish, easy to manage, and fairly adaptable. But, it has a slow food conversion ratio, slow-growing, and can be cannibalistic if not fed well. It reaches plate size in 18 – 24 months.
Native to North America, this fish species is extremely tolerant and can adapt to almost any water temperature or size of the tank within reason. This is why they are an excellent choice for an aquaponic system. A close eye must be kept on water pH (no less than 6) and oxygen levels in the summer. They tolerate bacteria and resist disease well too.
Bluegill may be one of the most inexpensive options and perhaps the best fish to rear in an aquaponics system. They are known to be quite hardy and do not require a heater or specialized diet. They are omnivorous fish about 30% protein will do in their diet. Juvenile bluegills will need more food than an adult (7% of body weight). They may require supplementary insects, and snails and hatchling bluegill tend to eat mostly zooplankton. Should these not be readily available, they will resort to eating vegetation and algae. Faster growth can be achieved through feeding several times a day. The size of a system and how many fish are in it also play a role in the growth of the Bluegill.
Female bluegills have a yellow belly, males have a red belly and the fish generally looks very similar to Tilapia. Bluegills are one of the most difficult fish to breed in captivity and breeding must be done in such a way as to separate the adults from the hatchlings. This is necessary to protect them since they tend to be cannibalistic. When the fingerlings have grown reaching an appropriate size, they can then be reintroduced into the aquaponics system with the adults.
They like to live in shallow water with hiding places for protection. This will have to be provided to a degree in an aquaponics fish tank especially if the intent is to breed them.
Bluegills are a healthy food choice and an excellent source of protein and iron. The bluegills are a tasty fish. Their flesh is white, flaky in texture, and mild to the taste. Wild Bluegill fish taste close to the same as the commercially produced or purchased. Depending on what they are fed, meaning quality and variety they can be as healthy and tasty as wild ones.
Plate Size in 18 – 24 months
Viable, popular aquaponics fish, edible, easy to manage, fairly adaptable, slow food conversion ratio, slow-growing, can be cannibalistic
Ideal Temperature Range: 18.3°C and 26.6°C