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Five Ways to Use Fish Raised in AquaGrove

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Five Ways to Use Fish Raised in AquaGrove

In aquaponics, fish are the life of the system.  While you rely on the plants to filter the water, you simply cannot grow the plants without proper nutrients, and the fish provide exactly that – nutrients. 

When first being introduced to or learning about aquaponics, a very common question comes up for growers – What do we do with the fish?   The obvious answer is consumption.  Many growers welcome the opportunity to cook fresh fish straight from their AquaGrove; they feel secure and satisfied by raising their own fish knowing that they are a clean, healthy and toxin-free source of protein.  That being stated, not everyone eats fish.  For this reason, we reached out to AquaGrove growers and compiled a list of the five most popular ways fish are being used in the system:

  1. Personal Consumption – As previously mentioned, many growers appreciate the process of raising their own fish in a clean and toxin-free environment.  While most private growers will choose to consume their own fish, some organizations and private schools have suggested using them in food service or for community fundraisers and events such as a fish fry.
  2. Partnerships – One way that growers, especially schools and organizations, can make the most of their fish is to develop a partnership with a local church, food bank or other nonprofit organization to help them meet their mission in feeding the community.  While it is important to pay special attention to regulations in your State regarding fish and food distribution, many groups with existing relationships have agreements in place that allow them to deliver fresh fish once the fish are of appropriate size.
  3. Aquariums – Some schools and growers have other aquariums outside of the AquaGrove where they raise fish.  From backyard ponds and indoor aquariums to local marine centers and larger aquaculture programs and facilities, there are numerous opportunities to move fish that outgrow the tank to a larger aquarium or marine center.
  4. Sell the Fish – Whether as a fundraiser or a business learning program, some growers choose to sell their fish and produce at local markets or through local businesses and restaurants that offer farm-to-table fresh menus.  This is an area that is highly regulated and requires following certain guidelines.  You can learn more about regulations for buying and selling fish in your state online.  In Florida, such regulations can be found here:
  5. Stay in the Tank – Depending on the type of fish you choose, you may opt for having fish stay in the tank for the term of their life.  For example, one AquaGrove grower is raising crayfish with great success, and the crayfish live in the system without ever being consumed.

While there are many varieties of fish that can thrive in an aquaponics system, not all are grown for consumption.  Goldfish and koi, for example, are great ornamental fish, but certainly not a fish that would be recommended for consumption. No matter what you choose, raising fish tends to be the most fun and engaging part of the aquaponics process, especially for younger growers and students.  By keeping your fish healthy, you will have a healthy system and greater success with your harvests.