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How to Raise Goldfish with Aquaponics

How to Raise Goldfish with Aquaponics

Aquaponics setups provide growers with a number of benefits over traditional farming techniques. That said, the majority of aquaponics methods are rather complex, and whilst it is possible for beginners with zero experience to achieve good results the first time round, any tips and tricks that can make the process a little bit simpler will no doubt be welcomed advice. One of the most straightforward ways you can simplify aquaponics is by choosing the right fish and plants. Some species are harder to care for than others, some take longer to mature and grow, and some species of plants are known to thrive better with certain species of fish. Therefore, no matter what type of aquaponics method seems the most suitable for your situation, your selection of fish and plants can make the process simpler and help to increase yields. Enter: goldfish aquaponics. Aquaponics Goldfish are some of the best fish for small aquaponics; where other species may have difficulty surviving, goldfish thrive. They’re suitable for small, medium and large aquariums, they’re very affordable and they’re known to be a hardy species that can survive in some conditions where others can’t. So, if raising fish for the dinner table isn’t on your wishlist, but you simply wish to leverage the opportunity to turn their waste into useful nutrients for the plants, there’s no better species than goldfish.

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Different Species of Goldfish For Aquaponics

There are over 200 different species of goldfish, and many of them are suitable for aquaponics aquariums. Here are 9 species that all do well in aquaponics:

  • Single Tailed Goldfish: very active fish, grow up to 12 inches
  • Common Goldfish: traditional orange/goldfish often seen in aquariums, grows up to 12 inches
  • Shubunkin Goldfish: multicolored version of the common goldfish, also hardy and grows up to 15 inches
  • Twin Tailed Fancy Goldfish: eye-catching colorful appearance with egg-shaped bodies, also grows around 12 inches
  • Fantail: the sturdiest of the all the species, with broad head and short body, grows up to 10-12 inches
  • Black Moor: black in appearance with an egg-shaped body, protruding eyes and poor sight, grows around 8 inches long
  • Lionhead: a common ornamental goldfish with distinctive head sporting a ‘lion’s mane’, one of the shortest species here, grows up to 6 inches
  • Ranchu: similar to lionheads but with no dorsal fin, shorter tails and arched backs, another shorter species that grows up to 8 inches
  • Pearlscale: sports a large midsection with pearlescent scales, hardiest of the twin-tail variety but poor swimmers so will struggle to feed well with other species

Goldfish Care

In respect to goldfish care, you’ll need to monitor and maintain several factors to ensure the longevity of your fish. The most obvious, but not necessarily the most important, you’ll need to know how much to feed goldfish, and how many times. Many of us have childhood memories of friends, family or even themselves casually overfeeding goldfish, often won from the local fairground, only to wake up one day to find your new friend bloated and floating lifeless around the bowl; NOT a situation you’ll want to repeat with your aquaponics setup.

goldfish aquaponics

How Much and How Many Times To Feed Goldfish

It’s generally advised to goldfish pelleted fish food that is high in protein. To make sure you’re feeding the goldfish the correct amount, the general rule of thumb is to give them a small amount 2-3 times a day. The amount should be no more than they can consume in 2 mins; after this time you can remove any leftovers.

Automatic Fish Feeders: A perfect solution for feeding your fish it to install an automatic fish feeder. These auto food dispensers are typically installed on the sides of the fish tank and orientated to shoot a predetermined amount of food into the tank at set intervals. This will ensure your goldfish are fed the correct amount, at the correct times; effectively removing one of the few tasks you’ll need to perform numerous times on a daily basis. 

Water Maintenance

Equally as crucial as feeding your fish, maintaining stable temperature, pH, and nitrate levels in the water is essential for the survival of both the fish and plants. Since the two different species must live in symbiosis with each other, anything that affects one will always affect the other.

Water Volume Vs Stoking Density

Here you’ll want to aim for between 10-20 gallons of water for every goldfish. Some species such as single-tailed goldfish need more room, around 40 gallons for the first fish, then 20 gallons more for each additional fish.


The ideal temperature for goldfish is 65°F and 72° F. If your water temperature fluctuates out of this range then there really is no magical science to control it. Depending on whether you need to increase or decrease the temp you can use heat pumps, heaters, lighting, cooling showers and/or shading. Water changes can also help to raise or lower the temperature.

Dissolved Oxygen (DO)

The minimum concentration of DO for Goldfish is 5mg/L. Should you need to increase this you can install an air pump with an airstone, or construct some form of cascading water that agitates the waters surface, such as a waterfall, fountain, or jet stream.


Nitrates are the end result of the conversion process, known as nitrification, which is taken care of by beneficial bacteria colonized on the biofilter. This beneficial bacteria converts ammonia waste deposited by the fish into nitrates, which the plants can then consume as food.

The ideal range for most fish is from 3 to 150mg per liter or 150 ppm. Goldfish are quite resilient, and can survive comfortably in levels between 25-50 ppm mark. To monitor nitrate levels you can use a six-in-one test strip, and if you need to adjust things you can add more fish or more bacteria to increase levels, or if you need to lower levels you can add more plants, remove fish, or change around 15-20% of the water.

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pH Levels

Goldfish like a pH range between 7.2 to 7.6 pH levels. If you need to adjust this level you can allow nitrification to bring down the levels, or you can add calcium carbonate and potassium carbonate (AquaUp) if you wish to raise levels.


Goldfish do not require direct sunlight, but they will need some indirect light. This means you can set up in any room with a window, otherwise you can simply install a grow light.

Common Goldfish Disease

Keeping these levels consistent within safe ranges will help keep the water clean and greatly reduce the risk of your goldfish developing common diseases. Although hardy, if kept in uncleanly water conditions goldfish can become susceptible to fungal diseases, parasites, and bacterial infections, as well as a disease called neurofibromas. This is why there such an importance placed on maintenance, even raising the sturdy species these problems can still arise.

You should monitor the fish for irregular behavior, and if you suspect they have become ill or unhealthy in any way then immediately remove the affected fish from the tank. In cases where the breakout is substantial, you may need to completely switch out the fish, change the water and scrub down the system to prevent the disease reoccurring.

What Is the Best Indoor Aquaponics Aquarium for Goldfish?

When it comes to choosing the best indoor aquaponics aquarium there are several factors you’ll want to consider.

Location and Dimensions: First and foremost would be the location and space you have to work in. Those limited to smaller areas will likely benefit from the more streamlined designs of the all-in-one setups, whereas those with a little more space may wish to construct larger systems that utilize the extra area to produce bigger yields.

Species of fish and plants: Next you’ll want to research exactly what species of plants and fish are suitable for your setup. Although it’s common for growers to produce both edible fish and plants, it’s also popular to harvest only the plants and run the fish tank as a standard aquarium.


The Best Plants To Grow Together With Goldfish: Goldfish are extremely popular for aquarium-based aquaponics systems since they are affordable, hardy and thrive well with a wide range of plants. This means you can pair goldfish with almost any plant suitable for aquaponics, these include:

  • Cucumbers
  • Strawberries
  • Beans
  • Radishes
  • Carrots
  • Ginger
  • Marigolds
  • Nasturtiums
  • Calendula
  • Sunflowers
  • Petunias

Our Top Choice for Best Indoor Aquaponics Aquarium?

A fantastic all-in-one solution in which you can easily raise goldfish is the AquaSprouts Garden aquaponics system; a complete media based aquaponics aquarium designed to look great on display in your home. Featuring a spacious aquaponics fish tank at the base with a large grow bed and grow light mounted on top, the AquaSprouts Garden system is one of the most attractive on the market; effectively combining productivity with eye-catching design, without compromise. 

AquaSprouts Garden 10 Gallon Review

In Conclusion

In conclusion, Goldfish are perfect for indoor aquaponics aquariums. A great starting point, or an easy method for experienced growers, deciding to raise goldfish may forego your fish dinners in the coming weeks, but there’s a good chance it will reduce monitoring and maintenance thanks to the sturdy characteristics of goldfish.

In addition to making things that little bit simpler, opting to raise goldfish also allows you to ditch the dirty fish farm style tank for a more attractive aquarium-based design that you’ll not only be proud to display in your living room or kitchen, you’ll also be able to enjoy the benefits of having easy access to your own indoor herb garden.

So if you’re interested in setting up your own indoor aquaponics system, and you don’t have much, or any, experience at all, then goldfish are perhaps your best choice when it comes to filling your aquarium.

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