Are Guppies Good for Aquaponics?

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Guppies are a highly prolific fish species, breeding monthly and sometimes producing hundreds of offspring at once. They multiply fast, they are resilient and adaptable, and they are highly sought-after on the market.

Guppies are a great addition to the equation if you’re looking to set a reliable aquaponics system. Today, we will discuss how the aquaponics system works, its purpose, and how to make guppies fit in the picture.

Keeping Guppies in an Aquaponic System

Few people would consider guppies fit for an aquaponic system, but I disagree. I think keeping guppies in an aquaponic setup can provide some interesting opportunities.

As you may already know, guppies are highly prized on the fish market and can provide a lot of market value, depending on the strain. There are more than 40 guppy species so far and an immense number of different strains.

Guppies can turn very profitable, which is why their popularity for aquaponic systems keeps growing by the day. But what should you know before introducing guppies to your aquaponic system?

– Set a Specific Temperature Range

Guppies thrive in tropical temperatures, which can vary between 72 °F to 82 °F. Large temperature fluctuations may lower their immune system, leaving them vulnerable to bacteria, parasites, and various diseases. Waters hotter than 82 F will also decrease the level of oxygen, which can lead to suffocation.

The idea is to set up ideal temperature parameters and monitor their values constantly. While guppies can handle some temperature fluctuations, they prefer more stable environments with minimal changes over time.

– Consider the Growth Rate of the Guppy Population

Like you may know, guppies are very prolific fish, with one female capable of delivering up to 200 fry every month. A medium-to-large guppy population will grow fast since you will have multiple females getting pregnant at once.

An unsupervised guppy family can overcrowd their enclosed environment faster than you can expect, which will lead to a variety of problems. You should monitor the guppy population constantly to prevent overcrowding; otherwise, you will have a lot more on your hands.

Overcrowding can spike the guppy’s aggression levels, lead to bullying, and increase competition over food and space. Not to mention, it also makes diseases more easily transmissible, capable of wiping out the entire population fast. Overcrowding will generally lead to dangerous ammonia buildup due to excess fish waste and unconsumed food, poisoning the water and killing the fish.

It’s definitely an aspect worth considering.

– Mixing Different Species

While guppies are friendly and peaceful towards other fish species, I don’t recommend mixed aquaponics systems. Not all fish species are the same, which means you will have different needs to cater to at the same time. It’s an unnecessary chore, especially when guppies can fulfill your needs just fine.

Can Guppies Produce Enough Waste?

Yes, they can, particularly if you have a thriving and large community. Healthy guppies that receive a varied and consistent diet will produce enough waste to sustain your aquaponic system.

However, don’t try to force it by overfeeding them. Overfeeding guppies can lead to constipation which can be deadly under the right circumstances.

You should also provide your guppies with a balanced and diverse diet consisting of plants, veggies, and live food. Don’t stick to commercial fish food since these will lack some of the key nutrients present in live food.

Having 1 or more live cultures around for your guppies may be an asset in the long run.

What to Feed Aquaponic Guppies?

You can feed your aquaponic guppies pretty much the same things that your aquarium guppies will have. This includes:

  • Live food – We can add here brine shrimp, white fish meat, bloodworms, daphnia, vinegar eels, etc. These food options provide your guppies with essential protein, fats, and other nutrients that they need to grow fast and healthy.
  • Homemade protein paste – This type of paste is easy to prepare, and you can use it for weeks to follow. You can add live food, veggies, spirulina, algae, whatever you feel necessary to provide your guppies with a rich and stable diet. Cook the paste in the oven or boil and freeze it to use for later. This is clearly the best option since you can personalize the guppies’ diet more than anything commercially could provide.
  • Fish food – Fish flakes, algae and spirulina tablets, and other commercial foods are also valid options for your guppies.

As omnivore creatures, your guppies need a varied diet to remain healthy and active with strong immune systems. A protein-rich food will also boost your guppies’ coloring, which can prove useful if you’re trying to sell them.

Just be aware that guppy fry may need a slightly different diet than the adults. Guppy fry require a plus of animal fat from brine shrimp, egg yolk, and even beef heart. I would advise feeding them separately from the general population for the first 3-4 weeks, especially if you want to save as many as you can.

Can You Eat Guppies?

Sure, you can, but I wouldn’t advise it. Guppies aren’t really fit for human consumption for several reasons. These include:

  • Difficulty preparing them – Guppies are small fish that are very difficult to prepare. You can’t really cut them open to remove their bowels without spending an absurd amount of time.
  • Risks of parasites – Guppies have a lot of parasites and potential diseases that could make humans sick. Some of these conditions don’t even have symptoms in the early stages of infection. As a result, you could be eating infected guppies without even realizing it.
  • Too small – At around 2 inches in size, guppies hardly make for a nutritious and fulfilling meal. You would need hundreds of them to feed a family in one meal alone.

The second point should interest you the most. Guppies carry a variety of parasites and bacteria, making them essentially unfit for human consumption.

That doesn’t mean you can’t turn guppies into profit. They sell extremely well on the fish market, with various strains reaching in excess of $100 per piece.

Can Guppies And Tilapia Live Together?

Absolutely not. Tilapia are omnivorous fish that could grow up to 24 inches, which is 10 times the size of guppies. Tilapia can also grow extremely aggressive during the mating season, and your small and peaceful guppies will be in direct line of fire.

You can, however, navigate around this problem. You can keep Tilapia and guppies together, but only while the Tilapia is still young. As soon as it starts growing, I suggest moving them into a different environment.

They will not shy away from killing and eating guppies.

What Fish Can Live With Guppies in Aquaponics?

Here are several fish species to consider:

  • Mollies – Small, peaceful, and easy to care for, mollies make for perfect tank mates for guppies. They are also ideal for aquaponic systems since they don’t mind sharing their living space with other peaceful creatures. They have pretty much the same diet and environmental requirements as guppies and have a lifespan of around 5 years. You can also grow them for profit and sell them on the same market as guppies.
  • Platies – Platies are similar to guppies in many ways, including diet, environmental needs, size, and adaptability. They’re small, peaceful, and ideal for beginners who seek hardy fish species with minimal maintenance needs.
  • Swordtails – Swordtails will sometimes grow 2 times larger than guppies, but that’s not necessarily a problem. That’s because this fish is peaceful and friendly and can thrive in environmental conditions similar to those of guppies.

Conclusion

Guppies aren’t the typical choice for people looking to set up an aquaponic system. That’ doesn’t mean that they aren’t a good choice.

Set up the system, get yourself a hardy guppy strain, provide them with a stable and healthy living environment, and your aquaponic system will thrive.

If you’re still looking for info on guppies or aquaponics, don’t hesitate to comment below, and I’ll reply shortly.

Updated: November 24, 2021

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