Recommended Plants and Fish in Aquaponics

What can you grow in an aquaponic system? 

what fish and plants can i grow in aquaponics

Tilapia and Lettuce in a commercial aquaponic system

The fish and plants that you chose to put into your aquaponic system will depend on your application of aquaponics. 

The Nelson and Pade online store has the world’s largest selection of products for aquaponics:

If you are a hobby aquaponic grower, raising food for your family, you will want to raise what you like to eat.  If you are using aquaponics in a school or educational setting, you can grow many different crops.  Food banks and missions use aquaponics to grow nutrient-rich foods.  Commercial growers most often grow tilapia, lettuce and leafy greens.

If you are interested in learning more about aquaponics and crop choices, attend the Aquaponics Master Class® at Nelson and Pade, Inc.

The fish and plants you select for your aquaponic system should have similar needs as far as temperature and pH. There will always be some compromise to the needs of the fish and plants but, the closer they match, the more success you will have.

Suggestions for fish and plants include:

Home Food Production/Hobby Systems/Educational Systems

nile tilapia raised in aquaponics

Nile tilapia raised in aquaponics at Nelson and Pade


  • tilapia
  • blue gill/brim/sunfish/crappie
  • catfish
  • carp
  • koi
  • fancy goldfish
  • pacu
  • various ornamental fish such as angelfish, guppies, tetras, swordfish, mollies


tomatoes grown in aquaponics

Tomatoes grown in aquaponics at Nelson and Pade

  • any leafy lettuce
  • pak choi
  • kale
  • swiss chard
  • microgreens
  • radishes
  • carrots
  • beets
  • Herbs such as basil, mint, chives
  • watercress
  • broccoli
  • cauliflower
  • cabbage
  • asian greens and flowers grown in aquaponics

    Asian greens and flowers grown in aquaponics at Nelson and Pade

    most common house plants
  • edible flowers: nasturtium, violas, orchids, sunflowers
  • Ornamental flowers such as cosmos and dahlias
  • tomatoes*
  • peppers*
  • cucumbers*
  • beans*
  • peas*
  • squash*
  • melons*
  • okra*
  • sweet corn*

*Plants that have higher nutritional demands and will only do well in a heavily stocked, well established aquaponic system.

Commercial Aquaponics

Harvesting lettuce in commercial aquaponics

Harvesting lettuce in commercial aquaponics at Nelson and Pade

Although you can grow many crops successfully in aquaponics, not all of them can be grown in a profitable farming venture. The crops that have a long-term, proven track record of profitability in commercial aquaponics include:


  • Tilapia
  • Blue gill


  • any leafy lettuce
  • herbs like basil and chives
  • pak choi
  • kale
  • swiss chard
  • microgreens
  • hemp

Some fish have been raised in aquaponics but are very challenging and 

  • Yellow Perch
  • Walleye
  • Barramundi
  • Large mouth Bass
  • Hybrid Striped Bass
  • Salmon
  • Trout

Bananas grown in aquaponics

Bananas grown in aquaponics at Nelson and Pade

Some unusual plant crops that have been grown in aquaponics at the Nelson and Pade, Inc.® greenhouses in Montello, WI include: 

  • bananas
  • dwarf citrus trees: lemons, limes and oranges
  • dwarf pomegranate tree
  • dwarf coconut palm
  • papaya
  • aloe
  • hops
  • hemp

Our science-based Clear Flow Aquaponic Systems® are optimized for maximum crop production. If you want to be successful in aquaponics, start with a proven system!

We offer systems for

And, we offer complete controlled environment greenhouse packages for aquaponics