Can You do Aquaponics Without Fish? Is it Possible?

Can You do Aquaponics Without Fish
Can You do Aquaponics Without Fish

As an experienced aquaponics enthusiast for 10 years, I have often been asked whether aquaponics can be done without fish. The answer is yes, but it’s not as simple as it sounds. Aquaponics is a symbiotic system that involves fish, plants, and bacteria, and removing one of these components can drastically change the system’s dynamics. In this article, we will explore the question of whether you can do aquaponics without fish and delve into the reasons why you might want to consider it.

Can You do Aquaponics Without Fish?

Aquaponics is a unique farming system that combines aquaculture and hydroponics. In a typical aquaponics system, fish are kept in a tank and their waste products are broken down by beneficial bacteria, producing nutrients for plants grown hydroponically. However, it is possible to do aquaponics without fish, using alternative sources of nutrients to feed the plants. There are several reasons why someone might consider this approach.

Reasons to Do Aquaponics Without Fish

  • Environmental Concerns. This method can be more environmentally friendly since fish require food and create waste, which can lead to water pollution. By eliminating fish from the system, it is possible to reduce the environmental impact of aquaponics.
  • Lower Maintenance Costs. Without fish, there is no need to worry about feeding, caring for, and monitoring the health of fish, which can be time-consuming and expensive. This can make aquaponics more cost-effective.
  • Reduced Risk of Disease. Fish can be susceptible to diseases that can quickly spread throughout the entire system. By removing fish, the risk of disease outbreaks is greatly reduced.
  • Better Control Over Nutrient Levels. When fish are present, the nutrient levels in the system can fluctuate, making it difficult to maintain optimal conditions for both fish and plants. Without fish, it is easier to control nutrient levels and ensure that plants receive the necessary nutrients.
  • More Versatile System. Without fish, it’s opens up possibilities for using alternative sources of nutrients, such as worm castings or compost tea. This makes the system more versatile and allows for experimentation with different types of plants.
  • Space Constraints. If space is limited, it may not be feasible to include fish in this system. In such cases, it’s can be a practical solution.
  • Plant-Only Focus. For some growers, the focus is on growing plants, and fish are viewed as an unnecessary component. In such cases, this method is a viable option.


Aquaponics without fish is possible and offers several advantages, including lower maintenance costs, reduced risk of disease, and better control over nutrient levels. However, it is important to note that removing fish from the system can alter the system’s dynamics, and alternative sources of nutrients will need to be used. Ultimately, the decision to do that will depend on the grower’s goals and resources.