Asked February 14, 2018, 12:02 AM EST

I am hoping you can help me out, getting started with Aquaculture. I am hoping an expert in aquaculture can steer me in the right direction :) I live here in Reno, so as you know we have cold winters and warm/hot summers, and want to start aquaculture on a small scale in my garage. I am an aquarist, so I do understand all that I need to do to keep the fish healthy. My plan is to just do a simple 2 55 gallon barrel aquaculture setup. The problem is, what fish can I raise here with our temperatures in Reno. I would like to raise Tilapia, but I know that it is illegal to own that fish in NV. So scratch that. I then have thought about trout. But I don't know how dense you can stock trout. It seems like I can't put nearly as many trout in a barrel compared to tilapia, and also in the Reno summer, they won't thrive. Which would be a shame because I love trout and tilapia. That brings me to catfish, or maybe bass? Maybe you can help me figure out what are viable fish for home aquaculture here in Reno, since it gets pretty warm in the summer, and really cold in the winter. Perhaps a fish I can get as fingerlings that will do well and grow enough over the summer to eat at end of summer, and then introduce a winter fish at the end of summer? Thanks, I hope you can help me out or steer me in the right direction, I would much appreciate it, Mike

Washoe County Nevada

1 Response

Hi Mike,

Tough decision! You are correct – no tilapia in Nevada. Our cold winters and warm summers are a challenge for growing fish in an unheated garage. Your idea of growing a warm-weather fish in summer, then switching to a cold-weather fish sounds good in theory, but most fish require 9 to 12 months to mature, so it doesn’t work well. You might consider modifying the temperature of your tank during the time of year the fish will suffer most. Since it is generally cheaper to heat water than it is to cool it, I would think about growing something like catfish (mature in 6 to 12 months) or bass (mature in 15 to 18 months), and heating the tank during winter. Pay attention to the actual variety of catfish, though, because they do vary in their temperature requirements. As you know, fish are cold-blooded and are unable to regulate their own body temperature. They are also sensitive to rapid changes in water temperature. I’m going to give you some sources for more information on this:

For information on possession of live wildlife, visit

For information on importation of live wildlife, visit

For general information on fish and aquaponics systems, contact:

Graham Johnson

Co owner of Fin & Leaf

Ph: 916.616.8376


To talk with me about this some more, email

Good luck!

Heidi Kratsch

University of Nevada Cooperative Extension Horticulture Specialist