Growing Barramundi in Aquaponics

Author: Nathan   Date Posted:27 December 2017 

So, when my wife first came to me with the idea of aquaponics I was extremely excited about the potential. I had always wanted to grow barramundi!!! Before we dived into this though, we needed to get the set up right and try to limit the risk of losing all the fish. We started with Jade Perch and really had no problems.

When we decided to start a second system it was always to be for barramundi. The biggest thing I knew that we needed to accommodate to increase survival was temperature. Our first year with the Jades the water got to 9 degrees over winter. And it wasn’t just one or two days, it stayed like that for over 2 weeks. It would rise during the day to 13-15 degrees.

Barramundi are tropical fish and really anything under 15 degrees stops them from feeding and then sustained lower temps and they will die. I decided that having a heater will at least provide warmth in a small radius to the fish.

When we got the fish (20 of them), they were a lot smaller than what I hoped. The smallest was about 10-12mm and the largest was about 25-30mm. I decided to run them in a spare large fish tank that I had to try and get them to grow quicker while still being able to monitor them easily. So for about 6 weeks they stay in the fish tank and grew quite well. I fed them blood worms and fish food pellets ground up.

After 6 weeks, I put the largest ones into the pod. They were over 50mm by this stage. There were about 4 that were a lot smaller that I kept in the tank a little longer. These would have become food for the other so I wanted to give them a fighting chance. While they were in the fish tank I only had one death and he was the smallest.

The test was over the winter period and this year as you know winter didn’t really hit Brisbane. I didn’t get a day where the water got below 10 degrees and the aquarium heater i had provided enough radiant heat for them over winter. They did slow down their eating and I only fed them once every 2-3 days. Now i feed them twice a day. I still have 16 barramundi left and all the ones that did die did so before winter hit.

They have proven themselves to be a lot hardier and tolerant than I expected. I know that if they were in a larger tank they would grow a lot quicker but this is the set up we have and the growth rates are actually comparable to the Jade perch.

I have now had them in the pod for 12months and they are nearly ready to eat. I was hoping they would be ready for Christmas but they are just not quite there. I will definitely be continuing with a tank of barramundi for the future.