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Many Americans have never heard of Jade Perch, however, if you are looking to start an aquaponics garden then this fish may be an excellent choice. A native to Australia, jade perch is packed with nutritious oils that provide a range of heart-health benefits similar to the mighty salmon. Also, they are relatively easy to grow and reach plate size within a year, making them a perfect choice for your farm-to-table movement. Caring for jade perch in aquaponics systems isn’t overly complicated, and can be incredibly rewarding.
In this article, you will learn valuable tips on how to care for jade perch in an aquaponics setup.
Why Raise Jade Perch in Aquaponics Systems?
Jade perch (also called Barcoo grunter) can be likened to tilapia, in which both are easy to grow and are suitable fish types for beginners. For those living in Australia, however, jade perch is a more preferable and cheaper choice as this fish is endemic to the country. A 1998 study by Australian federal agency, Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) found that jade perch has 2483 mg of omega-3 oils per 100g of fish.
As for the meat, you can expect jade perch to have a silky soft texture, with the meat falling off easily from the bones. Since they’re an oily fish, you can ensure the fish will taste wonderful when they’re cooked by smoking or steaming. If you intend to raise fish for consumption, then without a doubt, jade perch is a delicious and nutritious option.
Keeping Jade Perch in Your Aquaponics Setup
Being endemic to Australia, accessibility to jade perch may be a problem for anyone living in the U.S. At the moment, there are no known hatcheries in the U.S. that can supply jade perch fingerlings for aquaponics. If you want to keep jade perch, you should check with the local fisheries department and know the regulations when it comes to importing this kind of fish.
Requirements for Caring for Jade Perch in Aquaponics Systems
If you choose to make jade perch the engine behind your aquaponic fruit and vegetable harvests, here are a few of the critical care requirements to consider:
An ideal stocking density for jade perch is 1 pound of fish for every 10 gallons of water.
If you are keeping jade perch in your aquaponics system only and not mixing with other fish, a 100-gallon water tank will be enough to accommodate approximately ten fully-mature fish.
Jade perch love warm waters and the tank temperature needs to be maintained between 75 deg and 80 deg F. It is also worth noting that if the temperature falls below 65 deg F, you will likely notice your fish will stop eating. If water temperatures are not adjusted the fish will likely perish.
Your tank will benefit from the warmth from direct sunlight since jade perch enjoy warm waters.
Jade perch can survive when the pH range is between 6 and 9.
Ensure that the dissolved oxygen concentration in the tank is at least 4mg/L. Anything higher than that is ideal.
Fish diet/nutrient requirements
Jade perch are naturally omnivorous, but also love to eat plant matter more. Their natural diet is composed of riverbed weeds or duckweed and algae. Many aquaponics gardeners using jade perch have fed them with lettuce heads. Jade perch can also eat processed fish pellets made of marine materials.
Generally, jade perch should be fed twice a day, but also keep in mind that they need to have a varied diet. Since they enjoy plant matter, it’s good to give them lettuce heads or duckweed for a couple of days every week.
How to clean the tank
One of the benefits of caring for jade perch in aquaponics systems is that they have almost transparent droppings. That said, you won’t really experience dirty tanks while raising jade perch. In addition, because they naturally tend to feed on algae deposits, they are natural cleaners and help maintain your tank.
Periodically, though, you need to scrub away algae from the sides of your tank to prevent algae bloom. Once a week, a 20 percent water change is also recommended.
White spot and chilodonellosis are two common diseases found in jade perch. White spot affects a lot of fish species throughout the world, but jade perch is among the most susceptible to this disease. Chilodonellosis is an acute disease caused by the ciliate protozoan Chilodonella hexasticha. Between the two, chilodonellosis can be managed more easily.
Observing general practices in handling diseases in aquaponics fish should help you avoid significant losses. When introducing new fish, they should be held in quarantine for about two weeks. Similarly, if you have a diseased fish in your tank, remove the infected fish and place it in a separate tank for quarantine and treatment.
Aquaponics plants best suited for
Your jade perch tank will benefit from either a biological or mechanical filter.
Can they be mixed with other breeds?
Jade perch are generally docile fish, and so they can be mixed with other fish usually without problems. It shouldn’t be a problem if you mix fish of smaller size, as jade perch doesn’t have any interest in them.
Spawning season for jade perch starts when temperatures are above 73 deg F. However, jade perch are known to have difficulty breeding in captivity. In jade perch farms, a hormone injection is usually employed to induce spawning. It’s worth noting that the use of these hormones requires veterinary prescriptions and professional advice.