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Fish on Trial

Aquaponics policemen.Aquaponics policemen.

We have started a feed trial with Jade Perch. The idea behind the 12-month trial is to see just how well the Jade Parch will grow being fed anything they will eat that can come off the land rather than use fish feed pellets that contain ocean derived fish meal.

With a view toward long-term sustainability, I feel we need to discover and refine feeding methods that are not dependent on ocean fish stocks. Seems elementary, but I really want to see just how well it will or will not work.

Expectations: I believe we will get the fish through to the 12-month point in a healthy state, after all, Jade Perch in the wild eat plant material and algae etc. I imagine that we will see slower growth in the plant fed fish but I believe they will be very healthy.

Time will tell.

This is a piece of eggplant that they demolished overnight.This is a piece of eggplant that they demolished overnight.

In my INDY 23 system I have 2 x IBC tanks that are all part of the same system. Same water same pump system etc. I feel it is an ideal setup to test two identical batches of fish that share the same conditions except fo the feed they get.
There are 65 Jades in each tank. The fish are supplied by Ausyfish at Childers.
They have been in the tanks for one month. The trial feeding started 1st March.
Weigh in on 1st April.

The batch of 130 fish were evenly divided as to size as near as we could. Very difficult when they are so small approx 10g each fish; so we started with 650g of fish density in each tank.

Tank "A" is been getting up to 50g of 2mm pellets per day.
The pellets are as below
Crude Analysis
Protein Min 35 %
Fat Max 10 %
Moisture Max 10%
Ash Max 11%
Ingredients =
Chilean Fishmeal, Wheatflour, Soybean Meal, Shrimp meal, Squid, Aquamix.

This is the lettuce when they have stripped it of the green leaves.This is the lettuce when they have stripped it of the green leaves.

Tank "B" is getting a diet of lettuce, cooked carrot, cooked pumpkin, Kang kong leaves, honeydew melon, eggplant, cucumber. It is difficult to know just how much to give tank "B" every day but we are getting better at keeping the feed up to them.

First weigh in on 1st April.
Sample of 20 randomly caught fish from each tank gave the following results.
The fish were weighed as a batch.

Group "A" = 30g
Group "B" = 23g

Group "B" have not put on much weight at all; 3g over 20 fish. So we need to up their feed somewhat.

Posted By Murray Hallam on 4th April 2016

Updated : 4th April 2016 | Words : 488 | Views : 62427 | Comments : 55

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Hey Murray has been almost a good year now since the start of the trial. Is it time to weigh in?
PS would love to see seans lupin recipe too as would love to slow grow my fish.

Posted By Chad Mitchell on Saturday 4th March 2017 @ 20:25:55


Perhaps you need to do our on-line course.
The best place to start is here.
Go to www.MurrayHallam.com This is our free membership website where we have a new video each week. Our "Aquaponics Design Course" will open for registrations on April 2nd, 2017
See info here. http://bit.ly/2j9uq0W

Posted By Murray on Saturday 4th March 2017 @ 20:25:55


Will the fish eat Black Soldier Fly Larvae? We have heaps growing in our compost which we feed to the chooks regularly and I've been told they can be fed to fish in an Aquaponics or Aquaculture system too

Posted By Jules on Friday 27th January 2017 @ 20:47:09


Hi Jules,
The fish are not too keen on them unless they are mixed with something else to make them more attractive....we have found.

Posted By Murray on Friday 27th January 2017 @ 20:47:09


Hi, Yes i am very interested in starting up a fish farm.
could you give me more info on how to startup and more info about food etc.

Posted By Neeraj MOHANGI on Friday 30th September 2016 @ 23:30:32


Hi Neeraj,
The best place for you to start will be by enrolling for our "Aquaponics Design Course". It will be announced in a few weeks time. Keep watching our free video membership website http://www.MurrayHallam.com
The "Aquaponics Design Course" will be announced via www.MurrayHallam.com and also via our Facebook page "Aquaponics Design Course"

Posted By Murray on Friday 30th September 2016 @ 23:30:32


What about feeding soldier flies larvae?

Posted By Christa on Friday 8th April 2016 @ 22:48:41


Yes it is an option. Thanks for your input.

Posted By Murray on Friday 8th April 2016 @ 22:48:41


Hi Murray,
All rare herbs sell Moringa as seed and tube stock. https://www.allrareherbs.com.au/search.php?search_query=Moringa&x=13&y=12


Posted By Josh on Wednesday 6th April 2016 @ 12:19:04


Thanks Josh, that is very useful info. I will study that and see what else I can get that will be useful.
Ordered a Moringa tree today from Daleys Nursery at Kyogle. An Apricot tree at the same time. So, looking forward to that coming. I will put it straight into a wicking bed.

Posted By Murray on Wednesday 6th April 2016 @ 12:19:04


Great to see Murray. I feed my jade perch on only what i grow and they seem to do really well. Although i havent done any real scientific studies though. I feed them on left over greens from the aquaponics, soldier fly larve, worms from the worm farm and mosquito fish that i grow specifically to feed the jade perch. The mosquito fish form part of the aquaponics system as well as the red claw. All in all it is quite a balanced system.


Posted By Graham Wharton on Tuesday 5th April 2016 @ 12:55:27


Hi Graham,
I have not had any luck getting mine to eat the mosquito fish in the past; that is, pellet fed fish. I have a big population of the mosquito fish in my water hole down the back. Must catch some more out to give it another try with these new little fellas. Thanks for the reminder Graham.

Posted By Murray on Tuesday 5th April 2016 @ 12:55:27


wish you luck.Will be looking forward to further results and comments.my jade are now 5 months old and doing
well on your feed.
Thanks Geoffery.

Posted By Geoffrey Knowles on Tuesday 5th April 2016 @ 01:12:37


good morning,

we have tried similar tests in thailand with vegetables and also sprouted seeds. same result low if any weight gain. Problem is lack of protein. Next test will be to grow and use crickets as the protein source.

pete & derry

Posted By pete davies on Monday 4th April 2016 @ 23:53:45


Hi Pete,
Thanks for the feedback. Yes, looking for high protein vegetable foods. Almonds, soy bean, quinoa are very likely ones. I tried growing crickets a few years back and it was a lot of work, but a good idea. That is the trouble, it is so easy to throw a few fish feed pellets into the tank, but we will not be doing that for this trial.

Posted By Murray on Monday 4th April 2016 @ 23:53:45


This is really interesting Ive been supplementing my JP pellets with left overs from the kitchen made into ice blocks usually cooked rice or couscous with lightly mashed lettuce, peas, stale blueberries, with a dash of Vietnamese fish sauce. They go mad for it.

Posted By jockmack on Monday 4th April 2016 @ 23:37:10


The Vietnamese Fish Sauce is an interesting touch Jock. Maybe that will make them eat otherwise uninteresting stuff. Thanks.

Posted By Murray on Monday 4th April 2016 @ 23:37:10


This is going to be an interesting experiment. I look forward to the results. Why are some of the food items cooked?

Posted By Hugh on Monday 4th April 2016 @ 13:57:52


Hi Hugh, we cooked the carrot and pumpkin because the fish are so little and the raw carrot and pumpkin so hard. Since writing the blog post I have thrown a raw carrot in and they have been nibbling at it but obviously it is a bit difficult for them. Long way to go. We are only a bit more than a month into the trial and collectively we will learn a few things I am sure.

Posted By Murray on Monday 4th April 2016 @ 13:57:52


HI Murray .. I think if you really want to give this a good go you need to shred and dehydrate the feed recipe you have .. Then too make (as it's only a small number of fish) .. get a pasta roller, roll it out, cut it into spaghetti .. then cut into pellet size pieces and dry .. or get a a old fashioned meat grinder .. and extrude and cut .. onto a screen (bit of mosquito net stretched, and stapled over a wood frame, with a fan on the bottom .. to dry it out) ... as you put it through the mincer cut it flat against the face to make small pellets .. like chicken feed .. then dry them ... I think the problem is you have too much water content, feeding fresh food .. so it's not a fair trial .. dry and concentrate the food ... it's like us eating 200g of steak or 200g of jerky ... i'm going to be giving it a go too, here in Thailand .. just getting the last of the import papers sorted for the jade's, for the new farm, in Bangkok . James Harrison @ GreenEvolution Thailand

Posted By james harrison on Monday 4th April 2016 @ 13:22:09


This is good James, thanks. Makes sense. Yes feeding them lettuce and the like is not concentrated enough. I am surprised just what they will eat. The guy at Ausyfish (the hatchery where we get our fingerlings) reckons they will eat a great variety of land based material. As you suggest, whatever it is we need to make it more concentrated. I will keep you posted

Posted By Murray on Monday 4th April 2016 @ 13:22:09


I agree with the assessment there is not enough protein. You need higher calorie feed going into tank b! There is a non-profit group here in Phoenix (Gardenpool) that are growing tilapia without commercial feed very successfully. But they are using chickens roosting over the pond to boost nitrogen in the system to grow lots of algae. If you are squeamish about chook droppings and potential salmonella, you could have a separate system just growing algae... But algae really drives their system. You can grow enough algae and duckweed to feed the fish a great diet supplemented with soldier fly larvae in order to get the protein, fat and calories they need but not on the fish waste alone! I should also mention they have figured out how to feed their chickens "off the land" as well using duckweed, insects, snails and such.
Here is an article advocating algae production to add to cattle feed because of the protein and healthy fats it contains: http://www.cattlenetwork.com/news/using-algae-livestock-feed-would-cenefit-environment
Food for thought! :)

Posted By Liz on Monday 4th April 2016 @ 12:53:07


So true Liz. I am not keen on the chicken poop directly into the tank for the same reasons you have mentioned. It is a good idea to use them as you suggest, in a separate side way. Thanks for the links. I will follow through on that.
Isn't it great, the community of Aquaponics....The collective knowledge base.

Posted By Murray on Monday 4th April 2016 @ 12:53:07


Hi Murray, the one glaring thing that is missing from group B's diet is protein, protein builds muscle and fish are just a big muscle so they're at a real disadvantage in this trial, I gave you a fish food recipe in last years course that contained Lupins, there is nothing higher in protein than Lupins you can get them from stock feed stores for about $20 per 20kg bag and mill them or drop them in whole and let them soften or soak them then drop them in, another good source of protein can be gained from spirulina or algae if you can grow some.
My Jades are 15 months old and weigh on average 900g and they've been given that lupin recipe, if you've lost it I can send it through to you.
I hope this helps you even this trial up Murray

Posted By Sean on Monday 4th April 2016 @ 11:02:28


Hi Sean,
I remember well and have some lupins already. It is going to be most interesting. The algae is a bit more difficult, the right one that is.

Posted By Murray on Monday 4th April 2016 @ 11:02:28


Hey Sean,
Can you send that through to me again please. I filed it in a safe place and can't locate it right now. Much appreciated. MJH

Posted By Murray on Monday 4th April 2016 @ 11:02:28


EXCELLENT idea! I can hardly wait to hear what the results are in one year.

Posted By William Keen on Monday 4th April 2016 @ 10:11:55


I know it works on Tilapia. Mine have done fine for years on romaine, kale, Okinawa spinach, compost worms, grubs and soldier fly larvae. Also I give them what is left over from my organic corn chips, after I pulse with a bullet grinder. Both blue and yellow. They love that. I don't know anything about jade perch. Looks like they love lettuce. :) Looking forward to your results Murray. Cheers from central Florida.

Posted By Ken Farley on Monday 4th April 2016 @ 09:39:56


Hi Ken, Jades are very similar to Tilapia in their needs. Thanks for the info.

Posted By Murray on Monday 4th April 2016 @ 09:39:56


Hi Ken, Don_in_Odessa here, also in central Florida. Just started experimenting with Katuk and Moringa. I tie the individual stems and hang them on the side of the tank to let the fish pluck the leaves off at will. Only been a month, but they are eating the leaves. hey like the Katuk better than the Moringa. Still feeding them their regular diet (Pond food I buy at Tractor Supply) but I am slowly lowering the amount as the fish get used to the new stuff. I have found over the years they will eat a wide variety of stuff I grow in my yard, much the same stuff including common weeds as I throw into the chickens. It is a bit of chore to harvest, tie and remove the old stuff from the tank every day though. I must admit throwing in the feed pellets several times a day is a whole lot easier. I wish I could get away from commercial feed all together. Seems all of it is mostly filler that dirties up the system quicker than I would like. Can't really justify the expense of the more expensive foods anyhow.

Posted By Don_in_Odessa on Monday 4th April 2016 @ 09:39:56


Hi Murray, this look awesome. I will also be working on my fish feed later 2017.
For the protein, we are going to use dried moringa leaves mix with Kale.

Posted By Frederic Chatelain on Monday 4th April 2016 @ 09:24:27


I must get some moringa....takes a while to grow but should be part of the ideal diet. Do you have any analysis of Moringa?

Posted By Murray on Monday 4th April 2016 @ 09:24:27


Will be very interesting to see the results Murray. I think you are right though, we do need to look at alternatives to feed our fish with.

Posted By Josh on Monday 4th April 2016 @ 08:57:30


Yes, important stuff Josh. I am enjoying the project. Finding high protein plant foods that they will eat is the challenge.

Posted By Murray on Monday 4th April 2016 @ 08:57:30


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