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The name barramundi is Aboriginal for “large-scaled silver fish.”
The barramundi or Asian sea bass ( species of catadromous fish in family Latidae of order Perciformes. The species is
widely distributed in the Indo-West Pacific region from Southeast Asia to Papua New Guinea and Northern
Australia. Known in Thai language as pla kapong, it is very
popular in Thai cuisine.This species has an elongated body form with
a large, slightly oblique mouth and an upper jaw extending behind the eye. The
lower edge of the preoperculum is serrated with a
strong spine at its angle; the operculum has a small spine and a serrated flap above the
origin of the lateral line. Its scales are ctenoid. In cross section, the fish is compressed and the
dorsal head profile clearly concave. The single dorsal and ventral fins have spines and soft rays; the paired pectoral and pelvic fins have soft rays only; and the caudal fin has
soft rays and is truncate and rounded. Barramundi are salt and freshwater
sportfish, targeted by many. They have large, silver scales, which may become
darker or lighter, depending on their environments. Barramundi are Australia's Iconic sportfish and are popular choices for
Aquaponics and stocking ponds/lakes. Capable of growing to massive sizes,
their reputation as an angling sportfish is well renowned, as is their eating
qualities. Barramundi have a mild flavour and a white, flaky flesh, with
varying amount of body fat.
Among the many attributes that make
barramundi an ideal candidate for aquaculture are:
It is a relatively hardy species that
tolerates crowding and has a wide physiological tolerance.
The high fecundity of female fish provides
plenty of material for hatchery production of seed.
Hatchery production of seed is relatively simple
Barramundi feed well on pelleted diets, and
juveniles are easy to wean to pellets.
Barramundi grow rapidly, reaching a harvestable
size (12oz-6lbs) in six months to two years.
Barramundi live in
freshwater, saltwater and estuaries (where fresh and saltwater meet).
Large female barramundi
can produce upwards of 32 million eggs in a season
Barramundi have been
recorded to be over 4 feet long and weighing over 90 lbs!
magnificent fish have both elegance and fantastic speed; they are a real
talking point and make a very worthwhile addition to the aquarium. They are
usually a pale grey-green with a cop- per-silver shimmer. They generally
exhibit a bright white stripe down the front of their face. Juveniles are a popular aquarium fish, and
can be very entertaining, especially at feeding time. However, they do grow
quickly, so they are recommended to be kept in setups of 130 gallons or larger.
In an aquarium environment, they become quite tame and can be hand fed; they
are not aggressive, but their feeding reflex is violent and sudden, so they cannot
be kept with any tank mates small enough to be swallowed.
Barramundi require a large
sized tank with a slow continuous flow of water with the temperature and
hardness remaining consistent. They do not mind being in clear or turbid water.
They also show a distinct preference for submerged driftwood, rock ledges and
other structures, so making sure there is plenty of hides in the aquarium is
carnivorous, feeding on live prey such as fish and prawns.
The success of your
barramundi will be due to the least stressful environment you can create.
Provided your system has an established grow bed, you haven’t overstocked,
and the weather is warm, the more you feed them the larger and faster they grow
(ensuring they are large enough to eat by the end of the season).
grow out in ponds or recirculating systems starts once the fingerlings reach 1-4
Inches. Fingerlings are stocked at up to 33 Lbs. per 260 gallons of water.
Stocking rates in tank systems vary, depending on the
capacity of the system and the intensity of the operation.
temperature for barramundi culture is 82°F, with acceptable growth rates
between 78-86°F. Temperatures below this range will result in decreased
metabolism and growth. Barramundi generally stop feeding at temperatures below 68°F.
To maintain acceptable growing temperature conditions, some existing farms rely
on the use of warm subterranean bore water and climate controlled or insulated
sheds. Expensive alternatives include the heating of individual tanks with electric
submerged heaters. At optimum temperatures, barramundi can be raised to market
size of (1 lb) in between 6-12 months.
Due to the carnivorous nature of barramundi, a high
protein diet is required for efficient growth. Commercial diets are readily
available from many feed manufacturers and are generally produced in a floating
or sinking pellet.
In Australia, it is farmed in a variety of system such as ponds
and open net pens or cages. In the U.S., it is usually raised in large tanks,
isolated pools, or recirculating systems.
are found ideal for farming because of their fast-growing and hardy nature.
They spawn in saltwater, but they can be grown in varied environments – may it
be fresh, salt or brackish water. They can also be stocked at higher densities.
And while they are carnivores -- feeding on smaller fishes, and some shellfish
-- they also feed on high-protein grain diets. Growth rates vary, but usually,
commercial-sized one-pounder barramundi can be produced in six months.
they are farmed in the U.S. in closed systems and because of their low
dependence on fish-based diet, they are considered more environmentally friendly
fish to grow, particularly in comparison with salmon, which depend largely on
fishmeal for their diet. In addition, in the U.S., they are raised naturally.
That is, without the aid of hormones or antibiotics.
All barramundi are
hermaphroditic and begin their lives as male.
They mature sexually at three to four years
of age. Most of the fish mature initially as males and participate in one or
more spawning seasons before undergoing a sexual inversion (protandry) and
becoming functional females by the next breeding season.
Barramundi are rapid feeders but along with that benefit
comes a problem. What goes in – must come out. Barramundi are big poopers and
fouling the water requires adequate system to deal with water filtration. You
may find that what works well with tilapia which are a very tough fish species
– won’t work as well when dealing with Barramundi. Their water requirements are
more stringent. You will need lots of dissolved oxygen going into their tank,
supplying good aeration. Barramundi need very good water quality in Aquaponics.
An ideal fish for Aquaponics if you live in the tropics. An expensive
proposition if you live in a cold climate. Some people prefer to grow
Barramundi over the summer months in an Aquaponics system. Eat them in Autumn as
plate sized fish and then over the cold winter months replace them with cold
water Trout. A smart idea if you can get both types of fish in your state or
Feeding strategies Today most cultured
barramundi are fed on compounded pellets, although ’trash‘fish or ’low value
fish‘ is still used in areas where it is cheaper or more available than
pelleted diets. Barramundi fed pellets are generally fed twice each day in the
warmer months and once each day during winter. The fingerlings are fed a semi-floating pellet 5-6 times a day
when they are small. This decreases to 1-2 times a day as they grow.
Pellet size increases as the fish size increases. Feed your fish pellets until
all feeding ceases.
is common for Barramundi to not feed for a week after the initial introduction
due to the stress of being moved, if this is the case it is important to be
patient and slowly tempt your fish into feeding. If your Barramundi are not
feeding, then don’t feed them. Uneaten feed will eventually sink to the bottom
of the tank, foul your water, and exacerbate the problem.
will readily accept a pellet, and can be aggressive feeders, preferring to take
pellets from the surface. They are carnivorous in nature and require a high
are territorial and will cannibalize. It is important to ensure that all the
fish in the tank are offered the opportunity to feed to ensure that not just
the dominant fish get fed. It is important to grade this fish and keep fish of
a similar size together to limit the aggressive behavior as much as possible.
For this reason, it is often necessary to separate the larger fish in a tank
and so several culture tanks may be necessary.