Jade Perch or Barcoo grunter (Scortum barcoo) is native to the Lake Eyre and Bulloo-Bancannia catchments in central Australia. The natural habitat of the Jade Perch includes the low gradient rivers and creeks of the Lake Eyre catchment.
This fish is ideal for large ponds or aquaponics systems. However, please note that these fish are NOT allowed in dams.
The Jade Perch is a hardy fish and will tolerate a wide range of water conditions. Keep the temperature between 20°C and 28°C, the pH between 6.8 and 7.2 and the general hardness between 50 and 200ppm. However, if the temperature drops below 16°C, the Jade Perch are likely to stop eating and if it drops any further, they are likely to die. For this reason, it would be unwise to keep Jade Perch in unheated tanks in colder climates.
On the other hand, if the water temperature exceeds 24°C, Jade Perch put on weight very quickly.
The Jade Perch is an easy fish to feed. It is an omnivore that will consume most food items. Here it would be unwise to neglect what is already in your kitchen as food for the fish as Jade perch will consume a wide variety of vegetables. Throw a lettuce into your fish tank and come back the next day and all you will find are the stalks and roots.
On another note, there is an easy way of producing readily available food for your perch at almost no cost. Jade Perch are known to consume duckweed. Duckweed is normally considered a pest and is avoided at all costs, however, in this case I would suggest that you actively try to propagate it. All you need is a large tub and some nutrient for the duckweed to feed on to enable it to grow rapidly and multiply. Try not to disturb the water. Using fish water from your aquaponics system is ideal.
Take care not to overfeed as they are voracious feeders!
Jade Perch will not breed in your tank. Like a lot of Australian native fish, they will only spawn in captivity when injected with hormones.
The Jade Perch has the added benefit of being edible. Not only that, it is very good for you. An independent study by the CSIRO has found that Jade Perch trumped the Atlantic Salmon when it came to healthy fish oils.
You can start harvesting your fish at around 12 months. The flesh is white and flaky. It breaks apart very easily. The bones are large and easy to find and separate. Some people find the taste of Jade perch to be a little oily as you would expect from a fish high in Omega 3.
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