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The PERCH MAN ABN 42 065 149 145

To order, email: bruce@theperchman.com 

The aquaculture of Jade Perch has become one of the fastest growing freshwater fish species in the world.

Jade perch definately are NOT vegiterian, they are in fact omnivores. They will eat almost anything, animal or vegetable!

For the aquaculture of any species to succeed there needs to be a few basic "boxes ticked". The success of JADE perch as an aquaculture species is because the species ticks so many of these boxes. They are relatively hard to kill, the grow fast, they don't need expensive aquaculture diets to grow well, and they are very popular as a table fish in one of the worlds biggest seafood markets, that's the Asian community. When I say the "Asian community" I am not saying, "Asian countries", but I am saying Asian communities in any country. In Australia, the species found its early market acceptance within the Chinese restaurants in the major capital cities of Australia. This provided the jumping off point for the species to gain its current success in Asian communities world wide. The biggest box the species has ticked it the "health" box. It is extraordinarily high in omega-3. With all the knowledge now known about the benefits of omega-3. The "health box tick", was the final quailty needed to guarantee the species market success. This market potential is massive. I predict this species will be produced in most countries around the world over the next few years. It is already settling into markets in countries like Vietnam, mainland China, Taiwan, and Malaysia. Europe and USA are starting to test the species too. There is no reason these countries, and any future country to try them will not see exactly the same growth in market demand as the first countries that tried it have enjoyed.

The name, "Jade Perch" was chosen because of the distinctive greenish, (JADE) colour displayed by the fish as the light catches the scales on the dorsal area of the fish. The market for jade perch at that time was almost exclusively Chinese restaurants, and jade being a precious gemstone was felt to be appealing to the Chinese customers. The name was chosen by 3 of the pioneer growers, (Michael Hickey, Stan Moore, Rosss mammino.) of JADE perch while sitting around the kitchen table of the then president for the Aquaculture Association of Queensland Inc., Bruce Sambell. (The PERCH MAN.) The common name, at that time, was barcoo grunter which did not have market appeal.


Healthy food - Australian Jade Perch a super food

There are good and bad fats. We hear a lot about the "bad" saturated fats.

But some other fats, "good fats", like Omega-3 fatty acids are absolutely required for normal health and development. They're building blocks of every living cell in your body. Omega-3 fatty acids must be obtained from the diet for good health.

Thousands of scientific research studies have shown that Omega-3s can help strengthen and protect every cell in your body - and especially those cells in your heart, brain and joints.

Omega-3s also have been shown to help lower triglyceride levels contributing to a 50% reduction in the risk of death from heart disease in people with a diet rich in Omega-3 nutrients.
Diets enriched with Omega-3 fatty acids may help prevent some risk factors associated with cardiovascular and heart disease.
It's important to note that you must get Omega-3s through diet or nutritional supplements because the human body can't make them on its own.
Omega-3s are essential nutrients found in fresh, Australian JADE Perch. They are scientifically proven to nourish every living cell, significantly impacting heart, brain and joint health.

Omega-3 benefits improve, Cartilage Health, Heart Health, Joint Health, Brain Health and Mother’s Health, not to mention our general health and well being.

You can improve your life with the proven health benefits of Omega-3 contained in quality Australian Jade Perch !

Click for recipes and Hints

Jade perch filet 1024x668 Australian Jade Perch Jade Perch really seem to grow very fast. Some growers have even said, twice as fast as silver perch. The feeding behavior of Australian Jade Perch is normally vigorous in the extreme. The fish race towards the end of the pond where the approaching farmer is about to feed, creating quite a bow wave as they begin to break the surface with their heads. Once they reach the edge of the pond they will extent their entire head from the water in anticipation of a feed.

This behaviour decreases in intensity as the temperature drops. Under 18c surface feeding will almost stop. Some farmers have experienced stock losses during winter. Although harvesting fingerlings in water temperatures around 14-15c without losses is common practice on some hatchery farms. Unlike wild caught fish, grow-out fish have large quantities of fat within their body cavity. 

They grow extremely fast and will be highly suited to districts having moderate sub tropical to tropical temperatures. They are also proving to be a good species for recirculating systems, RAS. (Unlike Silver Perch which are very difficult to grow beyond a few hundred grams in a RAS.) See the members area for full details.

Jade perch are a freshwater species. However, they are quite hardy and can tolerate a range of water quality parameters. Intensive culture environments can at times result in poor water quality, and rapid changes could mean the difference between good growth rates and increase susceptibility to disease. Regular monitoring of water quality is strongly advised. 

Quality fingerlings don't just happen.

Quality fry/fingerlings are the result of good brood fish management. We produce fish, specificly for grow out farms. For over a quarter of a century I have been line breeding our fish. Selecting for desirable qualities such as body shape, disease resistance, spots, and of course, fast growers. Our breeders have been selected each season from fish obtained from our fingerling customers in Australia and our own "super shooters", and fresh wild fish. That is many generations of line bred fishClick for more

Feeding Jade Perch fry and fingerlings

There are a number of suitable foods that I have used over the years. Currently we use products from Big Nutrition www.bignutrition.comI make my own special weaning diet (dust) which is best suited to fish between 8mm and 40mm. Fish of larger sizes will eat this "dust" but they should be moved on to larger sized food as soon as possible. The dust spreads over the water surface allowing all the fish to get to the food. 
All fish getting to food helps reduce excess size variation in fish. About half the food floats. Ideal as it allows visual observation of feeding behaviour. The "members area" has more detail about food including a video of the dust being fed to jade perch.

WARNING: There is another fish, the Scortum Hillii, commonly known as the Leathery Grunter. It is called the Leathery Grunter because of its incredibly tough eating quality. These two fish are very difficult for even the trained eye to tell apart ! The same name has been applied to similar looking fish from Gulf Drainage rivers in the northern part of Australia. Be sure to purchase your fingerlings from a reputable hatchery. The brood fish should be Scortum Barcoo from the Barcoo River Basin in Central Australia. This will ensure that you get the "good" eating fish. 
One final comment, they grow bloody fast in the warm months (Sept-May) in South Queensland! We predict a great future for this fish.


This is one of the "impostor fish," Scortum hilii. There is no noticeable difference in their appearance. This picture was taken on the river bank of a wild fish just caught in a gill net. 

To enlarge, right click picture, then open in new tab.

 Below left is an 8 week old jade perch "shooter" (An extra fast growing fish.) with jade perch in its stomach, all the same age ! Jade perch are cannibalistic. Centre, are market size jade perch.

    100_3853.jpg500gramjadeperch       Tank_of_adults_underwater_640x363.jpg

Click for video

Jade perch, hatchery to plate 

It all starts with the eggs hatching. In this YouTube video you can see the larvae breaking out of the egg shells. Click here

SEE jadeperchman on YouTube

Jade perch definately are NOT vegiterian, they are in fact omnivores. They will eat almost anything, animal or vegetable!

The marketing name, The name, "Jade Perch" was chosen because of the distinctive greenish, (JADE) colour displayed by the fish as the light catches the scales on the dorsal area of the fish. The market for jade perch at that time was almost exclusively Chinese restaurants, and jade being a precious gemstone was felt to be appealing to the Chinese customers. The name was chosen by 3 of the pioneer growers, (Michael Hickey, Stan Moore, Rosss mammino.) of JADE perch while sitting around the kitchen table of the then president for the Aquaculture Association of Queensland Inc., Bruce Sambell. (The PERCH MAN.) The common name, at that time, was barcoo grunter which did not have market appeal.

OK, so how about when we eat them?

They are very goog to eat, and have a firmer, slightly flaky flesh than Silver Perch. They grow extremely fast and are highly suited for aquaculture in areas with a moderate sub tropical to tropical climate. They are also proving to be a good species for recirculating aquaculture systems. (RAS) (Unlike silver perch which are very difficult to grow beyond a few hundred grams in a RAS.) The fish come from a very hostile environment. Fish in Australian rivers must be able to cope well with the “feast and famine” nature of many of the river systems in Australia. These rivers can be dry for months, even years. Large water holes are the surviving refuge for many species of Australian native fishes, especially JADE perch. The fish in these water holes predate on each other for survival. After flooding the natural food supply for these fish is abundant. This glut of food is a contrast in the extreme compared to a drought situation where the fish will find getting a feed very difficult. Also during the cooler water temperatures experienced in winter (usually the dry season) the fish are less active and probably rarely feed. The stored fat will be used to help the fish survive in these situations. In aquaculture, fish are grown in an artificial environment such as a commercial fish pond or a RAS. They are in fact being kept in a “feast” situation. The fish grow rapidly and store fat as quick as they can, to be ready for the “famine”, which never comes in a controled aquaculture situation.

This fish sure has a great place in commercial aquaculture !

A shipment of Australian JADE perch fry at Queenslands Brisbane Airport 360gmseggs

Purging or "finishing"

Off-flavours and Purging
Like most freshwater fish  Australian species can develop off flavour. This is because chemicals are concentrated in the fat of the fish that come from the water they live in. The fat tissues in the fish absorb compounds released by blue green algae in the ponds. The off flavour can vary from season to season depending on algae blooms. Off flavour can even happen to fish in RAS systems, (Recirculating Aquaculture Systems.) In recirculating systems, the off-flavour can come from the filter system. Fish in aquaculture systems that use surface waters, (Usually not from well, or bore water.) can have earthy/muddy/musty taints even if algae is not in the aquaculture facility
The most common off-flavors are caused by metabolites of blue-green algae. These off-flavors are typically referred to as “musty” from 2-methyli-soborneol (MIB) and “muddy” from geosmin.
A wide range of algae species have been identified as producing off flavour. The two most common organisms responsible for the production of these compounds are cyanobacteria and actinomycetes.
To remove the off-flavour the fish should be held in clean water for 3-21 days, depending on the individual farm and pond.

MORE - Some people can detect a taste that they describe as “off flavour”. Freshwater fish are often referred to as having a weedy, muddy or off-flavour. There are 3 chemicals responsible for these tastes. The weedy taste is usually caused by the algae present in ponds where the fish were raised, as is the muddy flavour caused by turbid water in pond raised fish. None of these are harlmfull, just not pleasent to the tast. Obviously this is very undesirable. The chemicals that cause these off flavours are concentrated in the skin and fat of the fish.

The remedy is simple. If the fish are held in very clean water for a few days these flavours can be removed. Generally the purging, or finishing time is 7 days, sometimes longer, sometimes shorter. It is recommended that before fish are sent to market that the grower taste test 2 or 3 fish from each batch. If there are no “off flavours” present, the product can be said to be “finished,” or market ready. When properly purged of these off flavours, these fish have excellent table qualities. The flesh is white, slightly flaky, and has a delicate, melt in the mouth texture. A tip when cooking, is to cook a little longer that you might many "sea" or salt water fish. The longer you cook them the firmer and drier the flesh will become. As a freshwater fish, the fillet is a lot more moist than salt water fish. If not cooked for long enough, the fillet can be a little "mushy" in texture. Too soft, and too moist. Another tip... The chemicals that cause these off flavours are concentrated in the skin and fat of the fish. A skin off fillet will always tast the best.

Some people believe the purging of the fish in salted water makes the flesh taste better. This is not scientificly supported. There is no actual change in the texture, or flavour of the fish due to the salt content of the purging water. Although the salt in the purging water is of great benifit to the fish, (I have always said salt is the asprin of aquaculture, and should always be used when handling fresh water fish. In fact if a professional grower, or hatchery operater did not use salt, he makes things difficult for himself, and his fish.) it actually has no biological effect on the flesh. The salt content of the fishes body, including the mussel tissue will always be the same through the fishes ability to *osmoregulate the salt in its body. There are exceptions such as barramundi, but jade and silver perch undergo NO changes when kept in high levels of salt. Too little, or too much salt will stress the fish. When handeling live fish, such as harvesting, the fish become stressed, and lose salt to their "freshwater" environment. A little salt added to their water is extreamly helpful. I recomend 2 to 5 parts per thousand, (ppt). That's 2 to 5 grams per liter. A salt content of 10ppt will result in stock losses for jade and silver perch. At levels above 10ppm the fish experience difficulties balancing the salt levels in their bodies. No matter how much salt you add to the water, the fish will try to regulate the salt content of their bodies. This is known as osmoregulation. Osmoregulation is the regulation of a cells fluids. It keeps the mussel tissue of the fish from becoming to dry or becoming to fluid. It regulates the salt content and what waste to get rid of and what to keep) The salt in the purging water does help the fish to purge their gut, and helps with parasite management. It is also a mild antiseptic. It also acts as a mild anaethetic keeping the fish calmer. For greater detail on the use of salt and other chemicals to manage and treat disease go to the members area. click here for more Recipes for the chef here

Growing Australian JADE perch. Queensland Jade Perch are best grown in water temperatures above 24c and below 33C. Fastest growth is around 26C. They will survive temperatures as low as 11C for reasonably short periods, but can go as low a 9c and as high as 39c are possible, but probably not for long. Best pH range between 6.0 and 9. Will tolerate pH levels between 5.5 and 10. Food conversion ratios (FCR's) for jade perch are generally in the range of 1.3-2:1 (kg of food: weight growth) Feed at about 2-4% body weight per day. WHAT SHOULD YOU FEED THEM? Good quality commercial aquaculture feed is best. See this link for commercial quantities. www.bignutrition.com.au

Salinity levels of 5g per litre of sodium chloride (plain salt) are, acceptable for long-term exposure and can be used to treat ectoparasite and fungal diseases. No mortality at salinity of 12ppt , up to 40% losses can be experienced at 15ppt

The amount of fish that can be produced in a pond is greatly dependant on aeration, and water temperature. The higher the temperature the lower the oxygen. Put simply, this is because less oxygen can be dissolved in water at higher temperatures. The fishes demand for oxygen is also increased as the temperature of the pond increases. The higher the temperature the greater the metabolic rate of the fish. From the farmers point of view, they grow faster, BUT, generally for every ten degrees that the temperature increases, the fishes metabolic rate doubles. Therefor without aeration less fish can be produced in the same area. Since Australia JADE perch grow twice as fast as Queensland Silver Perch at higher temperatures, they require more aeration. As a rough guide a one acre pond with one 2hp paddle wheel will grow about 5-6 ton of Australian JADE perch. Some produces believe that this size pond is not well suited to two paddle wheels. If a 1.25 acre pond is used two paddle wheels can be used to best advantage to raise 6-7 ton of fish.

How big do they get?

7inchestall 19incheslong

We actually don't know the answer to this question just yet. In their natural environment, they don't get anywhere near as big as the one in these pictures. The fish in these pictures weighs 3.2 kilo. This is an aquacultured fish. (Note the "plate friendly" shape.) They just don't get this big in the wild. This is probably because they don't get a chance to live long enough, or the conditions are not good enough, not enough food and too cold in winter? Another consideration is improved genetics. For many years the breeders have been selected for their fast growing qualities. The slow growers are never used as breeders. This will be having an influence on the potential size of the off-spring. It will be a few more years before we have the answers to these questions. Click here for more

For detailed information about growing jade perch, and their health management (Disease management.) go to the members area.

AQUACULTURE CONSULTING  Advice is available at your aquaculture site or farm, to existing and potential growers of Australian freshwater fish. Advice is based on over 30 years experience and hands on practice. 

New video service available for commercial farmers. Introduction video click here More information here

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Below left the Gut of a wild JADE perch with all organs visible and NO fat. RIGHT an aquacultured JADE perch which has been fed on a diet perhaps a little too rich. No organs are visible through the fat.

wildjadegut  fat1

*Keeping the osmotic pressure, the salt in their cells, in freshwater fish is a constant battle and will result is serious stress to the fish if not managed by the grower, or hatchery operator. Fresh water fish constantly face two kinds of problems, they gain water passively through their skin due to osmotic gradient, and continually lose body salts to the surrounding water of much lower salt content. Osmoregulation in fresh water fish is affected by pumping out excess of water from their bodies. The salt loss through the excretion of water is made good by salt absorbing gills, skin and various parts of the alimentary canal.

For more jade perch information click here

The members area has detailed information about jade perch, including growing and disease management  click for more

CONTACT INFORMATION. Note: Due to frequent international travel, phone contact and text messages may be difficult and email replies may be delayed. Preferred method of contact is by email. Phone number is for emergencies only.

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