Pond and tank aquaculture systems

You can use pond, tank or aquarium systems to culture many freshwater and certain marine species (such as barramundi). The species you choose will influence which production system you’ll need and how it’s designed.

If you plan to use a pond system, make sure you read the guidelines for aquaculture pond construction.

Marine pond and tank systems

Saline water is pumped onto the farm where it is fed using gravity to a series of production ponds. Water drains from the ponds and enters a treatment pond where solid wastes settle before water is discharged back to the sea.

In some cases, recirculation aquaculture systems can be used to pass some of this water back through the farm system.

Ponds should have a gently sloping bottom to allow for draining and harvesting of the cultured product, and allow full draining for a dry-out period between crops. Pond depths vary from 1.5–2m. Sizes vary but most prawn ponds are about 1ha in size, while barramundi ponds are about 0.4ha.


Freshwater pond and tank systems

Pond sizes range from 0.2ha to 1.5ha and are 2–3m deep. Ponds are normally aerated mechanically with paddle wheels and aspirators. Water exchanges are carried out to remove ammonia and control algal blooms.

Sloping ponds allow complete drainage and ensure that discharge drains transfer water to settlement ponds and holding dams. This means the wastewater can be treated and reused.


Recirculating aquaculture systems

Recirculating aquaculture systems (RAS) are indoor, tank-based systems in which fish are grown at high density under strictly controlled environmental conditions.

You may be able to use a RAS to reduce your reliance on an external water supply.


Hatcheries are facilities that hold adult broodstock to induce spawning under carefully controlled conditions. This process produces eggs and larvae for on-growing, as well as for the aquarium trade.