Saltwater Aquaponics

One thing I will be doing before Christmas this year is to set up a saltwater aquaponics system at home (I already have a 6,000L freshwater system). Only small as a proof of concept, but then to see with what I can do with it from there.Steamed Samphire & Lemon

Fish types are easy as both trout and barramundi can live in full seawater and I can also get black bream fingerlings if needed.

Plants then need some consideration. Obviously I’ll be putting seaweed into the system, and this will be an Ulva variety of some description. However, seaweed on it’s own is unlikely to be attractive to a wide audience.

Hence I’ll need some sort of growbed to be able to grow non-seaweed type plants. Samphire (see the photo) is the first thing that comes to mind. The growbed will also provide me with some or all of my biofiltration. If I can find a number of plants that will be of interest, then increased growbed volume can be my entire biofiltration, if not I’ll hook up a moving bed filter with some Kaldnes media in it.

Better start researching samphires in Western Australia !


  1. This is an interesting area of research, SeaweedGuy, and I will be checking in from time to time to see how your research is progressing. All the best.

  2. Hi Peter

    Yeah, thanks for the comment. Hoping to get final MSc approval this week or next and then it’s all go.

    The saltwater aquaponics will be run at home and is sort of a “what-if?” sideline to what I be doing with my propoer research.

  3. Hey there SeaweedGuy!

    How did the test case go with your SW AP set up?

    I am extremely interested in SW AP so when I can finally set up my FW AP system I can plan ahead for SW variety fish and plants.

    I did see on another site that ornamental SW plants may fetch a squid or three however this was a US site and the market may be somewhat different. Another suggestion from this DIY Aquaponics site was coral, ridiculously slow but equally ridiculous in the sale price.

    Lastly, there was another suggestion to simulate tidal pools with sloped gravel beds to raise crustaceans and a variety called ghost shrimp which I believe is another US variety. I am sure there is applicability in Aus for these applications. What is needed is more experimentation, errors, solutions, collaboration and inspiration. This is some exciting stuff here (SW or FW) and even a great possibility for all people including retirees to set up their own businesses to work from home if/where space permits.

    Keep up the good work, will be a couple of years off my first system yet but am researching as much as possible….



    1. Thanks Smeg

      Some good ideas there that hadn’t occurred to me. I especially like the coral idea as it could be implemented as a value-add to the system without having to make any other modifications.

      You’re correct – there is a lot of experimentation needed in this area. I believe polyculture is going to be an important part of aquaculture in the future and the available knowledgebase in this area is still in it’s infancy.

      1. Hi there SeaweedGuy,

        Further to our conversation, I have been wandering the dark and cobweb strewn corridors of my imagination and have been pondering the idea of rooftop aquaponic systems.

        This is based on a concept I have for reclaiming abandoned factories, plants etc to convert into productive aquaponic facilities. no need for soil so the clean up from contaminates wouldn’t be as horrid as one would initially consider.

        Ok, now back to the SW AP concept. If you had a roof top AP system, you would have a great advantage of implementing a vertical growbed system.

        As an aside, have a look at the website of Joost Bakker in
        Melbourne. You will see his house and restaurant clad with a vertical garden of strawberries using thousands of terracotta pots mounted in a rio mesh frame.

        The ideas of Joost lead me to thinking, a roof top SW AP system, vertical growbed of samphire and deep tanks of kelp. I acknowledge this would probably only work in a converted industrial building with a significant height advantage for the tanks.

        Now, given this fanciful idea could actually happen (humour me), would it be better to keep SW fish stocks in separated tanks or in the main large kelp tanks?

        I was thinking that it would be a better practice to keep them separated for the sake of segregation in the case of disease, discontent of maintenance. Then I suppose that the kelp tanks could accommodate, crayfish, mussels and ornamental plants/SW fish etc.

        I concede its all a bit of a pipe dream but I would like to explore the theories even if the financial outlay would indicate the likelihood of imminent financial failure…..

        Your thoughts?



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