Fish for Farm Dams

Bring your farm dam to life with native fingerlings*


On this page you will find information about the types of fish for stocking your dam, their eating, and fishing qualities, as well as stocking densities, how fast they grow, also information about the transporting and releasing of fingerlings.

A range of native fingerlings are available  for use as recreation fishing, in both dams on privately owned land and public waterways.  Aussie Fish Aquatics are also able to supply fingerlings for grow-out as table fish.  If required orders can be delivered by bulk transporter, or delivered right to your door in most areas of Australia. Information on freight & delivery

The most common fish required are, Silver Perch, Sleepy Cod, Australian Bass, Golden Perch and Barramundi. Prices are dependant on order quantity.  (Jade perch are also available but MUST NOT be stocked in farm dams. They are suitable for commercial farming and back yard aquaponics.)

Fish for Private Dams

These fingerlings will be supplied strictly in accordance with Queensland fisheries regulations. Only species that are permitted in you river basin can be stocked in your farm dam. Queensland customers check here. Stocking private dams in Queensland  Interstate customers, you should check with your local authorities before stocking your dam.

Orders may be collected from the farm, or they can delivered to your door. Large orders can also be delivered using our bulk transporter, sometimes at no charge, depending on the size of the order. Payment for fingerlings and any freight or packing is in advance.

A number of varieties of fingerlings are also available to community stocking groups. Hundreds of thousands of fingerlings are stocked by the government and community stocking groups each year. All stockings in public waters are subject to a permit issued by the Queensland Government.

Each river basin is subject to strict controls to prevent the unwanted translocation of any species. Aussie Fish Aquatics employs the best environmental practices to guarantee the integrity of its fingerling deliveries. Aussie Fish Aquatics Pty Ltd is an audited member of the Aquaculture Association of Queensland’s Hatchery Code of Practice. Aussie Fish Aquatics is also a disease free declared hatchery under the Fish Health Certification Program.

In Queensland unlawful stocking under section 90 of Fisheries Act 1994, can attract fines up to 2000 penalty units each unit is $75. If hatchery operator sells fish knowing that that they were going to be released into a water where they are not permitted, that can be investigated under section 7 of the criminal code.

  • You are not allowed to release any fish into rivers or lakes without a permit.
  • It is your responsibility to stock the correct fish in your dam. Information provided by Aussie Fish Aquatics can only be used as a guide.
  • To Find out if you are permitted to place these fish in your farm dam visit this web page: Stocking private dams in Queensland 

Silver Perch are omnivorous and will thrive in most farm dams.

They are also widely farmed in many countries.

They will eat worms and most other aquatic life including weeds. Should you add fingerlings in the future the older fish are very unlikely to eat the new fingerlings. They readily take artificial food, such as aquaculture pellets, chook pellets or bread. Bread or chook foods are not the best of diets for fish but will do in small quantities. Aquaculture pellets are a properly balanced diet and fish will thrive on these commercially available foods. We often refer to silver perch as “the chickens of the pond”. That’s because they will eat anything a chook will eat. This makes them the very best fish to stock in a private dam. They are not generally considered predators, rather foragers. They will poke around the bottom of the dam and find a variety of food such as snails and aquatic worms etc. This is not really the case for Australian bass, barramundi and golden perch. Those fish are considered to be apex predators. Only very large dams can support the food chain needed to feed these apex predators. Aussie Fish Aquatics does not recommend stocking apex predators in dams less than a couple of hectares.

Our silver perch are already eating aquaculture pellets. You can order food from us any time, and we can send food with you fingerlings. You don’t need to feed your fish in your dam, but if you choose to they will grow faster. Silver Perch soon come to know when they will be fed, they will be ready and waiting near the surface at feeding time. We recommend Silver Perch be fed during the late evening. If they are fed early in the morning there is a risk that birds may eat your fish before you are up and about, especially in summer when it is light very early. (Remember the fish will be congregating in one spot waiting to be fed.) Feeding Silver Perch just before sunset will provide a spectacular display for your friends and visitors. A great talking point for a barbie.

Silver Perch can be stocked at about 300-400 per hectare if they are not fed, and up to 1000 per hectare if choose to feed them. (NOTE, it is illegal to sell your fish.)

Silver Perch that have been fed are very easy to catch, just add a hook to their food!? Otherwise use worms fished on the bottom with a very light float.

Silver Perch are excellent eating but can sometimes have a weedy or muddy flavour. It is best to hold live fish in very clean water for a week if the flavour is not pleasant. Alternatively, only take fish for eating from your dam during dry spells when there is no run-off into the dam, and water is clear. In these conditions the fish usually taste good.

Silver Perch are now produced on large fish-farms for the restaurant trade. They are well known for their delicate flavour and delightful melt-in-the-mouth texture. They also have one of the highest omega-3 levels of over 200 sea-foods tested by the CSIRO.

Silver perch can be stocked in farm dams, with out a permit, in the following river basins: Fitzroy, Nogoa, Dawson, Boyne, Kolan, Burnett, Nogo, Barambah, Auburn, Eliot, Burrum, Mary, Caboolture, Maroochy, North Pine, South Pine, Brisbane, Bremer, Lockyer, Stanley, Logan and South Coast (including the Nerang and Coomera rivers, and Currumbin and Tullebudgera creeks).

Catfish (Tandanus tandanus) are scavengers, generally bottom feeders, but will eat small fish that will fit in their mouth.  Temperature tolerance is wide. Anything your other fish can handle, they will be happy with. The big bonus is, they are top eating. Their flesh is white and delicate. When you are ready to eat them just humanely dispatch them. Before gutting and heading them, pour hot water over the skin. Then the skin can easily be peeled off. The protective coating of mucus will not be slippery once the hot water has been applied. Cook them a bit longer than perch to produce the best texture. Undercooked, they can be a bit too moist.

Another big bonus… they will breed in dams.

Australian Bass are predatory fish and require sufficient natural food to thrive. This means a good amount of aquatic insects and other aquatic life such as small fish and frogs. Bass are usually difficult to convert to artificial food in farm dams. For these reasons stocking rates should be relatively low, about, 200-300 per hectare. Growing bass fingerlings in tanks is possible. In tanks, they will take aquaculture feeds.

  • Bass are excellent eating.
  • It is rare for Bass to have a muddy or weedy flavour.
  • Bass are easy to catch on live bait such as yabbies (lobbies), or lures. Since Bass are highly predatory, should you wish to add more fingerlings in later years, the older fish will often eat many of the new fingerlings.

Sleepy Cod are said to be the best eating of all Australia’s freshwater fish. Their stocking range is very limited. The variety supplied by Ausyfish are suitable for stocking anywhere within the Fitzroy/Dawson River basin. They are strictly carnivorous, predatory fish, and therefore require plenty of small fish and other aquatic animal life, such as insects and frogs. They are relative easy to catch, provided you fish for them as darkness sets in. Live bait or lures are best. Yabbies are particularly good, also freshwater shrimp.

Sleepy Cod are one of the few fish that will breed in farm dams. Although suggested stocking densities are low, due to their food requirements, they will soon establish their own stocking density. Once you have stocked Sleepy Cod it will be difficult to stock other fingerlings as the larger Sleepy Cod will eat newly introduced fingerlings.

Sleepy Cod are relatively slow growers. You can expect a well fed fish to reach about 500 grams in about two years.

Sleepy cod should be stocked at about 200-300 per hectare. Approximately 400-500 fingerlings can be shipped in one box. Sleepy cod are also one of the more expensive fingerlings.

Golden Perch are excellent eating and rarely have “off flavour”.

They are strictly predatory and therefore require a plentiful supply of small fish, aquatic insects, or other aquatic animals such as yabbies, shrimp or even sometimes frogs.

They will eat the new fingerlings in subsequent stockings. Therefore larger quantities of fingerlings need to be stocked, and at closer intervals, in future stockings of your dam.

Because they depend on natural live food stocking density needs to be lower than that of Silver Perch, about 200-300 per hectare. An average growth of a Golden Perch given plenty of food should produce a fish between one and two kilo in about two years.

They are great fun to catch and can be caught on lures and most live or frozen baits.

IMPORTANT NOTE: If you stock golden perch fingerlings, you MUST stock the correct genetic strain. There are a number of genetic strains of golden perch. It is a breach of the Queensland fisheries regulations to stock the incorrect strain. You should only purchase fingerlings from a hatchery operating within the fisheries regulations, and ask if the strain is the correct one for your district. Ausyfish Pty. Ltd. produce most strains according to demand, including the strain suitable for stocking into rivers which drain into Lake Eyre.

Another popular species available is the Murray cod. This is Australia’s largest freshwater fish. This species has a high demand for live food, such as small fish, shrimp, crayfish etc. They do not forage for food or eat aquatic vegetation. When you want to add more fingerlings to your dam in future years, larger fish from earlier stockings will make a meal of the new fingerlings. Murray cod are generally not suitable for small dams. Murray cod will tolerate lower temperatures that Barramundi and should considered when a large predatory fish is desired in areas south of Bundaberg.

Barramundi is an Aboriginal word meaning large-scaled river fish.

They have been caught well over 40 kilo.

There is no doubt barramundi are one of the most popular and well known of Australia’s sport fish. All barramundi are born as males. They spend the early part of their lives in fresh water until they reach sexual maturity. They then migrate down stream to the mouth of the river system where they meet the females, most of which have been living in the sea. They spawn in the salt water then some of the males will follow the females out to sea and some will go back to the river. The males which go out to sea will change to females. Even barramundi which are unable to go out to sea will still change into females.

You should think very carefully before stocking your farm dam with barramundi. Their demand for food is difficult to meet. They need a good supply of live food, such as small fish, shrimp, crayfish etc. They do not forage for food or eat aquatic vegetation. One of the biggest problems will be when you want to add more fingerlings to your dam. Any barramundi remaining from earlier stockings will make a meal of the new fingerlings, of any species, which you introduce to you dam. Barramundi are generally not suitable for small dams.

IMPORTANT NOTE: If you stock barramundi fingerlings, you MUST stock the correct genetic strain. There are a number of genetic strains of barramundi. It is a breach of the Queensland fisheries regulations to stock the incorrect strain. You should only purchase fingerlings from a hatchery operating within the fisheries regulations, and ask if the strain is the correct one for your district. Ausyfish Pty. Ltd. supply the “southern” strain.

Saratoga are easy to catch on live bait and are suckers for a well worked lure. Fly-fishing for Saratoga has become very popular over recent years. Saratoga have been stocked in a number of areas outside their natural range. Check to see if you are allowed to stock before you order.

They have excellent eye sight and use their upward-facing eyes to catch insects. They will leap on to the bank of a pond or river to snatch an insect from a blade of grass. They also eat many other forms of aquatic animals such as frogs, yabbies, shrimp and small fish. Saratoga are one of the few fish that will breed in farm dams, although it takes 4 or 5 years for the fingerlings to reach breeding maturity.

Aussie Fish Aquatics produces the southern form of Saratoga, Scleropages Leichardti. These are the most expensive of all the fingerlings produced. This is because they are a very popular aquarium fish fetching well over $100 in aquarium shops. Fingerlings are around $40, farm gate. They are also difficult to produce in large numbers. Each female is only capable of producing a few hundred egg, and only raising a few of these to become fingerlings. Seven fingerlings are packed in individual bags in each box.