(Guest post by Robert Armstrong of foodqube – www.foodqube.com.au)
Aquaponics in Australia has had an illustrious beginning. Given Australia’s comparatively small population, it is surprising to note that Australia, alongside the U.S, leads the world in backyard aquaponics adoption. In fact, in 2010 it was estimated that backyard systems globally amounted to roughly 3500 with over half of the overall number being constructed in Australia.
Not only have Australians been enthusiastic builders of aquaponics systems, they are also at the
forefront of the promotion of aquaponics at a global level. Australia currently has two of the top six
ranking websites globally for aquaponics. The other four websites are based in the U.S and, as you
may have guessed, ‘The Aquaponics Source’ is right up there with the best of them.
Australia has a lot to offer the world when it comes to education and innovation. In general terms,
both the US and Australia are recognised as world leaders in agricultural research and the level of
experimentation by individuals and groups in both countries shows this reputation is well deserved
when it comes to aquaponics as well. It has been the willingness of the early adopters from both
countries to share what they have learnt that has allowed aquaponics to gain mainstream attention
and to become an accepted backyard farming practice in many households.
Although the U.S and Australia are on opposite sides of the planet, the fundamental principles of aquaponics and the motivations for using it remain the same. Aquaponics enthusiasts in both countries recognise the potential of these systems and the very good reasons why aquaponics can reduce our impact on the environment around us.
Whist there is much that is similar, the main differences are due to government legislation regulating
what practices are accepted and this has a direct impact on the species of plants and fish that may be
cultivated. As an example, in the U.S. Tilapia are the most common fish species raised in aquaponics
whilst in Australia it is the Jade Perch. Despite similar climates it is local laws that prohibit the
importation of either species between the U.S. and Australia.
Building on common ground whilst recognising the differences, the key players in Australia and the
U.S have served as critical examples to help people in both countries and the world at large to build
their own successful systems. This continued sharing of information and collaboration at a national
and international level can only spur the widespread adoption of aquaponics techniques. Australian
enthusiasts stand ready, next to their US counterparts, enthusiastic to take aquaponics to the next
Rob Armstrong is a Co-Founder of Foodqube, crafting functional and unique aquaponics units from
recycled building products.