The dual objective of sustainable aquaculture, i.e., to produce food while sustaining natural resources is achieved only when production systems with a minimum ecological impact are used. Recirculating aquaculture systems (RASs) provide opportunities to reduce water usage and to improve waste management and nutrient recycling. RAS makes intensive fish production compatible with environmental sustainability. This review aims to summarize the most recent developments within RAS that have contributed to the environmental sustainability of the European aquaculture sector. The review first shows the ongoing expansion of RAS production by species and country in Europe. Life cycle analysis showed that feed, fish production and waste and energy are the principal components explaining the ecological impact of RAS. Ongoing developments in RAS show two trends focusing on: (1) technical improvements within the recirculation loop and (2) recycling of nutrients through integrated farming. Both trends contributed to improvements in the environmental sustainability of RAS. Developments within the recirculation loop that are reviewed are the introduction of denitrification reactors, sludge thickening technologies and the use of ozone. New approached towards integrated systems include the incorporation of wetlands and algal controlled systems in RAS. Finally, the review identifies the key research priorities that will contribute to the future reduction of the ecological impact of RAS. Possible future breakthroughs in the fields of waste production and removal might further enhance the sustainabilty of fish production in RAS.
► We have compiled data from hard-to-assess literature and hand-on experiences with operating RAS in practice. ► We provide descriptions of/information on system setup for rearing different species in RAS. ► We have compiled observed water quality parameters when rearing different species in practice. ► High capital costs are one of the biggest challenges to sustainable RAS. ► Increasing technical complexity puts large demands on RAS system management. Recirculating aquaculture systems (RAS) have gained increasing interest in recent years as a means to intensify fish production while at the same time minimize the environmental impact. Considerable hands-on experience has accumulated within the Nordic countries over the last 20–30 years in designing, building, and operating intensive land-based RAS for different species. This study compiles and assesses published literature along with un-published hands-on experiences with rearing different species in RAS in the Nordic countries, including Atlantic salmon ( ), rainbow trout ( ), European eel ( ), pike perch ( ), Arctic char ( ), sturgeon (order Acipenseriformes), Nile tilapia ( ), and European lobster ( ). High capital costs are one of the biggest challenges to sustainable RAS calling for large scale intensive productions to reduce investment and operation costs. Consistent with this, production of Atlantic salmon smolts in indoor RAS and rainbow trout in outdoor Model-Trout-Farms (MTFs) have been the commercially most successful productions so far. Aside from end-of-pipe treatment including sludge handling and efficient nitrogen removal, much of the RAS technology applied is well known and is, as such, more or less ready to apply for culturing a variety of species. Successful production of “new” species in RAS therefore largely comes down to identifying the biological requirements of that specific species, and designing the RAS to fulfill and support the specific requirements. Well established brood-stocks and continuous supply of offspring is furthermore a prerequisite for successful RAS production of most species. Successful operations of less intensive RAS such as aquaponic systems appear to be feasible primarily when culturing more exotic species targeted for selected customers.
► Waste treatment in indoor and outdoor RAS is reviewed. ► Little waste reduction takes place in indoor RAS. ► Outdoor RAS generally produce less waste than indoor RAS. ► Many on and off-site methods exist for waste reduction in freshwater RAS effluents. ► Treatment of effluents from marine RAS is little developed. Recirculating aquaculture systems (RAS) are operated as outdoor or indoor systems. Due to the intensive mode of fish production in many of these systems, waste treatment within the recirculating loop as well as in the effluents of these systems is of primary concern. In outdoor RAS, such treatment is often achieved within the recirculating loop. In these systems, extractive organisms, such as phototrophic organisms and detritivores, are cultured in relatively large treatment compartments whereby a considerable part of the waste produced by the primary organisms is converted in biomass. In indoor systems, capture of solid waste and conversion of ammonia to nitrate by nitrification are usually the main treatment steps within the recirculating loop. Waste reduction (as opposed to capture and conversion) is accomplished in some freshwater and marine indoor RAS by incorporation of denitrification and sludge digestion. In many RAS, whether operated as indoor or outdoor systems, effluent is treated before final discharge. Such effluent treatment may comprise devices for sludge thickening, sludge digestion as well as those for inorganic phosphate and nitrogen removal. Whereas waste disposed from freshwater RAS may be treated in regional waste treatment facilities or may be used for agricultural purposes in the form of fertilizer or compost, treatment options for waste disposed from marine RAS are more limited. In the present review, estimations of waste production as well as methods for waste reduction in the recirculating loop and effluents of freshwater and marine RAS are presented. Emphasis is placed on those processes leading to waste reduction rather than those used for waste capture and conversion.
In zero-exchange superintensive culture systems, flocculated particles (bioflocs) accumulate in the water column. Consequently, some control over the concentration of these particles must be performed. The objective of this study is to evaluate the effects of three concentrations of bioflocs on microbial activity, selected water quality indicators and performance of in a tank system operated with no water exchange. A 44-day study was conducted with juvenile (6.8 g) shrimp stocked in twelve 850 L tanks at a stocking density of 459 shrimp m . Biofloc levels were expressed as three presets of total suspended solids (TSS) concentrations, as follows: 200 mg L (T200), 400–600 mg L (T400–600), and 800–1000 mg L (T800–1000). TSS levels were controlled by attaching a 40 L settling tank to each culture tank. Reduction of TSS to concentrations close to 200 mg L decreased the time of bacterial cell residence and significantly reduced the nitrification rates in the water ( < 0.05). The tanks in the T200 treatment had a greater variability of ammonia and nitrite ( < 0.05), which led to the need to increase the C:N ratio of the organic substrate to control ammonia through its assimilation into heterotrophic bacterial biomass. But the higher production of heterotrophic bacteria in T200 ( < 0.05) increased the dissolved oxygen demand. Nitrification rates were higher ( < 0.05) in tanks with TSS concentrations above 400 mg L , and ammonia and nitrite were significantly lower than in the T200 tanks. We suggest that ammonia and nitrite in the T400–600 and T800–1000 tanks were controlled primarily by nitrifying bacteria, which provided higher stability of these parameters and of dissolved oxygen. Regarding shrimp performance, the reduction of TSS to levels close to 200 mg L was associated with better nutritional quality of bioflocs. Nevertheless, differences in biofloc levels and nutritional quality were not sufficient to affect the weight gain by shrimp. The rate of shrimp survival and the final shrimp biomass were lower ( < 0.05) when the TSS concentrations were higher than 800 mg L . Analysis of the shrimps’ gills showed a higher degree of occlusion in the T800–1000 treatment ( < 0.05), which suggests that the shrimp have an intolerance to environments with a solids concentration above 800 mg L . Our results show that intermediate levels of bioflocs (TSS between 400 and 600 mg L ) appear to be more suitable to superintensive culture of since they create factors propitious for maintaining the system’s productivity and stability
► RAS companies, researchers and consultants all over the world were surveyed. ► Poor system designs, water quality issues and mechanical problems are the main constraints. ► 50% of the surveyed companies have been rebuilt or redesigned due to RAS system's failure. ► More than 8 years are needed to get back initial investment. ► In the future, information platforms, their availability and specialized education will be required. The main issues for Recirculating Aquaculture Systems (RAS) are analyzed, in order to lead to better solutions for future managers, identifying possible areas for improvements and future challenges for the industry. RAS-based production companies, researchers, system suppliers and consultants were interviewed separately, in order to gain an overall understanding of those systems and what developments could assist, in a positive way. Answers and subsequent analysis identified as significant barriers: poor participation by the producers; a disincentive on sharing information; and a lack of communication between different parties. The main issues are poor designs of the systems, as many had been modified after a previous approach was unsuitable; and their poor management, due mainly to an absence of skilled people taking responsibility for water quality and mechanical problems. As RAS will play an important role within the future of aquaculture, their enhancement is needed. Key priorities are the necessity to improve equipment performance, through researching at a commercial scale and further work on the best combinations of devices for each particular situation. Additional recommendations are for a specialized platform, to share knowledge on RAS, together with a more indepth and distinctive education programme.
In recent years, aquaponic systems have gained significant popularity as soilless agriculture systems for organic fruits and vegetables production with concomitant remediation of aquaculture effluent. Aquaponics is a potential sustainable food production system that integrates aquaculture with hydroponics in which nitrogen-rich effluent from the fish production is utilized for plant growth. Because nitrogen is one of the most important inputs in an aquaponic system, it is critical to investigate the nitrogen transformations in the system for enhanced recovery of resources. Since studies on nitrogen transformations and nitrogen utilization efficiency (NUE) in aquaponic systems have been very limited, this review critically examines the important fates of nitrogen from input to outputs (e.g., ammonia nitrogen generation, nitrification, nitrate assimilation and nitrogen loss) to improve NUE in aquaponic systems. Various factors affecting the nitrogen transformations are also discussed. Furthermore, an example of nitrogen imbalance between nitrate uptake and nitrate generation rates in an aquaponic system was demonstrated. This review aims to advance our current understanding of nitrogen transformations and outlines future research needs in aquaponic systems, a sustainable model for efficient water and nutrient managements, and food production. (C) 2017 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
Profitability of recirculating systems depends in part on the ability to manage nutrient wastes. Nitrogenous wastes in these systems can be eliminated through nitrifying and denitrifying biofilters. While nitrifying filters are incorporated in most recirculating systems according to well-established protocols, denitrifying filters are still under development. By means of denitrification, oxidized inorganic nitrogen compounds, such as nitrite and nitrate are reduced to elemental nitrogen (N ). The process is conducted by facultative anaerobic microorganisms with electron donors derived from either organic (heterotrophic denitrification) or inorganic sources (autotrophic denitrification). In recirculating systems and traditional wastewater treatment plants, heterotrophic denitrification often is applied using external electron and carbon donors (e.g. carbohydrates, organic alcohols) or endogenous organic donors originating from the waste. In addition to nitrate removal, denitrifying organisms are associated with other processes relevant to water quality control in aquaculture systems. Denitrification raises the alkalinity and, hence, replenishes some of the inorganic carbon lost through nitrification. Organic carbon discharge from recirculating systems is reduced when endogenous carbon sources originating from the fish waste are used to fuel denitrification. In addition to the carbon cycle, denitrifiers also are associated with sulfur and phosphorus cycles in recirculating systems. Orthophosphate uptake by some denitrifiers takes place in excess of their metabolic requirements and may result in a considerable reduction of orthophosphate from the culture water. Finally, autotrophic denitrifiers may prevent the accumulation of toxic sulfide resulting from sulfate reduction in marine recirculating systems. Information on nitrate removal in recirculating systems is limited to studies with small-scale experimental systems. Packed bed reactors supplemented with external carbon sources are used most widely for nitrate removal in these systems. Although studies on the application of denitrification in freshwater and marine recirculating systems were initiated some thirty years ago, a unifying concept for the design and operation of denitrifying biofilters in recirculating systems is lacking.
In recent years, aquaponic systems have gained significant popularity as soilless agriculture systems for organic fruits and vegetables production with concomitant remediation of aquaculture effluent. Aquaponics is a potential sustainable food production system that integrates aquaculture with hydroponics in which nitrogen-rich effluent from the fish production is utilized for plant growth. Because nitrogen is one of the most important inputs in an aquaponic system, it is critical to investigate the nitrogen transformations in the system for enhanced recovery of resources. Since studies on nitrogen transformations and nitrogen utilization efficiency (NUE) in aquaponic systems have been very limited, this review critically examines the important fates of nitrogen from input to outputs (e.g., ammonia nitrogen generation, nitrification, nitrate assimilation and nitrogen loss) to improve NUE in aquaponic systems. Various factors affecting the nitrogen transformations are also discussed. Furthermore, an example of nitrogen imbalance between nitrate uptake and nitrate generation rates in an aquaponic system was demonstrated. This review aims to advance our current understanding of nitrogen transformations and outlines future research needs in aquaponic systems, a sustainable model for efficient water and nutrient managements, and food production.
► The development of large scale on-shore fish production systems requires an industrial type of approach. ► The key biological mechanisms involved in RAS need to be better understood. ► This review presents existing knowledge on the bacterial communities in RAS and their interaction with fish. The current onshore aquaculture trend is to develop large scale production of diversified fingerlings and very large units for fish ongrowing. This requires an industrial type of approach including quality assurance and minimization of failures in addition to management of bio-technical and economic aspects. Therefore, all the key biological mechanisms involved in Recirculating Aquaculture Systems (RAS) need to be better understood, especially those determining the development of bacterial populations and their interactions with fish. This review presents new knowledge on bacterial community compositions in various parts of RAS and on bacterial-fish interactions in RAS, which constitute essential tools for system management.
Previous research indicates that rainbow trout begin to exhibit health and welfare problems when cultured within water recirculating aquaculture systems (WRAS) operated at low exchange (6.7 days hydraulic retention time) and a mean feed loading rate of 4.1 kg feed/m daily makeup flow. These studies could not conclusively determine the causative agent of the health and welfare issues, but accumulation of mean nitrate nitrogen (NO -N) to approximately 100 mg/L was determined to be a potential cause of abnormal swimming behaviors such as “side swimming” and rapid swimming velocity. A subsequent controlled, 3-month study was conducted to determine if NO -N concentrations of 80–100 mg/L resulted in chronic health issues for rainbow trout. Equal numbers of rainbow trout (16.4 ± 0.3 g) were stocked within six replicated 9.5 m WRAS. Three WRAS were maintained with a mean NO -N concentration of 30 mg/L (“low”) resulting from nitrification, and three WRAS were maintained with a mean concentration of 91 mg/L (“high”) via continuous dosing of a sodium nitrate stock solution in addition to nitrification. All six WRAS were operated with equal water exchange (1.3 days mean hydraulic retention time) and mean feed loading rates (0.72 kg feed/m daily makeup flow), which provided enough flushing to limit the accumulation of other water quality concentrations. Rainbow trout growth was not significantly impacted by the high NO -N treatment. Cumulative survival for fish cultured within the high NO -N WRAS was lower and bordered statistical significance, which resulted in total rainbow trout biomass that was significantly lower for this group at study's end. In addition, a significantly greater prevalence of side swimming rainbow trout occurred in the high NO -N treatment, as was observed during previous research. Swimming speeds were generally greater for rainbow trout cultured in the high NO -N treatment, but were not always significantly different. Although most water quality variables were controlled, significant differences between treatments for the concentrations of other water quality parameters inhibited definitive conclusions regarding the effect of NO -N. However, due to the unlikely toxicity of confounding water quality parameters, study results provided strong evidence that relatively low NO -N levels, 80–100 mg/L, were related to chronic health and welfare impacts to juvenile rainbow trout under the described conditions.
Aquaponics is generally regarded as a sustainable practice, but its environmental burdens were not yet deeply investigated. In this study, Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) was used to assess the environmental impacts of two hypothetical coupled aquaponics systems (CAPS): Raft System (RAFT) and Media-Filled Beds System (MFBS). Rainbow trout ( ) and lettuce ( ) were considered as cultivated species in both systems. The Simapro software V.8.0 was used for calculation. The comparison between the two virtual systems indicated the floating technique as the less impacting one. Even though energy consumption appears to be higher in the floating system, LCA results were markedly influenced by the extensive use of inert materials in MFSB. In both systems, contribution analyses underlined that the main environmental impacts are related to infrastructures, electricity and fish feed. The LCA analyses carried out in this study highlights that the choice of less impacting materials, and the optimization of management practices, should be taken as priorities in order to reduce environmental impacts of this activity.
New aquaculture production systems are evolving for prolong production of Atlantic salmon smolts or post-smolts before stocking in traditional net pens, such as semi-closed containment systems (S-CCS) in sea (Fig. 1) and recirculating aquaculture systems (RAS) on land. The microbiota in these systems can potentially have great impact on the robustness and health of the fish. These two types of aquaculture systems are likely to have different challenges regarding pathogenic invasion due to the different water management, e.g. different treatment of the intake water and different turnover of the water. In this study, we investigated the bacterial microbiota of both water and biofilms in a commercial RAS and in S-CCS in sea during a three months period of post-smolt production. Deep-sequencing of the bacterial 16S rRNA gene (V4) was used for the first time to obtain in depth compositional analysis of microbial communities in commercial scale facilities. Highly diverse communities were detected, with up to 2000 different Operational Taxonomic Units (OTUs) within samples. Both systems were dominated by Proteobacteria with Rhodobacteraceae as the dominating taxa, followed by Bacteroidetes that was dominated by among others. However, the microbiota composition was clearly different between the two aquaculture systems, and between water samples and biofilms. In RAS, it was also shown different microbiota composition with water salinity of 12 vs 22 parts per thousand (ppt). Higher abundance of e.g. Myxococcales and Nitrospiraceae was observed at 12 ppt, which coincided with lower total ammonia nitrogen (TAN) levels. Both taxa were also more abundant in the Moving Bed Bioreactor (MBBR)-biofilms than in water, as well as among others. In S-CCS, clear temporal changes of the microbiota was observed during the production, where potential pathogens like , , Alteromonadaceae and were increasing in the spring time, as well as one unassigned taxa and chloroplast DNA likely from algae. The implication of these potential pathogens on fish health is unknown. A common observation for both RAS and S-CCS was higher abundance of the potential pathogens in the water compared to the biofilms. Further studies on the microbiota in closed-containment aquaculture systems are needed to obtain more knowledge about their impact on post-smolt production performance, welfare and health.
A novel technique was developed for the flocculation of marine microalgae commonly used in aquaculture. The process entailed an adjustment of pH of culture to between 10 and 10.6 using NaOH, followed by addition of a non-ionic polymer Magnafloc LT-25 to a final concentration of 0.5 mg L . The ensuing flocculate was harvested, and neutralised giving a final concentration factor of between 200- and 800-fold. This process was successfully applied to harvest cells of , , , , , sp., and , with efficiencies ≥80%. The process was rapid, simple and inexpensive, and relatively cost neutral with increasing volume (cf. concentration by centrifugation). Harvested material was readily disaggregated to single cell suspensions by dilution in seawater and mild agitation. Microscopic examination of the cells showed them to be indistinguishable from corresponding non-flocculated cells. Chlorophyll analysis of concentrates prepared from cultures of ≤130 L showed minimal degradation after 2 weeks storage. Concentrates of prepared using pH-induced flocculation gave better growth of juvenile Pacific oysters ( ) than concentrates prepared by ferric flocculation, or centrifuged concentrates using a cream separator or laboratory centrifuge. In follow up experiments, concentrates prepared from 1000 L cultures were effective as supplementary diets to improve the growth of juvenile and the scallop reared under commercial conditions, though not as effective as the corresponding live algae. The experiments demonstrated a proof-of-concept for a commercial application of concentrates prepared by flocculation, especially for use at a remote nursery without on-site mass-algal culture facilities.
Commercial production of Atlantic salmon smolts, post-smolts, and market-size fish using land-based recirculation aquaculture systems (RAS) is expanding. RAS generally provide a nutrient-rich environment in which nitrate accumulates as an end-product of nitrification. An 8-month study was conducted to compare the long-term effects of “high” (99 ± 1 mg/L NO -N) versus “low” nitrate-nitrogen (10.0 ± 0.3 mg/L NO -N) on the health and performance of post-smolt Atlantic salmon cultured in replicate freshwater RAS. Equal numbers of salmon with an initial mean weight of 102 ± 1 g were stocked into six 9.5 m RAS. Three RAS were maintained with high NO -N via continuous dosing of sodium nitrate and three RAS were maintained with low NO -N resulting solely from nitrification. An average daily water exchange rate equivalent to 60% of the system volume limited the accumulation of water quality parameters other than nitrate. Atlantic salmon performance metrics (e.g. weight, length, condition factor, thermal growth coefficient, and feed conversion ratio) were not affected by 100 mg/L NO -N and cumulative survival was >99% for both treatments. No important differences were noted between treatments for whole blood gas, plasma chemistry, tissue histopathology, or fin quality parameters suggesting that fish health was unaffected by nitrate concentration. Abnormal swimming behaviors indicative of stress or reduced welfare were not observed. This research suggests that nitrate-nitrogen concentrations ≤ 100 mg/L do not affect post-smolt Atlantic salmon health or performance under the described conditions.
Aquaponics is a form of aquaculture that integrates hydroponics to raise edible plants and fish. There is growing interest in aquaponics because it can be practiced in non-traditional locations for agriculture such as inside warehouses and on marginal lands, and it can provide locally grown products without using synthetic pesticides, chemical fertilizers, or antibiotics. Yet questions remain about the ecological and economic sustainability of aquaponics. The objective of this study was to describe the operating conditions, inputs (energy, water, and fish feed) and outputs (edible crops and fish) and their relationship over two years for a small-scale raft aquaponics operation in Baltimore, Maryland, United States. The system had roughly 1% water loss per day and used an average of 35,950 L for replenishment per year. Predicted values suggest rainfall could completely replace the existing water needs. The average energy use was 19,526 kWh for propane and electricity per year at a cost of $2055 US dollars. The largest uses of electricity were in-tank water heaters. Comparing inputs to outputs, 104 L of water, 0.5 kg feed, and 56 kWh energy ($6 in energy costs) were needed to produce 1 kg of crops; and 292 L of water, 1.3 kg feed, and 159 kWh of energy ($12 in energy costs) were needed to produce a 1 kg increase in tilapia. Raising tilapia was a net loss, while raising crops was a net gain when comparing market prices to energy costs. Understanding energy, water, and feed use in aquaponic systems is essential to inform farm business plans. These data can serve as a point of comparison to other small-scale aquaponic systems, and inform future work on life cycle assessments of aquaponics.
An optimal flow domain in culture tanks is vital for fish growth and welfare. This paper presents empirical data on rotational velocity and water quality in circular and octagonal tanks at two large commercial smolt production sites, with an approximate production rate of 1000 and 1300 ton smolt/yr, respectively. When fish were present, fish density in the two circular tanks under study at Site 1 were 35 and 48 kg/m , and that in four octagonal tanks at Site 2 were 54, 74, 58 and 64 kg/m , respectively. The objective of the study was twofold. First, the effect of biomass on the velocity distribution was examined, which was accomplished by repeating the measurements in empty tanks under same flow conditions. Second, the effect of operating conditions on the water quality was studied by collecting and analysing the water samples at the tank’s inlet and outlet. All tanks exhibited a relatively uniform water velocity field in the vertical water column at each radial location sampled. When fish were present, maximum (40 cm/s) and minimum (25–26 cm/s) water rotational velocities were quite similar in all tanks sampled, and close to optimum swimming speeds, recommended for Atlantic salmon-smolt, i.e., 1–1.5 body lengths per second. The fish were found to decrease water velocity by 25% compared to the tank operated without fish. Flow pattern was largely affected by the presence of fish, compared to the empty tanks. Inference reveals that the fish swimming in the tanks is a major source of turbulence, and nonlinearity. Facility operators and culture tank designers were able to optimize flow inlet conditions to achieve appropriate tank rotational velocities despite a wide range of culture tank sizes, HRT’s, and outlet structure locations. In addition, the dissolved oxygen profile was also collected along the diametrical plane through the octagonal tank’s centre, which exhibits a close correlation between the velocity and oxygen measurements. All tanks were operated under rather intensive conditions with an oxygen demand across the tank (inlet minus outlet) of 7.4–10.4 mg/L. Estimates of the oxygen respiration rate in the tank appears to double as the TSS concentration measured in the tank increases from 3.0 mg/L (0.3 kg O /kg feed) up to 10–12 mg/L (0.7 kg O /kg feed). Improving suspended solids control in such systems may thus dramatically reduce the oxygen consumption and CO production.
There is a need to develop practical methods to reduce nitrate–nitrogen loads from recirculating aquaculture systems to facilitate increased food protein production simultaneously with attainment of water quality goals. The most common wastewater denitrification treatment systems utilize methanol-fueled heterotrophs, but sulfur-based autotrophic denitrification may allow a shift away from potentially expensive carbon sources. The objective of this work was to assess the nitrate-reduction potential of fluidized sulfur-based biofilters for treatment of aquaculture wastewater. Three fluidized biofilters (height 3.9 m, diameter 0.31 m; operational volume 0.206 m ) were filled with sulfur particles (0.30 mm effective particle size; static bed depth approximately 0.9 m) and operated in triplicate mode (Phase I: 37–39% expansion; 3.2–3.3 min hydraulic retention time; 860–888 L/(m min) hydraulic loading rate) and independently to achieve a range of hydraulic retention times (Phase II: 42–13% expansion; 3.2–4.8 min hydraulic retention time). During Phase I, despite only removing 1.57 ± 0.15 and 1.82 ± 0.32 mg NO –N/L each pass through the biofilter, removal rates were the highest reported for sulfur-based denitrification systems (0.71 ± 0.07 and 0.80 ± 0.15 g N removed/(L bioreactor-d)). Lower than expected sulfate production and alkalinity consumption indicated some of the nitrate removal was due to heterotrophic denitrification, and thus denitrification was mixotrophic. Microbial analysis indicated the presence of , a widely known autotrophic denitrifier, in addition to several heterotrophic denitrifiers. Phase II showed that longer retention times tended to result in more nitrate removal and sulfate production, but increasing the retention time through flow rate manipulation may create fluidization challenges for these sulfur particles.
The present study examined the effects of three recirculation rates (50%, 200% and 400%) on water quality and biomass growth at low and high fish stocking densities (122 and 220 fish/m ) in aquaponic systems. The system consisted of a Tilapia tank connected to a gravel filter and three hydroponic trenches in series with , and . The RRs influenced most water quality parameters with best water quality at the high RR. At the low RR of 50% mass mortality of fish occurred due to lack of oxygen. The fish growth and survival was excellent in the high RR of 400% at the low fish density of 122 fish/m . The plant trenches were found to be effective in removing potential harmful concentrations of NH -N and NO -N from the recirculating water. For each kg of fish produced in this system approximately 1.0 m water was needed. During a 25-day period about 1 kg of marketable fresh biomass of and 270 g dry weight aboveground biomass of was produced. It is concluded that high recirculation rate of the water of 200–400% per day is needed to secure a good growth and a low FCR of Tilapia in aquaponic systems. High recirculation rates also secure a good water quality. The aquaponic system has a very low effluent discharge compared to traditional aquaculture techniques, and it recycles nutrients for plant growth. Hence, aquaponic system is a promising sustainable solution that can be applied on commercial fish pond scale.
► We evaluate two levels of biofloc concentration management. ► Flow rate to settling chambers can be used to control particle removal. ► Settling chambers may be capable of denitrification. ► Removing too many particles may hinder nitrification in the water column. ► Shrimp growth rate is significantly increased with lower particle concentration. A dense microbial community develops in the water column of intensive, minimal-exchange production systems and is responsible for nutrient cycling. A portion of the microbial community is associated with biofloc particles, and some control over the concentration of these particles has been shown to provide production benefits. To help refine the required degree of control, this study evaluated the effects of two levels of biofloc management on water quality and shrimp ( ) production in commercial-scale culture systems. Eight, 50 m raceways were randomly assigned to one of two treatments: T-LS (treatment-low solids) and T-HS (treatment-high solids), each with four replicate raceways. Settling chambers adjacent to the T-LS raceways had a volume of 1700 L with a flow rate of 20 L min . The T-HS raceways had 760 L settling chambers with a flow rate of 10 L min . Raceways were stocked with 250 shrimp m , with a mean individual weight of 0.72 g, and shrimp were grown for thirteen weeks. Raceways in the T-LS treatment had significantly reduced total suspended solids, volatile suspended solids, and turbidity compared to the T-HS treatment ( ≤ 0.003). The T-LS raceways also had significantly lower nitrite and nitrate concentrations, and the T-HS raceways had significantly lower ammonia and phosphate concentrations ( ≤ 0.021). With the exception of nitrate, there were no significant differences between the change in concentration of water quality parameters entering and exiting the settling chambers in the T-LS versus the T-HS treatment. Nitrate never accumulated appreciably in the T-LS raceways, possibly due to denitrification in the settling chambers, bacterial substrate limitations in the raceways, or algal nitrate assimilation. However, in the T-HS raceways nitrate did accumulate. The T-HS settling chambers returned a significantly lower nitrate concentration and significantly greater alkalinity concentration than what entered them ( ≤ 0.005), indicating that denitrification may have occurred in those chambers. There were no significant differences in shrimp survival, feed conversion ratio, or final biomass between the two treatments. However, shrimp in the T-LS treatment grew at a significantly greater rate (1.7 g wk vs. 1.3 g wk ) and reached a significantly greater final weight (22.1 g vs. 17.8 g) than shrimp in the T-HS treatment ( ≤ 0.020). The results of this study demonstrate engineering and management decisions that can have important implications for both water quality and shrimp production in intensive, minimal-exchange culture systems.
A sustainable aquaculture production involves alternatives, as recirculating aquaculture systems (RAS), in order to increase the water supply efficiency. This paper aims: a) to propose a method for dimensioning a RAS filled and additionally supplied with water from a rainwater harvesting systems (RHS) and; b) to evaluate the efficiency of the system based on the supply of rainwater from the RHS, the quality of water in the RAS, and the development of aquatic organisms. A pilot aquaculture farm for rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss) production was designed and dimensioned. On one hand, the RAS with a configuration based on a treatment tower provided acceptable values of pH, TAN, and alkalinity. The temperature was slightly above the recommended temperature but did not negatively impact trout development. On the other hand, the water use efficiency reached 178 L/kg of fish, instead of 210,000 L/kg in an open flow system for trout rearing. The RHS fulfilled the additional required water on the test period of the pilot farm and is expected to supply at least 92% on average during the useful life. Regarding the aquatic organisms’ development, the system allowed both a better Length/ weight ratio and a lesser mortality rate compared to previous studies of RAS. In contrast to other studies in the literature, the mathematical models for dimensioning the system were calculated as a function of the final biomass expected in the tank instead of the quantity of supplied feed. Therefore, this method confirmed the applicability of this alternative criterion for designing biofilters and aquaculture systems.