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Aquaculture Environment Interactions

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AEI 12:471-484 (2020)  -  DOI: https://doi.org/10.3354/aei00377

Low-technology recirculating aquaculture system integrating milkfish Chanos chanos, sea cucumber Holothuria scabra and sea purslane Sesuvium portulacastrum

Paula Senff1,2,*, Pierre-Philippe Blanc3, Matthew Slater4, Andreas Kunzmann1

1Leibniz Centre for Tropical Marine Research, 28359 Bremen, Germany
2University of Bremen, 28359 Bremen, Germany
3Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations, 00153 Rome, Italy
4Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research, 27515 Bremerhaven, Germany
*Corresponding author:

ABSTRACT: Closed recirculation aquaculture systems (RAS) in combination with integrated multi-trophic aquaculture (IMTA) are considered best management practices, but high material costs and difficult maintenance still hinder their implementation, especially in developing countries and the tropics. Few case studies of such systems with tropical species exist. For the first time, an extremely low-budget system was tested combining the halophyte sea purslane Sesuvium portulacastrum and a detritivore, sandfish Holothuria scabra, with finfish milkfish Chanos chanos over 8 wk on Zanzibar, Tanzania. In a 2 m3 RAS, milkfish and sea purslane showed good growth, producing an average (±SD) of 1147 ± 79 g fish and 1261 ± 95 g plant biomass, while sea cucumber growth was variable at 92 ± 68 g. The system operated without filter units and did not discharge any solid or dissolved waste. Water quality remained tolerable and ammonia levels were reliably decreased to <1 mg l-1. A NO2- peak occurred within the first 30 d, indicating good biofilter performance of the different system compartments. Changes in dissolved inorganic nitrogen (DIN) species support the notion that the sea cucumber tank was the main site of nitrification, while the hydroponic halophyte tank acted as a net sink of NO3-. A nitrogen budget accounted for 63.7 ± 5.3% of the nitrogen added to the system as fish feed. Increasing the plant to fish biomass ratio to 5:1 would fully treat the DIN load. The experiment provides proof-of-concept of a simple pilot-scale RAS, integrating tropical species at 3 trophic levels.


KEY WORDS: IMTA · Appropriate technology · Halophyte · Biofilter · Nitrification · Denitrification · Nitrogen budget


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Cite this article as: Senff P, Blanc PP, Slater M, Kunzmann A (2020) Low-technology recirculating aquaculture system integrating milkfish Chanos chanos, sea cucumber Holothuria scabra and sea purslane Sesuvium portulacastrum. Aquacult Environ Interact 12:471-484. https://doi.org/10.3354/aei00377

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