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Aquaculture Environment Interactions

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AEI 7:223-238 (2015)  -  DOI:

Floating faeces for a cleaner fish production

Julia Unger1,2, Mark Schumann1,2, Alexander Brinker1,*

1Fisheries Research Station of Baden-Württemberg, Argenweg 50/1, 88085 Langenargen, Germany
2Limnological Institute, University of Konstanz, 78457 Konstanz, Germany
*Corresponding author:

ABSTRACT: Recent developments in European recirculating aquaculture systems suggest expanding potential for this extremely water-efficient technique. However, the technology still faces challenges due to concerns over economic efficiency and system stability - both essential in minimizing the risk of financially and environmentally expensive failures. One key factor in maintaining stable production conditions in a recirculation loop is the effective removal of solid waste, i.e. fish faeces. This study tested a novel approach for solid control and demonstrates the value-adding potential of floating faeces under commercial conditions in a semi-recirculating fish farm in Germany. A commercial control diet was compared with an experimental diet in which the addition of 2.5% cork granules led to the production of floating faeces. Physiological assays indicated no pathologic tissue alterations associated with the experimental feed, and growth, survival and feed conversion were unaffected. Average single-pass removal by a specially developed surface separator accounted for 78.3% of floating solids which accounted for 35.4% of total system solids. Total ammonia nitrogen concentrations in production water were roughly halved, from about 0.95 mg l-1 in the control to 0.47 mg l-1 using the cork diet, an improvement that in practice allowed a doubling of production on the same available water flow. This study shows that the application of floating faeces facilitates rapid and cost-effective removal of suspended solids, resulting in a considerable decrease of nutrient load in system and discharge water of the investigated farm.

KEY WORDS: Fish welfare · Functional feed · Cork · Biofilter · Effluent management · Solid waste · Recirculating system · Water use efficiency

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Cite this article as: Unger J, Schumann M, Brinker A (2015) Floating faeces for a cleaner fish production. Aquacult Environ Interact 7:223-238.

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