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A case study: Impacts of deviating from model research design to the commercial industry for split-pond aquaculture

Jescovitch, Lauren N., Boyd, Claude E.
Aquacultural engineering 2017 v.79 pp. 35-41
Ictalurus punctatus, aeration, aerators, aquaculture, best management practices, case studies, catfish, dissolved oxygen, fish kills, hybrids, industry, models, ponds, propellers, waste treatment, wastes, Alabama
A case study is presented to compare the results of design and management including circulation and dissolved oxygen management at a modified split-pond facility in west-central Alabama to the recommended design. Modifications included: the use of and a propeller pump instead of a slow-moving paddlewheel, lack of baffle in the waste cells, waste cell to fish cell ratio size, and improperly positioned aerators and DO sensing probes.Over a three year time period, the modified split-pond facility had net yields of hybrid catfish (Ictalurus punctatus ♀ x I. furcatus ♂) that reached up to 11,416kg/ha/year; however, this includes several reports of fish kills. The present study experienced a minimum 15% reduction in net production compared to the recommended design values with a maximum potential loss of 54%. Ponds used an axial pump to transfer water between a 6:1 ratio of waste treatment area to fish grow-out area. Water flowed from the fish cell to the waste cell at a rate of 31.2m3/min and from the waste cell back to the fish cell at a rate of 0.78m3/min. Aerators used 5619–7492 kW-hr/ha which is more than the electrical use in traditional ponds (2238 kW-hr/ha). Even with the extra aeration, this study had at least one fish cell and one waste cell drop below a dissolved oxygen concentration of 2.5mg/L. These specific modifications may lead to poor survival and production in split-pond aquaculture and are discussed with best management practices of the recommended design.