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Water Quality in Identical Recirculating Systems Managed by Different Aquaculturists

K. Hanna2, F. Wheaton*1, A. Lazur3 and S. VanKeuren2
Volume 11, June 2010

1Environmental Science and Technology Department
University of Maryland
College Park, MD 20742 USA

2Biological Resources Engineering Department
University of Maryland
College Park, MD 20742 USA

3Center for Environmental Science
University of Maryland
Cambridge, MD 21613 USA

*Corresponding Author: fwheaton@umd.edu

Keywords: Recirculating systems, system management, tilapia culture, water quality, management records

International Journal of Recirculating Aquaculture 11 (2010) 55-74. All Rights Reserved
© Copyright 2010 by Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA USA


Water quality in recirculating aquaculture systems is a function of many variables including system design, loading, and management; temperature; feeding rate, and other variables. This research attempted to determine how different managersí management practices affected system water quality when the managers were using identical production systems. Water quality was monitored in two tanks on each of three farms, and an attempt was made to correlate management practices with the resulting tank water quality. The investigators worked with farm managers to collect as much data as possible about the management practices of each manager, economic data, when fish were placed into the tanks and when they were harvested, growth rates and other information. The resulting analysis proved there is great variation in water quality parameters in individual tanks both between farms and within a farm. The study showed that management of aquaculture systems had a strong influence on tank water quality. Operational data on economics, filter cleanings, fish growth and other information proved to be difficult to obtain as the managers did not keep detailed records of many of these variables. As a result, it was not possible to relate water quality to economics of the farm. It was apparent that good records are necessary for an aquaculture production facility if the operation is to be successful.