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Boosting productivity in land-based aquaculture

A fish farming initiative provided the means to equip tanks with sensors and software for optimised water quality. This means fish farmers can harvest more fish in their tanks than their competitors.
Boosting productivity in land-based aquaculture
Aquaculture is big business, not only in Europe but increasingly in Asia and other parts of the world. More and more fish farmers are moving their operations to land-based fish tanks in order to avoid the risks associated with storms, jellyfish and other sea-borne predators.

Looking to boost production, the EU funded the 'Development of an intelligent fish tank for cost effective aquaculture through control of water quality in each different fish tank' (Intelfishtank) project. The research focused on how to control and improve water quality in fish tanks, which is directly correlated to both growth and disease parameters.

Oxygen is essential not only for humans, but also for fish to survive. Proper oxygenation of the water is therefore of vital importance, especially in an enclosed fish tank. This was accomplished by a piece of equipment called the SaturOx. When paired with a novel water streamer called the VarioStreamer, the result was a very uniform distribution of oxygen throughout the tank.

The tank is also equipped with a network of sensors and electronics. This enables the fish farmer to monitor and customise important parameters affecting the well-being of the fish, such as carbon dioxide (CO2) concentrations. In addition, water circulation speeds can be optimised to enhance waste removal.

The Intelfishtank prototype was tested out with free-swimming freshwater species, but it can also be used in the cultivation of salt water species. Based on the encouraging results, the companies involved in the research moved to protect the various system components with patents.

By giving fish farmers greater control over water quality in their tanks, the Intelfishtank system will allow more fish to be raised in a given tank volume. This in turn will provide a serious boost to European land-based aquaculture.

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