Startup and effects of relative water renewal rate on water quality and growth of rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss) in a unique RAS research platform
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CitationPulkkinen, Jani T. Kiuru, Tapio. Aalto, Sanni L. Koskela, Juha. Vielma, Jouni. (2018). Startup and effects of relative water renewal rate on water quality and growth of rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss) in a unique RAS research platform. Aquacultural Engineering, 82, 38-45. 10.1016/j.aquaeng.2018.06.003.
The aquaculture industry is growing fast but facing two major challenges: a shortage of suitable locations for growth and the need to reduce environmental impacts. One solution for both these challenges is inland production through recirculating aquaculture systems (RAS). The RAS technique is rather new, and several practical issues need to be solved. In this study, an experimental platform, consisting of ten individual RAS units, was built for small-scale testing of different RAS designs and operation methods, and two preliminary experiments were conducted. In the first experiment, the capability of different chemical additions (sodium nitrite, ammonium chloride and/or cane sugar) to fasten the startup of the nitrification bioreactor was tested. In addition, the suitability and reliability of an online water measurement system in monitoring nitrification process with was evaluated. We demonstrated that when using a combination of sodium nitrite and ammonium chloride in a concentration of 5 mg l−1, nitrification started one week before than when using only ammonium chloride or a clean start with rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss). In the second experiment, the effect of different relative water renewal rates (RWR) on water quality, rainbow trout growth and feed conversion ratio (FCR) were examined at 16 °C. Based on the results, FCR increased when RWR went below 478 l kg−1, and the specific growth rate decreased when RWR went below 514 l kg−1. Furthermore, when RWR decreased, nitrate, nitrite and organic material accumulated in the circulating water. In conclusion, we showed using experimental RAS platform that online water quality monitoring is a useful tool in following the effect of different management practices. Furthermore, we demonstrated that chemical substrate additions provide the fastest biofilter startup, and that water management is still in the key role in defining the fish production in RAS.