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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

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Location: Cool and Cold Water Aquaculture Research

2009 Annual Report

1a.Objectives (from AD-416)
This project plan uses a multi-disciplinary approach to develop and evaluate solutions for major challenges that delay expansion of controlled intensive aquaculture systems (CIAS). The objectives of this plan are:.
1)Develop and evaluate solutions that improve efficiencies of scale and reduce water quality constraints for sustainable production. .
2)Develop and evaluate sustainable waste management technologies that result in environmentally compatible controlled intensive aquaculture systems. .
3)Field test selected rainbow trout germplasm resources for performance in intensive recirculating aquaculture systems.

1b.Approach (from AD-416)
To investigate approaches for enhancing economies of scale and to reduce water quality and other environmental constraints, the minimum bottom-center drain surface loading rate and the water inlet structure design required to produce rapid solids flushing and safe fish swimming speeds will be identified using a 600 m3 experimental tank. Studies will be conducted to determine if noise levels in the water produced by water pumping and treatment equipment affect hearing in fish and result in reduced growth. In addition, fish health will be assessed in conjunction with controlled ozone and UV treatment to determine treatment levels required to reduce bacterial load and organic carbon load; further, the utilization of bacteriophage to specifically mitigate pathogenic bacterial load in CIAS will be tested. Water quality control using new technology that facilitates carbon dioxide removal and enhances oxygen absorption will be tested and operating parameters defined. More sustainable waste management technologies for CIAS will be developed by testing several new and promising approaches to the capture and concentration of solid wastes and to their stabilization and denitrification. Further, new diets utilizing plant proteins as a substitute for fish meal proteins will be evaluated to determine if there is a differential impact on water quality of the wastes produced from feeding these diets in CIAS. Growth and survival data on selected rainbow trout germplasm cohorts or families provided by NCCCWA will be collected. Linkage with specific research objectives at the NCCCWA will be maintained.

3.Progress Report

The overall goal of this project has been to develop and improve technologies that enhance the sustainability and reduce the environmental impacts of the modern fish farming industry. Progress was made in several areas. Rainbow trout health and performance, water quality (including metals and off-flavor compounds), and unit process treatment efficiencies were compared in low water exchange recirculating systems operated with ozonation versus high water exchange in non-ozonated recirculating systems. This work improved our understanding of inter-relations between production system design, loading, and water quality, and allowed us to identify and ameliorate substances that accumulate within RAS and affect fish health and quality. Nutrient and metals removal was determined across a membrane biological reactor system that treats a high strength aquaculture wastewater. This research will provide design and management recommendations that can be used by fish farmers to minimize water resource use and reduce the risk of potentially adverse interactions between aquaculture operations and the surrounding aquatic environment. A novel aerated geotextile filter system that combines biological nutrient removal, sludge stabilization, and solids thickening in one membrane filter process was evaluated while treating a high strength aquaculture wastewater. This work has determined the engineering criteria and performance expectations for solids and nutrient capture within a relatively primitive and inexpensive membrane biological reactor system. In collaboration with researchers from the Universities of North Carolina and Nebraska, a DNA-based approach was utilized to indentify and enumerate intestinal microflora populations to understand the relative differences in microbial population structure between fish fed grain-vs-fishmeal-based feeds and reared at high or low densities. The findings will be used to provide novel information related to normal resident intestinal bacterial populations, which in turn will assist research into probiotic therapy, bacteriophage therapy, and fish nutrition. In collaboration with other ARS scientists, a study was completed comparing commercially produced fishmeal and grain-based diets. Fish fed the fishmeal-based diet were significantly larger and had better feed conversion, but had higher mortality and worse fin condition than fish fed grain-based feed. These findings will be used to refine nutritional content of grain-based diets developed by ARS to make alternative feeds more economically viable for fish farmers. The ADODR conducted project related activities and procedures were discussed and implemented using conference calls, one-on-one meetings, and group meetings among collaborators.

6.Technology Transfer


Review Publications
Summerfelt, S.T., Sharrer, M.J., Tsukuda, S.M., Searheart, M. 2009. Process Requirements for Achieving Full-Flow Disinfection of Recirculating Water Using Ozonation and UV Irradiation. Aquacultural Engineering. 40:17-27.

Summerfelt, S.T., Davidson, J., Wilson, J., Waldrop, T. 2009. Advances in Fish Harvest Technologies for Circular Tanks. Aquacultural Engineering. 40(2):62-71.

Sharrer, M.J., Rishel, K., Summerfelt, S.T. 2009. Evaluation of geotextile filtration applying coagulant and flocculant amendments for aquaculture biosolids dewatering and phosphorus removal. Aquacultural Engineering. 40:1-10.

Davidson, J., Helwig, N., Summerfelt, S.T. 2008. Fluidized sand biofilters used to remove ammonia, biochemical oxygen demand, total coliform bacteria, and suspended solids from an intensive aquaculture effluent. Aquacultural Engineering. 39:6-15.

Masters, A.L., Vinci, B.J., Brazil, B., Creaser, D.A., Summerfelt, S.T. 2008. Performance Characterization of Influent and Effluent Treatment Systems: A Case Study at Craig Brook National Fish Hatchery. Aquacultural Engineering. 38:66-76.

Good, C.M., Thorburn, M.A., Stevenson, R.M. 2008. Factors associated with the incidence of bacterial gill disease in salmonid lots reared in Ontario, Canada government hatcheries. Preventive Veterinary Medicine. 83:297-307.

Wysocki, L.E., Davidson, J., Smith, M.E., Frankel, A., Ellison, W., Mazik, P.M., Popper, A.N., Bebak, J.A. 2007. The effects of aquaculture noise on hearing, growth and disease resistance of rainbow trout Oncorhynchus mykiss. Aquaculture. 272(1-4):689-697.

Clingerman, J., Bebak, J.A., Mazik, P.M., Summerfelt, S.T. 2007. Use of avoidance response by rainbow trout to carbon dioxide for fish self-transfer between tanks. Aquacultural Engineering. 37(3):234-251.

Summerfelt, S.T., Vinci, B.J. 2008. Better Management Practices for Recirculating Aquaculture Systems. In: Tucker, C.S., Hargreaves, J.A., editors. Environmental Best Management Practices for Aquaculture. Ames, IA: Blackwell Publishing. p. 389-426.

Sharrer, M.J., Summerfelt, S.T. 2007. Ozonation followed by ultraviolet irradiation provides effective bacteria inactivation in a freshwater recirculating system. Aquacultural Engineering. 37:180-191.

Davidson, J., Frankel, A., Ellison, W., Summerfelt, S., Popper, A.N., Mazik, P., Bebak, J.A. 2007. Minimizing noise in fiberglass aquaculture tanks: Noise reduction potential of various retrofits. Aquacultural Engineering. 37:125-131.

Bebak, J.A., Noble, A.C., Bowser, P.R., Wooster, G. 2007. Fish Health Management. In: Timmons,M.D., Ebeling, J.M., editors. Recirculating Aqauculture. NRAC Publication No. 01-007. Ithaca, NY: Cayuga Aqua Ventures. p. 619-663.

Draghi, A., Bebak, J.A., Popov, V.L., Noble, A.C., Geary, S.J., West, A., Byrne, P., Frasca, S. 2007. Characterization of a Neochlamydia-like Bacterium Associated with Epitheliocystis in Cultured Artic Char Salvelinus alpinus. Diseases of Aquatic Organisms. 76:27-28.

Sharrer, M.J., Yossi, T., Ferrier, D., Hankins, J.A., Summerfelt, S.T. 2007. Membrane biological reactor treatment of a saline backwash flow from a recirculating aquaculture system. Aquacultural Engineering. 36:159-176.

Summerfelt, S.T., Bebak, J.A., Fletcher, J., Carta, A., Creaser, D. 2008. Description of the surface water filtration and ozone treatment system at the Northeast Fishery Center. In Amaral, S.V., Mathur, D., Taft, E.P., III, editors. Advances in Fisheries Bioengineering. American Fisheries Society, Symposium 61, Bethesda, MD. p. 97-121.

Colt, J., Rust, M., Summerfelt, S., Pfeiffer, T.J., Fivelstad, S. 2008. Energy and resource consumption of land-based hatchery systems for finfish. Aquaculture. 280:94-108.

Sharrer, M.J., Summerfelt, S.T., Bullock, G.L., Gleason, L.E., Taeuber, J. 2005. Inactivation of bacteria using ultraviolet irradiation in a recirculating salmonid culture system. Aquacultural Engineering. 33:135-149.

Barbash, P., Fletcher, J., Carta, A., Summerfelt, S., Creaser, D. 2008. Reductions in bacterial microorganisms by filtration and ozonation of the surface water supply at the USFWS Northeast Fishery Center. In: Amaral, S.V., Mathur, E.P., Taft, III, editors. American Fisheries Society Book Series. Advances in Fisheries Bioengineering. Bethesda, MD: Symposium 61. p. 87-96.

Davidson, J., Summerfelt, S.T. 2005. Solids removal from a coldwater recirculating system - comparison of swirl separator and radial-flow settlers. Aquacultural Engineering. 33(1):47-61.

Brazil, B.L., Summerfelt, S. 2006. Aerobic treatment of gravity thinkening tank supernatant. Aquacultural Engineering. 34:92-102.

Last Modified: 4/21/2014
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