Location: Warmwater Aquaculture Research Unit
Project Number: 6402-13320-004-05-N
Project Type: Non-Funded Cooperative Agreement
Start Date: Dec 1, 2008
End Date: Sep 30, 2013
The objective of this cooperative research project is to test and further develop a novel incubator for use in commercial channel catfish hatcheries.
Catfish incubators have been largely unimproved since first developed in 1929. Egg masses are held in baskets made with ¼” mesh hardware cloth. Paddles held on a rotating shaft turn through the water between baskets, moving water through the baskets, aerating the eggs. As the eggs hatch, the sac fry pass through the mesh of the basket and sink to the bottom of the trough, where they are siphoned up. Farmers often experience problems (fungus and/or bacteria on eggs, resulting in poor hatch rates) during the peak of the spawning season when hatchery space is limited and egg masses are often crowded in the baskets at higher than desired densities. Recent research conducted by ARS has demonstrated that the oxygen requirements of catfish egg masses are higher than previously thought. This research has led to a preliminary design for a new hatchery system.