Page Banner

United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service


Location: Warmwater Aquaculture Research Unit

Title: A commercial-scale in-pond raceway system for ictalurid catfish production

item Brown, Travis
item Chappell, Jesse
item Boyd, Claude

Submitted to: Aquacultural Engineering
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 1/25/2011
Publication Date: 5/1/2011
Publication URL:
Citation: Brown, T.W., Chappell, J.A., Boyd, C.E. 2011. A commercial-scale in-pond raceway system for ictalurid catfish production. Aquacultural Engineering. 44:72-79.

Interpretive Summary: A commercial-scale, in-pond raceway system consisting of six individual raceways was installed in a traditional catfish pond on a farm in west Alabama. Slow rotating paddlewheels moved water though each raceway to allow for water exchange. Survival, FCR, and production were improved as compared to traditional multiple-batch practices, while growth rates were reduced. Co-cultured fish were also produced in the outside pond area with additional benefits such as improved water quality, reduced disease issues, and increased income from additional revenue from their harvest. Improvement in design will need to be addressed in the future to improve efficiency and reduce costs associated with initial construction.

Technical Abstract: A commercial-scale, in-pond raceway system was constructed in 2007 on a commercial catfish fish farm in west Alabama. The in-pond raceway system was installed in a 2.43-ha earthen pond with an average depth of 1.67 m. A slow-rotating paddlewheel (1.17 revolutions per minute) installed in each raceway produced a water velocity of 0.026 m/sec and a water flow rate of 8.85 m3/min. This flow rate was equivalent to an average water exchange for each raceway every 4.9 min (˜12X/h). Each raceway was originally stocked with 12,000 to 30,000 advanced channel catfish (Ictalurus punctatus) and hybrid catfish (I. punctatus × I. furcatus) fingerlings weighing between 59.1 and 418.2 g to simulate a staggered stocking and harvest production schedule. During the 2008 production season, mean survival was 83.7% across all raceways. Growth rates ranged from 1.1-1.8 g/fish/day for channel catfish and 1.6-2.2 g/fish/day for hybrid catfish. The average feed conversion ratio (FCR) for channel catfish and hybrid catfish was 1.74 and 1.36, respectively (range from 1.16-2.11) and 49,913 kg (20,540 kg/ha) of catfish were harvested. An additional 6,365 kg (2,619 kg/ha) of tilapia and paddlefish were harvested from the pond as co-cultured species. The results indicated a high potential for efficient production of catfish with other co-cultured species compared to traditional catfish culture practices in ponds. Design and engineering modifications need to be addressed in the future to improve the in-pond raceway system.

Last Modified: 08/16/2017
Footer Content Back to Top of Page