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ARS Home » Southeast Area » Stoneville, Mississippi » Warmwater Aquaculture Research Unit » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #314575

Research Project: Water Quality and Production Systems to Enhance Production of Catfish

Location: Warmwater Aquaculture Research Unit

Title: Chemical treatment costs reduced with in-pond receway systems comopared to traditional pond aquaculture

item BOTT, LISA - Auburn University
item Brown, Travis
item ROY, LUKE - University Of Arkansas At Pine Bluff
item HANSON, TERRILL - Auburn University

Submitted to: Catfish Farmers of America Research Symposium
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 12/10/2014
Publication Date: 2/26/2015
Citation: Bott, L.B., Brown, T.W., Roy, L.A., Hanson, T.R. 2015. Chemical treatment costs reduced with in-pond receway systems comopared to traditional pond aquaculture. Catfish Farmers of America Research Symposium. P.41.

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: Production systems such as in-pond raceway systems (IPRS) and split ponds are providing an alternative to traditional pond culture for raising catfish in several southeastern states. One advantage noted by farmers utilizing these systems is the reduced cost associated with the chemical treatment of diseases. The Alabama Fish Farming Center (Greensboro, Alabama) and Auburn University have been tracking the incidence of disease in IPRS since 2008. The most common diseases observed over this time period include columnaris, enteric septicemia of catfish (ESC), and Aeromonas hydrophila. There have also been cases involving parasites such as trichodina, henneguya, ich, and others. Fish kills caused by disease outbreaks have varied in scope, ranging from a few dead fish to thousands of kilograms depending on the disease and severity of infection. While disease outbreaks are never desired, one advantage that IPRS have over traditional pond culture is they are much cheaper to treat with chemicals. The total treatment cost for formalin at 150 ppm in a 5 cell raceway (2.3 hectare pond) is $62.78 per treatment. In contrast, to treat a 2.3 hectare pond at 20 ppm with formalin (1.67 m average depth), the cost would be $1,473 ($641/ha). Similarly, the cost of treatment with KMnO4 is much less in an IPRS compared to a traditional earthen pond. The total treatment cost using KMnO4 for the 5 cell raceway system at 5 ppm would be $8.36 per treatment, while for a 2.3 hectare pond would cost $871 to $1,162 (3 and 4 ppm, respectively. The cost of chemical treatment in an IPRS system would also be less expensive than treating a split pond production system since split-ponds have a larger fish culture area; approximately 20% of the total pond area. In addition to the lower cost of treating the water in IPRS compared to traditional ponds it is easier to monitor and track mortalities in an IPRS and inventory control is a vital component of modern livestock production systems that is missing in commercial pond aquaculture systems. Farmers have also noted that due to increased feeding efficiency in these systems, due to the smaller culture area compared to a traditional pond, it is much easier to verify the delivery and response of fish to antibiotic feed in an IPRS. There is also considerably less time and labor, and hence costs, involved to treat raceways in this system as compared to treating an entire pond. IPRS provide an alternative production method that can substantially reduce chemical treatment costs, improve the treatment delivery efficiency and allow new chemical treatments that are cost prohibitive in traditional pond settings. Several generations of the IPRS have now been experimented with and tried on commercial farms and the reductions in operating costs are large and can help offset other inputs whose costs have increased, such as feed and electricity.