Aquaculture: Biological Ammonia Removal
Over the last thirty years, the Aquaculture industry has seen tremendous growth worldwide. Now, US producers are struggling because international suppliers are flooding the domestic market and driving prices down. Recently, the industry has been turned upside down with the introduction of the bio-floc technology. The underlying principle of the bio-floc technology is to create an environment that is “biologically” dominated, as opposed to the traditional system of allowing algae to be the primary consumer of waste in a fish farm. At its core, the bio-floc system is a clever adaptation of a mixed bed bio-reactor (MBBR). Like an MBBR, bio-floc systems are extremely expensive to build and maintain.
Just as we compare the Bio-Domes to mechanical plants for wastewater treatment, WCS believes Bio-Domes can be used to produce results similar to the bio-floc systems without the massive capital and O&M expenses.
Traditional aquaculture installations rely on algae to consume the unwanted compounds in the ponds and runs. Algae, while free, poses a number of significant problems:
- Algae growth is unpredictable and the constant cycle of blooms and die-offs creates a very unstable environment that is detrimental to the health of the fish.
- The photosynthetic respiratory cycle can create swings in the pH which can also cause spikes in harmful ammonia concentrations which is, again, detrimental to the health and growth of the fish.
- Open ponds can’t control which strains of algae are introduced into their systems. Certain strains of algae can create an “off” flavor in the fish.
Aquaculture operations that rely on the traditional methods are going to be left behind as their competitors realize that new technologies can be used to produce larger, healthier crops.
Creating a “biologically dominated” facility fish farm can eliminate much of the instability inherent in pond systems relying solely on algae for contaminant control. Bio-Domes and Bio-Shells can be used to retrofit existing ponds and raceways to create biologically dominated production facility. The perceived benefits of creating such a system are:
- Eliminating swings in water chemistry and creating a more stable environment for the fish to grow in
- Reduction in the chances of developing an off flavor in production
- Simultaneous high-efficiency aeration that can achieve the same levels of aeration as surface aerators for 1/10 the cost = Significant O&M savings!
- A simple, reliable system that has a 20-year life expectancy
- Bigger and better yields