We compare findings obtained under controlled laboratory experiments with observed outcomes under full scale production to deliver knowledge of practical relevance for aquaculture operators to improve production protocols.
Effective maintenance and management of water quality and feeding regimes during aquaculture operations is essential to achieve economically sustainable fish production. Water quality and feeding regimes are key factors influencing fish growth performance, feed conversion efficiency and overall health status. Our research team performs studies under both controlled laboratory conditions and full-scale operations to identify practical ways to maintain water quality and feeding regimes that lead to sustainable production.
Regardless of the species chosen, all fish depend on water to live, eat, grow and perform bodily functions. Water quality control is therefore a key factor in sustainable and cost efficient production. The most critical water quality parameters in aquaculture production systems are dissolved oxygen, un-ionized ammonia and carbon dioxide. Nitrite and nitrate concentration, pH, turbidity and alkalinity levels are also important, especially in recirculation systems. To produce fish in a cost-effective manner, production systems must be capable of maintaining proper levels of these water quality variables, especially during periods of rapid growth. Our research team studies the physiological impact of water quality parameters on fish. These studies help determine threshold limits for optimal fish growth and welfare under full scale production.
Proper control of feeding regimes during production is linked to growth and maturation processes in fish. Furthermore, feed costs may represent more than 40% of the total production costs involved in fish farming. Our specialists perform investigations to determine the benefits of optimizing feeding regimes for specific rearing methods. In particular, compensatory growth is a phase of accelerated growth after a period of growth depression when favorable conditions are restored. Positive benefits of implementing compensatory growth regimes for restricted time intervals have been suggested, such as delayed onset of puberty, with minor adverse effects on overall growth. Our aquaculture researchers are engaged in several projects to describe potential long-term consequences of short term food-restriction on growth, maturation and flesh quality.