Water quality and health are important components for aquaculture facilities to successfully raise good quality fish. But simply aerating the water does not guarantee that the waterway is properly and efficiently oxygenated.
Air-O-Lator Corporation recently worked with two hatcheries to modify their water aeration programs bringing about increased productivity and fish quality, while saving energy and money.
Located in Berthoud, CO, E & J Fish Farm is a family owned and operated trout farm. The aquaculture facility is comprised of state-of-the-art, enclosed, concrete raceways. E & J stock all sizes of trout from 10 inches to five pounds and supply fish to homeowner associations, private ranches, municipalities, and golf courses.
To keep the water in the concrete ditches clean and healthy, owners Eric and Jennie utilized a diffused aeration system. The water level was very shallow, approximately two feet, a system better suited for deep water applications and did not perform as expected. Additionally, the five 10-horsepower blowers supplying air to the diffusers were noisy and not energy efficient.
E & J needed to increase the oxygen levels in the water, keep the tanks cleaner, and allow the fish to spread out thus utilizing the entire area of the waterway.
After trying other solutions and aerators without much success, E & J Fish Farm contacted Air-O-Lator for help. “Luckily we had just resolved the same issue with Monte Vista (Fish Hatchery),” Watkins said. Air-O-Lator visited E & J’s operation, discussed the application and recommended installing 48, ¾ horsepower aerators.
With these units in place, E & J cut their energy cost from 50 horsepower to 36 horsepower thus eliminating the blowers and diffused air system, which also eliminated the noise from the blowers. Owner Jennie Koolstra noted that with the new aerators, the oxygen levels are higher, the fish are eating more, the tanks are cleaner and the fish are utilizing the entire waterway. Even after the first few Commercial surface aerators were installed, Koolstra said the fish were eating much more.
Watkins added that along with increased oxygen levels and dispersion (mix), the Commercial aerator, with the specifically designed diffuser, strips toxic levels from the water providing a healthier environment that overall increases productivity, fish quality, lower costs, and improved profits.
In both situations (Monte Vista Hatchery and E & J), Air-O-Lator worked with the aquaculture operators to provide a system specifically to meet their needs. This proved crucial, because even though the problem at the outset was similar between Monte Vista and E & J, each required a customized solution and plan.