Food production and water conservation in a recirculating aquaponic system in Saudi Arabia at different ratios of fish feed to plants

Yousef S. Al-Hafedh, Aftab Alam*, Mohamed Salaheldin Beltagi

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

74 Scopus citations

Abstract

An indoor aquaponic system (i.e., the integration of fish culture with hydroponic plant production in a recirculating setup) was operated for maximizing water reuse and year-round intensive food production (Nile tilapia, Oreochromis niloticus, and leaf lettuce) at different fish feed to plants ratios. The system consisted of a fish culture component, solid removal component, and hydroponic component comprising six long channels with floating styrofoam rafts for holding plants. Fish culture effluents flowed by gravity from the fish culture component to the solid removal component and then to the hydroponic component. Effluents were collected in a sump from which a 1-horsepower in-line pump recirculated the water back to the fish culture tanks at a rate of about 250 L/min. The hydroponic component performed as biofilter and effectively managed the water quality. Fish production was staggered to harvest one of the four fish tanks at regular intervals when fish attained a minimum weight of 250 g. Out of the total eight harvests in 13 mo, net fish production per harvest averaged 33.5 kg/m3 of water with an overall water consumption of 320 L/kg of fish produced along with the production of leaf lettuce at 42 heads/m2 of hydroponic surface area. Only 1.4% of the total system water was added daily to compensate the evaporation and transpiration losses. A ratio of 56 g fish feed/m2 of hydroponic surface effectively controlled nutrient buildup in the effluents. However, plant density could be decreased from 42 to 25-30 plants/m2 to produce a better quality lettuce.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)510-520
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of the World Aquaculture Society
Volume39
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 1 2008

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Aquatic Science
  • Agronomy and Crop Science

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