Waste treatment in recirculating aquaculture systems

Jaap Van Rijn*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

248 Scopus citations

Abstract

Recirculating aquaculture systems (RAS) are operated as outdoor or indoor systems. Due to the intensive mode of fish production in many of these systems, waste treatment within the recirculating loop as well as in the effluents of these systems is of primary concern. In outdoor RAS, such treatment is often achieved within the recirculating loop. In these systems, extractive organisms, such as phototrophic organisms and detritivores, are cultured in relatively large treatment compartments whereby a considerable part of the waste produced by the primary organisms is converted in biomass. In indoor systems, capture of solid waste and conversion of ammonia to nitrate by nitrification are usually the main treatment steps within the recirculating loop. Waste reduction (as opposed to capture and conversion) is accomplished in some freshwater and marine indoor RAS by incorporation of denitrification and sludge digestion. In many RAS, whether operated as indoor or outdoor systems, effluent is treated before final discharge. Such effluent treatment may comprise devices for sludge thickening, sludge digestion as well as those for inorganic phosphate and nitrogen removal. Whereas waste disposed from freshwater RAS may be treated in regional waste treatment facilities or may be used for agricultural purposes in the form of fertilizer or compost, treatment options for waste disposed from marine RAS are more limited. In the present review, estimations of waste production as well as methods for waste reduction in the recirculating loop and effluents of freshwater and marine RAS are presented. Emphasis is placed on those processes leading to waste reduction rather than those used for waste capture and conversion.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)49-56
Number of pages8
JournalAquacultural Engineering
Volume53
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 2013

Keywords

  • Onsite treatment
  • RAS
  • Recirculating aquaculture systems
  • Waste disposal
  • Waste production
  • Waste treatment

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