Pond water aeration systems
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06-10-2010, 05:34 PM




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Pond water aeration systems


Abstract

During the past decade, pond aeration systems have been developed which will sustain large quantities of fish and invertebrate biomass. These aeration systems are modifications of standard wastewater aeration equipment. Aeration-performance testing has been important in selecting design features to provide cost-effective yet efficient aquaculture pond aerators. Paddlewheel aerators and propeller-aspirator-pumps are probably most widely used. Amounts of aeration vary from as little as 1–2 kW ha 1 in some types of fish culture to as much as 15 or 20 kW ha 1 in intensive culture of marine shrimp. Calculations suggest that about 500 kg additional production of fish or crustaceans can be achieved per kW of aeration. Aerators usually are positioned in ponds to provide maximum water circulation. This practice can result in erosion of pond bottoms and inside slopes of embankments, and accumulation of sediment piles in central areas of ponds where water currents are weaker. Recent studies suggest that the use of heavy aeration to provide the greatest possible production is less profitable than moderate aeration to improve water quality and enhance feed conversion efficiency. Automatic devices to start and stop aerators in response to daily changes in dissolved oxygen (DO) concentrations are improving, but they are expensive and not completely reliable. Augmentation of natural supplies of DO in ponds often is necessary to prevent stress or mortality of fish and crustaceans when DO concentrations are low. Several procedures have been used in attempts to increase DO concentrations in ponds. These methods include exchanging part of the oxygen-depleted pond water with oxygenated water from a well, pond, or other source, application of fertilizer to stimulate oxygen production by photosynthesis of aquatic plants, additions of compounds which release oxygen through chemical reactions, release of pure oxygen gas into pond waters, and aeration with mechanical devices which either splash water into the air or release bubbles of air into the water. Water circulation devices also enhance DO supplies in ponds by mixing DO supersaturated surface waters with deeper waters of lower DO concentration. This reduces the loss of oxygen from ponds by diffusion. Also, when surface waters are notsaturated with DO, water circulation causes surface disturbance and enhances oxygen absorption by the water. Mechanical aeration is by far the most common and usually the most effective means of increasing DO concentrations in ponds. In semi-intensive aquaculture, aeration is applied on an emergency basis. Farmers check DO concentrations, and when low concentrations of DO are expected, aeration is applied. In intensive aquaculture, aeration is applied each night or even continuously. The purpose of this article is to summarize the ‘state of the art’ of mechanical aeration of aquaculture ponds.

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