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‘Conduits aeration’ technology increases oxygen levels in aquaculture ponds

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By Milthon Lujan

Closed conduit flow at higher elevation (Aytac & Tuna 2023).
Closed conduit flow at higher elevation (Aytac & Tuna 2023).

Maintaining healthy rivers, lakes, and reservoirs is vital for the aquatic life that inhabits them. A crucial factor for a healthy ecosystem is the concentration of dissolved oxygen (DO). Unfortunately, DO levels can sometimes plummet, creating an environment where aquatic life struggles to survive.

The good news is that scientists from Firat University (Turkey) and Dogus University (Turkey) are developing innovative solutions to raise DO levels. This research explores the potential of Conduits aeration systems, a promising new technology for increasing oxygen in aquaculture ponds.

The Importance of Dissolved Oxygen

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Dissolved oxygen (DO) is crucial for the water quality of aquaculture ponds. When DO levels drop below 2 mg/L, water quality is compromised. This can lead to:

  • Mass fish deaths: The lack of oxygen creates a stressful environment for fish, often resulting in large-scale deaths.
  • Reduced fish growth: Even if fish survive low DO levels, they may not eat or grow as well, affecting aquaculture production.

Why Conduits Aeration?

Traditionally, pond aeration in aquaculture has relied on methods like compressors or fountains, which can be costly and energy-intensive. However, a new design called the “Conduits system” offers a more efficient alternative with several advantages:

  • Lower initial investment: Compared to traditional methods, duct systems are more affordable to install.
  • Reduced operational costs: These systems require less energy to operate, making them a cost-effective long-term solution.
  • High efficiency: This study demonstrates that duct systems can achieve impressive aeration efficiency.
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How Duct Systems Work:

  • Water jets: They use pumps to create powerful water jets.
  • Air intake: As the jet submerges in the water, a slight opening allows air to enter.
  • Increased contact: The air mixes with the water, creating a larger surface area for oxygen transfer.

System Optimization

Researchers studied how to adjust the duct system for maximum oxygen transfer. They focused on several key factors:

  • Jet submersion angle: The angle at which water is expelled from the system significantly affects aeration. The study found that higher angles led to better oxygen transfer.
  • Flow rate: The speed at which water flows through the system plays an important role. Higher flow rates generally resulted in better aeration efficiency.
  • Hydrostatic level: Refers to the water depth where the system operates. Interestingly, the research showed that deeper water depths corresponded to higher aeration efficiency.
  • Froude number: This parameter considers both the speed and depth of water flow. Higher Froude numbers were associated with better oxygen transfer.
  • Gate opening rate: The study also explored how adjusting a gate within the system affected performance. They found that lower gate openings led to higher efficiency, likely due to increased air intake.

Importance for Pond Management

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The success of duct aeration systems is promising for the future of our aquaculture ponds. With further development and implementation, this technology could play a crucial role in:

  • Lower costs: Compared to traditional aeration methods, they require lower initial investment and ongoing maintenance.
  • Energy efficiency: They achieve excellent oxygen transfer with lower energy consumption.
  • High performance: Optimized designs offer superior efficiency in oxygen transfer.
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Conclusion

“The best air intake efficiency was obtained in the experimental setup with a 10% gate opening rate, an immersion angle α= 60°, and a hydrostatic level of 0 cm,” the researchers concluded.

This research paves the way for more affordable and effective aeration systems. By maintaining healthy DO levels, duct systems can help to:

  • Protect aquatic ecosystems: Ensure the survival and health of fish and other forms of aquatic life.
  • Boost aquaculture production: Create optimal conditions for fish growth and development.
  • Promote sustainability: Reduce energy consumption and overall costs associated with aeration.

Contact
Ayca Aytac
Department of Civil Engineering, Dogus University – Dudullu Campus
Istanbul, Turkey
Email: aaytac@dogus.edu.tr

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Reference (open access)
Kelestemur, G.T., Aytac, A. & Tuna, M.C. Experimental investigation on oxygenation efficiency of an effective aeration system for ponds. Aquacult Int (2024). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10499-024-01583-4

Other
Aytac A, Tuna MC (2023) Development of a new generation flotation cell and monitoring of air bubbles. Water Pract Technol 18(1):27–39. https://doi.org/10.2166/wpt.2022.170