Microscreen effects on water quality in replicated recirculating aquaculture systems

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This study investigated the effects of three microscreen mesh sizes (100, 60 and 20 μm) on water quality and rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss) performance compared to a control group without microscreens, in triplicated recirculating aquaculture systems (RAS). Operational conditions were kept constant during a 6-week period where the microscreens were manually rinsed three times a day. The effects of microscreen cleaning frequency and nitrification performance were subsequently assessed.

Compared to the control group, microscreens removed particles, reduced particulate organic matter, and increased β-values. Particulate parameters reached steady-state in all treatment groups having microscreens at the end of the trial. The time to reach equilibrium seemingly increased with increasing mesh size but the three treatment groups (100, 60 and 20 μm) did not significantly differ at the end of the trial. Increased backwashing frequency over a 24-h period had no further significant effects on the parameters measured. The results demonstrated the role and importance of a microscreen, and showed that mesh size, within the range tested, is less important at long operations under constant conditions.

Fish performed similarly in all treatments. Preliminary screening of trout gills did not reveal any pathological changes related to microscreen filtration and the resulting water quality. Biofilter performance was also unaffected, with 0′-order nitrification rates (k0a) being equivalent for all twelve systems (0.148 ± 0.022 g N m−2 d−1).

Mechanisms for RAS equilibrium establishment, within and between systems with different mesh sizes, are discussed
Original languageEnglish
JournalAquacultural Engineering
Pages (from-to)17-26
Publication statusPublished - 2015


  • COD
  • Mesh size
  • Microscreen
  • Nitrification kinetics
  • Particle size distribution
  • Water quality


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