Two organic carbon application rates to control inorganic nitrogen in minimal water exchange, biofloc, shallow water, shrimp nursery systems


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Virginia Tech Publishing


The objectives of this study were to develop and test a quantitative method for reactive carbon application to control inorganic nitrogen, and to compare the effect of carbon application using 40% and 60% microbial conversion efficiency (MCE) while leaving a residual 11.3 mg/l nitrate nitrogen (NO3-N) level. The organic carbon requirement was based on the carbon to nitrogen ratio of the elemental composition of microbial cells. The source of supplemental organic carbon was shortchained fructooligosaccharide (scFOS). Correction for moisture was duplicated on the first 2 days of scFOS application, so the actual efficiency rates were 35.1% and 58.3%. The proposed carbon quantitative method was effective in predicting the amount of carbon required to control inorganic nitrogen. Both 35.1% MCE and 58.3% MCE maintained total ammonia nitrogen (TAN) and nitrite nitrogen (NO2-N) at desired levels of equal to or less than 2.3 mg/l and 3.1 mg/l, respectively. The amount of carbon applied using 35.1% MCE was higher than with 58.3% MCE. e 58.3% MCE treatment resulted in slightly higher NO3-N levels than 35.1 % MCE. The most toxic species of inorganic nitrogen, TAN and NO2-N, are assimilated by heterotrophic bacteria before NO3-N, permitting decreased reactive carbon input and water quality improvement. The benefits of 58.3% MCE vs. 35.1% MCE were lower organic loading, reduced water replacement, and decreased costs. The total water replacement associated with biofloc control was 0.24% using 35.1% MCE and 0% using 58.3% MCE. After a culture period of 14 days the mean weight was 65.5 mg and 61.9 mg for 31.5% MCE and 58.1% MCE, respectively, and a survival of 79.5% for both MCE’s.



Recirculating aquaculture