Biofloc

Objectives

  • Investigate the viability of biofloc technology (BFT) tilapia production systems using carbon sources readily available in our study area.
  • Investigate energy efficient mixing strategies
  • Develop simple training materials to facilitate technology transfer

What is Biofloc?

Biofloc is a protein rich aggregate of organic material and micro-organisms including bacteria, protozoa, algae, and others. When suspended in nutrient and oxygen rich water, bioflocs rapidly convert detritus, dead organic material, and metabolic byproducts into biomass that is highly digestible and nutritious for tilapia. Furthermore, bioflocs maintain stable water chemistry by detoxifying typical pollutants produced in intensive fish production systems.

Why Biofloc?

  • It is protein rich and highly digestible for tilapia
  • Simple system design and proven technology
  • Environmentally friendly: Low water consumption, increased biosecurity, and little/no release of inorganic pollutants (Nitrogen and Phosphorus)
  • Highly efficient means to convert simple, easily obtainable and inexpensive by-products (Nitrogen and Carbon) into high quality fish flesh.

Preliminary Results

Our investigations are ongoing, but a preliminary 6 week trial starting with 80.1 lbs. of tilapia produced more than 30 additional pounds of fish flesh using only 7 lbs. of commercial feed and several cups of cane sugar. Moreover, despite zero water exchanges, inorganic N and all other toxic pollutant levels measured remained well within safe boundaries. Continuing research is geared towards testing the viability of organic C recovered from spent sugar cane (bagasse) as a feedstock, and developing energy efficient strategies to maintain sufficient oxygen levels in the system.

Implications of this Research  

Fish feed is always the most expensive and limiting factor in successful fish production, which is especially true in resource challenged countries and communities. Optimizing simple BFT methods to alleviate dependence on commercial feed without sacrificing productivity is a very powerful tool for anyone trying to produce fish under these conditions.

Get Involved

These investigations are funded primarily through private donations and are being executed with the help of our partners at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. For more information on how you can help further our mission by supporting our research please contact us or give directly.