RAS experts build feed research centre

MALTESE company AquaBioTech Group has completed a research facility in the Netherlands for the feed company Coppens International.

The Alltech Coppens Aqua Centre, sited in Valkenswaard, comprises of a number of state of the art recirculating aquaculture systems (RAS) designed to run simultaneous nutrition trials for a variety of species.

Each RAS unit has been custom designed so feed trials can be carried out in both saltwater and freshwater conditions for species such as salmon smolts, trout and catfish, with temperatures ranging from six to 28 deg C.

The facility consists of 60 tanks in four separate systems, with the option to pair these, making two larger systems for increased replication purposes.

The systems are designed to operate at commercial level stocking densities and include several additional features for ease of husbandry practices by technicians.

For example, a partial tank drainage system is incorporated into the small systems to allow for some tanks to drain and run at 50 per cent capacity, while retaining the water in the systems to increase water utilisation and energy consumption efficiencies.

The RAS units include a complete monitoring and control system with digital LED lighting, as well as tank specific faeces/pellet collection in an efficient design allowing for ease of use and widening of experimental limitations, said AquaBioTech.

‘We are very pleased to have completed this project,’ said Rob J. Davies, head of RAS projects at the company. ‘Our experience in delivering custom made RAS projects for both saltwater and freshwater has been a catalyst for the success of this project.

‘Alltech Coppens International is a leader in nutrition in RAS environments and the operation of the Alltech Coppens Aqua Centre will enable them to become a global hub of excellence for aquaculture research.’

As part of the contract, the AquaBioTech Group will provide remote technical support and troubleshooting for the centre through the monitoring and control system.

The company, which has designed and built RAS systems for customers across the world, operates more than 25 recirculating aquaculture systems in its own aquatic research facility in Malta.

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