Oxygenation for fish farms

  • B.J. Sowerbutts

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


This thesis provides a detailed study of methods for dissolving oxygen in water to reduce water requirements for fish farming. The principal sources of oxygen are air or pure oxygen gas. Aeration methods have the distinct advantage of the universal availability of air. However, the effectiveness of such methods is diminished by the presence of nitrogen in the air and, in general, the maintenance of dissolved oxygen levels above 70% saturation is likely to result in excessive power requirements. Pure oxygen has five times the solubility of oxygen in air and it is possible, therefore to achieve much higher transfer rates. However, oxygen is expensive and its economic use is essential: it is important, therefore, to dissolve a high proportion of the oxygen.

Four distinct oxygenation systems were evaluated by the author. A detailed analysis of a column oxygenator is given first. The column was designed so that the oxygen bubbles generated are trapped within the column until dissolved. In seawater, much smaller bubbles are formed and this led to the development of a jet oxygenator which disperses gas rubbles within the rearing tank. Both the above systems were designed primarily for oxygenating recycled tank water. For oxygenating a primary water source, a U -tube device was evaluated. Lastly, the possibility of supporting fish stocks without any external power source, other than a pressured supply of oxygen from a liquid oxygen store, was considered.

Experience of running commercial-scale oxygenation systems in high-intensity fish farms has made it possible to estimate operating costs of both aeration and oxygenation systems. The significance of these costs is discussed.
Date of AwardNov 1982
Original languageEnglish
SupervisorE.L. Smith (Supervisor) & Niall Bromage (Supervisor)


  • fish farming
  • oxygenation
  • aeration costs

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