The final part of our 20 ton Tilapia fish farm design puzzle, the full feed loading on the system. We take a detailed look at the loading for the aquaculture farm over the production period for all of the batches of fish and their growth. From here we find out the total feed each day on a weekly based for the staged production then we will start the design parameters for the shared life support system on the farm. This type of loading is ideal for integrated farms like aquaponics. Let’s crack right on into it. The table below is the full farm daily feed rate and is self explanatory. With each of the two stages we have three batches of fish giving us a total of 6 cohorts in the system at any give point in time, not including the one we have in the quarantine as it is on a separate life support system. The two stages in our farm have a shared life support so we need to work out our daily feed loading for all the batches at different stages in growth to start our work on the design parameters (filtration, pumping rates etc). The above shows the loading cycle from when we reach maximum biomass and down to the lowest loading point. What is important here is the gap between the maximum and minimum not be too large. Have the difference as close as we can get it will ensure the tanks are used to their maximum capacity at all times. Very important for calculating capital returns per unit of measure (eg m2 or f2). Aquaponic Nutrient Sidebar: When staging like this, the smaller the variation in the feed loading the more stable nutrient production will be when integrating the fish farm with a hydroponic subsystem. Poor design in the fish farm will lead to bulk nutrient supply then very little which is a really difficult way to manage an aquaponic farm. No you can not store the extra in a media bed…. Note the blue highlight showing a maximum feed load of 115 kg of feed per day. A very important number and one we will use later. The grey areas in the chart show the next batch of fish coming through the system. Another way to look at the farm is to see it at start up. The above chart shows our farm from when we first move our clean, disease free fingerlings out of the quarantine into our grow out system. Note it will take around 35 weeks to reach full biomass (another important consideration with integrated systems). Then we start to harvest our fish and the cycle continues much like the first chart. Before we finish on this topic, again I want to show you what the feed loading looks like when we improve or lower the feed conversion ratio. As you can see our 115 kg per day is now 95 kg per day. You remember from the previous step we estimated if we designed our system at the lower FCR we may overload the life support system by around 30 kg per day if we did not achieve the better FCR. When we see changes to the FCR in action over the entire farm which is 20 kg, I hope you can now see how important that information is and how it can severely impact on our farm. Next in the series we will start our design parameters. This is where we work out all the good stuff like pumping, filtration, oxygen basically all the life support systems. Then we will move onto the inputs and outputs from the farm, such as water, nutrient, co2 and consumption of oxygen. That is when the fun starts….
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