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Hatchery Systems in Aquaculture are systems that create ideal conditions for livestock to spawn and result in the highest number and healthiest offspring.

To establish a successful Hatchery, the following primary components are usually necessary to create a habitat where brood stock fish and hatchlings can thrive:

  • Tanks / Water –Depending on the species of livestock being spawned, the size and type of tanks may vary from several hundred gallons to a few gallons in a hatching jar.
  • Pumps –Large quantities of water are often moved by pumps into and thru Hatchery tanks or hatching jars to sustain the environment for the fish during their spawning and hatching process.
  • Oxygen – Usually the stocking densities are low enough and the amount of fresh water being added to the Hatchery System is high enough, that pumping atmospheric air thru “air stones” in the tanks will provide enough oxygen for the brood stock or hatchlings. However “oxygen cones” which saturate the water with oxygen prior to the water being pumped into the tanks, or by oxygen stones which bubble gaseous oxygen up thru the tanks can be used. Usually the pure oxygen is brought to the Hatchery site in a liquid ultra-cold form but can be generated on site.
  • Bio-Filtration – Depending of the stocking densities of fish metabolizing food and the rate of fresh water exchanged with the system, an ecosystem may be needed for the breaking down of ammonia into Hydrogen and a less toxic Nitrite by naturally occurring bacteria. The nitrites will ultimately be broken down into an even less toxic nitrate by yet another naturally occurring bacteria that will thrive in the bio-system.
  • Solid Waste Removal – Solid Wastes are removed by screen filters, swirl separators or sedimentation.
  • Ultra Violet Filtration – To reduce the likelihood of disease, the pumped water of a Hatchery can be passed thru an ultra violet light filter to disinfect the water before being pumped into the spawning and hatching tanks.
  • Lighting – Depending on the type of livestock being spawned in a Hatchery, light can be critical to animal health and maximum growth rate. Also duration of light and darkness often are a vital trigger to the spawning process. If natural light is not employed, wavelength and duration of artificial light must be considered. The spectrum distribution of various artificial light sources can be compared in the June-July 2013 Issue 155 of “Home Power” magazine.{
  • Temperature Control – To maximize culture health and readiness to spawn, the water temperature must be controlled at the level necessary for the species being spawned and the eggs being hatched. Heating can be done by natural gas or propane, or the direct conversion of electric energy to heat by resistance coils. However, the most efficient means to heat the waters of a Hatchery is not by creating heat but by the movement of free heat from either the air source or water source, using a heat pump.

A heat pump also allows the removal of heat from the Hatchery when temperatures are above ideal levels for fish spawning and egg hatching, which is not possible with traditional gas fired combustion systems. Air source heat pumps can provide the needed heat and chilling year-round, dependent upon outdoor temperatures. When air temperatures drop below 50°F, the traditional heat pump has a reduced capacity and efficiency. When air temperatures are routinely below the 50°F mark, a gas heat back- up to the air source is recommended. However the most efficient heat pump system is the geothermal/water source heat pump which harvests heat from the solar energy stored in the ground or bodies of water. Heat pumps routinely deliver heating at 1/4th the cost of burning fossil fuels or electric resistance heating while also offering the capability to cool the culture water.

  • In general, heat pumps are energy efficient. A heat pump is able to move far more energy than it uses. A heat pump uses a refrigeration cycle exactly like your refrigerator or air conditioner uses. Heat pumps are a proven safe, economical and trouble-free system with very low operating costs, long lifespan, and small environmental footprint.
  • There are two types of heat pumps: (1) air source and (2) water source/geothermal.
  • Applied to a Hatchery system, a heat pump simply moves heat from the air (or water) and transfers it to the culture water.

For Hatcheries, either air source heat pumps or water source/geothermal heat pumps can be used. Both are energy-saving units. In Hatcheries, water temperature control is essential. Your geographical location of the hatchery and spawning time of year are major factors in determining if an air source or a geothermal water source heat pump is the best choice.

  • While an air source heat pump is an excellent choice, the air source unit is dependent upon the outside air temperature remaining 50°F or above to maintain the desired temperature for the Hatchery. Air source units must have an outdoor air source; therefore, the units are usually installed outdoors – exposing the unit to ambient environmental conditions (rain, snow, air borne contaminants). Air source heat pumps can also be used to chill the water. Typical life span of an air source heat pump is 10-12 years.
  • Geothermal/water source units are not dependent on outside air temperatures, but on a geothermal water source. A geothermal/water source heat pump is more efficient than the air source with a consistently higher C.O.P. (Coefficient of Performance) due to a more constant energy source temperature. Geothermal heat pumps can also be used to cool the culture water. Additionally, water itself has inherently improved heat transfer characteristics than air. Geothermal units are not dependent on air flow and can be located entirely indoors. Typical life span of a geothermal water source heat pump is 12-20 years.

AquaCal® Heat Pumps (air source or geothermal/water source) are ideally suited for Aquaculture, Aquarium and Aquaponics applications.

  • AquaCal® is the largest heat pump manufacturer for pools and spas in the world and the units are made in St. Petersburg, Florida USA. We are excited to join our heat pump expertise with the professionals of the Aquaculture, Aquarium and Aquaponics industries.
  • AquaCal® Heat Pump water flow rates ideally match the requirements of Hatchery Systems. After all, culture tanks are little more than “Swimming Pools for Fish”!
  • The Titanium ThermoLink® heat exchangers are rugged and perfectly suited for fresh water as well as full strength salt water (up to 35,000 ppm of salt) in the culture and with the source water in a Water Source (Geothermal) Unit.
  • AquaCal® Heat Pumps offer ease of operation, tight temperature controls (±1°F), and high unit efficiencies.
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