American Journal of Agricultural and Biological Sciences

A Comparative Assessment of Hydroponically Grown Cereal Crops for the Purification of Aquaculture Wastewater and the Production of Fish Feed

A. M. Snow, A. E. Ghaly and A. Snow

DOI : 10.3844/ajabssp.2008.364.378

American Journal of Agricultural and Biological Sciences

Volume 3, Issue 1

Pages 364-378

Abstract

Hydroponically grown wheat, barley and oats were examined for their ability to remove nutrients from aquaculture wastewater. Wheat, barley and oats seeds were germinated in water in a hydroponics system. The seedlings then received wastewater from an aquaculture system stocked with Arctic charr. During the experiment, the crops grew rapidly and fairly uniformly and showed no signs of mineral deficiency although fungal growth was evident. The average crop heights and yields at harvest were 19.0, 25.5 and 25.2 cm and 64, 59 and 42 t ha-1 for wheat, barley and oats, respectively. The hydroponically grown wheat, barley and oats were able to significantly reduce the pollution load of the aquaculture wastewater. The TS, COD, NH4+-N, NO2--N, NO3--N and PO43--P reductions ranged from 53.3 to 57.7%, from 55.7 to 78.7%, from 76.0 to 80.0% from 85.1 to 92.9%, from 62.1 to 79.3% and from 74.1 to 93.0%, respectively. The compartments containing barley produced the highest quality effluent, which was suitable for reuse in aquaculture operations. The average TS, COD, NH4+-N, NO2--N, NO3--N and PO43--P concentrations and pH of the final effluent from the compartments containing barley were 442, 64, 0.50, 0.02, 5.89 and 0.61 mg L-1 and 6.65, respectively. The nutritive value of the three wastewater grown crops was assessed to determine the suitability of using the plants as a component in fish feed. The three terrestrial crops meet the energy, fat, Ca, Mg, P, Na, S and Mn dietary requirements of aquatic animals, exceed the carbohydrate, crude fiber, Cl, K, Cu, Fe, Se and Zn requirements of fish and shellfish and do not contain sufficient amounts of protein to meet the dietary requirements of fish and shellfish. The crops will require supplementation with a high protein source that contains low concentrations of carbohydrates, crude fiber, Cl, K, Cu, Fe, Se and Zn. Common protein sources that could be used for supplementation included fishmeal, bone meal and blood meal.

Copyright

© 2008 A. M. Snow, A. E. Ghaly and A. Snow. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.