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A comparison of reciprocating flow versus constant flow in an integrated, gravel bed, aquaponic test system


Murray cod, Maccullochella peelii peelii, and Green oak lettuce, Lactuca sativa, were used to test for differences between two aquaponic flood regimes; reciprocal flow (hydroponic bed was periodically flooded) and constant flow (hydroponic bed was constantly flooded), in a freshwater aquaponic test system, where plant nutrients were supplied from fish wastes, while plants stripped nutrients from the wastewater before it was returned to the fish. The Murray cod had FCRs and biomass gains that were statistically identical in both systems. Lettuce yields were good and a significantly greater amount of both biomass and yield occurred in the constant flow treatment. Constant flow treatments exhibited greater pH buffering capacity, required fewer bicarbonate (buffer) additions to control pH and maintained lower conductivity levels than reciprocal flow controls. Water consumption in the two systems was statistically identical. Overall, results suggest that a constant flow flooding regime is as good as, or better than, a reciprocating flooding regime in the aquaponic test system used.

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Lennard, W.A., Leonard, B.V. A comparison of reciprocating flow versus constant flow in an integrated, gravel bed, aquaponic test system. Aquaculture International 12, 539–553 (2004).

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  • Aquaponics
  • Flood regime
  • Hydroponics
  • Lettuce
  • Murray cod