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Attempts to improve nitrogen utilization efficiency of aquaponics through nitrifies addition and filler gradation

Abstract

Aquaponics has attracted worldwide attention in recent years and is considered as an alternative technology for conventional aquaculture. In this study, common carp (Cyprinus carpio) and pakchoi (Brassica chinensis) were cultured in lab-scale aquaponics, and attempts were conducted to enhance its nitrogen utilization efficiency (NUE) through two optimization methods, i.e., nitrifies addition (NA) and filler gradation (FG). Results showed that NA and FG could improve the NUE of aquaponics by 8.8 and 16.0 %, respectively, compared with control. The total ammonia (TAN) and nitrite (NO2 ) concentrations in NA and FG systems were maintained at relatively low level (TAN < 0.5 mg/L, NO2  < 0.1 mg/L), which demonstrated that both the NA and FG could provide non-toxic water environment for fish culture. Nitrous oxide conversion ratio of the control, NA, and FG were 0.8, 1.2, and 1.7 %, respectively, indicating that media-based aquaponics also contributed to global warming. Although the two proposed attempts in this study caused more N2O emission, they made new breakthrough in improving the NUE of aquaponics.

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Acknowledgment

This work was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Nos. 21307076 and 41305124), the Fundamental Research Funds of Shandong University (Nos. 2014TB003 and 2015JC056), and the National Water Special Project (No. 2012ZX07203-004). We also want to say thanks to Dr. Zhao for nitrogen elemental analysis, and Dr. Li for helping us with N2O analysis. The present study would not be completed without these help.

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Correspondence to Zhen Hu.

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Responsible editor: Gerald Thouand

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Zou, Y., Hu, Z., Zhang, J. et al. Attempts to improve nitrogen utilization efficiency of aquaponics through nitrifies addition and filler gradation. Environ Sci Pollut Res 23, 6671–6679 (2016). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11356-015-5898-0

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s11356-015-5898-0

Keywords

  • Aquaponics
  • Nitrogen utilization efficiency
  • System optimization
  • N2O emission