Prairie Aquaculture Research Centre

Prairie Aquaculture Research Centre

The Prairie Aquaculture Research Centre (PARC) was constructed during the summer of 1998. It was expanded in the spring of 2001. The 16 000 L recirculating system consists of 30 -– 360 L fiberglass tanks, 36 - 120 L fiberglass tanks and a 2000 L receiving tank that houses fish not utilized in research experiments. All of the tanks are connected to one filtration system. Water continually flows from the individual tanks to the sump tank where settling of feed and fecal wastes occurs.

Water is drawn from the sump tank into a heater / chiller which maintains a constant water temperature in the system. The water then goes into a biological filter, which contains thousands of tiny plastic beads. These beads provide available surface area for beneficial bacteria to live. Nitrifying bacteria are involved in converting toxic ammonia and nitrite into non-toxic nitrate. The biological filter is regularly backwashed to remove sludge buildup. Following filtration, the water proceeds into the header tank which fills the individual tanks by gravity.

The first batch of fish, rainbow trout fingerlings, were introduced into the facility in January, 1999. Rainbow trout are the preferred experimental fish, although Coho salmon and Nile tilapia have also been used. Trials conducted since that time include palatability studies, digestibility trials and growth experiments. To date, research trials have focused on utilizing locally grown plant protein sources and byproducts to incorporate into aquafeeds to provide low-cost, environmentally friendly feeds.

The facility is used by faculty and graduate students in the Department of Animal and Poultry Science as well as researchers from Veterinary Biomedical Sciences at the Western College of Veterinary Medicine.

Animal and Poultry Science Researchers

Dr. Murray Drew, aquaculture nutrition