Ideal onshore fish farm tanks

Khurram Shahzad uses computational fluid dynamics for modelling and simulation to investigate how water currents behave in small and large tanks. Photo: Andre Meriac © Nofima

How can we ensure decent swimming conditions and even distribution of oxygen and feed in the massive tanks used for onshore salmon farming?

Written by Wilhelm Solheim, Nofima.

In land-based fish farming, the fish is kept in onshore tanks rather than in pens or closed-containment systems at sea.

At the CtrlAQUA research centre, Khurram Shahzad is currently investigating how water currents behave in small and large tanks, and how to improve them through computational fluid dynamics and simulations.

By using these models, the need to make prototypes of tanks and carry out costly experiments is eliminated.

Improved welfare

“The main purpose of my calculations is to help the industry to develop optimal fish farming tanks that provide the fish with adequate swimming conditions and ensure that oxygen and feed is distributed evenly in order to avoid “dead zones.”

If done right, the tanks will also be largely self-cleaning. Facilitating the right hydrodynamics in the tanks will mean reduced energy consumption and improved salmon welfare in land-based farming”, says Shahzad.

Many different sizes and types of tanks are available on the market, including circular, octagonal and race way with steadily flowing water.

Collaboration with the industry

“We collaborate extensively with the industry. They send us examples of existing tanks or drafts with new ideas which they are working on. In return we create a computer model and simulate the proposed designs. Later we carry out tests by adjusting the various parameters including inlet and outlet speed and placements at different depths, inlet directional angles and the direction and number of nozzles on each inlet.

CtrlAQUA is a centre for research-based innovation that will lay the foundation for the development of closed aquaculture concepts in the future.

Download fact sheet about the research: Importance of computer modeling in aquaculture (supported by examples)