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What are the Pros and Cons of Biofloc Fish Farming

Biofloc systems are becoming a popular way for fish farmers to manage waste and store nutrients in aquaculture water. However, a new research article published in Biotica Research Today explains that this technology requires active management to be successful.

Ayushi Raina
Fish Farming

Biofloc systems are becoming a popular way for fish farmers to manage waste and store nutrients in aquaculture water. However, a new research article published in Biotica Research Today explains that this technology requires active management to be successful.  

BFT i.e. Biofloc Technology is considered as the “Blue Revolution” which allows continuous recycling and reuse of nutrients in culture medium, which benefits from minimal or zero water exchange.  

BFT is an eco-friendly aquaculture technology which is based on the production of in-situ microorganism. Bioflocs are growths suspended in ponds/pools, which are aggregates of type of dead and living organic matter, phytoplankton, bacteria. It uses the microbial process in the pond / tank itself to provide food resources for the cultivation of organisms and, at the same time, as a remedy for water treatment.  

Therefore, this system is also known as an active suspension ponds, green soup ponds or heterotrophic ponds. 

If producers cannot manage the levels of suspended solids in aquaculture waters, biofloc systems can put shrimp and fish at risk of disease problems and welfare problems. The researchers also caution that the discrete microbial dynamics of the systems are still poorly understood. This knowledge gap makes it more difficult to manage production, and it is likely that farmers may not have the facilities to address the problems they encounter during growth. 

Let us put light on the benefits and drawbacks of Biofloc Fish Farming 

Pros of Biofloc 

The Floc themselves are rich in protein and provides an excellent source of vitamins and phosphorus for fish or shrimp. By allowing microorganisms to proliferate can improve water quality and fix toxic nitrogen. Compared with traditional aquaculture techniques, farmers also reported higher performance indicators for the system. The production of bioflocs can reduce mortality, increase larval development and improve growth rates of cultured species. 

Another major advantage of biofloc technology is the improvement in land and water use rates. Since the system relies on limited (or close to zero) water exchange, the impact of production on the overall environment is very low. The reduced water inlet reduces pollution and improves biological safety during the production process. 

Cons of Biofloc 

Biofloc is more than it looks. The system requires a warm-up period and the output is not always constant between seasons. Since producers must consistently mix and aerate aquaculture water, energy costs may be higher than expected. 

In addition to these factors, producers need to actively manage biofloc ponds to prevent nitrite accumulation and keep alkalinity levels within healthy limits. Monitoring the health and welfare of fish is also essential - bioflocs can increase the content of suspended solids in the water, leaving fish and shrimp vulnerable to environmental influences.  

Some evidence suggests that microbial flocs have a probiotic effect on the culture environment and may modulate vibrio activity, but this is not observed in all studies. The researchers noted that in some experiments, the number of vibrio in the microbial floc increased, putting the fish at risk of disease.  Without a full picture of how individual microbial flocs work or proliferate in a predictable way, researchers are now at a disadvantage for producers.  

Biofloc is best suited for: 

 A number of studies have shown that benthic species such as shrimp and tilapia are most suitable for the production of biological flocs. As the bacterial load in the water is constantly changing, fishes should be relatively unassailable to environmental threats.  

Sensitive species won’t be able to thrive in this type of environment. 

Producers may adopt a close management system for biofic ponds. Compartment designs where fish production and microbial growth occur in different spaces can facilitate the management of biofloc systems.  

The compartment design will allow farmers to better control the production process and ensure that their investment in biofloc translates into higher yields. 

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