by Oxair, Australia

With fisheries around the world close to or beyond sustainable limits, and current health recommendations advising an increased intake of oily fish to help protect against heart disease, governments are warning that that the only way to satisfy consumer demand is the continued growth of aquaculture.

The good news is that fish farms can increase stocking densities and improve yields by up to one-third by specifying PSA oxygen applications from gas separation specialist Oxair, which can introduce oxygen to fish tanks in its pure form. The benefits of oxygenation are well known within the aquaculture industry: fish require at least 80 percent oxygen saturation in the water for optimal growth. Insufficient oxygen levels cause poor digestion in the fish, so that they require more food and the risk of illness also increases.

Conventional oxygenation methods, based on the addition of air alone, quickly reach their limits because, in addition to the 21 percent oxygen that air contains, air also contains other gases, in particular nitrogen. Applying the same technology as that used in medical facilities, Oxair's gas generators use Pressure Swing Adsorption to introduce pure oxygen directly into the water. This enables the production of much greater quantities of fish in a comparatively small volume of water and causes the fish to grow larger as well. This enables even small enterprises to farm considerably more biomass, making it easier for them to assert themselves in the economic environment.

James Newell, Oxair's CEO, explained, 'We supply PSA equipment for many facilities around the world, from aquacultures in Singapore to the University of Tasmania's research facility. Our installation at a barramundi farm in Darwin has shown that, for every 1kg of oxygen pumped into the water, 1kg of fish growth results. Our generators are currently being used to farm salmon, eels, trout, prawns and snapper, among other varieties, at a global level."

More efficient to run than traditional paddlewheel equipment, Oxair's generators increase the partial pressure and, thus, the natural saturation limit in the water by a factor of 4.8 compared to aeration with mere air. A steady supply of oxygen is vital, especially since the majority of fish farms are located in remote areas. Using Oxair's equipment, fish farms can maintain a reliable in-house supply of oxygen rather than depending upon tanker deliveries which, if delayed, could compromise the quality of a fish farm's entire stock.

Farms can make further savings as fish health and metabolism are improved, so less feed is needed. As a consequence, salmon farmed in this way contain a higher concentration of omega-3 fatty acids and develop an improved flavour. As the quality of the water determines the quality of the fish, Oxair's equipment can also be used to create the ozone needed in water recycling reactors to sterilise the used water, which is then treated with UV light before being recirculated into the tank.

Oxair's designs are focused on meeting exacting customer requirements, reliability, ease of maintenance, safety, and plant self-protection. The company is a world leading manufacturer of gas process systems for shipboard and land-based use, to suit any requirement.

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