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Research Facility Tour

OUR AQUACULTURE FACILITY was designed and engineered by the Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) Area Watershed Engineering staff with input from the NRCS Guthrie Field office, Logan County Conservation District Office and our aquaculture staff. All construction labor has been provided by our aquaculture staff. Constructing the facility has involved moving more than 460,000 rn3  (600,000 yds3) of earth; trenching and installing 1,850 m (6,000 ft) of water and airlines, 400 m (1300 ft) of underground electric cable.

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Storage pond

Water from Fitzgerald Creek is pumped with a diesel powered irrigation pump through a 12 inch PVC line to the storage pond 1.4 ha (3.5 A). At full capacity this pond can store approximately 43,172 m3 (35 acre feet) of water which is gravity flowed to the culture ponds in a 15 cm (6 inch) PVC pipe.

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Research and demonstration ponds

The facility has 10, 0.2 ha (0.5 Acre), 20 0.1 ha (0.25 Acre) and 16 0.04 ha (0.1 Acre) culture ponds with approximately 3100 m3  (2.5 acre feet), 1550 m3 (1.25 acre feet) and 550 m3  (0.5 acre feet) volume each, respectively. Valves (5 cm, 2 inch) in each pond provide individual water control. Each culture pond has a 10 cm (4 inch) swivel standpipe connected to a 20 cm (8 inch ) trunk line.  

Water drained from the culture ponds empties into the 1.0 ha (2.5 A) retention pond. At full capacity the retention pond can store approximately 16,500 m3 (1 3.25 acre feet). A permanent 20 cm water intake is installed on the South end. Water is pumped back to the storage pond or culture ponds as needed. The primary role of the retention pond is water conservation and storage until water is needed in the storage pond or experimental ponds.

Our management plan calls for complete water re-use and efficient pond management. Water losses are primarily evaporation and seepage. All our ponds are clay lined, limed and packed with a sheepsfoot roller to minimize seepage. Our research developed pond management methods allow for safe and cost efficient re-use of culture water.

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Air diffuser system

The air diffuser system used to aerate the culture ponds of the research facility is powered by a 10 horse power regenerative blower.  The 0.1 acre ponds are aerated with a 5 horse power regenerative blower.  The system uses an emergency back up 10 horse power blower.  Clusters of 4,  6 inch airstones  attached to drops from a flexible hose provide aeration to circulate water in  the culture ponds. 

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Feeding the fish

Fish feeds for research demonstration projects are carefully prepared and weighed for daily feedings.  Feeding rates depend on water quality conditions and fish demands in each pond.  Care in feeding fish reduces water quality problems, decreases FCR (feed conversion ratio), lowers feed cost per pound of gain and increases potential profit from the fish culture enterprise.  

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Fish production and harvesting

The market for processed fish is competitive and crowded.  However, a market for live fish exists and is not currently being filled.  Our objective is to determine opportunities that exist for fish farmers to increase income through direct marketing of live fish.  This is accomplished by selling direct to the public, channel catfish and other alternative species. New markets are identified and evaluated for potential profitability.

Aquaculture water quality lab

The aquaculture water quality laboratory is used to analyze research related water samples.  Analysis capabilities include: chlorophyll a, b, and c, nitrogen, phosphorous, COD, BOD, phytoplankton size composition and other standard measurements of water quality. 

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Spawning, hatchery and fry production facility

This facility is used to research methods of artificial and natural reproduction of native fish having suitable characteristics for use in aquaculture.  Spawning techniques are under development for freshwater drum and bigmouth buffalo.  The facility is also used to produce all catfish fingerlings used in the demonstration research ponds.

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P.O. Box 730 • Langston, OK 73050 • Phone 405.466.3836