Purdue University Graduate School
Yu-Ting Chu Dissertation_The Development of Marine Aquaponics.pdf (4.5 MB)

The Development of Marine Aquaponics

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posted on 2021-12-05, 14:40 authored by Yu-Ting ChuYu-Ting Chu
Integrated aquaponic food production systems are capable of producing more food on less land using less water than conventional food systems, and marine systems offer the potential of conserving freshwater resources. However, critical factors such as suitable species combinations, environmental conditions (salinity and pH), and nutrient management (animal to plant ratio, C/N ratio, and dietary crude protein) have not been fully understood for marine systems. There were four objectives in this project. The first objective was to evaluate the growth performance of potential comparable combination (whiteleg shrimp with three halophytic plants) for the development of marine aquaponics with BFT under different salinities. The second objective was to evaluate stocking densities and the C/N ratio on growth and production of whiteleg shrimp and three halophytes. The third objective was evaluation of varying concentrations of dietary crude protein in practical diets fed to shrimp raised in biofloc aquaponic saltwater systems. The fourth objective was to evaluate effects of pH levels and additional C on the growth and production of whiteleg shrimp and five plant species in marine aquaponics. Four conclusions were determined: 1) Regarding marine aquaponics, whiteleg shrimp and the three halophytes (Atriplex hortensis, Salsola komarovii, and Plantago coronopus) are suitable combinations for future development. According to the research results, shrimp performed better in a salinity of 15 and 20 ppt; yet, plants performed better in a salinity of 10 and 15 ppt. Therefore, a salinity of 15 ppt is suggested as the optimal saline condition for shrimp and the three halophytes in an indoor marine aquaponics system. In addition, inoculating probiotics do have the efficiency of stabilizing water quality, cultivating microbial community, and enhancing the health of shrimp and plants in the operation of aquaponics. 2) The stocking density ratio and C/N ratio exerted significant impacts on the performance of shrimp and plants in marine aquaponics. Shrimp performed better with the stocking density of 2:1 and 3:1, with no impact from the C/N ratio. Conversely, plants performed better with the stocking density of 3:1 and 5:1 with the C/N ratio at 15. Therefore, a stocking density ratio of 3:1 with a C/N ratio at 15 is suggested as the optimal condition for shrimp and the three halophytes in an indoor marine aquaponic food production system. Inoculating the water with biofloc and applying probiotics regularly can enhance the management of water quality and the health of shrimp and plants in aquaponics. 3) Among the findings of the study, shrimp growth was not affected by the protein content of the feed, suggesting that it is possible to use feeds with lower protein concentration when culturing shrimp in biofloc-based marine aquaponics. However, plants grew better in the treatments with higher protein content feed in the early and middle stages of production. Hence, for maximum production, providing a higher protein concentration feed (35 %) in the early stages of system start-up, and switching to a lower protein concentration feed (30 %) in the later stages of cultivation might be feasible. 4) The current study found no significant effects of pH or additional C on shrimp performance. In contrast, plants grew better in lower pH treatments, while additional C supplements improved the performance of plants grown in higher pH treatments and had similar results to the lower pH treatments. We suggest that RO water is not suitable source of water for shrimp-based marine aquaponics if ionic composition is not managed. The addition of C, however, led to improved growth and yields of most plants. Hence, adding C can be a promising approach in marine aquaponics to enhance the resistance to the abiotic stress of plants and improve their growth.

The present study on marine aquaponics has produced important findings that will fill some knowledge gaps, provide management guidelines for production, and facilitate its development.


Degree Type

  • Doctor of Philosophy


  • Forestry and Natural Resources

Campus location

  • West Lafayette

Advisor/Supervisor/Committee Chair

Paul B. Brown

Additional Committee Member 2

Cary A. Mitchell

Additional Committee Member 3

Hye-Ji Kim

Additional Committee Member 4

Kwamena K. Quagrainie

Additional Committee Member 5

Jen-Yi Huang