Automation system developed for intensive tilapia (Oreochromis niloticus) fry production

The DA-Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources-National Freshwater Fisheries Technology Center (BFAR-NFFTC) developed an automation system for intensive tilapia (Oreochromis niloticus) fry production aimed to enhance supply of quality seed stock of tilapia, contribute to year-round availability of fry and fingerlings, and promote shorter grow-out culture period. With the improved yield of tilapia, it can ensure an increase in the income of smallhold or village level fish farmers. 

This technology was presented on 2 August 2022 in an online seminar series as part of the week-long celebration of the 35th DA-BAR Anniversary. 

In aquaculture, the purpose of automation technology is to improve the production, use of resources, improve the quality of products, and reduce the environmental impact. Therefore, year-round supply of quality fry and fingerlings for distribution to nurseries and grow-out farms even during the periods when temperature is beyond the optimum level for reproduction is assured. 

In their report, the DA-BFAR-NFFTC cited important factors to consider in optimizing fry production. Among them were the broodstock condition, efficiency of the egg/fry collection coupled with an efficient incubation system, and good water quality, which should be within the desirable range for reproduction and at an optimum temperature range of 28°C to 32°C. In contrast, prolonged period of low oxygen levels has a negative effect on courtship and in the capacity of the female to incubate eggs and yolk sac fry. Also, it limits active feeding and affects the ability of the fish to prepare for the next breeding cycle.  

The system, which is dependent on electricity, was upgraded by the installation of solar power energy which is more cost-effective than the standard electricity. Solar power has the least negative impact on the environment compared to other energy sources, does not produce greenhouse gases, does not pollute the water, and improves grid security as it is less vulnerable to blackouts and power fluctuations. 

“The technology intervention involved upgrading of tilapia hatchery facility into automated and eco-friendly facility using the modified intensive tilapia hatchery (MITH) technology, coupled with recirculating aquaculture system (RAS) to manage the water parameters particularly the temperature and dissolved oxygen that are necessary for the reproduction of tilapia, and the system is also powered by solar power energy for continuous operation to ensure complete functionality and efficiency,” said Ma. Jodecel C. Danting, co-project leader and center chief of DA-BFAR-NFFTC. 

The technology uses sensors to detect the state of the water parameters under control and provide signals and input to control and display devices called Arduino board. The Arduino board reads inputs and turns it into output sending instructions to the automated system, for example, activating the water pump motor.  

The automated hatchery facility is operated year-round even during cold months. Net shading or sunshade was used during hot months to help maintain the optimum level of water temperature. 

One of the objectives of the technology is to increase the hatchery production of quality tilapia fry by 30-40%. In the initial data gathered, an 81.6% increase in the estimated number of eggs and fry collected during the first cycle and 68.51% in the second cycle, with 80.72% survival rate in the automated MITH compared to the original MITH, was achieved. (### Maria Elena M. Garces)

 

Also, a total of 100,000 fry were distributed to three nursery operator partners and 50,000 fry each to three grow-out operator partners.

For more information:

Ma. Jodecel Danting

DA-BFAR-NFFTC

Science City of Munoz, Nueva Ecija

(0927) 938 9194

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