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Bass, Hybrid
Bass, Largemouth
Bluegill, Hybrid
Carp, Common
Perch, Yellow
Prawn (Shrimp)
Red Claw Crayfish
Nathan Cochran
with Web site


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AFE Student James Brown Looks for a Practical Method Using Fluorescein Dye to Make Minor Damage Visible on Live Fish Under Ultraviolet Light

Minor damage of the epidermis associated with harvesting and handling live fish is often not visible to the nake eye. When distributing fish live, minor damage may progress to become visible to the consumer and impact the purchasing decision. James Brown, an undergraduate student enrolled in AFE 411 is working with Dr. Ken Semmens to develop a practical method using fluorescein dye to make minor damage visible on live fish under ultraviolet light. Methods developed in this project may provide a new tool to assess the effect of experimental treatments associated with research on the distribution of live fish for food. It may also become a useful method for fish producers.

Photos by Charles Weibel


Aquaculture Graduate Student Cary Mason Investigates the Influence of Salt on the Water Quality and Physiology of Largemouth Bass Held for the Food Market in a Live Holding

Unlike farmers growing beef cattle or other terrestrial livestock, producers in this region growing fish to eat as food are faced with the task of processing and marketing the food fish they grow. The investment in facilities, the unit cost of processing fish, regulatory issues and logistics are formidable barriers to marketing small quantities of food fish at a profit. These barriers also deter potential fish producers from initiating aquaculture as an enterprise. Distributing animals live removes the need for the individual farmer to invest in and operate processing facilities.

Thomas (Cary) Mason is conducting research under the direction of Dr. Ken Semmens on the influence of salt on the water quality and physiology of largemouth bass held for the food market in a live holding system. In this research they will evaluate salt as a treatment in recirculating holding systems to maintain the physical and chemical condition of live food fish. Following simulated transport conditions, fish will be held in replicate recirculating systems treated with three different salt concentrations for a period of 8 days. Data will be collected to measure water quality, fish mortality, weight loss, and fish condition. Blood will be sampled to obtain measures of stress and physiological condition of the fish.

The research team working with Dr. Ken Semmens include John Kelso (research assistant), Cary Mason, and Sujan Bhattarai.

Photos by Charles Weibel


Tom Tierney Harvested His Thesis Project "A Comparison of Biofloc, Clear-Water, and Hybrid Culture Systems for Intensive Shrimp (Litopenaeus vannamei) Nursery Production"

Indoor, intensive recirculating aquaculture systems (RAS) are increasing in popularity for marine shrimp (Litopenaeus vannamei) production as a way of providing fresh, high-quality, never frozen shrimp to metropolitan markets year around.

One common stage in shrimp production is a nursery phase which can enhance biosecurity, allow better quantification of animals, and utilize space more efficiently. Nurseries are usually started a few days after shrimp develop to post-larvae (PL) and continue to a juvenile stage between about 0.5 and 1.0 gram. However it is unclear what type of RAS is most appropriate for indoor shrimp nurseries.

Tom's experiment compared three system types, dictated by differences in filtration: clear-water RAS (CW), biofloc systems (BF), and hybrid systems (HY). Each treatment included four, randomly assigned 208 liter culture tanks; CW systems had an external settling chamber, a foam fractionator, and a biofilter. The BF systems included only a settling chamber and the HY systems included an external settling chamber along with a biofilter. The nursery tanks were stocked with 3,000 PL/m3 with an initial weight of 7mg, and shrimp were grown for 45 days. Water quality parameters, including inorganic nitrogen concentrations (TAN, NO2-N,
NO3-N), were measured once a week. At approximately the middle of the study, samples of shrimp were weighed to determine mean individual weights.

Final data are still pending, but at about the halfway time point there were no significant differences in ammonia and nitrite concentrations between the treatments. However, nitrate concentrations were significantly greater in the HY tanks than in tanks from the other treatments. Mean individual weights of shrimp were significantly greater in the BF treatment followed by HY then CW treatments. These results indicate that differences in system design can have significant impacts on water quality and nursery shrimp production, suggesting that producers should carefully consider what type of system may best suit their production goals.

Photos by Charles Weibel


Lesley Sneed Continues Her Research On Juvenile Mussels

Graduate students Lesley Sneed, Ashmita Poudel, Dakota Raab and Wendel R. Haag (Research Fisheries Biologist with the U.S. Department of Forestry) searched the Beech Fork of the Salt River for concrete silos containing juvenile mussels.

Mussels are increasingly known in the aquatic world as a keystone organism that provides multiple ecological services that are essential for the health of streams and lakes. Mussels, as a group, function as a much-needed natural water filter.

Concrete silos that contain 25 juvenile mussels were placed at the site. The silos are being retrieved now and mussel tissue will be analyzed to help understand why we are losing mussels in these streams. The Kentucky Division of Water will analyze the water quality samples that have been collected.

Lesley Sneed's thesis project is titled "Performance of Juvenile Mussels Held in Place in Streams with Correlations to Water and Sediment Quality in Areas of Recruitment Falure". This study uses Lampsilis cardium, the Plain Pocketbook raised by Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources Center for Mollusk Conservation to understand why we are losing our freshwater mussel populations.

Photos by Charles Weibel


Fred Gonzales Harvests His Aquaponic Research Project

Fred Gonzales harvested his eight week study examining the effects of probiotics (Bacillus subtilis, Lactobacillus acidophilus, and Pediococcus spp.) on food safety indicators within aquaponic systems growing heat tolerant Bibb Lettuce (Lactuca sativa). Research was carried out at the Kentucky State University Aquaculture Research Center's Production Technologies Laboratory.

Six replicate aquaponic systems, three of which received the probiotic mix while three did not, were harvested and analyzed to determine if there were any differences in growth between the two treatments. Gonzales spent the bulk of the eight weeks in the Disease Diagnostics lab using microbiology techniques to isolate micro-organisms found in water samples of the systems, plant roots and plant shoots. Training on the Vitek 2, a bacterial identification system, was pivotal in this research, as was the assistance Gonzales received from Research Associate Janelle Hager and KSU undergrads Zach Perry and Joe Pate.

Photos by Charles Weibel


Aquabreds Take Part in Frankfort's 3rd Annual Pay It Forward

Members of the Aquabreds, an aquaculture club, prepared lettuce harvested from the indoor aquaponic systems to donate to the Access Soup Kitchen and Men's Shelter located in Frankfort, KY.

The students donated over 100 heads of lettuce to the soup kitchen as part of the 3rd annual Pay It Forward Frankfort.

Photos by Charles Weibel


Free Aquaculture Webinar

U.S. Farm-Raised Finfish and Shellfish

(for retailers, culinary educators, and foodservice professionals)

September 21, 2016

The September 21 webinar in the series being presented by NAA, NCRAC, and USAS takes a different approach. This webinar "U.S. Farm-Raised Finfish and Shellfish" was developed specifically for retailers, culinary educators and foodservice professionals. It provides an overview of U.S. aquaculture and includes answers to many common consumer questions. At the conclusion of the webinar, there will be ample time to answer any additional questions from participants.

Please click the link below for additional information on this webinar:

Free Aquaculture Webinar


Foodchain Aquaponics


This video discusses aquaponics at Foodchain, a local business located in Lexington, KY.


Aquaculture Webinars

The US Aquaculture Society has partnered with the National Aquaculture Association and the North Central Regional Aquaculture Center to produce a group of aquaculture related webinars. The latest webinar focuses on recreational pond management techniques and can be found at the link below:


Other webinars have included

  • Aquaponics
  • Bio-security 1 and 2
  • Fish inspection and labeling

You can find links to these and other webinars at:


http://www.ncrac.org/video?field_video_category_tid% 5B%5D=638&sort_by=title&sort_order=ASC



Richard Hulefeld Starts His Thesis Research

Richard Hulefeld started his thesis research entitled "Assessing the Nutritional Value of an Improved Soybean Meal (EnzoMeal) in the Diet of Pacific White Shrimp (Litopenaeus vannamei) and Largemouth Bass (Micropterus salmoides)" under the supervision of Dr. Vikas Kumar. This project is funded from the "Ohio Soybean Council". The overall aim of his project is twofold:

1. Increase the usage of EnzoMeal in feeds for the commercial production of largemouth bass and Pacific white shrimp.

2. Demonstrate how EnzoMeal based feed can improve profits for fish farmers.

In a major boost to aquatic fish farmers, it delivers a powerful alternative to fish meal. EnzoMeal is the first advanced protein soybean meal with zero oligosaccharides with higher protein content (58%) that delivers improved nutritional value for fish feed.

Photo by Charles Weibel


Brittany Woodward Starts Her Thesis Research

Brittany Woodward is a graduate student at the Kentucky State University Aquaculture Research Center. She is starting her thesis research entitled "Essential Amino Acid Requirement of Largemought Bass, Micropterus salmoides."

Her research is part of an Evans Allen, USDA funded project "A Critical Appraisal for Essential Amino Acids and Fatty Acid Requirement of Largemouth Bass: Insight into Molecular and Physiological Approaches."

The overall goal of her thesis is to determine the essential amino acid (Lysine and Argenine) requirements of largemouth bass for sustainable aquaculture feed and food production.

Photos by Charles Weibel


Chelsea Walling Starts Her Thesis Research

Chelsea's thesis will evaluate Black Soldier Fly Larvae (BSFL), Hermetia illucens as a fish meal replacement in practical diets for largemouth bass, Micropterus salmoides. She prepared her diets and stocked her research system last week where the fish will spend one week on an acclimation period. Diets were made on-site in the Fish Nutrition Research Laboratory.

The 12-week study will examine five diets with differing ratios of BSFL and fish meal (FM). Fingerlings were stocked in 20, 114-L aquaria in a recirculating aquaculture system at stocking densities of 25 fish/tank with 4 replicates per diet.

BSFL contains 42% protein and 35% fat. Commercial producers of BSF feed the larvae manure, food scraps and other "waste" items who convert the digested matter in their gut. The larvae are then processed in a high quality protein feedstuff which may be a suitable replacement for fish meal. With the high demand for fish products in aquaculture diets, globally there is a steady decline in the availability of fish meal. Thus increasing prices are passed on to growers through feed costs. Alternative protein sources are necessary to sustain growing aquaculture needs and the black soldier fly has been examined as a potential diet ingredient for a variety of species including (tilapia and trout) as well as poultry and swine.

Photos by Charles Weibel


Liz Gamez Prepares to Start Her Thesis Project

The Ray Lab is beginning research in brackish water remediation this summer at the Kenucky State University's High Tunnels Complex. KSU Aquaculture graduate student Liz Gamez is currently screening leafy food crops and ornamental plants for salinity tolerance in aquaponics in anticipation of a large-scale remediation trial which will comprise her thesis research. Serially reused water in indoor biofloc systems tends to accumulate nitrate and heavy metals over time and is known to reach concentrations that will hinder shrimp health and growth. Liz's research will test a relatively low-tech, static phytoremediation system for removing nuisance compounds and improving the quality of reused biofloc water between harvest cycles. By reusing water more frequently, farmers can save on the cost of salt for inland marine shrimp production.

Photos by Charles Weibel


Dr. Andrew Ray's Research Published in the Global Aquaculture Advocate

"Comparing Chemoautotrophic- and Heterotrophic- Based Systems Receiving Different Carbohydrate Sources"

Click on the link below to read the full article:



Constructing Fish Tanks in High Tunnel Greenhouses


This video was shot at the Kentucky State University High Tunnel Complex. High tunnels are relatively simple greenhouse structures commonly used to extend the growing season of crops. In this video Dr. Andrew Ray describes some large fish tanks that have been constructed with wooden frames and rubber liners. The fish tanks are being used to grow tilapia, with the goal of getting market-sized fish in one growing season in Kentucky. Time-lapse and underwater video footage help to illustrate Dr. Ray's points.


Dr. Sid Dasgupta, Richard Bryant, and Alejandro Velasquez recently published an article in World Aquaculture Magazine titled, "Local Food Markets For Catfish In Kentucky."

Click here for the complete article


Team Gomelsky Publishes Two Aquaculture Articles

Dr. Gomelsky and his team recently published two articles in new issues of North American Journal of Aquaculture. The first article describes ploidy variability and viability of fish obtained from triploid koi females. It is typically considered that triploid fish are sterile. However, triploid
koi females, which were obtained at the Aquaculture Research Center at Kentucky State University, developed large ovaries and appeared to be fertile. The data presented in the article shows that fish obtained by crossing triploid koi females with normal diploid koi males are aneuploids and
have intermediate ploidy between diploid (2n) to triploid (3n) level. This indicates that triploid females produce aneuploid eggs with unbalanced chromosome numbers.

Read Full Article Here

The second article describes inheritance of red eyes in koi. Red eyes is a trait typical for albino fish or other animals. However, data presented in this article shows that trait "red eyes" in koi is under control by not albino but by another demelanization mutation. In experimental progenies red-eyed fish with black (melanin) pigmentation on body were identified. Also, crossing of red-eyed koi with wild-type colored common carp resulted in appearance of fish with black eyes and light body color. These studies were supported by USDA Evans Allen and State's Program of Distinction funds.

Read Full Article Here


U.S. Farm-Raised Fish and Shellfish Publications Available for Education and Promotion

The National Aquaculture Association (NAA) has developed a variety of fact-based, high-quality, full-color brochures. These publications communicate to consumers, buyers, chefs and health care professionals the quality, value and wholesomeness of U.S. farm-raised fish and shellfish as well as the federal and state regulations that govern production, handling and processing.

New Brochure - Locally Farmed Seafood: Safe & Sustainable encourages consumers to buy locally farmed fish and shellfish for their safe, wholesome and nutritious benefits, environmental sustainability, and the positive impact on local economies.

U.S. Farm-Raised Seafood and Food Safety describes non-voluntary and voluntary federal and state food inspection and safety programs and the incredible nutritional values of farm-raised fish and shellfish.

U.S. Farm-Raised Fish and Shellfish Q&A answers commonly asked water quality, sustainability, drug and chemical use, diet and food safety questions with science and regulatory facts.

U.S. Farm-Raised Fish and Shellfish for a Healthier & Happier Life provides in-depth nutritional information for children, teens and adults as well as the health benefits of consuming fish and shellfish during pregnancy. The facts concerning Omega-3 fatty acids, mercury and PCBs are also presented.

United States Aquaculture: Fact & Fiction corrects erroneous perceptions concerning fishmeal, food safety, drug and chemical use, Omega-3 fatty acids, mercury, environmental effects, sustainability, PCBs, and eco-labels.

Each of these attractive, educational publications can be previewed at:



Dr. Boris Gomelsky Publishes Video On Koi Breeding



Dr. Boris Gomelsky and KSU Aquaculture graduate students spawned koi in the hatchery this Spring. Video was recorded, edited and posted onto YouTube. This video demonstrates the process of koi artificial breeding and includes stripping of eggs and sperm from koi broodstock, and artificial fertilization of eggs. In order to remove adhesiveness, after fertilization eggs are placed in McDonald incubation jars where they are vigorously moved in water/milk suspension by air bubbles for 50-60 minutes. Then air flow is substituted with water flow for further incubation of eggs.

Video edited by Charles Weibel



Scale-Transparency and Red-Eye Mutations in Koi


Dr. Boris Gomelsky, KSU Aquaculture Professor, describes two mutations in koi and demonstrates mutant fish from experimental progenies.

Video edited by Charles Weibel



Growing Marine Shrimp in a Biofloc System


This video was shot during a harvest of the indoor marine shrimp production system at Kentucky State University's Aquaculture Research Center. Dr. Andrew Ray describes some of the benefits and concepts behind biofloc-based aquaculture. The video serves as an introduction to this relatively new and exciting topic which can be used to grow marine shrimp in practically any building, allowing fresh, whole, jumbo shrimp to be grown near and sold to a variety of inland markets.


Dr. Jim Tidwell on GCTV with Bill Miller


Dr. Jim Tidwell, Chair of Kentucky State University's Division of Aquaculture and past-president of both the US Aquaculture Society and the World Aquaculture Society, discusses how to deal with dwindling fish supplies and overfishing.



Aquaponics - An Integrated Fish and Plant Production System





Alltech-KSU Research Alliance Focus on Aquaculture Sustainability



To learn more about aquaculture & agriculture sustainability and the research alliance between Alltech and Kentucky State University, click on the link below.






Aquaculture America 2017

San Antonio, TX, USA

Feb. 19 - Feb. 22, 2017

Click the link below for further information

Aquaculture America 2017






Aquaculture Online Courses

Pink Button Water Quality Management
Water chemistry as it relates to aquaculture and recreational pond management.


Brown button Fish Reproduction & Spawning Techniques
This course includes recorded lectures and practical demonstration videos. Instructor: Dr. Boris Gomelsky

Green ButtonFish Genetics
Emphasis is on practical applications in Aquaculture and Fisheries. Instructor: Dr. Boris Gomelsky boris.gomelsky@kysu.edu

Blue ButtonPrinciples of Aquaculture
This Internet class features video lectures over PowerPoint slides. Instructor: Dr. Jim Tidwell james.tidwell@kysu.edu

red button Fish Diseases
This course taught by Dr. Robert Durborow


Yellow Button Survey of Production Methods
This Internet class features video lectures over PowerPoint slides. Instructor: Dr. Jim Tidwell james.tidwell@kysu.edu



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