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Kentucky State University's Third Thursday Thing


Thad Cochran National Warmwater Aquaculture Center Newsletter

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James Brown Featured in the Student Spotlight of the American Fisheries Society Fish Culture Section Newsletter

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James Brown Successfully Defends Thesis Research

Mr. Brown presented his thesis research at the Kentucky State University Aquaculture Research Center, titled, "Evaluation of Three Types of Devices to Induce Water Flow and The Effect of Screen Mesh Size on Flow in Floating Raceways." His committee members include Dr. Andrew Ray, Dr. James Tidwell, and his Major Professor, Dr. Ken Semmens.

Photo by Charles Weibel


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USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture Release Small Business Innovation Research Manual

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AQU 528 Fish Reproduction Class Begin Koi Spawning

Kentucky State University's AQU 528 Fish Reproduction & Spawning Lab began spawning of Koi Carp for the 2022 season. Selection of Brooders took place on Monday, May 2. and hormonal injection of Females and Males began Tuesday, May 3. Stripping of eggs and milt will begin Wednesday, May 4 for artificial fertilization.



City of Frankfort Visits The Aquaculture Research Center

The City of Frankfort Officials including the City Manager, Commissioners, and top level Staff toured Kentucky State University's Aquaculture Research Center and Harold R. Benson Research & Demonstration Farm


National Oceanic Atmospheric Association

Guide to Federal Aquaculture Grant Services

Click Here For Full Guide


Kentucky State University AQU 528 Fish Reproduction Lab
Spawns Paddlefish

Students in the AQU 528 Fish Reproduction Lab course spawned paddlefish this week with the help of Mr. Tim Parrott and a past KSU Professor, Dr. Steve Mims.

Dr. Ken Semmens spent the week showing students the methods of artificial spawning of paddlefish using traditional stripping methods along with MIST (Minimally Invasive Surgical Technique) and Modified MIST methods for egg collection.

As part of the course, students receive hands on experience spawning multiple species of fish including largemouth bass, paddlefish, and koi. Offspring from the spawns will go to further research in aquaculture production and genetics.


Mark Johannemann Receives Graduate Student of the Year Award

Congratulations to Mr. Mark Johannemann for receiving the Graduate Student of the Year Award for the School of Aquaculture & Aquatic Sciences. Mark received his undergraduate at KSU and now is a student under Dr. Andrew Ray. Through Mark's undergraduate and graduate career at Kentucky State, he has been investigating simple, low cost denitrification methods in biofloc-type brackish water recirculating aquaculture systems.


Michelle Loftus Wins Second Place at the Association of Research Directors Conference

Congratulations to Ms. Michelle Loftus, who won second place in the Animal Health and Production and Products category of the Association of Research Directors Conference held in Atlanta, GA. Michelle's research presentation was titled, "Use of Supplemental Enzymes in Plant Protein-Based Diets for Hybrid-
Striped Bass."

Photo by Charles Weibel


Dr. Chris Delcher, Associate Professor from the College of Pharmacy at the University of Kentucky, was a Guest Speaker for Faculty, Staff, and Students at the Aquaculture Research Center

Kentucky State University Aquaculture Research Center welcomed Dr. Chris Delcher to campus to give a guest lecture to the Faculty, Staff, and Students of the School of Aquaculture & Aquatic Sciences. Students enrolled in the AQU 560 Water Quality Management course recently toured the Wastewater Treatment Facility in Frankfort, KY. In addition to this Dr. Delcher, Director for the Institute of Pharmaceutical Outcomes & Policy, was asked to give a lecture on pharmaceutical and illicit drugs found in our wastewater. His lecture was titled, "What Lies Beneath: The Secret (Drug) Laboratory of Wastewater."


Kentucky State University Aquaculture Research Center
Donates Catfish to Kentucky Fish and Wildlife

Catfish from the Floating Raceway Research and Demonstration project were harvested last fall and held in small ponds at the Aquaculture Research center during the winter. Researchers preparing for the coming
season are moving fish and draining ponds.

These fish were donated to Kentucky Fish and Wildlife for stocking Lake Polliwog in northern KY for the Fishing in Neighborhoods (FINs) program. Approximately 2,500 pounds of channel catfish averaging about 1.3 pounds each were loaded on the trucks.

Photos by Charles Weibel


Kentucky State University's Aquaculture Teacher's Manual

Click Here For Full Manual


Charlie Shultz Successfully Defends Thesis Research

Congratulations to Charlie Shultz for successfully defending his Thesis research, "Evaluation of Different Artificial Light Technologies For Indoor Aquaponic Production of Bibb Lettuce and Compact Basil." His committee members include Dr. Waldemar Rossi, Dr. Robert Durborow and Major Professor Dr. James Tidwell.


Andrew Lohman Successfully Defends Thesis Research

Congratulations to Andrew Lohman for successfully defending his Thesis research, "Evaluation of Low-Cost LED Lights as Sole Source Light for Production of Bib Lettuce (Lactuca sativa var. capitata) in Aquaponics Systems." His committee members include Dr. Andrew Ray, Dr. Kenneth Semmens and Major Professor Dr. James Tidwell.

Photo by Charles Weibel


Kentucky State University Aquatic Farming Newsletter

The Aquatic Farming Newsletter has been a decades-long source of relevant information to aquaculture stakeholders throughout the state of Kentucky. After a brief hiatus, this quarterly newsletter is resuming publication. New editions will be released in February, April, July, and October. The newsletter will provide information on national and local topics, current research in the field, issues important to farmers, market information, networking and educational opportunities, and more!

Click Here To Read Newsletter


Kentucky State University Staff Assist Seek First LLC with Aquaponics

Seek First LLC recently contacted Kentucky State University's Aquaculture Research Center for assistance with their aquaponics system. Janelle Hager, Andrew Lohman and Chelsea Walling traveled to Northern KY to speak with them about their system needs and what aquatic species would work best in their system. They are a Christian based non-profit who supplies aquaponic greens to zoo animals at the ARK Encounter. KSU is helping them establish aquatic animal husbandry procedures and ideal water quality parameters. Seek First LLC has 10 years of diverse agriculture experience, 15 years of greenhouse experience and 5 years of consulting experience.


Fish Reproduction and Spawning Techniques Lab Field Trip

Dr. Ken Semmens's Fish Reproduction and Spawning Techniques Lab visited the Peter W. Pfeiffer Fish Hatchery in Frankfort, Kentucky to observe Sauger spawning this week.

The Sauger is a lean and streamlined perch similar to the Walleye but reaches smaller adult size. Sauger can be found in most of the large Kentucky rivers, including the main channels of the Mississippi and Ohio rivers, their major tributaries, as well as Barkley, Kentucky, and Cumberland Lakes.

Students met with former KSU Students Josh Pennington, Fish Hatchery Manager, and Noah Nelson. They received a tour of the facility and a demonstration on stripping and fertilization of Sauger eggs. Aquaculture students were able to get their hands wet and collect eggs, and sperm from brood fish, and fertilize the eggs. Then they added Fullers Earth solution to prevent the eggs from sticking together, placed eggs into a floating tray with a mesh bottom to water harden the eggs. They expect the survival rate of fry to be around 35%. It was another great hands-on lab experience for the KSU Aquaculture students.

Photos by Charles Weibel


Water Quality Management Lab Students Visit Frankfort's Wastewater Treatment Facility

Dr. Andrew Ray's Water Quality Management Laboratory Course visited the Frankfort Wastewater Treatment Facility this Thursday. Frankfort's first wastewater treatment plant was originally constructed around 1957. In 1980, a new secondary activated sludge "oxidation ditch" type wastewater treatment plant was constructed and the disinfection process was changed to Ozone, which is more efficient and environmentally safe. This was a state-of-the-art design and the first of its kind in Kentucky.

The recent 2001 expansion increased the plant from a 6.6 MGD (million gallons per day) facility to a 9.9 MGD facility. This increase provides additional capacity to serve the needs of the Frankfort community for the immediate future.

The tour was led by Plant Superintendent Carl Groce. The students learned how Frankfort's wastewater is treated, including debris separation, oxidation ditches, clarifier basins, and disinfection processes. The plant has been awarded as one of the best functioning wastewater treatment plants in the state. Tours like this allow students to obtain a greater understanding of the importance of water quality testing.

Photos by Charles Weibel


Garrard County High School Tours Kentucky State University Aquaculture Research Center

Approximately 40 students from Garrard County High School traveled to Kentucky State University on March 23, 2022. During their visit, they toured the Aquaculture Research Center (ARC) guided by Aquaculture Extension and Research Associate Chelsea Walling.

After a short ARC introduction video; they walked throughout the facility including the hatchery, aquaponics greenhouse, and the aquaculture production technologies laboratory. Current research projects, STEM careers, and the importance of sustainable aquaculture production were discussed and the students had many engaging questions. This tour was facilitated by BREDS recruitment manager Katherine Hatchell.


KSU Aquaculture Showcases Diversity in Research and Extension at Aquaculture America 2022

Twenty faculty, staff, and students from Kentucky State University attended the Aquaculture America
Annual Conference in San Diego, California the week of March 1st, 2022. This year was a triennial, combining the annual meetings for Fish Culture Section of the American Fisheries Society, World Aquaculture Society, National Shellfisheries Association, and the National Aquaculture Association. Being the largest aquaculture conference in the world, with nearly 4,000 attendees from 90 countries, the outstanding work conducted at KSU was on full display! In total, participants from KSU gave fourteen oral presentations, three poster presentations, and served as Chair of five conference sessions.

Research and Extension activities in the areas of saltwater shrimp, aquaponics, fish health, fish nutrition, aquaculture engineering, Extension outreach, and K-12 education were presented. KSU Aquaculture Research Program has long been recognized, both nationally and internationally, as a leader in the field. This conference provided an opportunity to showcase just that and continue the legacy of leadership that defines KSU Aquaculture. The financial support of our Land-Grant Program, (for which we are greatly appreciative) was essential in creating this opportunity for faculty, staff, and students.


Please Welcome Gyanu Rana to the Aquaculture Research Center

Gyanu Rana is from Rupandehi, Nepal. Rupandehi District, a part of Lumbini Province, is one of the seventy-seven districts of Nepal and covers an area of 1,360 km².

Gyanu received her undergraduate in Agriculture Science from the Institute of Agriculture and Animal Science, (IAAS) at Trivuwan University. IAAS is an autonomous academic center of Tribhuvan University for imparting education in disciplines: Agriculture, Animal Sciences and Veterinary Sciences.

Growing up in a village with fish ponds, Gyanu decided to pursue her higher education in aquatic sciences. She discovered an aquaculture program at Kentucky State University that interested her and she believes this program will help her prepare for a career in aquaculture.

Her Major professor is Dr. Andrew Ray, and she is working as a Graduate Research Assistant.

Photos by Charles Weibel


The Effect of Fish Feeding Practices on Water Quality

Aakriti Khanal and Ashton Schardt have been preparing feeds for their water quality class. They will be researching the effects of fish feeds on the water quality of largemouth bass. Feeding is vital in aquaculture because it allows much greater production of fish than possible from natural foods within a pond's ecosystem. However, the nutrients in fish feeds are not converted completely and uneaten feed, feces, and metabolic wastes pollute pond water and could cause its quality to deteriorate.

Aakriti will test two diets with different lipid levels and will be looking at how it affects the ammonia levels in the water. The diet with higher fat is balanced and will not favor protein catabolism as much as the diet with low fat (unbalanced). There should be more ammonia being produced by the lower fat (unbalanced diet). Ammonia causes stress and damages gills and other tissues, even in small amounts.

Ashton will also have two diets but his diets will have different concentrations of phosphorus and will be examining the phosphorus levels in the water after the Largemouth bass consume the feed.The first diet is a balanced diet and the second is in excess phosphorus. The excess phosphorus is the addition of dicalcium phosphate. Phosphorus is an essential nutrient for animals and plants. However, excessive amounts of phosphorus in water could cause explosive growth of algae and aquatic plants. This can lead to water-quality problems, including low dissolved oxygen concentrations, which can kill fish and harm other aquatic life.

Photos by Charles Weibel


Kentucky State University Aquaculture Students and Shelby County High School Student Check For Eggs Produced by Crossing Genetically Improved Strains of Nile Tilapia

Kentucky high school students often visit and participate in training and mentoring programs at Kentucky State University (KSU). The KSU Aquaculture Program has hosted several Frankfort High School Students through our Senior Mentoring Program, and we continue to provide educational and hands-on opportunities to high school students across Kentucky.

Rachel Weibel-Harris, a student from Shelby County High School, participated alongside KSU Aquaculture students in the Fish Reproduction and Spawning Laboratory. They checked the buccal cavity of Nile Tilapia females for eggs and incubated the eggs collected into a recirculating hatching system.

Students recorded the PIT-Tag Identification number of the fish from which the eggs were collected. They measured the total weight of the eggs collected, and they counted the number of eggs in two weighted samples (for each fish from which eggs were collected) to estimate the total number of eggs produced.

Research at Kentucky State University's Aquaculture Research Center has identified significant improvement in growth and other commercially important productivity traits in crosses of genetically improved strains of Nile Tilapia females with YY-males.

Students were provided with hands-on experience in the Tilapia Reproduction Laboratory while checking for eggs from females of the Genetically Improved Farmed Tilapia (GIFT strain), and females from the FishGen strain.

Fish produced from the GIFT strain will be provided to farmers in Kentucky as part of an on-farm growth demonstration project.

Fish produced from the FishGen cross will be used to maintain and expand KSU's genetic resources and Tilapia broodstock.

Photos by Charles Weibel


Dr. Thomas Delomas, KSU Aquaculture Alumni was added to ARS
National Program 106 Scientists in the 2021

Former Graduate Student , Dr. Thomas Delomas, is a Shellfish Quantitative Geneticist, currently at the National Cold Water Marine Aquaculture Center Shellfish Genetics Lab, Kingston, Rhode Island. The vision for ARS aquaculture research and technology transfer is to enable science-based use of our natural resources to meet the seafood demands of a growing global population. Mission:

The mission of National Program (NP) 106, Aquaculture, is to conduct research and deliver technologies that improve domestic aquaculture production efficiency and product quality while minimizing impacts on natural resources.

The aim of the ARS Aquaculture Program is to support a safe and affordable domestic supply of seafood products for 330 million U.S. consumers that is produced in a healthy, competitive, and sustainable aquaculture sector; a sector supported by almost 3000 aquaculture farmers producing more than $1.5 billion farm gate value worth of goods annually. In 2019 the USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) published the 2018 Census of Aquaculture updating these statistics for the first time since 2013.

Photo by Charles Weibel


Pesticide Applicators Training Session: Aquatic Plant and Algae Control for Kentucky Commercial Pesticide Applicators 2022

Pesticide Applicators Training Session: Aquatic Plant and Algae Control for Kentucky Commercial Pesticide Applicators 2022

Forrest Wynne, State Extension Specialist for Aquaculture,
 Kentucky State University Cooperative Extension Program,
 McCracken County Extension Office, 2025 New Holt Rd., Paducah, KY 42001
Phone 270-554-9520, fax 270-554-8283, email: fwynne@uky.edu


10:00 – 10:50 am (EST) Aquatic plant identification and biology and related control methods. Introduction and overview or resources (1 Cat. 5 CEU) - Forrest Wynne

10:50 – 11:40 am   How aquatic algaecides control algae and phytoplankton (1 Cat. 5 CEU) – Forrest Wynne

11:40 – 12:40 pm       Lunch

12:40 – 1:30 pm    How herbicides control vascular aquatic plants (floating, emergent, and submerged) (1 Cat. 5 CEU).  Forrest Wynne

1:30 – 2:20 pm     Herbicide application methods and overview of mechanical removal methods (1 general CEU). – Discussed throughout the program.

2:20 – 3:30 pm   New aquatic herbicides, understanding pesticide labels, restrictions, and withdrawal periods and record keeping requirements (1 general CEU).  Forrest Wynne

3:30 – 4:00 pm   Environmental fate of pesticides (1 general CEU) – Forrest Wynne

This program will be conducted by Forrest Wynne on April 1st, 10:00 AM EST at the at the KSU Aquaculture Research Center Conference Room.

Three Category 5 CEU credits and three general category 10 CEU credits will be awarded.

Click Here For More Information On KDA's Agricultural Branch


Aquaculture: Why The World Needs A New Wave Of Food Production

  • Marine aquaculture can help the world diversify its stressed food systems.
  • Aquaculture has multiple climate benefits, from carbon sequestering to contributing to eco-friendly products.
  • Aquatic farmers can be vital observers of changing ecosystems.

The planet has never been under more pressure to increase food production. And this pressure is only set to grow – by as much as 60% over the next few decades. At the same time, climate change is threatening food systems around the world, with major questions about future food supply and security, livelihoods and human nutrition.

As our planet gets squeezed between these multiple pressures, we need to rethink how we feed people and protect the environment – drastically diversifying crops, improving farming methods and strategically selecting places in which we grow our food. It’s no longer just about hedging bets to make sure output meets demand, it’s a vital necessity for our already-taxed, overburdened food production systems.

So let’s think big – as in 71% of the planet big: our ocean.

Click Here For Full Article


Kentucky State University Students Gain Hands-On Experience on Tilapia Reproduction as Part of Fish Reproduction Laboratory Courses (AQU428/528)

The Fish Reproduction Laboratory Courses (AQU428/528) are taught by three Kentucky State University (KSU) professors: Dr. Kenneth Semmens (primary instructor), Dr. Boris Gomelsky, and Dr. Noel Novelo. These courses provide practical training and skills on the investigation of the reproductive system in fish and spawning techniques for several aquaculture species.

Students participate in a series of hands-on laboratory experiences in fish reproduction and spawning in these courses. The discussion portion of the first Tilapia Reproduction laboratory provided an opportunity for students to introduce themselves.

They discussed definitions of the fish known as 'Tilapia' and their modes of reproduction, shared information on their fish reproduction backgrounds, and identified knowledge and skills that they would like to learn in this laboratory series.

Dr. Novelo led the discussion and organized spawning of Nile Tilapia crosses from distinct genetically improved strains. The first cross was of normal XX females of the Genetically Improved Farmed Tilapia strain and red YY males. The second cross was of females (XX) and males (XY) of the Fishgen strain of Nile Tilapia. These crosses will provide fish for onfarm growth demonstrations, and maintain and secure genetic resources and Tilapia broodstock at KSU.

Students learned to distinguish between males and females based on external morphology as part of the Tilapia Reproduction laboratory. They selected fish breeders for spawning, injected PIT tags (Passive Integrated Transponders) into the dorsal muscle of female broodstock for individual electronic identification, and stocked four recirculating spawning systems at a ratio of 2.5 females to 1 male.

Future tilapia laboratory activities include periodical checking of females (every 10-12 days) for eggs, incubation, and hatching of eggs, collection and rearing of larvae, and collection of spawning and survival data. This includes data on the number of females that spawn (spawning rate), the number of eggs produced, the number of hatched fry, and survival 30 days post-hatch.

Photos by Charles Weibel


Michelle Loftus Continues Her Thesis Research

Michelle Loftus started the new year by cutting up whole Largemouth bass from her research project. Fish by individual tank were made into a homogenous mash (sample) by grinding up the entire fish using a food processor.

Each homogenous sample will undergo two different analyses. A portion of the mash is weighed wet (by tank) and then dried for three hours. After cooling off in a desiccator, the dry samples are weighed to calculate dry matter.

The remaining portion of the mash is dried in an oven for three hours and cooled in a desiccator. After grinding the two combined portions using a food processor, Michelle will send those samples to a laboratory for proximate and amino acid analyses. Michelle's research project is a growth study examining the dietary threonine requirements in Largemouth Bass. Threonine is an essential amino acid (AA) and typically the third most limiting AA in aquafeeds containing plant-based protein sources.

Photos by Charles Weibel


New Graduate Student Ashton Schardt

Ashton Schardt is a native of Illinois and a graduate from LIU Southampton College. He has worked in animal research labs with Charles River at the University of Chicago and as a scientist at EA Engineering, where he worked extensively on big river systems and Lake Michigan.

His certifications include being a (PADI) scuba instructor and a certified parks and recreation professional. Ashton has over twenty years of experience working as an assistant lakefront coordinator with the city of Evanston, Illinois, and is excited to start his new journey at Kentucky State University's Aquaculture Research Center as an Master of Aquaculture & Aquatic Sciences candidate. Ashton will be working in the Nutrition Lab and his Major Professor is Dr. Waldemar Rossi. Please help welcome Ashton to the Aquaculture program.

Photo by Charles Weibel


Team Tidwell Publish Article in Journal of the
World Aquaculture Society

Click Here For Full Journal Article


Shrijan Bajracharya Defends His Thesis

Graduate Research Assistant Shrijan Bajracharya was successful at defending his thesis last Friday. His title was, "THE EFFECTS OF SYSTEM TYPE, SALT FORMULATION, AND SUGAR ADDITIONS ON PACIFIC WHITE SHRIMP (Litopenaeus vannamei) PRODUCTION, DIGESTIVE ENZYME ACTIVITY, AND DISSOLVED MINERAL COMPOSITION."

His Committee Members were Dr. Tidwell, Dr. Rossi and, his Major Professor was Dr. Andrew Ray. Shrijan will be starting his Ph.D. at Auburn University's School of Fisheries, Aquaculture, and Aquatic Sciences next spring. He will be working under the supervision of Dr. Luke Roy and Dr. Allen Davis.


Ultrasound Imaging and Histology Sampling for
Graduate Student Jasmine Iniguez's Thesis Research

Jasmine Iniguez, Jeffrey Warner, and Dr. Noel Novelo obtained ultrasound images and preserved ovarian samples for histology to complete data collection for Ms. Iniguez's thesis research. The topic of her thesis is: 'Ultrasound Imaging Diagnostics of the Reproductive Organs of Adult Nile Tilapia Oreochromis niloticus'. A total of 12 females were euthanized. Weight (g) and total length (cm) were recorded for each fish. All females were examined using the EVO II Ultrasound Scanner (E.I Medical
Imaging, Loveland, CO, USA) and ultrasound images were saved based on the fish's PIT tag (microchip) number. A cut was placed directly above the section of the skin on which the ultrasound probe was positioned. This incision was used to identify the corresponding probe placement and ultrasound penetration on the ovary. Fish were dissected, and the right ovary closest to the ultrasound probe was marked at the corresponding probe placement with a scalpel. The length (mm), weight (g), and diameter (mm) of each ovary were recorded. Ovaries were placed in 10% neutral buffered formalin for fixation for histology processing.

The ultrasound images and histology will inform ultrasound image interpretation for evaluation of ovarian reproductive condition in Nile Tilapia. An interpretation guide will be created based on ultrasound images and corresponding histology. This guide will assist in improved efficiency of broodstock management for evaluation of reproductive condition for spawning and spawning synchronization in the future.

Photos by Charles Weibel


Team Semmens's Collect Data on Channel Catfish From in Pond Raceway

Dr. Semmens and his crew collected production information from Raceway one, (RW1), one of three raceways equipped with three different devices described in the attached handout.

Raceway 1 – Grid Airlift with 1 HP regenerative blower
Raceway 2 – Aerator propeller pushing water horizontally through the raceway, variable speed operated at 0.5 and 0.75 HP
Raceway 3 – Aerator propeller pulling water through the raceway, 0.25 HP.

These Channel catfish were generated from spawning cans in the same pond as the raceways. They
collected the following information from the fish in RW1.
· Total weight
· Average weight
· Total number
· Length frequency information to determine size variability.

This information will compliment data on energy consumption, water quality, feed consumption, and
other data collected in 2021.

Floating Raceway

Raceways are commonly used to grow trout. They are concrete channels with water flowing through them. A screen on either end prevents the fish from moving up or down stream. Floating raceways apply this principle with water from a pond and may be used to grow other fish like catfish, bass, etc. Water is pushed through a channel and the inlet and outlet are screened to retain fish. Since it is not pumped or lifted above the water surface a large volume of water can be moved with a small energy investment. Water entering the raceway carries oxygen required by the fish, and water leaving the raceway removes waste. It is managed like an aquatic feed lot. Fish are stocked in the raceway, fed, and harvested when they reach a marketable size. Below is a diagram showing the elements of a floating raceway.

This project is based on the premise that floating raceways represent an opportunity for
the small farmer to practice aquaculture and place existing impoundments into profitable
production. It is based on the fact that many bodies of standing water cannot be drained, yet
are able to support a crop of fish. Floating raceways confine the fish so they can be efficiently
managed and easily harvested. Unlike a cage, relatively large quantities of fish can be grown in
a single unit. Unlike a pond with no drain, the fish can be protected from predators and some or
all the fish can be recovered at any point in time by a crew of one or two people. This feature
gives the small farmer flexibility to take advantage of niche markets and their premium prices,
or to market the entire group of fish live.
Demand for local food presents an opportunity for the small aquaculture producer. Fish
remain a novel product in this growing market. There is also demand for live fish for recreation.
Locally grown farm raised fish present an advantage if they are distributed live and processed
shortly before sale. The product can be uniformly and uniquely as fresh as possible – something
that is nearly impossible with supply chains associated with imported seafood or large-scale
production where product is transported in frozen form to grocery stores before it is purchased
by the consumer.
In this project supported by a grant from USDA/NIFA, aquaculture investigators at
Kentucky State University are collaborating with engineering investigators at the University of
Kentucky to evaluate the devices and back-up power sources to move water and improve this
technology. Alternatives to the grid airlift include an aerator motor with propeller oriented
horizontally, and a slow rotational paddlewheel.

Photos by Charles Weibel


Josh Dusci's Thesis Research is Published in the

Journal of World Aquaculture Society

Josh Dusci's thesis research has been published. His co-authors are Janelle Hager, Shawn Coyle, and his Major Professor, Dr. James Tidwell. Check out the link below to learn about the affects of prawn on solids accumulation within the hydroponic troughs of aquaponic systems.



David Fox Defends His Thesis Research

David Fox successfully defended his Master's thesis, "Expression of sex chromosome-linked DNA markers in Nile tilapia (Oreochromis niloticus) strains and inter-strain crosses" on November 5, 2021.

Currently David works at a private koi farm in Florida. Great Job David! Major Professor: Dr. Boris
Gomelsky Advising Committee members: Dr. James Tidwell, Dr. Kirk Pomper, and Dr. Noel Novelo.

Photo by Charles Weibel


Faculty and Staff Tour Kentucky Marine Shrimp Farms

Faul Family Riverside Farm, Henry County

Dr. Ray led a small team of Extension professionals through a tour of two Kentucky marine shrimp farms; one in Fayette County and another in Henry County. The Fayette County farm has been operating for almost four years, and is using a renovated tobacco barn in which they constructed an insulated room for growing these warmwater animals. The Henry County farm recently finished construction of a new insulated building dedicated to growing shrimp. Each farm has received a Small Farms Grant through KSU in the past. The team asked about production, possible issues that the farms experience, and gave the farmers information on ways that KSU can work with small farmers.

Rolling Blue Farm, Fayette County


Visual Inspection of External Morphology and Ultrasound Imaging for Sex Identification in Nile Tilapia

The role of sex and sex identification are of vital commercial and biological significance in Nile Tilapia, Oreochromis niloticus and other Tilapia genera and species. The male and female in the Tilapia genus guard the nest and protect the fertilized eggs and larvae in the external environment (nest guarders). The male and females of Sarotherodon genus incubate the fertilized eggs and larvae in their buccal cavity, while in the Oreochromis genus only the female guards the developing embryo and fry in the buccal cavity (mouth-brooders). Sex identification is essential for effective broodstock management, reproductive conditioning, and spawning. The separation of male and females inhibits reproductive behavior and spawning and enables robust body condition and growth (with proper feeding) to build energy reserves required for spawning.

Research at Kentucky State University on genetic improvement in Nile Tilapia growth performance identified a highly productive cross (See https://doi.org/ 10.1111/jwas.12742). The cross was comprised of the Genetically Improved Farmed Tilapia (GIFT) strain as maternal brooders and YY-males as paternal brooders for production of fast growing all-male, and predominantly-male Nile Tilapia. This is important because males grow larger than females (sexual size dimorphism) and in all-male production (as opposed to mixed-sex production) all feed consumed is allocated for growth (not sexual behavior and spawning). As part of our Tilapia Extension Capacity Building Grant, KSU continues to build its genetic resources by obtaining the GIFT strain of Nile Tilapia for crossing with YY males for on farm
growth demonstrations in Kentucky. We collected and recorded data (Dr. Boris Gomelsky) on individual identification (electronic pit tagging) and visual inspection of external morphology for sex identification (Jeffrey Warner), on ultrasound imaging for sex identification (Jasmine Iniguez) for sex identification, and weight and length (Dr. Noel Novelo). The females and males were placed in separate tanks for reproductive conditioning for spawning in early 2022.

Photos by Charles Weibel


Kappa Klub Tour the Aquaculture Research Center

Sixteen students from Leestown Middle School toured Kentucky State University this week and stoped by the Aquaculture Research Center as part of their tour. The young men are part of the Leestown Kappa Klub. Leestown Chapter-Kappa Klub is a program for the educational, occupational, and social guidance of male students in grades 6th-12th.

They met Dr. Ken Thompson, State Specialist for 4-H STEM/Youth Development, at the Hatchery Building where he discussed carp, catfish, and tilapia. Then they traveled to the Production and Technologies Building and met with Chelsea Walling, Aquaculture Extension and Research Associate, where she had fish fry and eggs for the students to view under a microscope. They also got the see the saltwater shrimp system, Red Claw Crayfish, and the Aquaponic system. Mrs. Walling also went over the anatomy of a fish with the young men.

Photos by Charles Weibel



USAS Sub Chapter Students From Kentucky State University Assist Aquaculture Farmer

Kentucky State University Aquaculture students traveled to La Grange Kentucky to assist Rocky Allen with seining his aquaculture ponds. They seined about 1,500 Largemouth bass as well as other fish including Bluegill, Crappie, and other miscellaneous Sunfish. Rocky had not seined that pond for about two years and wanted an inventory of what was left in the pond. He will also use these fish to fill any orders for people inquiring about live fish. Dr. Noel Novelo, John Kelso, Uchechukwu Ohajiudu, and Michelle Loftus made the trip to La Grange to assist Mr. Allen.

Photo by Charles Weibel


Students in the Physiology and Morphology Course Conduct a Fish Transport Lab

In this lab exercise, students in Dr. Semmens's AQU 412/512 class observed the stocking methods, water quality, blood glucose, and oxygen depletion, associated with transporting fish in a hauling tank. A hauling tank with two compartments was filled with water and water depth was measured before fish were stocked. Oxygen was supplied to both compartments at the same flow rate. Also samples of water was taken to test for total ammonia nitrogen, alkalinity, pH, unionized ammonia, dissolved oxygen and temperature.

A sample of the largemouth bass were weighed to obtain an average weight and estimate the total number of fish stocked. A blood sample was taken from four fish beforestocking the hauling tank and tested to measure glucose. Fish were stocked into one compartment of the hauling tank and the water level was measured again to show the volume of fish that was loaded. Water quality parameters were checked several times over two hours, blood glucose sampled from four fish after two hours.

All data was collected, organized and shared with the class. Students had to calculate oxygen consumption, changes in water quality in both compartments, blood glucose changes in fish and consider stress on fish and mortality risk. Hands-on labs like this are vital because they prepare students for situations and problems they will encounter in the aquaculture industry.

Photos by Charles Weibel


Kentucky State University's USAS Sub Chapter Students Elect New Officials

Kentucky State University Student Sub Chapter of the United States Aquaculture Society (USAS) held elections this week during their meeting. The new officers are:

President: Michelle Loftus
Vice president: Chris Ward
Treasurer: Mark Johannemann
Secretary: Uchechukwu Ohajiudu

Photo by Charles Weibel


Group Effort Supplies Local Market Demand For Freshwater Prawns In Kentucky

Dan Mooreland has been raising Freshwater Prawns (Macrobrachium rosenbergii) in Kentucky for over 20 years now. Dan's farm is tucked back on a dead-end one-lane road running along the North Fork of the Licking River in Falmouth, KY. It's a beautiful Pendleton County farm, but if you don't know how to get there – you won't find it! The rural location has caused Dan some difficulty over the years in marketing his crop of freshwater prawns, most prawn farmers market direct to the public through on-farm sales the day of harvest. Dan however typically travels to Fall Festivals, and farmers markets. He also uses Kentucky State University's mobile processing unit to clean and freeze his product for sale. Despite the disadvantage of not being in the public eye, Dan has been successful over the years and considers prawn farming profitable. Dan's prawn business profitability is at least in part due to integration of prawn nursery tanks in a converted tobacco barn – partially funded through tobacco settlement funds administered by the Kentucky Agriculture Development Board. "Baby prawns" (called post-larvae) are raised indoors in heated tanks for two months before they are large enough to be stocked into ponds in early June. This nursery phase is like planting 6" tomato plants in your garden as opposed to seeds. The nursed juveniles grow to 3,500% of their "baby" weight during the 60-day nursery period and are about 1.5" long when stocked into ponds.

Dan anticipates 75-80% survival in his nursery tanks. This requires that he initially stocks more post-larvae than he needs to stock his ponds. Some years he has had exceptional survival during the nursery phase, resulting in a surplus of juvenile shrimp ready to go in ponds. Due to the aggressive nature of prawns, if they are not stocked into ponds within two weeks of the target date, losses from cannibalism are severe. In 2020, at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, Dan came up with a bumper crop of prawn juveniles and he had 10,000 extra juveniles. Dan contacted Kentucky State University (KSU) aquaculture staff to see if they had a need for prawn juveniles as KSU had purchased from him in previous years for research purposes. But research projects were limited at KSU due to the pandemic lock down at the time. KSU reached out to other Kentucky fish farmers through the Kentucky Aquaculture Association (KAA) and the Kentucky Department of Agriculture (KDA) to assist Dan in finding a market for his extra prawns. Subsequently, Mayer's Fish Farm – which raises largemouth bass for the liveproduct ethnic Asian markets – showed some interest in the prawns as they happened to have a couple of empty ponds that year.

KSU had previously done extensive research exploring the market potential of selling prawns as a live product in ethnic Asian markets in Chicago, New York City, and Toronto, ON and identified the value and the challenges of supplying far away markets. Appreciating that Mayer's Fish Farm had the marketing contacts to identify and supply local Asian markets, after discussions among staff and representatives from KSU, KAA and KDA, a small grant of $1,000 was awarded to Mayer's Fish Farm to purchase Dan's surplus prawn juveniles. The agreement provided that Mayer's Fish Farm would market their prawn harvest through local live haulers supplying ethnic Asian markets in Kentucky with the anticipation that additional markets would be identified which would not only benefit Dan during his prawn harvest in coming years but would also provide an incentive to Mayer's Fish Farm to invest in prawn production and diversify their aquaculture production.

The Mayer's prawn harvest in 2020 went well. They sold over 600 lbs. to a local live hauler who sold them to an Asian grocery store in Lexington. The yellow pages list seven Asian grocers in the Lexington area. Within two days of Mayer's harvest and live prawn delivery through the live hauler, Dan was contacted by a competing Asian grocery. The owners of the grocery store came to Dan's final harvest and bought over 500 lbs. They were so impressed with the product that this year they wanted to buy all of Dan's prawns. In 2021, Dan delivered virtually all his harvest from three ponds live to the Asian Market on three consecutive Fridays in September. The live hauler that Mayer's Fish Farm sold to in 2020 convinced the Mayer's to raise prawns again after insistent demand by their Asian buyer. So in 2021, while Dan supplied one Asian grocer, the Mayer's who had now invested their own money into purchasing 10,000 prawn juveniles from Dan, sold their entire harvest to the same live hauler who marketed them to another Lexington Asian grocer. The Mayer's plan to continue raising prawns as long as Dan has extras. This goes to show that success multiplies. If we work together we all rise.

Photos by Charles Weibel


Dr. Semmens Teaches Blood Sampling and Analysis

Students in this exercise sampled blood from live fish to determine values for blood parameters using a VetScan, and a glucometer. They obtained quantitative measure of blood glucose, electrolytes, blood proteins, and hematocrit from several species. Kristy Allen and Jeffrey Warner assisted with this exercise.

Each team sampled and process blood from three or more fish. Each team also practiced taking blood from a koi before trying other species. Blood samples were analyzed with the VetScan, and glucometer devices based on device availability. The VetScan device took at least 10 minutes to run a sample. Kristy Allen assisted with the Vetscan device and demonstrated how blood was to be loaded into the rotor and how to place the rotor into the device.

Students anesthetized all fish sampled with water and anesthetic (MS-222) until gill movement had slowed. The recommended rate is 150 mg/L, with 2 parts sodium bicarbonate for every gram of anesthetic added to the water. Jeffrey Warner demonstrated sampling by caudal puncture and then assisted students with the method. Blood obtained was placed directly into a heparinized tube and placed on the turntable. Blood was pipetted into a VetScan disk. Blood was also placed onto a glucose meter strip for Analysis. All results were recorded and pooled for class to review and discuss.

Photos by Charles Weibel


Welcome Aakriti Khanal to Kentucky State University

Aakriti is from a small village in Gorkha, Nepal. She got her undergraduate degree i.e., Bachelor of Science in Agriculture from Institute of Agriculture and Animal Science, Tribhuvan University.

For her Master's degree, Aakriti searched online for the best universities with aquaculture programs and determined that Kentucky State University's Aquaculture Research Center was the ideal place for her to continue her education. She is working with the Nutrition Team and her Major Professor is Dr. Rossi. Please give a warm welcome to Aakriti Khanal.

Photos by Charles Weibel



Blue Grass Home School, Education and Recreational Visit Kentucky State University

Students and their Parents from the Bluegrass Home School, Educational and Recreation visited the Harold R. Benson Research and Demonstration Farm this week. The group included kindergarten, elementary, middle and high school students.

Students got to tour the goats, Paw Paw groves and the in-pond raceways. Dr. Ken Semmens and Dawson Armstrong took the students out on the floating docks to see the floating raceways and explained how this aquaculture system works. It was a beautiful sunny day and they all seemed happy to be outdoors.

Photos by Charles Weibel



Mark Johanneman Continues His Education at Kentucky State University's Aquaculture Research Center

Mr. Mark Johannemann is now a student in Kentucky State University's Aquaculture Masters Program. Mark is from Louisville, Kentucky and received his Bachelor's Degree in the Kentucky State University's Agriculture, Food and Environment Program with a concentration in Aquaculture. Mark's Major Professor is Dr. Andrew Ray. Mark wants to do his thesis research work with salt water shrimp.

Photos by Charles Weibel


Fish Morphology & Physiology Students Grade Catfish

There is no substitute for hands-on experience. And last week students in the Aquaculture Fish Morphology and Physiology class acquired some hands-on experience grading Channel catfish with the guidance of their professor PhD Ken Semmens. Many fish are sold by size or grade. Grading fish can increase the market value by supplying the grades or sizes of fish desired by customers. For example, smaller minnows are worth more per pound than larger fish. Most of the fish sold for bait, stocking, or food fish are sold by size or grade. Fish grow at different rates, resulting in of various fish sizes at harvest. Grading can remove the fish not in the size range that processors and live markets are willing to accept.

Also, some fish species are cannibalistic and must be regularly graded to maintain survival rates. Largemouth bass, striped bass and their hybrids, and more are cannibalistic fish. The grading frequency will depend on the growth rate and their size. The first few months post hatch are usually the most important for minimizing losses due to cannibalism.

Photos by Charles Weibel


Graduate Student Uchechukwu Ohajiudu to the
Aquaculture Research Center

Uchechukwu is from Cotonou, Benin Republic in West Africa. He attended the Federal University Of Technology Owerri, and graduated with a Bachelors Degree in Agriculture Technology. Uchechukwu decided to pursue his masters degree after a lot of online research on the best possible school to expand his knowledge in the aquaculture field and decided that the Kentucky State University Aquaculture Research Center's Masters Program was best for him.

Uchechukwu's is already getting his hands wet working with team Semmens and his Major Professor is Dr. Ken Semmens.

Photos by Charles Weibel



Floating Raceway Design For Small Farms

Dr. Semmens crew is developing a floating raceway design for small farms and have recently scaled up a suspended design that can be constructed at modest cost on the small farm. It was stocked with 5000 feed trained largemouth bass fingerlings produced by students and staff at the Aquaculture Research Center to obtain preliminary data. We are growing catfish in our other raceways, but bass represent a higher value fish that has not been evaluated in this format. We expect there will be advantages with feeding, and management of the bass, but cannibalism and rapid fish growth are a concern.

The bass were stocked into a raceway with 9 cubic meters of growing space. The raceway frame is 32 feet long and the raceway itself is about Four feet deep and 20’ long with about eight inches of freeboard. The bass stocked in the raceway will be grown out as food fish in other raceways next year. We will assess performance of the bass in the raceway this fall.

Photos by Charles Weibel



Team Ray Kale Winterbor F1 Aquaponics Trial

Dr. Ray’s team harvested a 54-day brackish-water aquaponics trial investigating potential differences between coupled and decoupled systems when growing Kale with Pacific white shrimp. This initial trial reinforced kale’s potential use in brackish water aquaponics, in addition to identifying key issues not found in freshwater. Overall, kale in coupled systems out-performed kale in decoupled systems, particularly in metrics important to farmers (survival, harvest weight). Nitrate reduction was 18.4% in coupled systems and 5.8% in decoupled systems, an important finding that may help shrimp farmers increase long term water use and reduce waste discharge.

Photos by Charles Weibel


USAS Sub Chapter Students From KSU Clean Up at the Yuko-en on the Elkhorn

USAS Sub Chapter Students From KSU Clean Up at the Yuko-en on the Elkhorn

Kentucky State University Aquaculture Graduate Students in the USAS Sub Chapter and the Secretary for the Yuko-En on the Elkhorn Board, Arlene Wilson took time on a Saturday to clean up around the Japanese Koi Garden.

The Yuko-en on the Elkhorn is a four season, five 1/2 acre garden, open daily from dawn to dusk and is free to the public. This garden became the Official Kentucky Japan Friendship Garden by proclamation by the Legislature of the Commonwealth of Kentucky.

The goal was to clean up the grounds of the Koi garden, as well as help with the removal of excess plants and algae inside the pond. Kentucky State University Aquaculture Research Center previously donated over 50 koi to assist in cleaning the duckweed in the pond. The volunteers from KSU were Dr. Noel Novelo,, Michelle Loftus, Jasmine Iniguez, Shrijan Bajracharya, James Brown, and Andrew Lohman and his wife.

Photo by Charles Weibel


Aquaponics Light Study At FoodChain

Researchers from KSU Aquaculture Research Center wrapped up the first phase of their light study today. They are using one of FoodChain’s grow beds to examine the efficiency of various grow lights. We love getting to host research like this. Hope the research shines!!!

Photos by Charles Weibel



Aquaculture Faculty and Staff New Publish New Research Paper

Dr. Boris Gomelsky and Dr. Noel Novelo, and Mr. Shawn Coyle published a new
research paper titled, "Evaluation of growth, sex (Male proportions; sexual
dimorphism), and color segregation in four cross combinations of different
strains o XX female and YY male Nile Tilapia."

Click Here For Full Journal Article



Miss Kentucky Visits Another Kentucky Aquaculture Farm

#MissKYProud Alex Francke and Angela Caporelli visit Crystal Bridge Fish Farm. As part of her responsibilities as Miss Kentucky, Alex Francke will visit schools throughout the Commonwealth as an ambassador for the KDA and Kentucky Proud. Francke will educate students of all age groups about farm safety, agriculture basics, and maintaining an active and healthy lifestyle.

This is 18th Episode in the series #MissKYProud.



Kentucky State University's Aquaponics Production Manual: A Practical Handbook For Growers

The School of Aquaculture and Aquatics Sciences at Kentucky State University is proud to announce the availability of the Aquaponics Production Manual: A Practical Handbook for Growers. This 75 page comprehensive manual covers the biological concepts of aquaponics, types of systems, suitable fish and plant species, systems management, water quality, disease of plants and fish, controlled environments (greenhouse and indoors), marketing and economics, as well information on certification and regulations. It is written at a level to be practical resource for practicing (or potential) aquaponic producers. 




Fishing is a wonderful warm-weather pastime many of us enjoy. At the extension office, we often receive calls in the spring and fall from landowners on how to properly stock recreational ponds with fish.

Pond owners can call farm supply stores during the spring and fall to find out when their live fish trucks may arrive. Fish are typically transported during cool weather to reduce handling stress. The fish are typically small and can be hauled short distances in large, water filled containers.

Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources no longer stocks recreational ponds, but the department recommends the following fish species to establish a balanced fish population that will provide good pond fishing in about two years' time. Bluegill (not hybrid bluegill) and largemouth bass form a predator-prey relationship where the prolific spawning of bluegill provide enough food to support a largemouth bass population. Largemouth bass consume some of the bluegill and control their overpopulation. Two years after you stock a pond, you should have largemouth bass at least a foot long and bluegill at least 6 inches in length. You can catch these fish provided they are stocked and harvested in the proper numbers.

Click Here For Full Article


Miss Kentucky Visits Robert Mayer's Largemouth Bass Fish Farm

Ms. Alex Francke (Miss Kentucky), recently visited Robert Mayer's Largemouth Bass Fish Farm as part of a YouTube series called #MissKYProud. This series is developed by the Kentucky Department of Agriculture and focuses on different Agricultural Production across the state. This video is episode #17 in the series.




Pacific white shrimp dissection: Hepatopancreas Removal for Enzyme Analysis

Jill Fisk demonstrates the dissection and removal of the hepatopancreas from the pacific white shrimp and flash freezing it in liquid nitrogen to preserve samples for enzyme analysis at a later date.



Kentucky State University Aquaculture Research Center Donates Shrimp to
Spark Community Café

Associate Professor Dr Andrew Ray donated over 100 pounds of salt water shrimp to Spark Community Café on March 11, 2021. As a result of Dr Ray's research at the Aquaculture Research Center there are times that extra shrimp are available. Part of Dr Ray's USDA 1890 Capacity Building Grant research project is to donate extra shrimp to Spark Community café.

On March 27, 2019 Spark Community Café opened a pay what you can, pay it forward restaurant. Their goal is to provide good food with dignity for all participants in a community space that educates, entertains, and accepts all who walk through their doors. They provide farm-to-table meals to their guest regardless of their ability to pay.

The Spark Community Café philosophy is "If your pockets are full pay it forward. If your pockets are light pay what you can, if your pockets are empty volunteer your time with us."

The shrimp will be used as part of Spark's food programs in an attempt to get food to parts of the underserved community. Kyle Fannin, Executive Director of Spark Community Café said, "Our goal in the beginning was for 20 percent of the food to go to the food insecured of Woodford County. During the pandemic 2/3 of the food went out to the food insecured." Spark will be serving the shrimp in every way you can imagine over the next few weeks.

Chef Isaiah Screetch and Cook Anna Collins were preparing shrimp Po Boy sandwiches in the kitchen when we arrived and said the Shrimp Po Boys were already a big hit. Anna Collins said, "We spent hours processing the shrimp and her hands were sore." Chef Isaiah was interested in tilapia and other Kentucky grown aquaculture products in the future.


Photos by Charles Weibel



Dr. Ray's Research Team Publishes Research:

"Evaluating a low-cost salt mixture in brackish water intensive shrimp (litopenaeus vannamei) production systems"

Marine shrimp grow well in tanks and recirculating aquaculture systems, making them a great candidate for providing fresh healthy seafood to consumers at inland locations. However, commercially available sea salts can be a substantial expense when growing shrimp inland.

To help overcome this, the Ray Lab conducted an experiment comparing a much less expensive home-made salt mixture to a commercial product. They used five different ratios of low-cost/commercial salt mixtures, including a 100% low-cost treatment.

The experiment resulted in no significant differences in shrimp production using any of the salt ratios, and the cost of salt per kg of shrimp produced was 57% lower using a 100% low-cost salt compared to the commercial product.

Click Here For Full Journal Article



Koi Production Presentation by Dr. Boris Gomelsky



New Publication on the Evaluation of Growth, Sex (Male Proportion; Sexual Dimorphism) and Color Segregation

Dr. Novelo, Dr. Gomelsky, Shawn Coyle and Alex Kramer have published an article "Evaluation of growth, sex (male proportion; sexual dimorphism) and color segregation in four cross combinations of
different strains of XX female and YY male Nile Tilapia" in the Journal of the World Aquaculture Society.

Four cross combinations of different YY male and female Nile Tilapia, Oreochromis niloticus, strains were evaluated for growth, sex, and color segregation. Red color parental strains included blotched phenotypes. The Genetically Improved Farmed Tilapia (GIFT) was the only dark (wild-type) color parental strain. Fish of the same age and cross were stocked in three replicate tanks for four crosses in one recirculating system for 167 days. Data recorded included feed consumed, body weight, total length, color, sex, and fillet weight. YY males crossed with GIFT females (Cross 2) exhibited superior growth that was significantly different (p < .05) to other three crosses. Male proportions were 79–100%. Only YY males crossed with the LSA female strain (Cross 4) yielded 100% males, but, Cross 4's productivity was inferior to that of Cross 2. Body weight advantage of males over females was 28.7–84.2%. Color segregation indicated that red color trait in Nile Tilapia is autosomal dominant, and black patch coverage was variable. This study showed that different parental strain combinations clearly impact productivity traits, and that YY male technology combined with crossbreeding provide the opportunity for genetic improvement and development of commercially beneficial superior traits in Nile Tilapia.

Click Here For Full Journal Publication

Photos for Charles Weibel




Kasandra Miller Publishes Her Masters Thesis in Aquaculture Nutrition

Kasondra Miller published her Masters Thesis research in Aquaculture Nutrition. Her research is titled "Assessment of total dietary phosphorus requirements of juvenile largemouth bass, Micropterus salmoides, using soybean meal-based diets: Effects on production performance, tissue mineralization, physiological parameters in plasma and intestine and expression of head-kidney genes."

Kasondra currently works for Dr. Waldemar Rossi Jr as a Research Assistant. Funding from the Kentucky Soybean Promotion Board was provided for this research.

Pictures by Charles Weibel



Dr. Andrew Ray's Team Published in Aquaculture Engineering

Click Here For Full Journal Article



Aquatic Weed Control Webinar Now Available on YouTube

Aquatic Weed Control Webinar - Part 1

Dr. Bob Durborow


Aquatic Weed Control Webinar - Part 2

Forrest Wynne



Kentucky State University Land Grant Program

In case you missed our recent announcement, the deadline for the USDA 1890 Scholarships Program has been extended through August 1st! 

This program provides full or partial scholarships for current and new Kentucky State University students, including incoming freshman and transfer students.

Applicants must be interested in pursuing a career in food and agriculture sciences and related fields and working towards a baccalaureate degree in one of the following areas: business, communications, biology, chemistry, child development, computer science, agriculture, environmental systems, or nutrition.

Apply Here



Kentucky State University IBC Aquaponics Build Tutorial




Team Ray Publishes Research in Aquaculture Engineering

The Dr. Andrew Ray's lab recently published a new research paper in the peer-reviewed journal Aquacultural Engineering. The paper is titled "The effects of artificial substrate and stocking density on Pacific white shrimp (Litopenaeus vannamei) performance and water quality dynamics in high tunnel-based biofloc systems" and is the first aquaculture study completed in the KSU Organic High Tunnel facility. This study found that increasing density can greatly increase total shrimp harvest weight with minimal impacts on individual performance, decreased nitrate accumulation in the systems due to algal activity, and the feasibility of shrimp production in high tunnels in temperate climates without the use of supplemental heat sources (electric or gas).

Click Here For Full Article


Dr. Ray Collaborates With The University of Arkansas Pine Bluff

Along with collaborators at the University of Arkansas Pine Bluff (UAPB), Dr. Ray published a new manuscript in the journal Aquaculture Reports.

UAPB is a sister institution of KSU; they are an HBCU and have an 1890 Land Grant Program which includes an Aquaculture and Fisheries Program. The manuscript investigates the production of bluegill in several types of aquaculture systems, including biofloc systems.

The results indicate that bluegill are suitable candidates for biofloc systems and may be able to get some nutritional benefits from the plankton found in the water column.

Click Here To Read Full Article


Dr. Bob Durborow Co-Authors Spring 2020 Article from Aquaculture Reports

Dr. Bob Durborow, Interim Assistant Research Director, has co-authored this spring 2020 article from Aquaculture Reports demonstrating that pond aquaculture is beneficial to the environment. The paper summarizes, "In conclusion, the present study contributes to filling data gaps in the understanding of the carbon cycle in freshwater aquaculture carried out in earthen ponds. Atmospheric carbon dioxide represented a high proportion of the carbon inputs, and its absorption by the earthen ponds was consistent throughout the experimental period, whereas carbon gas emissions were negligible."

Click Here For Full Article




Kentucky State University 1890 Scholarships Program

The purpose of the 1890 Scholarships Program is to provide scholarships to support recruiting, engaging, retaining, mentoring, and training of undergraduate students at the 1890 land-grant institutions, resulting in baccalaureate degrees in the food and agricultural sciences and related fields. The scholarships are intended to encourage outstanding students at 1890 institutions to pursue and complete baccalaureate degrees in the food and agricultural sciences and related fields that would lead to a highly skilled food and agricultural systems workforce.





Dr. Andrew Ray Publishes SRAC Publication on Indoor Marine Shrimp Farming

Click the link below for the full publication:

SRAC Publication No. 2602




Meet the Author: Largemouth Bass Aquaculture

Jim Tidwell, author of the book Largemouth Bass Aquaculture, which is published by 5m books in April, explains the appeal of a species whose growth is taking off both in China and the US.

Click the link for full article:





Kentucky Is King Of American Caviar


Click the link below for article:




Graduate Assistanceships for Aquaculture & Aquatic Sciences

A limited number of graduate research assistantships are available for qualified, full-time, thesis-track Aquaculture & Aquatic Sciences students. Assistantships are typically funded through grants from state and federal agencies and are awarded only after a student has been academically accepted into the program. Additionally, a student should be able to verify that academic aid is essential to engage in graduate studies and that they are academically deserving. Academic acceptance does not guarantee an assistantship will be available. Students granted graduate assistantships are required to assist with activities relevant to the grant objectives for 20 hours per week while attending classes and full-time during the summer term. Compensation package includes a competitive stipend, opportunities to travel to and present research at professional meetings, and engage in a range of hands-on learning opportunities. Research areas include:  Production Systems, Extension Activities, Recirculating Systems, Aquatic Diseases, Aquaponics, Nutrition, Genetics, Economics, and Marketing

You can find out much of what you need to know about our research and academic programs by visiting our website at:

Application procedures for graduate studies and required forms are available at:



Dr. Jim Tidwell Discusses the Role Aquaculture Will Play in the Future on Global Connection Television

Dr. Jim Tidwell, Kentucky State University's Division of Aquaculture Chair, discusses the role that aquaculture will play in the future in providing food supplies, given that the oceans are overfished and the population is expanding dramatically. October 27, 2018

Click the link below to view the interview!




Kentucky State University's Aquaculture Program Featured on KET's Kentucky Life




Kentucky State University Students, Researchers Bring Shrimp From The Blue Sea To The Bluegrass

WDRB 41 Louisville News 

Click the Link Below to Read the Full Article by Jessica Bard




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

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 and reader-friendly brochures. These publications communicate to consumers, buyers, chefs or 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.

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.

Farm-Raised in the USA is a poster 34 fish and shellfish farmed in the United States. Each species is depicted in full-color and identified by market, scientific and common name.

Each of these attractive, educational publications can be previewed at: http://thenaa.net/publications. Call or email the NAA office at 850-216-2400 or naa@thenaa.net to order copies for public or promotional events, buyer meetings, or mail-outs.



Foodchain Aquaponics


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


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. 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.


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 Online Courses

Blue ButtonFisheries for the Educated Consumer
This Internet class features video lectures over PowerPoint slides. Instructor: Dr. Ken Semmens

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


Green ButtonAquaponics
This course will provide an overview of principles and practices of aquaponic production. Instructor: Dr. James Tidwell and Janelle Hager

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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