Foundation studies in aquaculture

This is the perfect course for those who are wanting a good foundation knowledge in Aquaculture. For those wanting to set up an aquaculture business, this course is also ideal, giving you the ability to independently analyse and make decisions about the management of an aquaculture business. 

You will study:

  • Production Systems
  • Species for Farming
  • Setting up a Fish Farm
  • Feeding
  • Harvesting

Fish Farming is a Growing Industry

As naturally occurring fish stocks are increasingly under pressure, the demand for farmed fish is growing at an alarming rate. This course provides a foundation for farming any freshwater fish. Though (due to time constraints) it is limited in the range of fish species covered; in covering a diverse range of species this course lays down the principles as a foundation that will set you up to better understand and tackle the farming of almost any type of freshwater fish or crustacean.


There are 10 lessons in the module, these are as follows:

  1. Introduction To Aquaculture
  2. Production Systems - EP and IP
  3. What Species To Farm
  4. Trout
  5. Barramundi
  6. Bass
  7. Freshwater Crayfish
  8. Setting Up A Fish Farm
  9. Fish Foods & Feeding
  10. Harvesting

Each lesson culminates in an assignment which is submitted to the school, marked by the school's tutors and returned to you with any relevant suggestions, comments, and if necessary, extra reading.


Duration: 100 hours


  • Explain different aquaculture production systems.
  • Explain the cultural requirements of different types of fish suitable for aquaculture.
  • Explain cultural practices for freshwater crayfish.
  • Explain different factors affecting the vigour of animals in an aquaculture farm.
  • Explain methods, including feeding and harvesting, used to manage freshwater animal populations.
  • Develop informed management decisions for an aquaculture enterprise.



  • The components of an aquaculture production system.
  • Compare extensive production systems with intensive production systems.
  • Assess the production systems used in three different aquaculture enterprises.
  • Describe a successful aquaculture production system seen by the learner.
  • List freshwater fish suitable for aquaculture in the learner's locality.
  • List saltwater fish suitable for aquaculture in the learner's locality.
  • Describe the requirements for different commonly grown freshwater fish, including: *Trout *Barramundi *Bass.
  • Describe the requirements of one type of salt water fish which has commercial potential for farming at a latitude the same as the learner's locality.
  • Distinguish, by labelling unlabelled diagrams, between visual characteristics of different freshwater crayfish, including: *Marron *Red claw *Yabbie
  • Describe the cultural practices for different freshwater crayfish, including: *Marron *Red claw *Yabbie.
  • Explain how water quality may affect production in an aquaculture system.
  • Explain different methods of treating water in aquaculture, including: *Filtration *Aeration.
  • Develop a list of criteria for selecting a site suitable for a specified freshwater aquaculture purpose.
  • Explain how varying stocking rates can affect the condition of a specified type of animal in aquaculture.
  • Compare the potential affects on aquaculture species, of different methods of containing water, including: *Ponds constructed with liners *An earth dam *Concrete tanks. *Flowing water *Still water
  • Compare various methods of feeding commercial species, including fish and crayfish, with reference to the type of food and the way it is delivered to the animals.
  • Explain the importance of correct feed to the success of a specified aquaculture enterprise.
  • Compare three different aquaculture feeds which are available commercially, with reference to: *composition *appearance *appropriate applications.
  • Compare different harvesting techniques with reference to: *equipment required *time required *damage to animal.
  • Describe how to construct different types of water storage facilities, including: *Ponds constructed with liners *An earth dam *Concrete tanks.
  • Prepare a detailed management system for one species suitable for aquaculture, including details of: *Breeding *Rearing *Feeding *Harvesting *Marketing.
  • Compare the advantages and disadvantages of aquaculture with those of two other types of agricultural enterprises.
  • Compile a list of forty different resources in the industry including: *Information sources *Equipment suppliers *Materials suppliers.
  • Analyse aquaculture marketing systems, on both a national and international level.
  • Evaluate the marketability of two different specified types of aquaculture produce.
  • Evaluate the viability of a proposed, specified aquaculture venture.


Where Do You Keep Fish in a Fish Farm?

Water may be contained in a number of ways for aquaculture purpose. Water can be contained in tanks, raceways or ponds that can be built in several materials. Ponds may be done with earth, lined earth or concrete. Tanks nowadays are usually made of fibreglass or other plastic materials. They can also be made of concrete and wood. 


This may be either a prefabricated construction (may be used for breeding tanks, but often uneconomical for large ponds), or constructed on-site. 

On site construction is very solid and there is a great flexibility available to the designer in the way the pool is shaped; however costs can be high. Concrete must have a waterproofing additive (available from building or hardware supplies) mixed in to prevent loss of water. Lime from the cement may harm the animals; hence it requires a period of curing before use.


Wood tanks sealed with epoxies or with fibreglass may be used, although it has the disadvantages that epoxies are easily cracked, and fibreglass has to be coated with resin properly in order to protect organisms rubbing against it.

Brick or stone

Raised pools or ponds can be constructed with brick or stone and lined with either concrete or a pool liner fabric.


Fibreglass or Fibre Reinforced Polyester (FRP) is one of the most common plastic materials used for tanks. They are usually prefabricated using standard shapes. The cost of constructing an original fibreglass mould is high, after which it is relatively cheap per unit to produce duplicates of that construction. Installation is easy and inexpensive; however the design is limited to shapes and sizes of pools which are commercially available. Other materials used for tanks are Polyethylene and Glass-lined steel tanks. 

Earth construction

Lakes, dams & ponds can be constructed in soils that are not too porous. Make sure the area will not be subject to flooding. The bottom and walls may need to be treated to enable it to hold water, prior to filling. In recent times Bentonite, a naturally occurring clay product has been used to seal earthen dams and lakes. When bentonite is wet it can swell up to 15 times its dry volume, and yields an impervious gel-like substance, that is not harmful to aquatic organisms. Clay soils can be used also. A layer of 20 cm of compacted clay is a good lining for large ponds. This is a very economic solution when the raw materials are readily available in the soil. 

Lined ponds

A depression is formed in earth, and a waterproof sheet of material called a geo-membrane is laid over the bottom and sides of the depression. A common lining material that is tough and lon lasting is butyl rubber. Commercial suppliers of rubber butyl liners use the following equation to calculate the required lengths of butyl required:

  • Length Measurement (A):length of pond + twice depth + twice side overlap 
  • Width Measurement (B):width of pond + twice depth + twice side overlap
  • Side overlap is usually 20 to 50 cm.

One of these measurements (A or B) is used to come in line with the roll width. 

Rolls come at widths of 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 or 8 metres. The other measurements (B or A respectively) is used to cut the length of the roll. Rolls come in the thicknesses of 0.5 or 0.8 mm for most domestic or small commercial jobs. Greater thicknesses can be obtained for larger scale use. 
Other materials are EPDM and HDPE. EPDM is a flexible liner that requires little maintenance once installed. It is highly resistant to UV rays, and its flexibility allows for earth movements due to settling without rupturing of the liner. It also allows for special pond shapes designs. This is one of the liners recommended for aquaculture. PVC is sold as an economic alternative, but PVC may release some chemicals (chloro-ethene and phthalates) during its life time which could affect fish and human health in the long run. A relatively new material is Xavan (DuPont), a non-woven, multi-layered material from DuPont, sandwiched between coatings of thermoplastic elastomer, to give the liner its unique properties. 




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Phone (UK) 01384 44272, (International) +44 (0) 1384 442752, or

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