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Research project: Fish farming with plants helps fish and the environment

At Hof University of Applied Sciences, people are involved in a wide variety of research areas. At the Institute for Water and Energy Management, there is currently a lot of animal research going on. Here, research is currently being carried out in large aquariums to find out in which husbandry fish feel most comfortable

Image: Hof University of Applied Sciences

Findings show that animals behave more calmly when they live in a co-culture with plants. They also show fewer injuries as a result. Animal welfare can therefore be significantly increased when fish are kept together with plants – experiments with catfish have shown this

The welfare of animals and fish can thus be significantly increased compared to conventional husbandry without plants.

Photo: Hof University of Applied Sciences

Dr. Harvey Harbach from the Institute for Water and Energy Management at Hof University of Applied Sciences (iwe) was one of the researchers involved in this research. Dr. Harbach is researching the numerous other benefits of such so-called integrated aquaculture methods, which includes aquaponics. Currently, with funding from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), the “InnoFisch” project is investigating the benefits for the environment and the regional economy as part of the “Green Technology Workshop Hof” project.

Worms reduce water pollution

Residual and waste substances inevitably accumulate in the water of a fish farm. InnoFisch” is investigating whether this wastewater can be used to cultivate worms and useful plants. These organisms clean the water and use the residual substances as food or fertilizer. As a result, the water becomes clean again and the fish farmer can perspectively market worms, e.g. as fishing bait, or additionally plants.

Promising interim results

Initial results are promising for both the fish farmer and the worms. The water load of nitrogen (NH4) is reduced by 40.3% on average by the worm culture – and this in the Upper Franconian winter. The crops reduce the water load of nitrogen (NO3) only by 2.9% on average. The plants nevertheless show good growth without any use of additional fertilizer.

Carolin Richter

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