Phosphorus removal in a marine prototype, recirculating aquaculture system

Yoram Barak, Eddie Cytryn, Iliya Gelfand, Michael Krom, Jaap Van Rijn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

65 Scopus citations


Phosphorus dynamics were examined in a prototype, zero-discharge, marine-recirculating system. Operation of the system without discharge of water and sludge was enabled by recirculation of effluent water through two separate treatment loops. Surface water from the fish basin was pumped over a trickling filter in one loop, while bottom-water was recirculated through a sedimentation basin followed by a fluidized bed reactor in the other treatment loop. Ammonia oxidation to nitrate in the trickling filter and organic matter digestion together with nitrate reduction in the sedimentation basin and fluidized bed reactor were the main biological features of this treatment system. Orthophosphate concentrations did not exceed 15 mg PO4-P/l in the culture water during more than 1 year of system operation. Much of the phosphorus was retained within the sedimentation basin and fluidized bed reactor. In these treatment stages, the phosphorus content of organic matter was as high as 17.5% and 19%, respectively. High concentrations of total phosphorus and low concentrations of soluble orthophosphate were measured in the initial stages of sedimentation under oxic and anoxic conditions, suggesting that most of the phosphorus was associated with organic matter. Depletion of oxygen and nitrate in the sludge layers of the sedimentation basin coincided with sulfate reduction to sulfide and a release of soluble orthophosphate. The observed phosphorus dynamics in this marine system supported findings from previous studies in which it was demonstrated that denitrifiers underlie phosphorus immobilization under these conditions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)313-326
Number of pages14
Issue number1-4
StatePublished - 14 Apr 2003
Externally publishedYes


  • Anaerobic water treatment
  • Denitrification
  • Mariculture
  • Phosphate removal
  • Recirculating system

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Aquatic Science


Dive into the research topics of 'Phosphorus removal in a marine prototype, recirculating aquaculture system'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this