Aquaculture Programs

Aquaculture Programs

Factsheets
Aquaculture
Pond Management
Koi and Ornamental Ponds

About Us
Langston University Aquaculture Programs exist to produce and provide to our Oklahoma aquaculturists and pond owners the information and technology necessary to profitably manage fish farms and ponds in an ecologically sustainable manner for profit, home food production and recreation. We also believe the public must understand the aquatic environment to properly manage and regulate activities related to these resources.

To these ends, we have developed a program of research, extension and education that will help insure a profitable and environmentally sound use of the aquatic resources of Oklahoma.

Research is the foundation of our program and is conducted at the Langston University Aquaculture Facility. The facility consists of 46 research ponds from 0.1 to 0.5 acres in size, a fish hatchery and research laboratory. Research at Langston University is designed to provide Oklahoma fish culturists with the latest scientifically based culture techniques applicable to our region. We work closely with fish farmers in an effort to understand and respond to their needs. Projects are designed to work in harmony with aquatic environmental processes to increase profitability and reduce dependence on outside resources.

Information produced by research and information on aquatic related topics are presented to our clientele through the Aquaculture Extension Program in easily accessible and readily understandable formats. Extension personnel are available for personal consultation, on-site visits, workshops and field days.

Goals

  1. Help develop and support a profitable and environmentally sustainable commercial aquaculture industry in Oklahoma through research and education.
  2. Provide clientele with factual and easily accessible information in a timely manner.
  3. Improve pond management statewide for commercial, food and recreational purposes.

Research Activities
The Research Program in aquaculture at Langston University focuses on the needs of the Oklahoma aquaculture industry. Close communication with the Oklahoma Aquaculture Association assures that our research team understands and responds to the needs of state producers.

Aquacultural research at Langston University is founded on an ecological understanding of the aquatic environment that informs the direction of our research efforts. Polyculture fish production systems are under development that maximally utilize available nutrient inputs from fish feeds to reduce production costs, increase yields and improve water quality. New fish species are now being tested for their use as biological controls of common channel catfish parasites.

We envision an ecologically sustainable aquaculture that produces an economically viable livelyhood for fish farmers. Research meeting these goals must include new species and species combination development coupled with innovative marketing strategies.

A sustainable system of aquaculture requires an integral production facility that maximizes water use and production efficiency. Large quantities of water are often in short supply or expensive to obtain for many fish farmers. Consequences of global warming also increase the uncertainty of water supplies available for aquaculture production. With these constraints in mind, criteria used in the design of our aquacultural research facility demanded that water conservation, energy conservation and water quality improvement to the watershed be given high priority. Our research ponds are designed to demonstrate to fish farmers practical solutions for conservative water management, efficient production and economical methods of maintaining high water quality standards.

Research Facility Tour
Our Aquaculture Facility was designed and engineered by the Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) Area Watershed Engineering staff with input from the NRCS Guthrie Field office, Logan County Conservation District Office and our aquaculture staff. All construction labor has been provided by our aquaculture staff. Constructing the facility has involved moving more than 460,000 rn3 (600,000 yds3) of earth; trenching and installing 1,850 m (6,000 ft) of water and airlines, 400 m (1300 ft) of underground electric cable.

Storage pond
Water from Fitzgerald Creek is pumped with a diesel powered irrigation pump through a 12 inch PVC line to the storage pond 1.4 ha (3.5 A). At full capacity this pond can store approximately 43,172 m3 (35 acre feet) of water which is gravity flowed to the culture ponds in a 15 cm (6 inch) PVC pipe.

Research and demonstration ponds
The facility has 10, 0.2 ha (0.5 Acre), 20 0.1 ha (0.25 Acre) and 16 0.04 ha (0.1 Acre) culture ponds with approximately 3100 m3 (2.5 acre feet), 1550 m3 (1.25 acre feet) and 550 m3 (0.5 acre feet) volume each, respectively. Valves (5 cm, 2 inch) in each pond provide individual water control. Each culture pond has a 10 cm (4 inch) swivel standpipe connected to a 20 cm (8 inch ) trunk line.

Water drained from the culture ponds empties into the 1.0 ha (2.5 A) retention pond. At full capacity the retention pond can store approximately 16,500 m3 (1 3.25 acre feet). A permanent 20 cm water intake is installed on the South end. Water is pumped back to the storage pond or culture ponds as needed. The primary role of the retention pond is water conservation and storage until water is needed in the storage pond or experimental ponds.

Our management plan calls for complete water re-use and efficient pond management. Water losses are primarily evaporation and seepage. All our ponds are clay lined, limed and packed with a sheepsfoot roller to minimize seepage. Our research developed pond management methods allow for safe and cost efficient re-use of culture water.

Air diffuser system
The air diffuser system used to aerate the culture ponds of the research facility is powered by a 10 horse power regenerative blower. The 0.1 acre ponds are aerated with a 5 horse power regenerative blower. The system uses an emergency back up 10 horse power blower. Clusters of 4, 6 inch airstones attached to drops from a flexible hose provide aeration to circulate water in the culture ponds.

Feeding the fish
Fish feeds for research demonstration projects are carefully prepared and weighed for daily feedings. Feeding rates depend on water quality conditions and fish demands in each pond. Care in feeding fish reduces water quality problems, decreases FCR (feed conversion ratio), lowers feed cost per pound of gain and increases potential profit from the fish culture enterprise.

Fish production and harvesting
The market for processed fish is competitive and crowded. However, a market for live fish exists and is not currently being filled. Our objective is to determine opportunities that exist for fish farmers to increase income through direct marketing of live fish. This is accomplished by selling direct to the public, channel catfish and other alternative species. New markets are identified and evaluated for potential profitability.

Aquaculture water quality lab
The aquaculture water quality laboratory is used to analyze research related water samples. Analysis capabilities include: chlorophyll a, b, and c, nitrogen, phosphorous, COD, BOD, phytoplankton size composition and other standard measurements of water quality.

Spawning, hatchery and fry production facility
This facility is used to research methods of artificial and natural reproduction of native fish having suitable characteristics for use in aquaculture. Spawning techniques are under development for freshwater drum and bigmouth buffalo. The facility is also used to produce all catfish fingerlings used in the demonstration research ponds.

Extension Activities
The Langston University Aquaculture Program provides an array of aquatic related information and services to our Oklahoma clientele. Our current program emphasis includes: commercial aquaculture, alternative fish species, pond management. and outdoor aquatic education programs.

Fact Sheets
The Aquaculture Extension Program has produced numerous fact sheets, booklets and videos.

Consultation
We are available for site visits around the state and can schedule a time to evaluate your pond or fish farm. We can also be contacted by phone, mail or email to discuss problems or provide information.

Workshops and Field Days
Staff members produce workshops and field days throughout the year for fish farmers, pond managers, educators and youth. An Aquaculture Field Day is sponsored each year by Langston University. The Field Day showcases our latest research and highlights topics of current interest to the fish farming community.

We are available to speak to organizations as diverse as the Oklahoma Aquaculture Association or the local water garden society; and are available as speakers for other governmental agency conferences and activities.

Computerized Economic Analysis
LU Extension Aquaculture has developed a computer program to build enterprise budgets and project the results of various marketing strategies for both commercial and home aquaculture ventures. We can run the program for you or you can purchase a copy for a ten dollar fee.

Programs and services, are available at No charge except as noted. All consultations are confidential.