Viability of Using a Low Energy Air Pump to Aerate Freshwater Prawn Ponds

Project Overview

Project Type: Farmer/Rancher
Funds awarded in 2016: $7,477.00
Projected End Date: 01/30/2018
Grant Recipient: Don's Prawns & More
Region: North Central
State: Ohio
Project Coordinator:
Don Maloney
Don's Prawns & More

Annual Reports


  • Animals: fish, shellfish


  • Animal Production: general animal production
  • Education and Training: extension, youth education
  • Energy: energy conservation/efficiency, energy use
  • Farm Business Management: budgets/cost and returns
  • Sustainable Communities: local and regional food systems, sustainability measures

    Proposal summary:


    Think of an aquaculture pond as a giant fish tank. In fish tanks there is usually a stone at the bottom of the tank that emits little micro bubbles of air produced from an external air pump. The ponds must also have enough oxygen in order for the prawns to survive.

    As the fish increase in size (in this case freshwater prawns) the quantity of oxygen in the water decreases. The larger they grow the more oxygen they use. External measures such as aerators are used to increase oxygen levels.

    In our operation we use the Aire-02 from Aeration Industries. See for description. These commercial duty aerators are heavy duty and inject micro bubbles into the water, which dissolves the oxygen into the water, which in turns increases, the oxygen levels.

    These entry-level aerators have a MSRP of $ 1,200.00. A 2 HP at 220 volts motor powers them. This device does well increasing oxygen levels, also known as DO (dissolved oxygen) but in turn increases the electric usage considerably. During the summer months our electric bill goes from $40.00 a month to $400.00 a month.

    Our proposal will determine if a low cost unit which consumes considerably less electricity can handle the oxygen needs of one of our ponds throughout the entire season.


    We can build an aeration system that that uses off the shelf components. Based on input information from the air pump manufacturer, our energy cost should be $120.00 a month or a 70% savings from the current operation.

    We believe Aero-Tube aeration hose that we will use has with significantly higher oxygen transfer rates, which increases higher dissolved oxygen (DO) levels over the standard air stones.

    But more importantly it will consume LESS electricity. Therefore saving us money and putting less of a burden on the generating plant.

    Project objectives from proposal:

    1. Ascertain the viability and cost savings of using a low consumption energy device compared to a commercial device to aerate aquacultures (freshwater prawns) ponds.
    2. Benefit the environment by improving local, sustainable freshwater prawn production methods, which would alleviate pressure on overfished oceans.
    3. Increase farmers' profitability by testing a system that produces more freshwater prawns using less electricity and water.
    4. Benefit the community by teaching FFA students about prawn production, providing fresh seafood to consumers, and keeping more money in the local economy.
    Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.