Development and Testing of a Drainable Floating Fish Tank for Fish Culture in Deep Water Bodies

Project Overview

Project Type: Farmer/Rancher
Funds awarded in 2019: $9,000.00
Projected End Date: 12/28/2021
Grant Recipient: Jim Frey Fish Hatchery
Region: North Central
State: Iowa
Project Coordinator:
Jim Frey
Jim Frey Fish Hatchery


  • Animals: fish
  • Animal Products: meat


  • Animal Production: aquaculture

    Proposal summary:

    In the state of Iowa there are about 9,000 acres of abandoned quarry pits and 12,000 acres of abandoned coal mines, respectively.  Depending on the location, many of these have substantial water resources that could support aquaculture but are not being used due to their depths (bodies cannot be drained), which makes fish harvest difficult or nearly impossible. The goal of this project is to design a floating 7,500-gallon tank with 6,000 gallons available to hold fish.  Once the fish are raised to a desired size, a discharge valve will be opened (using no pumps or energy), and water will leave the tank allowing fish to be easily harvested.  This design will build upon a smaller, earlier prototype. In addition to the energy savings, this tank will allow fish to be harvested from these systems with minimal equipment and effort. Upon the successful completion of this project, aquaculturists will be able to produce fish economically by accessing abandoned water bodies that to date have not been used for fish production. The limited amount of energy in the tank design will allow fish to be produced with minimal environmental impacts.

    Project objectives from proposal:

    1. Develop and test a floating fish tank for use in Iowa’s abandoned water bodies.
    2. Evaluate the costs and benefits of the floating fish tank for regional fish production.
    3. Share findings through field days and web site.
    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.