Kel Gordon Science Fiction




Turn Key Construction Concepts in RAS

Design Concept for a 2000 Tonne POD RAS

'Simplicity of Application'



"Recirculating Aquaculture Systems are like V8 SUPERCARS. You need special skills to drive them, they cannot be driven on normal roads and a bad crash will kill indiscriminately".

So Why Build Recirculating Aquaculture Systems?

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I find it interesting that RAS has such a following. Personally, the intense

nature of RAS is not my idea of relaxing aquafarming.

Round the clock monitoring

Back up power issues

High Electricity Consumption

Full time Staff required at a rate of 1.7 per 4 tonne of production. Not Good!

(Dutch Aquaculture has 4 staff per 1000 tonnes of fish production)

Short working life of RAS Components

Return on investment 5 to 14 percent.

Or Loss of Investment

High Mortality (Fish)

Stress (Human)

Gray Hair (Human)

Divorce (Human)

You get the picture

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However if one approaches the design concept correctly the outcomes are both financially and aesthetically rewarding as you can see below..




The above POD RAS Design Uses Only One Pump

The above picture is a two module RAS system we designed and built in 1986. This farm was, private catchment, private disposal. The aquafarm was vertically integrated with hatchery, nursery and growout production. It was and still is capable of 30 tonnes production per module every 18 months.

And that equates to $726,000 AUD per 18 months on today's prices.


Small AquaFarm Production Cost Summary

(Kel likes to earn $100,000 per year)

Wages = $150,000

Feed = $200,000 standard pellet diet

Electricity = 10kwatts x 18 hours@40cents/kwh = $72/day x 500 days = $36,000

(Kel also likes a new 4WD, strictly for work you understand)

Vehicle = $80,000

Set Up Costs @20% /crop = $100,000 (owned the land and borrowed $300,000 at 14% = $42000 pa interest)

This farm has a hatchery but if the farm needed to buy fingerlings

100,000 Fingerling @ $0.75 = $75,000

Sundries at 10% = $64,000


Profit = $21,000

Do you see any mistakes?

Yes, if you run animals you do have loses. Technically speaking, the farm 'primary production' costs were $200,000. From a tax perspective, the farm made a loss of $155,000. This figure covers any outstanding taxation for the year plus a percentage carry over loss to the following year. Do you find this interesting? Because this is legal.

In actual fact, the above figures represent a profitable business within Australia. Because POD is passive filtration the overheads and staff requirements are very low.

A POD system requires one staff person full time and three persons for harvest. That is 1.2 persons per 66 tonnes production per 18 months. The whole farm operates on 1000 liter per minute flow rate per individual RAS system, and there are two modules in the top half of the picture.

Each RAS utilise's a multi-stage mechanical and biological filtration system that was, maintenance free.

The farm utilised inground ponds and plumbing with an expected working life of 25 years

The water leaving the biofiltration was drinkable.

Return on production costs was 67%

This farm produced the best looking and healthiest silver perch I, to this day, have ever seen. And that includes wild stock.

"Not too bad for the eighties".

If you are building an RAS system then the above components are basic and essential for low stress, long production life RAS Aquaculture.


RAS System Design : Our commercial experience with RAS design and operation is well known in Australian Aquaculture. From pond recirculation designs in the 1980's to fault finding and commercialising Cumminscorp Ltd C-Box efficiency in 2006.

Warning these systems were fundamentally flawed

If you are thinking seriously about RAS Aquafarming then aquafarmer's free advice is to stop now.

Unless you have a significant understanding of RAS aquafarming this process is completely unsustainable and unprofitable.

If you must proceed,,, build a legitimate pilot scale operation and run it for at least two seasons. We can provide on-going input into development projects.


There are so many Recirculating Aquaculture Systems around today it amazes me there is such a lack of success. Then again maybe it doesn't. There are well defined books, miles of research and yet it cannot be said that there is one successful RAS in Australia. Yes including the one mentioned above. It was bought for tax reasons so the current results are not valid.

There are many claims but for any aquaculture business, success can only be measured in profits over time. Can anyone tell me of an aquaculture business that has been profitable for the last 10 years?? SEND





Aquafarmer builds RAS systems for profitable longevity and really, that is the only necessary factor an RAS system should and need for sales promotions.

For any questions on RAS operations Contact Us



Please Check Out The Following

Coral Trout Aquafarming

The Pod System (Our commercial RAS Design)

POD Recirculating Aquaculture System Design




Kel Gordon Science Fiction