The primary purpose of the aquatic life support system is to keep aquatic animal habitats clean and healthy.
These systems are also called LSS or ALSS (Aquarium Life Support Systems) in the case of public aquariums and RAS (Recirculating Aquaculture Systems) in the case of land-based aquaculture.
Not only is animal welfare key, but so is the success of your research protocols. We can maintain the ideal water quality, chemistry and temperature thanks to state-of-the-art automation.
At Luxaqua, we design and manufacture custom fish tank rack systems with integrated life support system automation. We pride ourselves on adapting to 100% of experimentation protocols requirements.
Here are the key LSS functions to maintaining the optimum water quality for each of the aquatic animals at your research facility:
Filters used in aquatic life support systems can be mechanical or biological. We always use a combination of both to ensure the best water quality.
The mechanical filter is placed ahead of the biological filter: Removing the largest insoluble particles will increase the efficiency of biological filters and protein skimmers by avoiding clogging them.
Mechanical filters are usually the first level of filtration since they will separate any solid organic residue or pollutant in suspension. Mechanical filters often use sponges, pads or foam blocks. They come in different levels of filtration, from coarser to finer, depending on the size of the particles you need to catch.
The role of the biological filters is the most critical of the aquatic life support system. The water quality relies on them to remove toxic dissolved chemicals. This filter uses various materials, such as ceramics or food-grade plastics, like in the case of bio balls. These porous materials contain bacteria (nitrifying bacteria or anaerobic bacteria, for instance) able to digest the unwanted chemicals from the fish tank water.
Based on the information given by the sensors, actuators such as valves and pumps are used to dilute the water in the fish tanks.
Depending on the fish tank system, pumps can bring fresh water from the tap, osmosis water, natural seawater and artificial seawater to rectify the water quality and salinity.
The water from the fish tanks is first collected in a sump before being sent to the filters, heaters or chillers, protein skimmers and UV sterilisers. The sump is a reservoir with a water level sensor that activates a pump and an automatic valve to bring clean water. This system also has the advantage of automatically compensating for water evaporation.
Reverse osmosis is usually part of the dilution system to bring purified fresh water. The water is pushed at high pressure through a non-porous membrane (note some membranes use nanofiltration). This system can be used for purification or desalinisation. We usually use the latter when there is access to natural seawater.
Aquatic species all have an ideal temperature in which they thrive. Some are more sensitive than others to temperature variations.
Controlling the water temperature can be done with heaters and/or chillers.
In any case, these systems work based on heat exchangers. An excellent automation system must achieve the lowest temperature variation possible. Our aquatic life support systems usually include titanium plate heat exchangers, which perform best thanks to their high performance and reliability.
Protein skimmers, also called foam fractionators, complete the action of biological filters by removing dissolved organic matter.
A high-pressure air intake produces tiny bubbles thanks to an air pump and a venturi valve.
Ascending towards the top of the skimmer, the bubbles form a foam able to bring to the surface the unwanted compounds (amino acids, fatty acids, carbohydrates, enzymes, for instance). The foam is then separated mechanically and pushed away in a collection reservoir connected to a drain pipe.
The final level of water quality control is removing bacteria and parasites. This is better achieved by flashing the water with ultraviolet lighting.
The different components of the aquatic life support system work hand in hand with our fish tank monitoring software. Its added benefits are to record all the potential variations in the water chemistry and send alerts if something out of scope happens.
Our user-friendly interface makes it easy for your teams to use, so you can worry less and focus more on your research. We care about quality and details; we won’t leave before your installation works as planned, and your team is trained to use it.
Benefits of asking Luxaqua to design and install an aquatic life support system at your research facility: