An analytical model for predicting the carrying capacity of submerged biofilters used in aquaculture

Michael H Paller

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Laboratory data and information from the literature were used to develop an equation that models ammonia removal by submerged biofilters. The equation is based on the half-order/zero-order kinetics model and fixed biofilm nitrification, which indicates that the nitrification rate is a linear function of the ammonia concentration at ammonia concentrations <2.0 mg/l. Input data for the equation include easily gathered information of flow rate, biofilter size, maximum permissible ammonia level, biofilter influent and biofilter effluent ammonia concentrations, temperature, and ammonia production rate. The equation can be used to determine the carrying capacity of the submerged biofilters, to estimate biofilter sizes needed to support various fish loads, and to investigate the effects of changes in biofilter system parameters on carrying capacity. Comparisons of the predicted and actual carrying capacities of several experimental biofilters indicated that the equation accurately predicted carrying capacity under most conditions. Studies of the sensitivity of the equation to changes in system parameters demonstrated that flow rate limits biofilter performance and suggested an approach for determining cost-effective flow rates for biofilter operation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-26
Number of pages26
JournalJournal of Applied Aquaculture
Issue number3
StatePublished - Apr 2 1992

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Aquatic Science
  • Ecology


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