Aquaponic systems are a combination of hydroponics, growing plants in water, and aquaculture, growing of fish. The two subsystems are connected so that the water circulating between the two, transfers the waste from the fish tank to the plants, where the plants take in nutrients. The water is filtered by the plants and is recirculated back into the fish tank. Small-scale aquaponic systems are of particular interest, as they are appropriate for rural and developing locations to harvest both plants and fish for a local community. To improve the level of sustainability, the flow within the fish tank needs to be better understood since most of the power required to operate an aquaponic system is used by the fish-tank pump. The shape of the fish tank is of importance for the flow in the tank and the initial cost of the tank. In this work, the flow in a 2 m × 2 m square fish tank with curved corners was studied experimentally with a Vectrino Acoustic Doppler Velocimeter. Two inlet configurations were studied and compared to each other — inlets at each corner of the tank, and inlets at two of the corners of the tank. The results suggest that good recirculation can be achieved with the two inlet locations. The present work can be used for evaluating numerical simulations of the flow in the tank. The ultimate goal of the study is to develop an inlet-design configuration which minimizes initial and operational costs of the small-scale aquaponic system.

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