The potential breakage of feed pellets by fish feeding might be raised by any newcomer when discussing the implementation of pneumatic conveying systems as the pneumatic system is using air to carry the feed through pipes. While mechanically driven systems used in aquaculture do cause considerable degradation in various parts of the transfer, we will address this problem by focusing only on pneumatically driven systems.
There are several known factors that contribute to fracture and / or dust generation:
The most relevant aspect of the physical quality of the feed used in fish farms is the susceptibility of the pellet to fragmentation and abrasion (features that are measured by durability and hardness). But to avoid pellet breakage, we must also take into consideration the influence of size and composition. Current extrusion or pelletizing systems used by aquaculture feed manufacturers contribute significantly to minimizing this potential problem.
The air speed at which the feed is driven inside the pipelines, whether in the dense or diluted form, may affect feed breaks or the generation of dust. So how to avoid it? Regulating the amount of air individually, it means being able to control the air driven through the pipes based on the amount of feed, the distance to which it must be delivered within the fish farm and the time that is available for it.
As there are pipes and air that carry the feed from the feeder to the fish tanks, pipe limitations increase the effects of air velocity, the most influential factor in degradation. Length, curvature and joints play an unfavourable role in accentuating the effects of air.
Therefore the pipes for any automated feeding installation must be selected based on the following parameters:
- Dose volume
- Feed sizes to be sent
- Distance to which the feed should be delivered
- Pipe diameter
As important as using the appropriate amount of air in a pneumatic feeding system to avoid breakage of feed in a fish farm, we should pay the same attention to the installation of pipes, taking into account the following factors:
- The pipes connected to the automatic feeder should be installed as straight as possible.
- In fish farm facilities, sharp angles should be avoided, not being less than 30 times the diameter of the pipe.
Taking into account the installation of the client’s fish farm, the time available to feed fish in tanks and the amount of feed to distribute with an automatic system, we design a tailor-made solution aimed at preserving the integrity of the supplied feed. For minimizing the dust generation our pneumatic feeders have the following technological implementations:
- Use of a variator to regulate the air flow per pipe and / or the volume of the dose needed for feeding the fish.
- Use of variators to regulate the amount of feed to deliver each dose to the tank depending on the available time.
- Counselling on the pipe installation to optimize the air drive of the fish feed.
- Adequate selection of blowers or compressors by our engineers based on feeding requirements.
- Calculation of recommended HDPE pipe diameter that should be installed.
If you need any help by the selection of your automatic and pneumatic feeding system, benefit from the FFF´s experience. We manufacture automated feeder for aquaculture for more than 10 years. You can find FFF feeders at fish or shrimp farms in multiple countries.