Bioburden Monitoring in Recirculating Aquaculture Systems (RAS)


Aquaculture provides more than half of the seafood consumed worldwide. While the vast majority of aquaculture today is sea-based, the last years have seen a significant trend towards land-based aquaculture, using recirculating aquaculture systems (RAS).

Raising fish in highly controlled artificial water systems close to consumers and using renewable energy has tangible benefits. However, the high degree of water reuse and the associated extensive water treatment require strict and timely control of bacterial growth. Rapid and accurate quantification of live bacteria can ensure water quality and thus fish health and yield. Monitoring physical and chemical parameters is vital for process control but cannot provide for more than a rough indication of the extent and dynamics of the microbial biomass in the water.

To establish a reliable control system, RAS operators define  critical control points (CCP)  for direct microbiology monitoring using the rqmicro.COUNT. 

Hands-on time for the analysis on rqmicro.COUNT is less than 1 minute per sample and results are immediately available online. It is thus easy to integrate the analysis into the daily workflow and to obtain a holistic and specific understanding of the microbiological behavior in aquaculture systems.

As a result, RAS operators are able to understand process-related differences between basins and to verify the effectiveness of water treatment processes. Only through quantitative monitoring is it possible to define meaningful and reliable thresholds and establish corrective actions.

 Typical CCPs include:

  • Water intake
  • Fish tanks
  • Hatchery
  • Treatments stages
  • Backwash
  • Outlet 

Intact Cell Count (ICC) detection for recirculating aquaculture systems on rqmicro.COUNT:
  • Fast and accurate assessment of bacterial load (bioburden)
  • Easy to perform on-site and no technical training required
  • Use the cloud platform to automatically monitor CCPs, validate routines, and escalate actions, if needed
  • Detect specific pathogens such as E. coli on the same instrument


Effective water hygiene control in recirculating aquaculture systems (RAS)


Optimized water circulation ratio, monitoring of fresh water and water discharge


Benchmarking production facilities and treatment processes


Proactive cleaning and maintenance of tanks, piping systems and filters

Would you like to learn how to monitor bacteria in water with the rqmicro.COUNT? Watch the video and contact us today. We are looking forward to talking with you.

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At rqmicro, we have developed tests that can be implemented seamlessly as part of your established HACCP protocols.