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Growth and Nutrient Removal Efficiency of Sweet Wormwood (Artemisia annua) in a Recirculating Aquaculture System for Nile Tilapia (Oreochromis niloticus)

Institute of Hydrobiology and Aquatic Ecosystem Management, University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, 1180 Vienna, Austria
Department of Fisheries and Natural Resources, Maseno University, Private Bag, Maseno 40105, Kenya
Division of Livestock Sciences, University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences (BOKU), 1180 Vienna, Austria
Department of Biological Sciences, University of Eldoret, 1125, Eldoret 30100, Kenya
Department of Zoology, Entomology and Fisheries Sciences, Makerere University, Kampala 7062, Uganda
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Water 2019, 11(5), 923;
Received: 20 March 2019 / Revised: 22 April 2019 / Accepted: 23 April 2019 / Published: 1 May 2019
(This article belongs to the Section Water Quality and Ecosystems)
PDF [927 KB, uploaded 1 May 2019]


The maintenance of optimal water quality for fish production is one of the major challenges in aquaculture. Aquaponic systems can improve the quality of water for fish by removing the undesirable wastes and in turn produce a second marketable crop. However, there is no information on the growth and nutrient removal capability of Artemisia annua in aquaponic systems. This study evaluated the effect of plant density on water quality, the growth of A. annua and Oreochromis niloticus in a small scale aquaponic system in Kenya. The aquaponic system consisted of three treatments representing different plant densities (D1: 48 plants/m2, D2: 24 plants/m2 and D3:0 plants/m2). The high plant density system contributed significantly (p < 0.05) to the removal of all nutrients. The removal efficiency of ammonia was significantly higher in D1 (64.1 ± 14.7%) than in D2 (44.5 ± 6.8%) and D3 (38.0 ± 12.1%). Nitrates and nitrites were inconsistent, whereas phosphorus increased gradually in all treatments. The productivity of plants was higher in D1 than D2. Fish growth rates were significantly higher in D1 (0.35 ± 0.03 g/d) and D2 (0.32 ± 0.02 g/d) than in D3 (0.22 ± 0.04 g/d). The results show that A. annua can be cultivated in aquaponic systems due to its nitrogen removal capabilities. View Full-Text
Keywords: aquaponics system; denitrification; Nile tilapia; nitrification; plant density aquaponics system; denitrification; Nile tilapia; nitrification; plant density

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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).

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Gichana, Z.; Meulenbroek, P.; Ogello, E.; Drexler, S.; Zollitsch, W.; Liti, D.; Akoll, P.; Waidbacher, H. Growth and Nutrient Removal Efficiency of Sweet Wormwood (Artemisia annua) in a Recirculating Aquaculture System for Nile Tilapia (Oreochromis niloticus). Water 2019, 11, 923.

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