Traditional freshwater rainbow trout farms are still popular in some European countries such as Poland, France and Ireland. These systems generally operate in flow-through configuration. The impact such production systems might have on water quality remains mostly unknown. The present study was set up to fulfil this objective of monitoring water quality on different fish farm locations in order to identify the impacts of the whole farm (comparison of farm inlet and outlet) and at pond scale in order to understand the water quality dynamics and to better understand the impact of multiple water reuse (water passes) in a given pond on water quality. In the absence of any sort of water treatment, an increase in the number of water passes was shown to create an increase in ammonium concentration along the farm. Finally, this traditional flow-through rainbow trout production system was revealed to almost be at its full carrying capacity with respect to internal water quality parameters and fish welfare. To increase fish production, some water treatment techniques (solid/liquid separation, nitrification) would have to be introduced in order to optimize the rearing water quality for fish growth and to minimize the release of pollutants in the receiving water to limit the impact on the environment.
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