Minimizing noise in fiberglass aquaculture tanks: Noise reduction potential of various retrofits

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Abstract

Equipment used in intensive aquaculture systems, such as pumps and blowers can produce underwater sound levels and frequencies within the range of fish hearing. The impacts of underwater noise on fish are not well known, but limited research suggests that subjecting fish to noise could result in impairment of the auditory system, reduced growth rates, and increased stress. Consequently, reducing sound in fish tanks could result in advantages for cultured species and increased productivity for the aquaculture industry. The objective of this study was to evaluate the noise reduction potential of various retrofits to fiberglass fish culture tanks. The following structural changes were applied to tanks to reduce underwater noise: (1) inlet piping was suspended to avoid contact with the tank, (2) effluent piping was disconnected from a common drain line, (3) effluent piping was insulated beneath tanks, and (4) tanks were elevated on cement blocks and seated on insulated padding. Four combinations of the aforementioned structural changes were evaluated in duplicate and two tanks were left unchanged as controls. Control tanks had sound levels of 120.6 dB re 1 μPa. Each retrofit contributed to a reduction of underwater sound. As structural changes were combined, a cumulative reduction in sound level was observed. Tanks designed with a combination of retrofits had sound levels of 108.6 dB re 1 μPa, a four-fold reduction in sound pressure level. Sound frequency spectra indicated that the greatest sound reductions occurred between 2 and 100 Hz and demonstrated that nearby pumps and blowers created tonal frequencies that were transmitted into the tanks. The tank modifications used during this study were simple and inexpensive and could be applied to existing systems or considered when designing aquaculture facilities. © 2007 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

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Davidson, J., Frankel, A. S., Ellison, W. T., Summerfelt, S., Popper, A. N., Mazik, P., & Bebak, J. (2007). Minimizing noise in fiberglass aquaculture tanks: Noise reduction potential of various retrofits. Aquacultural Engineering, 37(2), 125–131. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.aquaeng.2007.03.003

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