Once we secured the water source we had to determine how much water we had, the flow rate. For large scale commercial trout facilities the flow rate is very large, even thousands of gallons per minute. There are few places in America where that much clean, cold water is available for private use.
Many of us however can have access to smaller volumes of water, perhaps enough to produce fish in sufficient quantities for it to be self-supporting. A simplified analysis may look like this: $150 per month for electric to pump water and air; $100 per month for feed; $400 per month replacement stock. This simplified analysis assumes a up and running project and does not account for any capital investment like the cost of the well and raceway.
So $650 is the monthly cost to produce 400 fish for market. Another assumption is that the project has been running long enough to produce a marketable item, a 1.5 pound fish. If we sell 400 fish each month for $7.50 per pound then we net $3850 per month. More than enough to service any capital investment with some pocket change left over. OK let’s say my figures are suspect even though they are not that bad and we double our input costs to $1300 per month, still not too bad. At any rate, it seems to be self-supporting.
This project has brought together all my favorite sciences and opens up a lot of potential new avenues for any other agricultural engineering fans out there. A few came out to see my prototype; its already had an important modification and is growing trout. You will notice I am using a variation of the common raceway and tank culture systems. Both methods have advantages so why not bring them together. I am also experimenting with different off the shelf tank designs that are readily available for far less than those tanks sold specifically for aquaculture.