STEEL CORE SERIES
After we started operating the S-92 sequential series we learned
more information about equipment design and fish management in
the next two years than we had in all of the years previous.
1. We realized we had finally come up with the perfect tank
system design. The "Shure Flow" tank configuration along with
the low pressure oxygen and water injection system could
keep the tank clean no matter how many fish we put in it.
2. We developed a computerized O2 controller to work with
our injection system to assure the proper O2 levels at all
3. We developed new bio-filtration equipment and biofilter media
to cleanse the system of ammonia and nitrites.
4. We learned that natural aquaponics filters would work but
had many short comings including being labor intensive and
the need for them to be massive to be effective.
As delighted as we were with the ability of the S-92 to grow fish we knew we were going to have to refine the components into a more
compact unit to make it a system that could easily be scaled back so small farmers could afford to get started with a lower initial investment,
while at the same time retaining the ability to use the same system design for larger production levels.
We had clients who wanted to start out with just a couple of tanks. We had clients who wanted to hundreds of thousand pounds per year. We
had requests from schools who wanted a true commercial system to teach their students by needed something small.
Our approach was to look at the most exceptional components of the S-92 system, the tanks, the injector system, the O2 monitoring systems
and the new biofilter media, retain them and go from there.
The first focus was on the aquaponic filtration. While we always knew the ability to use the fish waste to grow vegetable crops would be an
essential part for future aquaculture systems, if the method we were using was too expensive to operate and in some ways could cut down
fish production then perhaps we should separate the two and concentrate on each area as a different entity.
The first thing we had to look at was the tank. We like the concrete tank we used in the original S-92. The concrete is a natural insulator which
helps to keep the temperature of the water constant. Concrete tanks are inexpensive to build and very durable. Properly coated on the inside
they will last forever. These are great for permanent installation in new buildings, but prove to be a problem to install in exs\isting builds with
concrete floors already in place. We needed something else for the new system.
First we looked to fiberglass tanks. The immediate problem was cost. Building and maintaining molds for thousands of copies would be
expensive. The tanks would have to be so heavily reinforced due to their specific design the materials would be expensive.
Our attention turned to steel. Using this materials we
could have the tanks manufactured anywhere in the
world to save shipping cost and they would meet the
needs to be portable and affordable.
The next step was to build the tanks using the same
specifications of the original concrete tanks and then
come up with a coating that would protect them form
the water conditions.
Experimenting with different materials in our
own steel fabrication shop we determined
that the best coating for the time would be
This material was designed for potable water,
which means there was nothing in it to harm
the fish. It was very durable and offered good
The design and construction of our first "Steel Core"
tank went very well.
The poly-urethane coating was applied and proved to
be extremely durable.
One of things we were looking for was a way to build a
solid tank that could broken up into pieces that we
could stack together for easier shipping.
Several prototypes were built but we found that trying
to come up with an inexpensive seal that would not
leak sooner or later was a serious problem.
Another issue was the cost. To make a tank in sections
added about 25% to the cost of construction. In the end
we decided it was not worth the trouble. We would just
build the tanks as one piece units.
While we were designing and building the Steel Core tank we were also looking at more advanced technology for filtering the water in the
new re-circulating system that would become known as the S-99 "Steel Core".
The next steps were a little bit more complicated. The first thing we looked at was the solids filtration. The best technology out there at that
time was a devise known as a drum filter. This type of filter was self cleaning and could be set up with screens that would remove solid
waste smaller than the thickness of a human hair. While this would seem like the perfect solution we still had a problem. All of the available
drum filters on the market were manufactured for either the medical industry or manufacturing. They were very big and very expensive.
Somehow spending $30,000 to filter the water in a system where all of the other parts combined would be 25% of this just didn't make sense.
We need something a farmer could afford to purchase and make money with.
Being early developers of aquaculture equipment and systems, we were use to having to build everything from scratch. Waiting for someone
else to provide things wasn't in our game plan. Sometime in the mid 1990's we started working on our first prototypes for a new, compact
drum filter that would be affordable to any fish farmer whether he was using our system design or not. What we envisioned would be a small
unit that was built tough enough to take the abuse that a fish farmer was bound to give it.
Being early developers of aquaculture equipment and
systems, we were use to having to build everything from
scratch. Waiting for someone else to provide things
wasn't in our game plan.
One of the things that made other drum filters on the
market was the fact that almost all of them were made of
medical grade stainless steel. While this is a well built
machine, if a fish farmer couldn't afford it then it might as
well been made out of gold.
We once again turned to our 'Steel Core" technology to
be the choice of materials.
For the next several years we built different prototypes
for our new "Self Cleaning" drum filter. By 1998 we had a
design that met all of our needs. While it only had the
capacity to clean one 3500 gal fish tank with 2500 pound
of biomass, it was a good start.
While the drum filter took a considerable amount of time to develop we also improved some of the other components we would need
for this advanced system. Many of the first prototypes were developed and tested on the S-92 system
The new S-99 system would have;
Horizontal bio-filter with PVC strand
Based on the knowledge we learned
from the up-whelling bio filter we were
able to literally turn this tower on it side
and get the same benefits of being
easy to clean with a positive water flow
throughout all of the media.
Advanced 02 controllers to assure that
the oxygen level in the tank would
High performance low pressure
In Spring of 1999, we introduced the first truly state of the art "Turn Key" aquaculture system. This system could be purchased as a complete
package or the design could be purchased so that some of the components like the tanks and bio-filter could be built on site and the other
components just plugged right in.
The S-99 was available with the drum filter as shown above, or
it could be set up with a less expensive plate filter