Egg Incubation

Once you have gone through the steps of receiving and counting the eggs, it is time to introduce them into your incubation units. As with all steps in the hatchery process, this should be done with great care by trained personnel only. Multiple incubation systems exist, and finding one that best fits your resources and needs is important. The three most common types of incubation set-ups are:
  • Hatching troughs ("California trays")
  • Upwelling incubators ("MacDonald Jars")
  • Vertical incubation trays ("Heath Trays")

As with most processes in aquaculture, keeping it simple is often best, and all three of these methods do just that. The key with any hatchery set-up, and the premise on which all three of these methods are designed, is to provide proper water flow, and thus proper oxygenation, to the eggs at all times. A lack of sufficient oxygen will lead to deformities and/or mortalities in the population. Another important process throughout the hatchery phase is keeping all of the units clean, which includes removal of dead eggs and shells on a regular basis. The presence of dead eggs will lead to fungus building-up in the incubators, which in turn will lead to excessive mortalities in otherwise good eggs.

Troutlodge does not recommend one incubation method above another, but instead recommends that you find one that fits your water and personnel resources. Equipment for all three methods can be found in most aquaculture products catalogs, including Aquatic Eco-Systems and Eagar.

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