Freshwater InstituteFreshwater Institute

This four-day course on water recirculating aquaculture systems started in 1995 at Cornell University in cooperation with Freshwater Institute staff. The course was held at Cornell University until 1999, after which it was held at the Freshwater Institute as a combined Cornell University/Freshwater Institute course. Course participants were initially university extension associates, however current participants include representatives from commercial fish farms, government fish hatcheries, tribal fish hatcheries, government regulators, universities, research organizations, legislative offices, and fish and wildlife organizations. The combined course continued through 2006, after which the course was taught independently by both institutions until Cornell University stopped offering a classroom course. Current course content covers the fundamentals of water recirculating systems for fish culture including mass balances to maintain water quality, unit process design, and system operation. Course topics include the following:

  • RAS Overview
  • RAS Water Quality
  • Mass Balances
  • Pumping and Piping
  • Circular Tank Design
  • Solids Control & Management
  • Oxygenation
  • Carbon Dioxide control
  • Biofiltration
  • Ozone & UV Processes
  • Fish Health & Biosecurity
  • Monitoring RAS Water Quality
  • RAS Management & Operations
  • RAS Design Examples

Course materials provided to participants include a binder of all presentations and a copy of the book Recirculating Aquaculture 4th edition. The course includes a tour of a RAS facility for hands-on explanation of the engineering and operation. Custom variations of the four-day course (e.g., two-day versions) are available upon request. Custom courses have been provided for a variety of organizations including Marine Harvest Canada, Marine Harvest Norway, Cooke Aquaculture, USFWS, Bonneville Power Administration, California Fish & Wildlife, and Alltech Brazil.

2019 RAS Course

The 2019 course is being hosted by Ideal Fish at their RAS facility in Waterbury, Connecticut from October 15-18. The course will include a tour of the branzino RAS facilities at Ideal Fish.



  • Brian J. Vinci, Ph.D., P.E., Freshwater Institute
  • Christopher M. Good, D.V.M., Ph.D., Freshwater Institute
  • Edward D. Aneshansley, MPS, PE, Pentair Aquatic Eco-Systems

2019 Registration

Registration includes lunch, snacks and coffee each day; lodging is not included. Early-bird registration ($850 USD) is open until August 31st after which time the fee will increase to $950 USD. The final registration deadline is September 7, 2019. 


For assistance with registration, please contact Margarita Carey ( | 1-304-876-7924). For questions about the course, please contact Kata Sharrer ( | 1-304-870-2209)

Cornell Partnership
The Conservation Fund’s Freshwater Institute has partnered with Cornell University’s eCornell to allow participants of Freshwater Institute’s RAS Course to complete eCornell’s Designing Recirculating Aquaculture Systems online certification process for a reduced cost. Participants who successfully complete the Freshwater Institute’s RAS Course will be eligible to enroll in eCornell’s Designing Recirculating Aquaculture Systems ‘certification’ product, which allows participants to take a final exam and gain access to the digital version of the Recirculating Aquaculture 4th edition textbook. Upon successfully passing the final exam, eCornell will issue a certificate to the participant. Freshwater Institute’s RAS Course participants receive a 50% discount on the eCornell ‘certification’ product (normally $150).

If you are interested in the Freshwater Institute RAS Course but are unable to attend, enrolling in the eCornell Course is recommended – CLICK HERE for information on eCornell’s Designing Recirculating Aquaculture Systems Course.