HAKI is implementing a multidisciplinary research work, to provide scientific basis for the development of sustainable aquaculture and agriculture systems, and for the responsible use and protection of aquatic resources. The major fields of research are: aquatic ecology; fish genetics and immunology; fish feeding and nutrition, aquaculture systems and irrigation.
HAKI has a RAS unit, one flow-through system, one experimental pond farms and a system for disease challenge. The recirculation systems have 100 m3 useful volume. The experimental pond station of HAKI is 5.8 ha, with pond’s surfaces between 150 and 3000 m2.

Name of the infrastructure: Outdoor experimental pond station (OEPS)
Location: Szarvas, Hungary
Website address:
Contact: András Rónyai


The facility consists of earthen ponds with the following distribution:
area (m2)

12 experimental pond 1,700

6 experimental pond 3,500

16 experimental pond 400-600

4 experimental pond 300

4 experimental pond 150

4 experimental pond 700

4 wetland pond 3,000

The ponds can be filled up with water and drained individually. The water is supplied to the ponds from the natural open surface waters (Szarvas-Békésszentandrás oxbow lake). The ponds have electrical supply for the artificial aeration and also equipped with aerators. Also there are possibilities for the experiments in “pond in pond” systems (including either 16 tanks of 10 m3 each, or 18 cages with 9 m3) installed in the ponds.
The OEPS is operated by a professional staff (5 persons). The pond system is suitable for experiments with different purposes (i.e. feeding tests, testing different rearing technology, management and technological elements; ecosystem modelling, etc.).

Besides the experimental ponds a constructed wetland system is also operating in the part of the experimental station. The open surface-flow wetland system is equipped with flow metres and electrical system. It is suitable to test wastewater treatment techniques and mechanism. The wetland system includes 4 pond units (among others 2 macrophyta covered ponds with Typha and Phragmites).

Services currently offered by the infrastructure

The facility is a pilot scale system, built for experimental purposes mainly for feeding and rearing experiments. It enables:

  • Research trials on the applicability of different feed additives (immuno-stimulant, vitamins, amino-, and fatty acids, etc) and replacement of fish meal and oil in fish feeding.
  • Testing eco-technological elements for water treatment
  • Experiments about nutrient dynamics in pond ecosystems
  • Development of integrated fish production systems
  • Nutrient remediation experiments in wetlands and ponds

It provided research infrastructure for several national and EU funded grant (Eurocarp, Aquamax, SustainAqua etc.). The pond system in the last few years was used approximately 4-5 foreign users per year.

Modality of access

The pond system provides facility for the implementation of joint or independent research projects. The ponds operate from March till November, but it could be investigated in winter period on demand. The operation and sampling staff are available, the water and sediment laboratories are able to analyse samples all the year. The user or user group will have a full access to the ponds belonging to the experimental work they plan. The work plan will be prepared before arriving to the institute to make sure that the users will be fully integrated into the scheduling of experiments. The users will be able to use feeding machines, aerators and all other equipment necessary for pond experiments. The fisherman of the institute will help them with the introduction, feeding and harvesting of the experimental fish. The users will work independently based on their workplan.
The operation of the experimental system will be integrated with a professional team for sampling (i.e. water, sediment, plankton, fish, etc.) and in situ measurements (i.e. oxygen, conductivity, pH, turbidity, temperature, etc.) and with professional analytical laboratories (equipped – among others - with water, TOC analyser, atomic absorption and ICP spectrometry) for water, sediment, soil, fish, plant, etc. analysis, as well.

Unit of Access

The unit of access is defined as 1 m2/week; equaling the occupation of 1 m2 pond surface for 7 days. One trial is expected to comprise 96 000 units of access on average (i.e. 16 pieces of 200 m2 to test 4 factors in quadruplicate, during 30 weeks or 8 pieces of 400 m2 to test 2 factors in quadruplicate, during 30 weeks or another combination that will suit the external users). The duration of 1 trial in pond installation is estimated for 30 weeks (to utilize full potential of growing season for mass rearing of relatively slower growing freshwater fishes; for common garden experiments etc.) with a stay planned for weeks No. 1, 2, 29 and 30.