RAS Water Quality Awareness


1/2 day taught course,
or self-study via online distance learning..

NAFC Course Code: AQ65 (taught), AQ65a (online)

Fish swimming in clear water



This half-day course provides a theoretical (classroom-based) introduction to the principles of monitoring and maintaining water quality in Recirculating Aquaculture Systems (RAS).


Entry Requirements




The course covers a variety of topics, including:

  • Background: recirculating compared to flow-through aquaculture systems.
  • Fish water quality requirements: oxygen, temperature, pH, salinity, ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate.
  • Principals of recirculation systems: nitrifying & denitrifying bacteria, start-up procedures, monitoring, bio-towers, fluidised beds, and filtration.
  • Common problems & what to do: crashes, oxygen / carbon dioxide, power cuts, clogging, ozone / UV, chemicals (disinfectants), and antibiotics
  • Fish health problems & treatment in recirculation units: ammonia poisoning / brown blood disease, bacterial gill disease, fungus, carbon dioxide, low oxygen, pathogenic bacteria, and heavy metals.
Delivery content


Taught Course

The RAS Water Quality Awareness course can be delivered as a half-day course at the NAFC Marine Centre, or elsewhere by arrangement.

Self-Study - Online Distance Learning

Alternatively, the course can be completed by self-study through online distance learning using the UHI's 'Blackboard Learn+' virtual learning environment.

The online course is flexible and can be undertaken as and when is convenient to the student on any computer, tablet or smartphone with internet access. The total required study time is normally about 8 to 10 hours and an online assessment must be completed to receive a course certificate. Online students have 6 months from enrolment to complete the course.

Full instructions for online study are provided at enrolment and online students can contact an NAFC tutor for assistance at any stage of the course.



Taught Course

Taught courses are usually arranged to suit customers' requirements - please contact the NAFC Marine Centre.

Self-Study - Online Distance Learning

Online self-study students can start at any time - please contact the NAFC Marine Centre.



  • taught course - £175
  • online course - £250

NOTE: For taught course delivery outside Shetland the lecturer's travel and other expenses will be charged in addition to these fees.

(Fees are subject to change without notice.)


Booking / Queries

To book a course please download an application form, or contact NAFC.

If you have any questions or need any more information please contact NAFC.