Online Course

Designing Recirculating Aquaculture Systems



Course Description

This self-paced course explains the basic engineering principles behind a successful recirculating aquaculture system (RAS) design. The objective of this course is to provide sufficient information so that you will be able to design, construct, and manage your own RAS system. Basic principles of business management and securing investment capital for the small family farm will also be reviewed. At the conclusion of the course, you will have received the essential information necessary to design your own system and have a fundamental knowledge of the principles influencing the numerous design options.

One advantage of taking this eCornell course is that your course fee includes an electronic version of the textbook Recirculating Aquaculture 4th edition by Dr. Timmons.


The following topics will be covered:

  • Overview of recirculating aquaculture systems (RAS) engineering
  • Water quality objectives, monitoring and measurement
  • Fish growth and system staging
  • Engineering design of individual unit processes
  • System management
  • Fish health management
  • Economic and risk evaluation


The course will equip you to

  • Examine how to design a recirculating aquaculture system, component, or process to meet production objectives
  • Determine how to best select appropriate water quality targets
  • Develop a capability to design pumping systems
  • Build an analytical capability to quantify costs of production
  • Identify the critical factors for managing a fish farm


This course includes

  • 11 hours of video lectures explaining the aquaculture system design process from start to finish
  • Reading assignments from a downloadable PDF version of the complete Recirculating Aquaculture textbook, 4th edition
  • Self-check quizzes to confirm mastery of key concepts
  • One design workbook to aid you in your system design
  • One final assessment
  • Extensive supplementary videos on food science, fish nutrition, and fish health and tours of facilities


Who should enroll

  • The course is structured to be relevant for a wide range of student experiential levels, from novice to expert. Course expects no prior knowledge, but some background in aquaculture is always helpful. The course textbook provides more in depth treatment on a variety of the topics and there are references as well on individual topics at the back of each book chapter.
  • Individuals considering starting an indoor recirculating farm and at all stages, e.g., planning stages, early years of operation, and expansion of current operations
  • Consultants to the industry
  • University and high school teachers that include an aquaculture component in their classes
  • Entrepreneurs
  • People (aquaculturalists) currently managing flow-through systems


Time to complete

Students have one year from the date of enrollment to complete the course.

Discount of 25% for groups of 3 or more, email eCornell Custom Programs and Services for code to use when you enroll


Cornell University Certificate

Students who successfully complete this course will receive a Recirculating Aquaculture Systems Certificate from Cornell University’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.


Faculty Author & Instructor

Michael Timmons Professor
Michael Timmons is a Professor in the Department of Biological and Environmental Engineering. His program is centered on entrepreneurial-driven enterprise. He provides a foundation of information related to the production of aquacultured products, both fresh and saltwater, with an emphasis on sustainable and environmentally friendly engineering technologies. He works with private industry to improve technology of water recirculating systems for producing fin and shellfish. Each year for the last 15 years, he conducts a 1-week long short course on the principles of recirculating aquaculture.


Hard Copy Of Yellow Book

For those of you who would also like a hard copy of the book, it is available through for $99 and free shipping for Prime members (or ~$5 for US and $10 non-US locations.) book


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