Tropical Aquaculture Laboratory

Welcome to the University of Florida/IFAS's Tropical Aquaculture Laboratory, part of the University's School of Forest Resources and Conservation (SFRC)  Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences Program.

Tropical Aquatic LaboratoryThe Tropical Aquaculture Laboratory is located in Ruskin, Florida, approximately 20 miles south of Tampa in the heart of the tropical ornamental aquaculture industry. Through the cooperation of the University of Florida and federal, state, and county representatives, an industry-driven initiative resulted in the Laboratory's creation in 1996. The facility maintains strong working relationships with the Florida Tropical Fish Farms Association, the Florida Aquaculture Association, and other producer-based organizations. All research and extension programs can be traced to an identified need of the Laboratory's Aquaculture Advisory Committee, which is composed of Florida producers.

Fancy guppy, an example of tropical, ornamental aquacultureThe mission of the Tropical Aquaculture Laboratory is to enhance the understanding of tropical, ornamental aquaculture through research and education.   The Laboratory performs applied research, fish disease diagnostic services, and extension education programs and promotes professionalism in Florida's tropical aquaculture industry.

Aponogenton ulvaceaousFlorida is home to as much as 95 percent of U.S. production of aquarium fish (depending on season) and plants due to its climate, geology, and presence of international shipping hubs.  While production is spread throughout the state, the heaviest concentration of farms is in the southern half, particularly near the Tampa Bay region.  Current production includes over 800 varieties of freshwater fish, 200 varieties of freshwater plants, and a growing number of marine fish, invertebrates, and live rock on over 200 certified farms.  At the 2003 farm-gate value of $47.2 million for tropical fish and $20.4 million for aquatic plants (FASS 2004--34KB pdf), ornamentals represent one of the largest segments of U.S. aquaculture.

Please note that the Laboratory works only with the commercial ornamental aquaculture industry, and we are unable to provide one-on-one assistance to aquarium hobbyists, recreational pond owners, or non-commercial ornamental (koi/goldfish) pond owners.  However, please feel free to browse the site and utilize on-line resources such as our publications.

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