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Commercial Aquarium and Aquaculture Research Facilities

Multi Channel Aquaculture Pump Container Solution

Sterner AquaTech UK is at the forefront of developing pioneering research facilities in the UK. Our expertise is in the design, supply and installation of state of the art services. Projects ranges from commercial aquaculture projects in remote locations to prime research facilities supporting industry and education. As a family firm with a rich history of engineering skills, we are also pleased to work alongside clients in the ongoing maintenance of sites for complete peace of mind. 

Sterner have a proven track record in working in partnership, creating successful places of research which meet both your needs and expectations.  We hold ourselves to the highest standard, adhering to Good Lab Practice (GLP) and ensuring that required Home Office standards are met on requried projects. Sterner believe in the importance of creating a system that reacts to the user – rather than the other way around – ensuring each design is controllable and customised to meet the specific needs of each location.  Our multi-skilled team is made up of qualified engineers, electricians and technicians, who oversee the electrical and mechanical installation, as well as the commissioning of systems large and small.   We can offer flexible solutions to clients of particularly remote sites, with our ability to manufacture offsite using our facility in Inverness; reducing install time onsite while monitoring our construction in a controlled environment.

Marine Research Station Refurbishment

FAI Farms Ardtoe Research Facility

Sterner was commissioned by FAI Aquaculture to refurbish Ardtoe marine research station in 2014. This commercial research facility required designs that specifically suited its remote location in Lochaber.   With an initial brief of designing elements of inlet treatment for sea water intake, the project expanded to include updating site distribution and water storage; disinfection for the site supply; and design of the trials unit facility.  The facility hosts five identical rooms designed for challenge works up to HOA standards, with capability to run fresh and sea water at a range of temperatures. Effluent treatment plant designed to disinfect the effluent from the trials facility to then be safely discharged back into the sea. 

Sterner made use of our extensive network of suppliers to source bespoke items for the facility, from large inlet drum filters, to specialist aquaria lighting. We also designed a full monitoring and control system, and installed pipework from 2-12 inches in a range of materials. Our fully lined and insulated containers provided ‘plant rooms’ for pumps, controls and heat exchangers. 

Challenge: Manual to Automatic A challenge we faced was the transition from manual to automatic control required to upgrade the system and lower energy costs. The existing sea water supply to the site was through two self-priming centrifugal pumps, which were operated on a manual changeout. 

Solution: Sterner proposed an efficient control method incorporated into the treatment system which measures the site’s actual water usage and regulates the pump speed accordingly. 

Challenge: Tidal-Influenced Supply The Ardtoe facility was also susceptible to tidal influences on flows, and variations of up to 40%. Combined with a low retention-time in the event of catastrophic power failure, the site required a more reliable system. 

Solution: Sterner’s solution was to install two 50m³ holding tanks to balance out tidal variations and provide security of power supply. These tanks are capable of being used in tandem or isolated to allow dedicated supply to various parts of the site.

You can find out more about the type of projects we can provide on our website at