An evaluation of two commonly used coagulation–flocculation aids (alum and ferric chloride) was conducted for the supernatant overflow from settling cones used to treat the effluent from microscreen filters in an intensive recirculating aquaculture system. In addition to determining the effectiveness of these aids in removing both suspended solids and phosphorus, a systematic testing of the variables normally encountered in the coagulation–flocculation process was performed. Tests were carried out to evaluate the dosages and conditions (mixing and flocculation stirring speeds, durations, and settling times) required to achieve optimum waste capture. The orthophosphate removal efficiency for alum and ferric chloride were 89 and 93%, respectively, at a dosage of 90 mg/l. Optimum turbidity removal was achieved with a 60 mg/l dosage for both alum and ferric chloride. Both alum and ferric chloride demonstrated excellent removal of suspended solids from initial TSS values of approximately 100–10 mg/l at a dosage of 90 mg/l. Flocculation and mixing speed played only a minor role in the removal efficiencies for both orthophosphates and suspended solids. Both coagulation–flocculation aids also exhibited excellent settling characteristics, with the majority of the floc quickly settling out in the first 5 min.
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