Laboratory experiments demonstrate that bubble curtains can effectively inhibit movement of common carp

D. P. Zielinski, V. R. Voller, J. C. Svendsen, M. Hondzo, A. F. Mensinger, P. Sorensen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

37 Scopus citations


Although bubble curtains have been proposed many times as practical and inexpensive solutions to hinder the movement of invasive fish, few studies have examined why or how they might work. By understanding how bubble curtains influence fish behavior, management tools could be developed to control movement of invasive fish. In this study, the common carp (Cyprinus carpio L.) was used to examine the performance of three different bubble curtains (fine-, graded-, and coarse-bubble) and acoustically enhanced systems in an indoor channel. Trials revealed that the graded- and coarse-bubble systems reduced common carp passage across the curtain by 75-85% in both up- and down-stream directions. Concurrent acoustic field measurements revealed that these bubble curtains generated sound near 200. Hz at approximately 130. dB (ref 1. μPa), well above the common carp hearing threshold. Further testing with speaker arrays and lighting indicated that carp avoidance of the bubble curtain involved responses to sound and fluid motion rather than visual cues. Although field tests are warranted, our results suggest that bubble curtains may be a viable and inexpensive deterrence system to limit common carp movement.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)95-103
Number of pages9
JournalEcological Engineering
StatePublished - Jun 2014

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This study was funded by the Minnesota Environmental and Natural Resources Trust Fund as recommended by the Legislative-Citizen Commission on Minnesota Resources (LCCMR). Aaron Claus and Brian Moe helped with fish care and Zachary Sudman (University of Minnesota) helped with data collection.


  • Behavioral barrier
  • Bubble curtain
  • Common carp
  • Fish guidance
  • Invasive fish management


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