A ‘membrane-denitrification’ reactor (MDR) was developed and tested in a semi-technical recirculation aquaculture system in comparison to a double – without MDR – as reference system. The MDR consisted of a reactor with an ultrafiltration membrane unit for removal of micro-particles (e.g. sludge flocs, bacteria and parasites). Specific carrier material provided surfaces for biofilm growth in a fluidized bed reactor with ethanol as carbon source for denitrification. The continuous motion of these carriers cleaned the membrane surface. With online and laboratory measurements of water parameters and operational data the feasibility of the concept was verified. An advantage is that no chemicals are needed to clean the membranes. Examinations of the fish and water analyses proved an MDR can positively influence cortisol, as a stress marker, and the microflora of the aquatic system.