Growth On Natural Substrates And Its Efficacy In Aquaculture
Manas Pratim Dutta1,
and Ranjit Bordoloi5
1, 2, 3 and
of Fisheries, Assam Agricultural University
NAIP Cell, Assam Agricultural University
is one of the most important criteria for aqua farming. In
aquaculture, 60% of the production cost is incurred as feed (R.C.
Bhujel, 2009). In extensive and semi intensive systems, natural food
like planktons and bottom organisms play the most vital role in fish
production. Periphyton is considered as an important food component
for fishes. Nutrients are channelized through periphyton. Periphyton
grows on various substratums in aquatic environment and support fish
production. In search of low cost aqua farming, a range of substrate
based aquatic system has been developed for both fin fish and shell
fish culture to provide shelter and increases periphyton production
as food and thereby increasing aquaculture production. The
development of such
based aquaculture technology appears to be feasible and it can bring
about major advances in the development of low cost farming in
aquaculture with no additional feed and reduction of pollutants.
periphyton, 'Peri' means round and 'Phyton' means Plant was coined by
Periphyton is defined by Azim et.
(2002) as 'a complex of sessile biota attached to submerged substrata
such as stones and sticks and includes algae, invertebrates, detritus
and microorganisms.' Young
described it as an assemblage of organisms growing upon
free surfaces of submerged objects of water and covering them with a
(1952) defined it as an assemblage of algae and minute animals
covering submerged objects with a slimy coating. Periphyton may be
defined as the complex of sessile aquatic biota with associated
detritus, attached to submerged substrate. It includes sessile algae,
micro fauna and other bottom organism in combination with microbial
bio-films (van Dam et.
2002). Thus, not only the minute sessile organisms living within a
slimy matrix on submerged objects but also the free living organisms
associated with this matrix have been greatly treated as periphyton.
Periphyton has become a universally accepted expression for all
organisms attached to a submerged substrate. However the word biofilm
is used synonymous with periphyton to indicate the attached microbial
population in aquatic environment.
relationship exists between periphyton and other aquatic ecosystem
components. Periphyton may contribute substantially to primary
productivity especially in shallow freshwater ecosystems and thus
provide an important energy input to both detritus and grazing food
chains of the ecosystem. Periphyton has significant role of providing
food for fish and other fauna in natural and controlled environment.
Periphyton serves as the diet of a wide range of aquatic organisms
like fish, snails, chironomids mayflies, oligochaetes, crustaceans
etc. (Jones et.
Generally periphytons are very rich in nutrients. Fish yield from
extensive pond could be much higher if species culture on strictly
Nutrients already in
the water can be used by the periphyton by incorporating them into
the biomass i.e., periphyton take up nutrient from the system for
their own growth. Since periphyton can be easily grown on any
substratum, any easily available material can be used as substrate
for the growth of periphyton. So, for the growth of periphyton beside
the surface, no further expenditure is asked for. The nutrient
re-cycling of the periphyton contributes to water purification just
within the pond or tank. Some algae are able to use ammonia, too.
Periphyton plays several
roles in removing phosphate from the water column, including
phosphate uptake and deposition, filtering particulate phosphate from
the water, and attenuating flow, which decreases advective transport
of particulate and dissolved phosphate from sediments. Furthermore,
periphyton photosynthesis locally increases pH by up to 1 unit, which
can lead to increased precipitation of calcium phosphate, concurrent
deposition of carbonate-phosphate complexes, and long-term burial of
phosphate. Actively photosynthesizing periphyton can cause
concentrations near the sediment surface encouraging deposition of
metal phosphates. Periphyton assemblages can play several roles that
lead to increased retention of nutrients. First, they can remove
nutrients from the water column and cause a net flux of nutrients
toward the sediments. Second, they can slow water exchange across the
sediment/ water column boundary thus decreasing advective transport
of phosphate away
from sediments. Third,
they can intercept nutrients diffusing from the benthic sediments or
senescent macrophytes. Fourth, they can cause biochemical conditions
that favour phosphate deposition. Finally, they can trap particulate
material from the water column (Walter K. Dodds, 2003).
traditional substrate based fisheries
Welcomme (1972) made
the pioneering efforts to record the Acadja-based fisheries prevalent
in West Africa. The 'Acadjas'
describes a group of installations of dense masses of branches that
are artificially planted in the muddy bottom in shallow (1.5cm in
depth) waters in coastal lagoons of West Africa to attract fish. In
the Acadja system, dense clusters of branches are placed in lagoons
to attract fish. The tree branches are known to promote the growth of
periphyton, which is an excellent food for many different species of
fish. In addition, tree branches also provide shelter for the fish by
creating a protective environment. After nearly two decades of the
pioneering work by Dr. Welcomme, this showed that farmers could get a
high production. The harvest from 'Acadjas'
is known to vary from 4 to 20 ton of fish ha-1yr-1..
In Sri Lanka brush
park fisheries are also prevalent in the shallow coastal waters with
more than 3000 brush parks established during the season to attract
fish and shrimp. In other South Asian Countries, different forms of
fish aggregating devices are used. Senanayak (1981) reported
as a substrate based fishery prevalent in Sri Lanka.
A similar culture
fishery practice has been observed in Assam, a state located in north
eastern India. The fish farmers in this part of India widely practice
fish culture in their freshwater ponds. The traditional practice of
Assamese people is to install bamboo branches, locally known as Xeng,
into their ponds to avoid unauthorized fishing. Bamboo branches,
locally known as xeng are used as natural substrate in fish culture
ponds in Assam. Introduction of xeng into the fish ponds is primarily
done to protect fish ponds from unauthorized fishing. Besides
attracting fish for shelter, it also provides food to the stocked
fishes in the form of periphyton settled on rough surfaces of bamboo
branches. Moreover, fishes are often seen rubbing their bodies
against sharp faces of xeng probably to avoid external parasitic
infestations (Saikia et.
In Cambodia, brush
parks, commonly known as "Samarahs" are used as fish aggregating
devices in many river stretches. The tree branches are submersed in
rivers and the surface is covered with floating aquatic vegetation.
Fish begin to inhabit these structures after about two months.
Fishers encircle the area with a net, the branches are removed and
the fish are harvested. Brush park fisheries similar to those in
Cambodia are also seen in several other Southeast Asian countries.
are made up of the tree branches and bamboo shoots accompanied with
floating aquatic weeds like Eichornia
This acts as a medium for algal attachment. The fish are harvested 60
days after installation of substrates. Fish yields from 'Samarahs'
were around 4 ton ha-1yr-1season-1.
is the traditional method of fishing in rivers where substrates like
branches of bamboo (Kanchi), mango etc. are used as a medium for
algal attachment. The 'katha'
fishery showed about 33% increment in fish production (Wahab and
suggested that a major possibility for increasing fish production
above the natural level is through the use of katha as a biological
production system. According to M.D. Sagir Ahmed and Hafeza Akther
can increase biological production in three ways by i) creating more
secure and diverse spawning habitats for some species and thus
increasing reproductive success; ii) creating more secure nursery
habitats by lowering predation rates and increasing survival of fry
and fingerlings; and, iii) creating large food resources due to
growth of periphyton, a high quality natural food and thus increasing
fish growth and condition.
In the state of
Manipur on the Northeastern part of India, substrate based
aquaculture systems are widely prevalent in the Lok Tak Lake.
Floating islands formed through the dense growth of aquatic weeds and
grasses are spread throughout the lake and are used as the natural
fish aggregating devices. These floating islands, which are
constructed by trimming the fronds of weed mats to a width of 1-2
meters and these trimmed fronds are bent in a circular format to give
a diameter of 10 to 30 meters. The two ends are held together with
bamboo and ropes. Once the circular ring is formed, they are moved to
the desired place in the lake and they are anchored using the bamboo.
Fishers even build houses on the weed masses and there are about 500
families living on such masses on the lake. The phums are harvested
at an interval of one to two months. Several strategies are adopted
by farmers to increase productivity from the phum like fixing
feedbags in the area to attract fish in the early stages of phum
establishment and increasing productivity by regulating weed density
inside the weed ring. Production obtained from these phum areas are
reported to be very good (estimates indicate 300 to 1000 kg / phum)
and Das (2009)
of a traditional periphyton based organic rice-fish practice in north
eastern India, locally known as 'aji
where Common carp (C.
utilizes the aquatic biota as the source of natural food. The
farmers, known as 'Apatani', stock all the strains of Common carp (C.
C. carpio var.
The fact is that the farmers never utilize any supplementary food to
feed the stocked fish. The fish Common carp is totally dependent on
the natural food of aquatic phase in the field. Farmers basically
follow the traditional agronomic practices initializing rice
plantation in March and continuing up to the end of April. After 10
days of transplantation of seedling the fry (3-5 cm) of Common carp
are stocked into the field water. The final harvest of fish attains
up to 30 cm and the total production ranges between 300-500 kg ha-1
season-1 in addition to total production of 3.0-4.0 ton ha-1 season-1
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M. C. J., Khatoon H., Wahab M. A., van Dam A. A. and Beveridge,
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