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Aquacultural Engineering 25 (2001) 125 135

www.elsevier.nl/locate/aqua-online

Management to minimize the environmental


impacts of pond effluent: harvest draining
techniques and effluent quality
C. Kwei Lin a,*, Madhav K. Shrestha a,1, Yang Yi a,
James S. Diana b
a
Agricultural & Aquatic Systems and Engineering Program,
Aquaculture and Aquatic Resources Management, School of En6ironment, Resources and De6elopment,
Asian Institute of Technology, PO Box 4, Klong Luang, Pathumthani 12120, Thailand
b
School of Natural Resources and En6ironment, Uni6ersity of Michigan, Ann Arbor,
MI 48109 -1115, USA
Received 26 December 2000; accepted 14 May 2001

Abstract

An experiment was conducted to evaluate the amount of wastes discharged from fish
ponds during harvest and to assess pond draining schemes and harvest techniques that may
reduce waste loading in effluent water. Nile tilapia (Oreochromis niloticus) were cultured for
113119 days in twelve 200 m2 ponds with fertilization and supplementary pelleted feed.
There were four treatments with three replicates each: (A) ponds were treated with teaseed
cake at a rate of 10 ppm to partially anaesthetize tilapia 1.5 h prior to harvest by three
seinings without draining ponds; (B) ponds were limed at a rate of 75 ppm calcium hydroxide
24 h prior to harvest and drained by sequential complete draining, and then tilapia were
collected from a harvesting pit; (C) ponds were drained by sequential complete draining and
tilapia were collected from a harvesting pit; and (D) ponds were drawn from 100 to 50 cm
and tilapia were harvested by two seinings, followed by complete draining and collection of
the remaining tilapia from a harvesting pit. Treatment D is the common practice in
Thailand. The harvest efficiency was 97% in treatment A. Comparing the harvest efficiency
for the first two seinings, there were no significant differences between treatments A and D.
Liming in treatment B resulted in significantly higher concentrations of 5 day biochemical

* Corresponding author. Tel.: + 66-2-524-5458; fax: +66-2-524-6200.


E-mail address: lin@ait.ac.th (C.K. Lin).
1
Present address: Fisheries and Aquaculture Department, Institute of Agriculture and Animal
Science, Rampur, Chitwan, Nepal.

0144-8609/01/$ - see front matter 2001 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved.
PII: S 0 1 4 4 - 8 6 0 9 ( 0 1 ) 0 0 0 7 6 - 0
126 C.K. Lin et al. / Aquacultural Engineering 25 (2001) 125135

oxygen demand, total settable matter, total solids and total phosphorus (TP) in the water
discharged from the last 25 cm depth than those at both 100 50 and 50 25 cm depths, while
there were no significant differences in effluent quality parameters among different depths in
both treatments C and D. Concentrations of all effluent quality parameters in the water
discharged from the last 25 cm depth in treatment B were higher than those in treatments C
and D. Seining in treatment D resulted in the highest concentrations of all effluent quality
parameters except TP at middle depth. Compared with the common draining practice,
adoption of the sequential complete draining schemes (treatments B and C) caused 33 86%
reductions for different effluent quality parameters except total nitrogen and TP in the
discharged wastes. The present experiment showed that the use of teaseed cake to anaes-
thetize tilapia could allow effective harvest by seining, without draining the pond. Alterna-
tively, the discharge of potential pollutants from ponds into the environment could be
reduced by sequential complete draining of ponds and collecting fish from harvesting pit
(treatments B and C), and can be further reduced by modification of sequential partial
draining of pond water level to 25 cm above pond bottom and seining fish without further
draining. The present experiment demonstrated that appropriate management in pond
draining and fish harvest could minimize the environmental impacts of pond effluents.
2001 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved.

Keywords: Pond culture; Effluent; Environment; Draining; Harvest

1. Introduction

Nutrient enrichment of pond waters is an essential management practice in


aquaculture (Boyd, 1990; Pillay, 1990). However, the discharge of nutrient-rich
water, an environmental regulatory concern in many countries, may result in the
deteriorated quality of receiving waters (Pillay, 1992). Means to minimize the
environmental impacts of pond effluents include minimizing the use of nutrients,
managing drainage to retain most nutrients in the pond system, and maximizing the
use of surplus materials in sediments by fish during grow-out. Previous research in
Thailand has indicated that the most efficient nutrient application systems include
combined organic and inorganic materials (Knud-Hansen et al., 1993). Such inputs
result in the production of :6300 8700 kg ha 1 per year of Nile tilapia (Ore-
ochromis niloticus) (Diana et al., 1994). Moreover, supplemental feeding of tilapia,
combined with fertilization, increases fish yield and the mean harvest size of fish.
When fish reach 100 150 g supplementation of 50% satiation feeding, in addition
to optimal fertilization, appears to be the most efficient system for growing large
tilapia (Diana et al., 1994, 1996).
In some cases, surface water that flows from channel catfish (Ictalurus punctatus)
ponds following rains is similar in composition to pond water and is not highly
polluted (Tucker and Lloyd, 1985; Boyd, 1990). However, the quality of pond
effluent during harvest draining deteriorates because sediments are stirred by fish
activity and seining operation in relatively small volume of water, resulting in
highly polluted pond effluents due to more mud nutrient release and more concen-
trated metabolic wastes (Boyd, 1978; Pillay, 1992; Schwartz and Boyd, 1994a,b;
C.K. Lin et al. / Aquacultural Engineering 25 (2001) 125135 127

Seok et al., 1995). Several strategies of draining and harvesting could reduce such
effects from channel catfish ponds (Hollerman and Boyd, 1985; Schwartz and Boyd,
1995; Kouka and Engle, 1996; Tucker et al., 1996; Ghate et al., 1997).
The purposes of this study were to assess several harvest techniques, to evaluate
the amount of nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), and solids discharged from waters of
Nile tilapia ponds during draining at harvest, and to identify fish harvest techniques
that may reduce the loading of nutrients and solids in effluent waters.

2. Materials and methods

This experiment was conducted in 12 earthen ponds of 200 m2 in surface area at


the Asian Institute of Technology, Thailand. All ponds were fertilized weekly with
urea and triple superphosphate at rates of 28 kg N ha 1 and 7 kg P ha 1. Water
was added weekly to replace water loss due to seepage and evaporation and
maintain the water depth at 1.0 m. On 25 February 1997, sex-reversed all-male Nile
tilapia were stocked at 1.5 fish m 2 at a size of 1039 1 g. Tilapia were fed with
commercial floating pelleted feed (crude protein 30%, Charoen Pokphand Co., Ltd.,
Bangkok, Thailand) at 50% satiation feeding rate 6 days week 1 (Diana et al.
1994). Satiation feeding rate was determined for each pond by estimating the total
amount of feed consumed during two feeding sessions from 1000 to 1100 h and
from 1400 to 1500 h every Wednesday. The 50% of mean satiation feeding rate
from all ponds was applied to each pond from Thursday to Tuesday except Sunday.
Tilapia were harvested on 19 25 June 1997 after 113- to 119-day culture.
This experiment was conducted in a randomized complete block design. There
were four treatments with three replicates each: (A) ponds were treated with teaseed
cake at a rate of 10 ppm to partially anaesthetize tilapia 1.5 h prior to harvest by
three seinings; (B) ponds were limed at a rate of 75 ppm calcium hydroxide 24 h
prior to harvest to precipitate phosphorus and organic matter, and drained by
sequential complete draining with a pump, and then tilapia were collected from a
harvesting pit; (C) ponds were drained by sequential complete draining with a
pump and tilapia were collected from a harvesting pit; and (D) ponds were drawn
from 100 to 50 cm with a pump and tilapia were harvested by two seinings,
followed by complete draining and collection of the remaining tilapia from a
harvesting pit. Treatment D is the common practice in Thailand. The four
management procedures incorporated three draining schemes (liming and sequen-
tial complete draining, sequential complete draining, and complete draining) and
three harvest techniques (seining fish anaesthetised by teaseed cake, collecting fish
from a harvest pit, and seining followed by collecting fish from a harvest pit).
Sequential complete draining of pond water in treatments B and C was achieved
by draining pond water with a pump firstly from 100 to 50 cm, then to 25 cm, and
finally, to 0 cm through lowering the pump to the respective water depth. Complete
draining in treatment D was achieved by draining pond water completely through
placing a pump at the pond bottom.
128 C.K. Lin et al. / Aquacultural Engineering 25 (2001) 125135

Pond water column samples, taken biweekly at 09:00 h, were analyzed for total
alkalinity, total ammonia nitrogen (TAN), nitrite nitrogen, nitrite nitrate nitrogen,
total Kjeldahl nitrogen (TKN), soluble reactive phosphorus (SRP), total phospho-
rus (TP), organic carbon, chlorophyll a, total suspended solids (TSS), and volatile
suspended solids (VSS) using standard methods (APHA et al., 1985; Egna et al.,
1987). Temperature, dissolved oxygen (DO), pH (at 20 cm below the water surface),
and Secchi disk depth were measured in situ according to the same schedule. In
addition, monthly diel temperature, DO, and pH were determined at 06:00, 09:00,
14:00, 16:00, 18:00, 23:00, and 06:00 h next day in each pond.
During harvest, effluent samples were collected from treatments B, C and D
when pond water levels were 100 50, 5025, and 250 cm, respectively. For a
pond, three effluent samples were collected at each water level at the beginning,
middle and end of draining, and mixed to provide a single representative sample.
The effluent samples were analyzed for TP, total solids (TS), total volatile solids
(TVS), TSS, VSS, total settleable matter (TSM), and 5 day biochemical oxygen
demand (BOD5) using standard methods (APHA et al., 1985; Egna et al., 1987),
and total nitrogen (TN) using the method described by Raveh and Avnimelech
(1979).
Data were analyzed statistically by one-way analysis of variance (Steele and
Torrie, 1980) using SPSS (version 7.0) statistical software package (SPSS Inc.,
Chicago, USA). Differences were considered significant at an alpha level of 0.05.
Statistical analyses for percentage values (%) were performed on arcsine trans-
formed data. Their mean values are given in the back-transformed scale followed
by their confidence limits. All other means are given with 91S.E.

3. Results

There were no significant differences in tilapia growth performance among all


treatments (P \ 0.05). Tilapia grew from 1039 1 to 5289 8 g with mean daily
weight gain of 3.79 0.1 g fish 1 per day over a mean culture period of 116 days,
giving a mean extrapolated net yield of 19 t ha 1 per year. Mean 50% satiation
feeding rates decreased gradually from 1.4% body weight per day (BWD) in the
initial week to 1.0% BWD in the final week, giving mean feed conversion ratio of
1.49 0.03. Among all treatments, there were no significant differences in water
quality parameters measured immediately before draining/harvest and mean values
of water quality parameters over the culture period (P\0.05) (Table 1).
Fish harvest efficiency (expressed as the percentage of total number of harvested
fish relative to all surviving fish at the time of harvest) in treatment A, where ponds
were applied teaseed cake and seined three times without draining, was 97%, which
was significantly lower than that (100%) by other two harvest techniques (PB 0.05)
(Table 2). Comparing the harvest efficiency for the first two seinings, there were no
significant differences between treatments A and D (P\ 0.05).
Effluent quality parameters in treatments B, C and D are presented in Table 3.
Liming in treatment B resulted in significantly higher concentrations of BOD5,
C.K. Lin et al. / Aquacultural Engineering 25 (2001) 125135 129

TSM, TS and TP at 25 0 cm depth than at both 10050 and 50 25 cm depths


(PB 0.05), while there were no significant differences in such parameters among
different depths in treatments C and D (P\ 0.05). Liming in treatment B also
caused higher concentrations of all water quality parameters at the 250 cm depth,
compared to those in treatments C and D. Seining in treatment D caused the
highest concentrations of all water quality parameters except TP at the 50 25 cm
depth, while the highest concentrations of all water quality parameters in treat-
ments B and C were found at the 25 0 cm depth. Concentrations of BOD5, TSM,
TSS and VSS at the 50 25 cm depth were significantly higher in treatment D than
those in treatments B and C (P B 0.05).
For the weighted mean concentrations from three depths, there were significant
differences in all water quality parameters except TS, TVS and TP among treat-
ments B, C and D (P B 0.05). The weighted mean concentrations of BOD5, TSM,
TSS, TVS and VSS were highest in treatment D, intermediate in treatment B, and
lowest in treatment C, while the weighted mean concentration of TN was highest in
treatment B, intermediate in treatment D, and lowest in treatment C (PB 0.05).
The statistical relationships of calculated amount of discharged wastes using
three draining schemes followed the same pattern of water quality concentrations
(Table 4). Compared with treatments C and D, liming in treatment B resulted in
higher percentages of wastes accumulated in the bottom (250 cm depth). How-
ever, seining caused highest percentages of wastes except TP to be discharged at the

Table 1
Mean values of water quality parameters measured over the culture period but prior to harvest/drain-
ing in different treatments

Parameters Treatments

A B C D

Temperature (C) 30.89 0.2 31.0 90.2 31.1 9 0.2 30.8 90.1
DO at dawn (mg l1) 0.29 0.1 0.1 90.0 0.2 90.1 0.2 9 0.1
pH 7.4 (7.27.6) 7.3 (7.17.5) 7.6 (7.57.6) 7.5 (7.37.6)
Secchi disk visibility (cm) 7.39 1.3 10.0 91.1 10.7 93.0 10.0 92.0
Alkalinity (mg l1 as 117928 65 916 163 915 121 9 19
CaCO3)
TAN (mg l1) 1.939 1.08 3.59 91.67 1.03 90.91 1.54 9 1.10
TKN (mg l1) 4.7192.36 8.33 90.97 4.68 90.97 7.04 91.42
SRP (mg l1) 0.469 0.36 0.06 90.02 0.30 9 0.25 0.16 90.02
TP (mg l1) 0.979 0.36 0.58 90.06 0.76 9 0.23 0.83 90.08
Chlorophyll a (mg m3) 2469 83 122 923 156 9 37 192 9 77
TSS (mg l1) 2109 42 122 9 7 160 9 43 142 9 11
VSS (mg l1) 47910 38 9 7 34 98 43 9 8
Organic carbon (mg l1) 92.359 5.32 88.40 9 5.57 99.42 9 11.98 97.14 9 9.09

A, seining fish in undrained ponds but treated with teaseed cake (treatment A). B, limed ponds followed
by sequentially complete draining and harvest (treatment B). C, sequentially complete draining and
harvest (treatment C). D, seining fish in partially drained ponds and collecting the remaining fish in
harvesting pits after complete drainage (treatment D).
130 C.K. Lin et al. / Aquacultural Engineering 25 (2001) 125135

Table 2
Efficiency of the different harvest techniques

Activity Harvest techniques

A B and C D

Stocked fish (no./pond) 300 300 300


First seining (%) 76 65
Second seining (%) 15 23
Third seining (%) 6
Collecting from harvest pits (%) 100 12
Harvested fish (no. pond1) 282 290 294
Survived fish (no. pond1) 291a 290 294
Harvest efficiency (%) 97c 100d 100d

A, seining fish in undrained ponds but treated with teaseed cake (treatment A). B and C, collecting fish
from harvesting pits in drain ponds (treatments B and C). D, seining fish in partially drained ponds and
collecting the remaining fish in harvesting pits after complete drainage (treatment D). Mean values with
different superscript letters (c and d) in the same row were significantly different (PB0.05).
a
The number of fish not collected during seining in treatment A was determined by the application
of a lethal dose of teaseed cake to ponds.

5025 cm depth (Table 4). Sequential complete draining without liming (treatment
C) resulted in significantly lower amount of discharged BOD5, TSM, TSS, VSS and
TN than common draining practice (treatment D) (PB0.05). The discharged
amounts of BOD5, TSM, TSS and VSS by sequential complete draining with liming
(treatment B) were not significantly different from those by sequential complete
draining without liming (treatment C) and common draining practice (treatment D)
(P\ 0.05), however, sequential complete draining with liming (treatment B) re-
sulted in significantly higher discharged amount of TN than sequential complete
draining without liming (treatment C) (PB 0.05).

4. Discussion

The commonly used Thai practice of partially draining a pond from 100 to 50
cm, seining twice, then completely draining to collect the remaining fish (as
incorporated in treatment D) resulted in a large amount of waste being discharged.
The wastes discharged from 1 ha pond would be equivalent to 1.6 t of BOD5, 210.5
m3 of TSM, 43.1 t of TS, 4.3 t of TVS, 38.2 t of TSS, 3.6 t of VSS, 107 kg of TN,
and 7 kg of TP. Sequential complete draining (as incorporated in treatments B and
C) resulted in less discharged BOD5 and solids than treatment D, however,
discharged TN in treatment B was higher than that in treatment D, and discharged
TP was higher in both treatments B and C than that in treatment D (Table 4).
Compared with the common Thai practice (treatment D), adoption of the sequen-
tial complete draining schemes (treatments B and C) caused 3386% reductions for
different water quality parameters except TN and TP in the discharged wastes
(Table 5).
C.K. Lin et al. / Aquacultural Engineering 25 (2001) 125135 131

The concentrations of all measured water quality parameters except TN were


higher at the middle depth level (50 25 cm depth) when using the common draining
practice, due mainly to the disturbance of bottom sediments by seining and fish
movement (Boyd, 1978; Schwartz and Boyd, 1994b; Seok et al., 1995). The
concentrations of all measured water quality parameters were higher at the pond
bottom (25 0 cm depth) than those at upper levels (100 50 and 5025 cm depths)
when using the sequential complete draining schemes, especially when combining
with liming. The effluent quality in the liming treatment (treatment B) indicates that

Table 3
Effluent quality parameters using different draining schemes

Water quality Treatments Pond water levels during draining Weighted means
parameters
10050 cm 5025 cm 250 cm

BOD5 (mg l1) B 5797x 56 9 5bx 228 9 27y 100 94bc


C 51 910 47 9 13b 87 9 22 59 9 13b
D 85939 263 929c 197 953 158 936c
TSM (ml l1) B 0.190.0x 0.2 90.1bx 37.0 9 10.0y 9.3 92.5bc
C 0.29 0.1 0.3 90.1b 10.7 9 6.8 2.9 91.7b
D 3.69 1.9 51.7 9 16.6c 25.3 9 9.8 21.1 9 5.6c
TS (mg l1) B 10139 17x 1847 9738x 5978 9 1347y 2463 9148
C 1053929 1058 980 3575 9 1251 1685 9345
D 17249 335 8680 93845 5096 91086 4306 91183
TVS (mg l1) B 163914 159 916b 692 9 128 294 927
C 1509 20 149 920b 382 9123 208 942
D 1649 20x 871 9234cy 518 9123xy 430 977
TSS (mg l1) B 1199 10x 178 9 33bx 5682 91480y 1525 9361bc
C 2769 22x 274 950bx 1957 9691y 696 9186b
D 8309 391 9140 93348c 4443 91265 3810 91143c
VSS (mg l1) B 39 910bx 48 9 8bx 577 9130y 176 926b
C 5398bx 49 9 13bx 223 965y 94 9 21b
D 1019 18cx 817 9226cy 423 9108xy 361 979c
TN (mg l1) B 10.079 1.69 15.33 92.38b 20.30 93.35b 13.94 9 1.55b
C 4.939 0.41x 5.13 9 0.69cx 8.50 9 0.72cy 5.88 9 0.19c
D 7.37 91.30x 15.53 91.80by 12.50 91.63cxy 10.69 90.98b
TP (mg l1) B 0.5890.10x 0.63 9 0.08x 2.23 9 0.26by 1.01 90.03
C 0.8890.21 0.87 9 0.21 1.53 9 0.06c 1.04 9 0.15
D 0.639 0.03 0.71 9 0.03 0.90 90.10d 0.72 90.03

B, limed ponds followed by sequentially complete draining and harvest (treatment B). C, sequentially
complete draining and harvest (treatment C). D, seining fish in partially drained ponds and collecting the
remaining fish in harvesting pits after complete drainage (treatment D). Mean values with different
superscript letters (b, c and d) in the same column for each parameter were significantly different
(PB0.05). Mean values with different subscript letters (x and y) in the same row for different pond water
depths were significantly different (PB0.05).
132 C.K. Lin et al. / Aquacultural Engineering 25 (2001) 125135

Table 4
Calculated amount of discharged wastes and percentage distribution at different water depths during
draining using different draining schemes

Water quality Treatments Pond water levels during draining Total


parameters
10050 cm 5025 cm 250 cm

BOD5 (kg ha1) B 287937x (28.7) 140912bx (14.1) 571 9 67y (57.2) 998 944bc
C 2579 51 (43.5) 1179 32b (19.8) 217 9 55 (36.7) 590 9 123b
D 4279 199 (27.1) 658973c (41.7) 492 9133 (31.2) 1577 9 360c
TSM (m3 ha1) B 0.39 0.2x (0.4) 0.5 90.1bx (0.5) 92.59 25.0y (99.1) 93.3 9 24.8bc
C 1.090.3 (3.5) 0.8 90.1b (2.6) 26.8 917.0 (93.9) 28.5 917.2b
D 18.099.7 (8.6) 129.2941.5c 63.3 9 24.6 (30.0) 210.5 955.6c
(61.4)

TS (t ha1) B 5.19 0.1x (20.6) 2.8 90.1x (18.8) 14.99 3.4y (60.6) 22.8 93.2
C 5.39 0.1 (31.3) 2.6 90.2 (15.7) 8.9 93.1 (53.0) 16.8 9 3.4
D 8.691.7 (20.0) 21.799.6 (50.4) 12.7 9 2.7 (29.6) 43.1 911.8

TVS (t ha1) B 0.890.1x (27.7) 0.49 0.0bx (13.5) 1.7 90.3y (58.8) 2.9 90.3
C 0.790.1 (36.0) 0.4 90.1b (17.9) 1.0 90.3 (46.1) 2.1 90.4
D 0.890.1x (19.1) 2.2 90.6cy (50.7) 1.3 90.3xy (30.2) 4.3 9 0.8

TSS (t ha1) B 0.69 0.0x (3.9) 0.4 9 0.1bx (2.9) 14.2 93.7y (93.2) 15.2 93.6bc
C 1.49 0.1x (19.9) 0.7 90.1bx (9.8) 4.9 91.7y (70.3) 7.0 91.9b
D 4.29 2.0 (10.9) 22.9 98.4c (60.0) 11.1 93.2 (29.1) 38.2 911.4c

VSS (t ha1) B 0.29 0.0bx (11.2) 0.1 90.0bx (6.8) 1.4 90.3y (82.0) 1.7 90.3b
C 0.39 0.0bx (28.8) 0.1 90.0bx (11.1) 0.6 90.2y (60.1) 1.0 90.2b
D 0.59 0.1c (14.0) 2.0 90.6c (56.6) 1.1 90.3 (29.4) 3.6 90.8c
TN (kg ha1) B 50.398.4 (36.1) 38.39 5.9b (27.5) 50.7 98.4b (36.4) 139.3 915.6b
C 24.79 2.1x (42.0) 12.891.7cy (21.8) 21.2 91.8cx (36.2) 58.7 91.9c
D 36.896.5 (34.5) 38.89 4.5b (36.3) 31.3 94.1c (29.2) 106.9 99.8b
TP (kg ha1) B 2.990.5x (28.8) 1.6 90.2x (15.7) 5.6 90.6by (55.5) 10.1 90.3
C 4.49 1.0 (42.3) 2.2 90.5 (20.9) 3.8 90.2c (36.8) 10.4 91.4
D 3.190.1x (43.9) 1.8 90.1y (24.6) 2.3 90.3dy (31.5) 7.2 9 0.3

B, limed ponds followed by sequentially complete draining and harvest (treatment B). C, sequentially
complete draining and harvest (treatment C). D, seining fish in partially drained ponds and collecting the
remaining fish in harvesting pits after complete drainage (treatment D). Mean values with different
superscript letters (b, c and d) in the same column for each parameter were significantly different
(PB0.05). Mean values with different subscript letters (x and y) in the same row for different pond water
depths were significantly different (PB0.05). Percentage values are given in the parenthesis.

liming concentrates pollutants in the pond bottom waters, because lime caused
coagulation and precipitation of organic matter and phosphorus (Hansell and
Boyd, 1980; Thomas, 1990; Masuda and Boyd, 1994; Angeline et al., 1995). Hence,
if ponds are limed, careful treatment of bottom water during drainage disposal
should be considered. However, significant higher TN concentrations in sequential
C.K. Lin et al. / Aquacultural Engineering 25 (2001) 125135 133

complete draining with liming (treatment B) than in sequential complete draining


without liming (treatment C) cannot be elaborated by the present experiment.
Moreover, concentrations of pollutants in bottom waters are generally higher due
to higher fish density with constant fish mobility and sediment disturbance in less
water volume. If the sequential complete draining schemes could be modified to
sequential partial draining schemes by draining water level to 25 cm above pond
bottom and then seining ponds without further draining, the percentages of
reductions in discharged wastes could be further increased (Table 5). This modifica-
tion is consistent with the recommendation by Schwartz and Boyd (1994a). Fish
harvest efficiency from the last 25 cm of water volume by this modified technique
should be satisfactory because 88% of fish were harvested at water depth of 50 cm
by using the common Thai practice (treatment D) (Table 2).
It is possible to use fish culture ponds for several years without draining them
because natural microbial and physico-chemical processes remove nutrients and
organic matter from the pond water (Tucker et al., 1996). For example, in the
southeast United States channel catfish are cultured in ponds which are not drained
for as long as 20 years. In spite of large inputs of metabolic waste resulting from
feeding practices, nutrients and organic matter in the water column do not reach
deleterious levels (Hollerman and Boyd, 1985; Seok et al., 1995). The present
experiment shows that the use of teaseed cake to anaesthetize tilapia can allow
effective harvest by seining, without draining the pond. Alternatively, the discharge
of potential pollutants from ponds into the environment can be reduced by
sequential complete draining of ponds and collecting fish from harvesting pit, and

Table 5
Percentages of decrease in wastes discharged from ponds using different draining schemes (B, modified
B, C, and modified C) compared to normal draining practice (treatment D)

Water quality Percentage of decrease in discharged wastes


parameters
Draining scheme Modified draining Draining scheme Modified draining
B scheme B C scheme C

BOD5 37 73 63 76
TSM 56 100 86 99
TS 47 82 61 82
TVS 33 72 51 74
TSS 60 100 82 100
VSS 53 92 72 89
TNa 30 17 45 65
TPa 40 38 44 8

B, limed ponds followed by sequentially complete draining and harvest (treatment B). Modified B,
liming ponds followed by sequentially partial draining to 25 cm above pond bottom and harvest without
further draining. C, sequentially complete draining and harvest (treatment C). Modified C, sequentially
partial draining to 25 cm above pond bottom and harvest without further draining.
a
The negative values mean the increase in percentages in wastes discharged from ponds.
134 C.K. Lin et al. / Aquacultural Engineering 25 (2001) 125135

can be further reduced by sequential partial draining of pond water level to 25 cm


above pond bottom and seining fish without further draining. Moreover, discharg-
ing pond effluents to empty ponds can conserve nutrients for next production cycle,
and further reduce waste discharge to environment. However, effects of draining/
harvest strategies on the subsequent water quality and fish growth in next produc-
tion cycle need to be tested. The present experiment has demonstrated that
appropriate management in pond draining and fish harvest can minimize the
environmental impacts of pond effluents.

Acknowledgements

The authors wish to thank Mr D.P. Thakur, Mr Y. Manoj and Mr P. Supat, the
Asian Institute of Technology, for their field and lab assistance. This research is a
component of the Pond Dynamics/Aquaculture Collaborative Research Support
Program (PD/A CRSP) supported by the US Agency for International Develop-
ment, grant no. DAN-4023-G-00-0031-00, and by contributions from the Univer-
sity of Michigan and the Asian Institute of Technology. Dr Madhav K. Shrestha is
a postdoctoral fellow supported by the project. This is PD/A CRSP accession no.
1222.

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