10 Other Methods of Fish Culture
Fish culture in ponds is the primary method of freshwater fish culture. However, there are other methods of fish culture used in places where ponds are not possible.
Fish Culture in Dams and Reservoirs
Water contained by dams and reservoirs is sometimes used for fish culture. These waters can be stocked with fry or fingerlings; the adults are later harvested with nets. Raising fish in these waters is more difficult than in ponds because these waters cannot be drained, and the predators cannot be removed. Also, it is not possible to feed, fertilize, or poison the water, so natural nutrients must provide enough fish food. But if there is no other water source available, culture in dams and reservoirs can work.
Culturing fish in waters held by dams and reservoirs can be done more easily if the fish are placed in fish cages and pens. These structures confine the fish to a certain place and give more control over the fish.
In many parts of the world, the only water available is flowing water or large bodies of water where it is not possible to divert the water into a pond. In these waters, it is possible to grow fish in small cages. Cage culture can also be practiced in areas like swamps where there is water not being used for any other purpose.
Cages can be rectangular boxes, bamboo cylinders, or anything that can be floated in a water current so that the water passes through.
In addition to bamboo, cages can be made out of such materials as wire screen, nylon mesh, and wood. All cages must be anchored so that they do not float away.
Cage culture is used in some countries in very fertile waters (polluted from sewage) with very good results. Fish in cages usually get their food from the water as it floats past the stationary cage, but in some cases, the caged fish are fed pellets of food daily.
Fast flowing water is best for cage culture. If the water is not flowing very fast, problems such as oxygen lack and competition for food can occur. These can be big problems in cages because there are usually more fish placed in the small area of the cage than would normally be in the same area in the pond.
Cage culture is still experimental, but in ideal conditions, good growth rates have been shown by fish that were grown in cages and given extra food.
Cages also are used inside ponds for holding fish between harvest and the time they are sold. And, sometimes, cages are used as breeding tanks -- like hapas. Cages are also used to carry fish caught in rivers to market, strapped alongside a boat.
Fish can also be cultured in pens inside lakes or offshore areas. Fish culture in pens has been done in Israel and Scotland for years, and is now being done in some Asian countries. Pens are constructed of bamboo or wooden poles that are forced down into the lake or shore bottom. Then nets are strung from pole to pole to form an enclosure. The nets are anchored into the lake bottom with weights or sinkers, and the fish are placed inside the pen for culture. Fish grown in pens can be controlled a little better than fish in cages because pens are larger (fish pens can be comparable in size to regular fish ponds) and provide more area and more food.
Fish pens placed in fertile (productive) lakes have very good growth rates. In a fish pen placed in a major lake in the Philippines, silver carp stocked at 7 grams gained an average of 4 grams a day in a 52-day growing season.
Fish pens have many good points: they require no extra feeding of fish, no fertilization, and very little maintenance (although a lot of care is given to the nets). The fish are stocked and harvested later at the end of their growing season. Fish pens can work in areas where the water is not very productive, but in these areas, the fish must be fed supplementary foods. Feeding rings are used so the food will stay in the pen and not float out into the water. Fish in pens are usually harvested by gill nets; seines also may be used.
There are some disadvantages to pens:
* Pens are expensive to build. The netting used must be nylon or plastic so it does not rot, and poles must be treated so they do not become waterlogged and rot. In the Philippines, it costs about $1,428 (U.S.) to build a one hectare pen, using nylon netting and bamboo poles. This is comparable to the cost of a one-hectare fish pond, but a pen can be destroyed by a big storm and a pond will no+ be destroyed.
* A fish pen only lasts three to five years in the water.
* Fish pens are usually built in the shallow areas of a lake, where they use space many fish need to feed and spawn. The pens, therefore, reduce the natural production in some lakes.
* Fishermen must go further out into the water to fish when pens are in the shallow areas.
Fish pens can also be built like fish cages so that they float. Floating fish pens are used most for marine fish research studies; they also can be used in lakes. Floating fish pens can be as small as one hectare in size, or as large as 10 hectares. They are not destroyed by storms as easily as pens anchored to the bottom, and they can-be moved from one site to another.
Fish pens may have an increasingly important role in future fish culture activities around the world.
In Rice Paddies
This manual has already mentioned the practice of culturing fish in fields with rice. Here is further, brief mention of that subject.
The farmer digs deep trenches all along the dikes of the paddy. He then floods the field and plants the rice. After the rice has grown to a height of 5cm or so, fish can be placed into the paddy field.
This culture method can be used only with fish that are resistant to low oxygen levels and are not herbivores - herbivores might eat the young rice plants. Clarias catfishes are good fish to culture in rice paddies because they ave accessory breathing organs which help them to breathe even when the paddy gets dry and the water in the trenches gets very low.
After the rice is harvested, the fish are caught in hand nets and sold. This is not really a culture of fish, but a culture of rice with some fish added. It can be an easy way for a farmer who has no extra land on which to build fish ponds to increase the total production of his land.
acclimate - to become adjusted to a change from the normal environment (also acclimatize).
acid - a substance that can dissolve in water and is sour or bitter in taste, and turns litmus paper from blue to red.
adhesive - a sticky substance; sticking or sticky to something else.
aeration - adding oxygen to water by spraying or bubbling air through the water.
algae - small or large water plants from five classes of plants.
alkalinity - the ability to combine with an acid to form a salt.
aquaculture - the cultivation of animal and vegetable life in water.
area - the length times the width of a piece of land or other surface.
back washing - forcing water in the opposite direction from its normal flow.
barbels - sensitive organs that hang down on the sides of the mouth of certain fishes.
basic - having base forming elements (alkaline on reaction).
bloom - a very good growth of algae in a pond that has a strong green colour.
bottom feeders - fish that feed on bottom organisms (organisms that live in mud on the pond bottom).
breeding - the cycle of reproduction in animals.
brine - water that is saturated with common salt, or the water from a salt water body (the ocean).
brood ponds - ponds where the fish used for breeding are kept.
brood stock - the fish used for breeding in fish ponds.
cage - an enclosure to hold fish in the water.
captivity - the state of being held in a confined place (fish in ponds are captive).
carnivore - an organism that eats animal products.
centrifuge - the machine that uses centrifugal force to separate materials of different densities.
compete - to fight for something against someone or thing.
contaminant - something that makes something else impure; a pollutant.
cooperative - an organization of people that are working together for a common purpose.
dam - the wall of a fish pond.
debris - rubbish, garbage, anything that is not supposed to be in a certain area (pond).
density - the number of fish in a pond.
dike - the wall of a fish pond.
diversion channel - a ditch that takes water from a stream or river to a fish pond.
elevation - the height of land.
exotic species - fish cultured in ponds that are not native to the area.
fertility - being very productive.
fertilizer - anything added to water or soil to make it more productive.
fingerling - a fish that is about as long as a man's finger (6-10cm).
fishculture - the breeding and cultivation of fish in ponds.
fry - fish that have just hatched until they reach fingerling size.
genitals - reproductive organs.
genital opening - the opening on the fishes' body where the eggs or sperm are released.
gills - the part of a fish that allows it to breathe in the water.
gravity - the tendency of things to fall downwards towards the center of the earth.
hapa - the mesh enclosure in ponds where fish can be spawned.
herbivore - an organism that eats only plants and plant products.
hypophysation - hormone injection to induce breeding of fish.
hypophysis - the pituitary gland.
hormones - components that are secreted by glands of the body to cause certain changes in the body's functions.
impermeable - a substance that nothing can leak thru.
induced spawning - causing a fish to spawn by injecting it with hormones.
introduced species - fish not native to an area that are used in fish ponds of the area.
kakaban - an egg collector.
mortality rate - the rate of death.
natural food - food that a fish eats in nature.
niche - what an organism does; its job in the community.
nutrient - an ingredient of food that is healthful.
omnivore - an organism (like man) that can eat both plants and animals.
operculum - the gill covering.
oxygen - a gas that is necessary for all life.
pens - enclosures for fish culture on large bodies of water.
phytoplankton - tiny green or brown plants that are microscopic, free-floating in water, that are used as food by fish.
photosynthesis - the process on which green plants produce food for themselves and release oxygen into the water.
pituitary gland - the gland that releases hormones controlling the reproductive cycle in animals (like fish).
plankton - the tiny plants and animals that grow in ponds that are eaten by fish.
ponds - any enclosure that holds water so that fish can be grown inside it.
predators - animals that prey on other animals.
productivity - ability to grow food in a pond, whether it is plankton or fish.
reproduction - producing offspring.
respiration - breathing.
serrations - rough edges, like on a fishes' fin.
slope - the slant of land.
spawning - the release and fertilization of eggs and sperm.
stress - any change that is not normal in the environment that creates problems.
trash fish - fish not wanted in the pond, or fish that are too small to eat or spoiled fish.
watertight - impermeable.
zooplankton - small animals in ponds that can be seen with the naked eye.
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