Fish farming is done primarily inside water, as fish cannot live outside water. Water is the ‘soil’ on which fish is been ‘planted’. Just as with the natural soil, the fertility and productivity of the water depend on the quality of the water. The output obtained from fish farming is a factor of three co-factors. These are:
- The water.
- The fish.
- The feed.
These three factors must be balanced in order to get the needed output. No matter the quality of the fish seed (fingerlings) used in stocking the fish pond and the quality of the fish feed used in feeding the fish, the yield/output from the investment/venture will definitely be poor if the quality of the water is poor.
Water quality in this perspective can be defined as a measure of the biological, chemical and physical component/condition of the water. The biological component of water refers to the living organisms in the water such as micro flora (algae) and fauna, water weeds, insects etc. These serves as natural food to the fish. They can also be a source of pests and diseases to the fish.
The chemical components of water refers to the nutrients / salts contents of the water. The physical component has to do with the suspended particles of the water.
Water quality parameters refer to those indices /criteria used to measure the quality of water. They include:
- Dissolved Oxygen
Majority of fish farmers have little or no knowledge about these criteria and the roles they play in ensuring a successful farming venture. This had result in a huge loss of income to the farmer and in some occasion led to closure of the farm.
Water quality parameters are so important to the success/failure of fish farming. When adequately monitored, it could lead low cost on investment, fast growth rate, early maturation, increase carrying capacity which will eventually lead to more profit to the farmer. But if not adequately monitored, it could result to poor fish growth, mortality, high cost on investment, low output, disease outbreak which could lead to huge loss on investment/ collapse of the venture.
Finally, most of these parameters can be measured easily with the use of simple test kit which are sold in most vet/ chemical dealers at affordable rate. I urge farmers to take advantage of this aspect of fish farming to ensure good water quality so as to ensure sustainability in fish farming.
Iyobosa Omoregbe is an Aquaculture Trainer at The Ark Shore Konsults (T.A.S.K.). He holds a Master’s degree in Fisheries Management from the University of Benin, Nigeria.