start with Building a Tilapia Pond
Prepare the ponds a month before stocking fish in the following manner:
drying. Drain and dry the pond completely.
Dry for about a week or more, depending upon the weather, until the bottom
cracks or harden sufficiently to support a man on his feet without sinking
more than 1 cm.
Make sure the pond soil is dried every time the pond is harvested.Periodic drying stabilize soil colloids and oxidizes organic matters that encourage the growth of natural fish foods. Draining and drying eradicate competitor fishes and predators, and kill disease-causing organisms.
Cultivation of pond
bottom. Till or cultivate the pond bottom
as soon as it is drained. Do this by stirring or cultivating with a shovel
or a rake for small ponds. For large ponds, use a rotavator.
Cultivation makes sub-surface nutrients available at the surface for the growth of fish food in the pond, eradicate burrowing predators like mudfish and eliminate undesirable pond weeds like "aragan."
Levelling. Level the pond bottom after this is cultivated. Levelling makes the pond bottom slope gradually from its farthest end down towards the drainage structures - the deepest portion of the pond.
Repairing gates and screens. Check all gates and pipes for broken slabs and other parts. Repair screens to prevent predators and pests from entering the pond system. Clean to remove debris which may cause clogging.
Repairing dikes. Check all dikes for leakages and seepages. All dikes must be water-tight. Put a puddle trench excavated about 30 cm wide and 50 cm deep or more along the dike. Build this at the center of dike towards one side, or dig two puddle trenches at both sides of pubbled trench long enough to cover the entire seepage and sufficiently deep to go beyond the general level of the pond floor. Fill the trench with new mud or soil. Allow the soil to settle well to give a firm line of earth.
Pests, Competition and Predator Control
Fish production in ponds is commonly affected by some pests and predators. Predators are organisms which prey on the cultured fish. Animals that compete for food or space are called competitors.
a. Piscivorous or predatory fish and other competitors
Catfish (hito), mudfish (dalag) and gourami may enter ponds during floods or when accidentally stocked with the cultured fish. These predators devour fry and fingerlings during or after stocking. To avoid them, drain the pond totally after harvest or before stocking.
Mudfish which tends to burrow into the mud, can be totally eliminated by using tobacco dust at the rate of 500 kg/ha.
Screen water gates and outlets properly to prevent entry of unwanted fishes. Check fingerlings properly for any possible contamination by predatory fish prior to stocking. Competitors are associated with predators. Both compete with the stocked fish for space and food.
Herons, kingfishers and other birds must be prevented from frequenting the ponds. They devour fish and fingerlings and are also carriers of parasites. Ponds constructed without shallow areas are not attractive to birds. Aurea-nilotica crosses (white to blue in color) are less visible to birds. White or red strains/hybrids are more visible to birds
Snakes prey on small fish. Always keep banks and dikes clean to prevent snakes from harboring in the ponds.
Frogs eat fry and fingerlings. Tadpoles also compete with the fish for space and oxygen. Frogs are seldom found in well-fertilized and well-stocked ponds. Their population can be controlled by removing their egg sacks from the pond water.
Soil acidity limits
the production of natural fish food by decreasing the amount of plant nutrients
and, in some extreme cases, kill fish. In cases where soil pH is below 7.0,
it is important to control acidity to ensure high fish production.
Analyze pond soil at least once a year to determine its exact pH value. Soil analysis is especially recommended for newly constructed fish ponds as basis for proper soil conditioning. Refer to Appendix D for proper collection of soil sample.
Methods of controlling and correcting acidity
Procedure in lime application
Broadcast or spread the needed lime over the drained but moist pond bottom. Mix the lime, thoroughly with the soil to attain maximum effectiveness. Allow one week to lapse before applying phosphate fertilizer.
Applying fertilizer in ponds to supply the nutrients needed for plant growth is a fundamental part of fishpond management. Fish production per unit area can be increased as much as five-fold by proper application of fertilizer. Fertilizers are classified into two groups:
The nutrients and organic matter content
of manure increase the water holding capacity of the soil, decrease the rate
of evaporation and increase enzymatic activity, all of which increase fertility
and yield. Animal manures contain the major nutrient components such as nitrogen
(N), phosphorous (P), and potassium (K), in addition to such trace elements
as calcium (Ca), copper Cu) iron (Fe) and magnesium (Mg). Phosphorous comes
mainly from feces except from swine manure which has more nitrogen and potassium.
Animals fed with roughage ration excrete more potassium than those fed with
high concentrate rations.
The chemical composition of manure also varies depending upon the animals, nature and amount of manure and the handling and storage of the manure before use. The most common organic fertilizer used in fish ponds are chicken dung, cattle manure and swine manure. Chicken manure may be utilized as fish feeds and at the same time helps create a soft mulch bottom to make a habitat for other food organisms. Compost, rice bran, and sewage may also be used.
Inorganic Fertilizer. These are chemical fertilizers containing concentrated amount of at least one of the three major plant nutrients: nitrogen, phosphorous, and potassium. The common fertilizers used in fish ponds are Super phosphate (0-20-0), Monoammonium phosphate (16-20-0), and Diammonium phosphate (18-45-0).
Techniques in Fertilizer Application
Plankton is a collective
term for all the small suspended organisms that passively drift and float
in the water. Most planktonic organisms are microscopic and consist of
phytoplankton (very small plants) and zooplankton (very small animals).
Tilapia consumes plankton as food. Plankton is responsible for producing greater fish weight than any other type of natural food raised in ponds.
Procedure for Growing Plankton:
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