An experiment on water quality parameters and the abundance of benthos in UNICAL community fish farm ponds was carried out for a period of 90 days from calabar. The study was conducted considering three treatment ponds such as T1 (small sized), T2 (medium sized) and T3 (large sized) and each has three replications. Different water quality parameters were measured at 15 days interval. The ranges of water temperature were 24 to 34 °C, transparency 27 to 36 cm, dissolved oxygen 3.75 to 4.97
mgl-1, pH 6.16 to 7.10, total alkalinity 28 to 122 mgl-1, chlorophyll-a 4.76 to 460.77 µgl-1, ammonia-

nitrogen 0.01 to 0.70 mgl-1, phosphate-phosphorus 0.12 to 0.99 mgl-1, nitrite-nitrogen 0.00 to 0.26 mgl-1 and nitrate-nitrogen 0.01 to 0.45 mgl-1 were found among three treatments. Significantly varied values of transparency, total alkalinity and nitrate-nitrogen were observed while other parameters showed non- significant among three treatments. Four groups of benthos i.e. Oligochaeta, Chironomidae, Mollusca and Unidentified were distinguished during the study period. Oligochaeta was dominant among different groups of benthos. The mean (±SD) values of total benthos were 526.75±76.30, 498.77±68.72 and 553.09±61.53 in T1, T2 and T3 respectively. The highest total benthos abundance was recorded in T3 due to its comparatively better water quality. The research findings will be beneficial for the pond owners for the improvement of homestead fish production.


            Background of the Study

Aquaculture is currently attracting much attention as an alternative to capture fisheries (Lovell, 1991). A growing amount of fish bought at the market place is coming from fish farms. As in many other intensive farming systems, the use of anti-microbial compounds in aquaculture to prevent or treat fish diseases is not unusual and sometimes necessary (Meyer, 1991; Schlotfeldt and Alderman, 1995). Following the discovery of the growth-promoting and disease-fighting capabilities of antibiotics, fish farmers, and livestock producers began to use drugs in animal feeds. Antibiotics have been used to treat humans as well as animals such as domestic animals, livestock, and aquatic animals such as fish for many years to prevent or cure infections among the stock population (Horinek, 2009).

The major route of transmission of resistant micro-organisms from animals to humans is through the food chain, and micro-organisms also have the potential to be resistant to many types of antibiotics (Akinbowale et al., 2006). Pathogenic bacteria in some species of fish have been linked to bacteria in humans and it is believed that there should be a concern for safety of humans (Boinpally and Jiang, 2007).

The physico-chemical and biological characteristics of water play a significant role in overall productivity of a water body as well as the biology of the cultured organisms. The culture of different species under different environments always depends on optimum water quality [8]. Survival, health and adequate growth of cultured species also depend on good water quality [4]. Thus, the knowledge of water quality parameters of the water bodies provides an important tool for successful production of aquatic organisms in aquaculture.
The abiotic environment of the water body directly influences the distribution, population density and diversity of the macro benthic community. Benthic organisms are rich in amino acids, fatty acids, vitamins and minerals, etc; can alone provide a complete diet for many bottom feeding fishes [25]. It not only serves as an important food item for fishes, but also considered as an indicator of productivity of a water body [7]. In scientific culture and management of fisheries resources, there is a great need of understanding regarding benthic fauna as they play a vital role in regulating the aquatic environment.
The ponds located in north-west region of Nigeria, especially in University of calabar is mainly used for traditional fish culture of carps, pangus and tilapia etc [11]. It also serves domestic purposes like personal hygiene, washing of clothes, dishes and household materials, bathing of cattle etc. Moreover, these ponds contain heavy silt particles and domestic wastes and decomposed organic toxic plastic materials from the neighboring houses. Poor performance of the fish growth and high rate of mortality occurs during culture period sometimes. Since benthos is suitable indicator for better water quality as well as increases the survival and growth of aquatic organism thus estimation of benthos abundance along with various water quality parameters of those homestead ponds are essential.
In Nigeria, several researches regarding water quality parameters of ponds and benthos abundance have been carried out such as monthly variation of plankton in relation to physico-chemical properties of water [18], effects of water quality on pond ecology and growth performances of fishes [13, 25, 19], depth wise abundance of benthic fauna [10], study of different benthic organisms including its biology, structure and life cycle [23, 6, 1]. Most of these researches were performed around greater Mymensingh district in this country. However, this experiment was conducted to address the actual scenario of homestead ponds of University of calabar of Nigeria.

Statement of Research Problem
The nutrients status of both soil and water plays a significant role in the growth and abundance of aquatic organisms, especially plankton and benthos. The chemical properties (nutrients status) have some growth promoting effect on the various species of benthos fauna (Habib et al., 1984). On the other hand, nutrient status of soil depends on the type of soil texture. In soil science, the USDA (Donahue et al., 1990) defines twelve major soil textural classes. Loam soils generally contain more nutrients and humus than sandy soils. However, there is no study on the effects of bottom soil textural types on growth and abundance of benthic fauna so far. Productivity of benthos as well as productivity of water body depends on the kind of textural types of pond bottom-soil along with limnological and ecological conditions. On the other hand, water depth is another important factor that control light intensity, dissolved oxygen, benthic fauna etc. in a water body. In the present study, it was evaluated the effects of bottom soil textural types and water depth on abundance of macrozoobenthos in aquaculture pond.

Justification of Research 
Livestock and poultry production in Nigeria have not been able to satisfy the demand for quality animal proteins. Recent epidemics of bird flu that ravaged poultry industry discouraged many farmers from poultry keeping. Fish production is now becoming popular. This is associated with increased demand for fish and fish products in a country like Nigeria with a rapidly growing population (FAO, 2004). Besides, fish production is generally carried out on a small-scale, backyard and practiced by a wide variety of individuals both on part-time and full-time basis. Most part-time fish producers are untrained and do not adopt good management practices and bio-security measures (Amao et al., 2006).

Poor fish farm practices predispose fish to infection. Most farmers realize that infection in fish ponds can be suppressed by regular antibiotic use and is done without veterinary supervision (FAO/WHO, 2003). Even when used by animal health personnel there is limited training of these personnel in chemotherapy and pharmaceutics in fish, particularly those kept under intensive management.
Due to the risks associated with indiscriminate use of antibiotic, it is necessary to carry out research to determine the presence of antibiotic residues in fish from commercial fish farms, and also the level of awareness of the populace on the deleterious effects of antibiotic residues (Olatoye and Basiru, 2013). Attention is urgently needed on aquaculture drug use because it is probable that antibiotic selection pressure in aquaculture systems is intensifying (Neu, 1992). Furthermore, there is no government regulation on the use of drugs in fish in Nigeria. There also appears to be no record in the available literature on the extent of use of antibiotics and occurrence of residue in farmed fish in Kaduna State, Nigeria.

Aim of the Study 
The aim of the study was to assess the Diversity and abundance of benthos organism in unical community fish farm, Nigeria.

Objectives of the Study 
The specific objectives were to:

1.        To determine the monthly changes of various water quality parameters in different water bodies.
2.        To identify and quantify different groups of benthos.
3.        To study the response of fishes to the physico-chemical and biological parameters of water.

Research Questions 
1.        What is the monthly changes of various water quality parameters in different water bodies.
2.        What are the groups of benthos in the fish farm.
What is the response of fishes to the physico-chemical and biological parameters of water

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