1. Animal Husbandry

Fish Farming: Two ways to reduce ammonia without changing the pond water

Priyanka Menon
Priyanka Menon
Fish ponds

Nowadays fish farming is a trending business in India. Not only entertainment and income but also many people have entered the field attracted by the news coming on social media. Ornamental fish, carp, tilopia, and so on are the leading players in this field.  Fish farming requires a little care. Farmers have to face many problems while cultivating fish. Weight loss of fish, fluctuations in oxygen, ammonia and pH levels in the water, pungent odor from fish ponds and frequent water changes are all major problems for farmers.

EM solution (Effective Microorganisms) is an excellent solution to all such problems. This is a Japanese technology that effectively increases the number of microorganisms in the water. This advanced technology has the ability to destroy germs and decompose biomass faster. It's not a pesticide, it was first introduced to the world in 1982 by Professor Ero Research Organization, TeroHiga. Today, more than 100 countries are users. As it is a probiotic, it does not cause any problems to the soil or humans. This technology is being used not only in the field of fish farming but also in the field of agriculture and sanitation. It contains bacteria such as yeast, lactobacillus and photosynthetic.

There are many types of EM solutions available in the market today. It is manufactured in India by Maple Orgotech, based in Kolkata under the EM Research Organization. The product is being marketed by ‘I Orgo’ in South India. The market value of 1 liter of EM solution is Rs.500. Maple EM1 Enone is used for waste treatment purposes, Maple EM1 Hariyal for agricultural purposes and Maple EM1 Aquamagic for aquaculture purposes.

Changes in the level of ammonia are one of the major problems for fish farmers. You know that ammonia is a poisonous gas. When the level of ammonia rises drastically, fishes slowly go into a unconsciousness stage and then die. No matter how much its amount increases in the water, no difference can be seen in that water. As its size increases, we can see the fish swimming with their mouths open above the water and redness appears on the sides and bottom of their jaws. Water with ammonia within four days will give the water a slight odor. The increase in ammonia causes the conversion of hydrogen sulphide. This is sometimes due to the smell of rotten egg yolks emanating from the flat pond. It is always good for the health of the fish to keep the level of ammonia in check i.e. zero level.

Ammonia testing kit is available at all veterinary shops today. Take 25m of water from a flat tub in a test tube and pour 5 drops of ammonia reagent into it. If the water contains ammonia, it will change color. By looking at this color according to the ammonia chart, we can see how much ammonia is present in the water. For example, 1 would be light yellow and 2 would be intense yellow. If the ammonia is more than 1.5, it is not only uninhabitable for them, but we also get to see the fish dying. Also keep in mind if the fish is put in 0.5 to 1 ammonia, it will lose its weight. An increase in nitrate and nitrite results in increased ammonia. Sewage is the main cause of ammonia. Chewing of fish feed and stagnation of excreta can lead to an increase in ammonia. In many places, the water in the fish ponds is completely drained and fresh water is added and animal dung or urine is added to it. This is not a practical method.

EM solution is a remedy to this. It has been scientifically found to reduce ammonia levels. Its photosynthetic bacteria decompose water particles and increase oxygen levels. Similarly, the bacterium Lactobacillus regulates the pH value to 6-7. This solution has the unique ability to decompose gases such as hydrogen sulphate and ammonia to completely remove the impurities in the fish pond and eliminate the bad smell. The use of this solution results in better digestion of the fish and weight gain. As the amount of oxygen increases, we can deposit more fish.

How to use EM solution in Pond water ?

The application of EM solution is in 20 liters of water. Dilute 1 kg of jaggery in 8 liters of water.  Then add this mixture into 11 liters of pure  water. Add 1 liter of EM solution and mix well. The lid of the jar should be kept tightly closed. It is essential to open the jar periodically and drain the gas. Jaggery is used for bacterial overgrowth. Keep the mixture in a place where it is not exposed to sunlight i.e. 30 degrees Celsius. Choose a dish that is not too hot. After about 10-12 days, the odor of ripening fruit spreads throughout the room and forms a thin layer on top of the mixture. When it comes to this coating we can recognize that this mixture is ripe for use. The mixture can be used for up to three months. It is best to use 100 ml per week for 1000 liters.

How to make EM solution at home?

EM solution can also be made in homes. Roast 3 kg each of well-ripened papaya, pumpkin and banana fruit in a mixer. Add 10 liters of water, one egg and one kg of jaggery to this mixture and mix well. The lid of the jar should be tightly closed and kept in a warm place. Do not forget to open the gas occasionally. It is ready to use after 22 days. It is an effective way to reduce ammonia levels.

Benefits of Aquatic Plants

Ammonia can also be reduced by using aquatic plants. Water cabbage, amber, lilies and special varieties of bananas are all good. Aquatic plants have a unique ability to absorb organic nitrate. Plants like amber and lotus, which take root during the week, are best. The use of water cabbage not only changes the green color of the water but also purifies the water. But the micro-organisms that give the water its green color are eliminated and the amount of oxygen is reduced. If you put water cabbage, you will have to give aeration even during the day. This is what is pointed out as the disadvantage of water cabbage. Ammonia levels can be reduced by effective use of EM solution and planting of aquatic plants.

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