How To Manage Aquatic Vegetation In Aquaculture. Aquaculture is the production of fish and aquatic plants in controlled conditions. Water used to grow fish and other aquatic plants make up a large portion of the world’s economy. Aquaculture has become important for feeding growing populations, particularly in developing countries.

In addition, aquaculture is an important source of protein for many people through the production of fish, crustaceans, mollusks, and other aquatic organisms. Although aquaculture can be a very productive farming system, it has some challenges.

One challenge that must be overcome when operating an aquaculture facility is managing aquatic vegetation in your facility. This article will explore the challenges associated with managing aquatic vegetation in aquaculture operations and what practices you can implement to manage it successfully.

Why is it important to manage aquatic vegetation in aquaculture?

Aquatic vegetation (or aquatic macrophytes) refers to all plants that grow in water, including algae, vascular plants, and aquatic herbs. Aquatic vegetation in aquaculture is an important component of the farming system.

Aquatic Vegetation In Aquaculture

It is an energy source for fish and can also be used for human consumption or for the production of chemicals and pharmaceuticals. Aquatic macrophytes can also play an important role in the pollution control of aquaculture facilities, providing a means for removing excess nutrients and chemicals from the water.

The main challenges associated with managing aquatic vegetation in aquaculture operations lie in removing and controlling excess vegetation. An excess of aquatic vegetation in an aquaculture system can have numerous adverse effects on fish production and the environment.

Excess vegetation can consume important nutrients and trace elements in the water, reduce light penetration to the water column, and create high concentrations of dissolved organic matter in the water column. Excess vegetation may also block fish exits and intakes.

Types of Aquatic Vegetation and How to Manage l Them

Aquatic vegetation can be further categorized as macrophytes (algae, aquatic ferns, and aquatic grasses), microphytes (water lilies and duckweed), or benthic (seaweed, macro-algal, and red algae). Macrophytes are mostly consumed by finfish but are sometimes consumed by other aquatic organisms.

Many macrophytes are used as pigments in the production of medicines and chemicals. Microphytes and benthic organisms are used mainly for their photosynthetic products, such as algae and seaweed used as feed.

Microphytes and benthic organisms are mostly consumed by carnivorous finfish. Macrophytes commonly used in aquaculture include:

Flax: This is one of the oldest domesticated plants and an important source of biomass. It has many uses, including the production of fiber. 

Sedge: This is one of the more common macrophytes used in aquaculture. It is a low-growing plant that grows well in acidic waters. It consumes excessive amounts of nutrients and is often used in conjunction with other macrophytes in an intensive production system.

Water lilies: This is one of aquaculture’s most commonly used macrophytes. It is often used to culture a variety of species, including carnivorous fish and crustaceans. Microphytes commonly used in aquaculture include:

Water hyacinth: This is a commonly used aquatic herb in aquaculture. It provides food for fish and has been used for decades to prevent floods.

Strategies for Managing Aquatic Vegetation in Aquaculture Operations

Controlled grazing: This is one of the simplest and most effective management practices against aquatic vegetation. It is often done by putting fish in only half of the grow-out tanks. This allows the fish to graze the vegetation independently and eliminates competition between species. Water quality is one of the most important factors in managing aquatic vegetation in aquaculture. Maintaining proper pH, nutrient levels, and dissolved oxygen (DO) levels is essential. Regular water quality testing and an aquatic vegetation removal program are essential to keeping a healthy ecosystem.

Autotrophic bacteria – These bacteria are often used to control excess vegetation. They consume dissolved organic matter and convert it into a carbon source for plant growth. Several types of bacteria can be used for this purpose. Their consumption of nutrients, such as nitrogen and phosphorus, helps reduce the risk of excessive algae growth.

Algae removal devices These devices use a combination of bacteria, light, and mechanical action to remove algae from the water column. They are effective for controlling algae in crowded tanks or when there is a risk of using chemicals. However, they are most effective when the water is clear.

What kinds of practices are effective for managing aquatic vegetation in aquaculture?

Good planning: Aquatic vegetation removal is only effective in conjunction with proper planning. Having a plan to remove aquatic vegetation in your facility is important. A plan should include the following:

Design of the facility – The facility’s design plays an important role in managing aquatic vegetation. It should be designed with the control of aquatic vegetation in mind. The design should include proper light penetration and flow to remove excess vegetation.

Fish stocking – Stocking fish in your facility is also essential for controlling aquatic vegetation. The stocking should include species that graze on the excess vegetation, such as predatory species. It is also important to monitor the growth rate of a given species to make adjustments in the stocking rate if necessary.

Grow-out period – The time it takes for a given species to grow to market-sized should be considered when removing excess vegetation. A fast-growing species, such as a carnivorous finfish, should be removed when the fish is only a few fingerlings. A slow-growing species, such as a shellfish, can be allowed to grow and removed when it reaches market size.

Removal of aquatic vegetation – Removing excess vegetation is one of the most important aspects of managing aquatic vegetation in aquaculture. It is essential to remove excess vegetation when the water is clear. Several methods can be used for the removal of aquatic vegetation.

They include: Mechanical removal – These devices commonly use mechanical action to remove excess vegetation. They effectively remove dense vegetation and provide good water quality in the process. However, they can be expensive and noisy. – Biological removal – These devices use bacteria and other microbes to consume excess nutrients and dissolved oxygen in the water column. They are less expensive and less noisy than mechanical devices. – Clearwater – The clear water condition is also important in controlling aquatic vegetation. It should be maintained by regularly removing excess vegetation.

Read More: There’s a Blue Vegetable in my Salad! A Guide to Blue Veggies Explained

Conclusion

 Manage Aquatic Vegetation In Aquaculture: Aquatic vegetation in aquaculture is an important component of the farming system. It can be used as an energy source for fish, and it can also be used for human consumption or the production of chemicals and pharmaceuticals. The challenge in managing aquatic vegetation lies in removing and controlling excess vegetation. It can be managed effectively by implementing the practices discussed in this article.