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1. Introduction

As indicated already chemical features of water like the other characteristics of water are most important in deciding on the suitability of a site for aquaculture.

Site selection from the major habitat point of view is obviously chemically related. The types of waters are classified for culture according to the salt content (salinity) of the medium - the common distinctions are the freshwater, brackish water and marine and then hard and soft water at the lower scale. The suitability of the medium would be decided on the specific organisms to be cultured and the specific culture systems to be used.

Thus the physical aspects of water have already been referred to. Now we shall look at the chemical aspects of water, including dissolved gases, such as oxygen, carbon dioxide and ammonia, and concentrations of various ions, and their summated effects (eg. pH, dissolved solids, conductivity etc). As for some of the other major factors the chemical factor alone could rule out a site, i.e. in case proper reclamation, in view of economics, is not possible.

The importance of chemical factors, is owing to their lethal and sublethal effects on culturable organisms, and also owing to their effect on biological productivity, i.e. productivity of the organism in the food chain. This aspect is discussed separately under ‘Biological Productivity’. A review through the various chemical factors as done hereunder should enable one to establish criteria to select or reject a site for aquaculture. As this needs considerable information on the background, we have attempted to provide such information as needed. One should refer to more elaborate references as indicated at appropriate places herein if further information is required.

It is also to be recognized that information on the water parameters are not just meant for site selection only, but also for management of culture systems, in view of the maintenance requirements of the culture set-up.

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