4. PROTECTING FARM STRUCTURES AND FISH STOCKS
2. Soil conservation practices include:
3. Needless to say, you should also be concerned to control erosion and its effects downstream of your farm.
4. Pest control in fish ponds applies both to harmful animals that may feed on your fish and to plants that may harbour minute organisms responsible for diseases and infections. Animals may compete with your fish for food, and both plants and animals may reduce the production potential of your ponds.
5. For best results, animal pests should be controlled in fish ponds:
6. Vegetation control can be carried out concurrently (see Section 4.9).
4.1 Soil conservation
1. You have already learned in a previous manual in this series (see Water, 4), that whenever the ground is not perfectly horizontal, rainwater partly infiltrates it and partly runs off over its surface. As water runs down a slope, it transports particles of the surface soil. The more water passes and the faster it runs, the bigger the particles that can be washed down the slope. This process is called erosion, and it can cause:
2. If your fish farm is situated at the bottom of a valley or even if your main water feeder canal runs across sloping ground, you should try to control soil erosion on the slopes as much as possible to prevent turbid water from running into your ponds. This practice, called soil conservation, can result in great benefits:
Kinds of erosion
3. The erosion of soil by rain takes place in successive phases.
4. At the beginning, the rain hits the soil surface, causing soil particles to break off and burst upwards, while water progressively humidifies the soil surface and infiltrates deeper. This is called splash erosion. It loosens soil but does not move it much.
5. On flat land, as soon as the upper layer soil becomes saturated and infiltration decreases, a water layer forms over the soil surface and splash erosion stops; if the ground is not horizontal, water starts to run off the slope, transporting fine soil particles with it. This is called sheet erosion.
(b) The ground slope: as slope increases, susceptibility to erosion increases:
Remember: the steeper the slope, the more important and the more difficult it is to protect it against erosion.
(c) The vegetation present: its cover protects the soil against splash erosion. Its roots help stabilize the soil particles and increase permeability to lower soil layers. The organic matter it brings into the soil, such as humus, increases resistance to erosion and slows down runoff. It may also help soil particles to settle down
9. To control soil erosion, you will have to use soil conservation practices which modify and optimize these factors. There are several ways, including:
10. You will briefly learn about these various methods in the following paragraphs. If you plan to use any of them, it is best to ask for detailed advice from the local extension agent responsible for soil conservation.
11. By using soil conservation from the beginning, you will prevent the formation of gullies. Prevention is much easier than dealing with gullies once they are formed. It is most important to stabilize any incipient gully as soon as possible to keep it from becoming longer, larger and deeper. Otherwise it might become, if not impossible, at least extremely difficult and expensive to control. Possible methods for the stabilization of gullies are described in the FAO Conservation Guide, 13/2, FAO watershed management field manual, Gully control, 1986.
Managing natural vegetation to conserve soil
12. By managing natural vegetation on sloping ground, it is possible to ensure that the soil has a greater resistance to erosion.
(a) In forested areas, maintain the soil cover as completely as possible by managing the exploitation of the trees and protecting the forest against overgrazing and fires. Woodlands with good undergrowth, widespread root systems and good leaf cover give the best conditions.
(b) In savannah areas, control the use of fire for the regeneration of pastures and give preference to early fires to ensure sufficient new growth before rains start. Avoid overgrazing, especially with sheep and goats. As far as possible, plan for rotational grazing.
Cultivating soil to conserve it
13. When soil is placed under cultivation, conservation practices may include the following.
(a) Avoid repeating the cultivation of the same crop by rotating crops and keeping the soil covered as long as possible, especially at the beginning of the rainy season.
(b) Improve the soil cover by increasing fertilization and crop density. Plan sowing and harvesting so as to have the soil covered during the heaviest rains.
(c) Associate several crops together to maximize soil protection.
(d) Between two culture cycles, cover the soil with a mulch* made, for example, from the residues of the last harvested crops.
(e) Plant cover crops, usually legumes and grasses. Grasses are more effective and are either used alone or mixed with legumes (see Tables 5 and 6). They provide excellent forage for farmed livestock and even for some plant-eating fish such as the Chinese grass carp.
(f) Contour plough the soil following contour lines (see Topography, 16). This step is most effective by itself if the soil is sufficiently pervious and if the slope does not exceed 3.5 percent.
(g) Contour farm following contour lines*, instead of across or straight up and down the slopes. The steeper the slope, the more important it is to undertake all crop-raising activities along contour lines.
(h) Establish perennial* vegetation strips 3 to 8 m wide to separate 15 to 30 m wide contour strips under cultivation. You can use:
Note: you will learn more about this particular method for soil conservation at the end of this section.
Using physical controls to conserve soil
14. These controls generally involve extensive earth movements, often difficult to design and costly to realize. If the above practices are not sufficient to control erosion on your ground, especially if you wish to farm a rather steep slope year after year, you should look for specialized advice from your agricultural extension agent.
15. There are several possible physical controls, according to local conditions of slope, soil quality and rainfall characteristics. These are:
Note: ditches can also be slightly sloping to channel excess water to the sides of the farm fields
(c) Contour terraces, providing strips of level or near-level farmland, can be built behind steep banks protected by perennial vegetation or, if sufficient stones are available, behind stone retaining walls. Contour terraces are useful on steep slopes and on those with considerable runoff, after medium rains.
(d) Gulley check dams are small dams built across gullies or small stream courses. They hold up runoff, limit downstream erosion and are useful in dry areas with heavy runoff and medium to steep slopes. A gully check dam may be made using a variety of locally available materials such as stone or woven tree branches lashed in place between two rows of wooden poles. It is very important that the top of the check dam be lower than the crest of the gully so that overflowing water remains in the gully.
Note: remove 15 to 30 cm of soil from the gully bottom and sides before placing the check dam and apron.
A simple method of soil conservation: the self-made terrace
16. If you plan to produce cash crops on land with a gentle to moderate slope (4 to 20 percent), you may use a simple method to control soil erosion, namely to encourage the progressive build-up of nearly horizontal terraces by controlling sheet erosion itself.
17. Narrow contour strips are planted with perennial vegetation fairly closely together on the slope to be protected. Generally, the steeper the slope, the more vegetation strips you will need. If necessary, a dead filter, made of slightly buried branches and crop residues in front of each vegetation strip, will help to stabilize the vegetation and to accelerate terrace formation. The vegetation slows runoff, resulting in the deposit of transported soil particles, first within the vegetable strips and then further up the slope. The roots of the vegetation become buried deeper and deeper as the downslope bank of the terraces builds up.
Note: as the soil is deposited within the grass, the roots are buried deeper and deeper, which helps to hold the terrace banks
Choosing a vegetation strip for a self-made terrace
18. Perennial vegetation strips can be made following the contour lines in several ways.
(a) Spontaneous vegetation can become established if you stop farming narrow strips of land.
(b) Forage grasses in particular and legumes can be planted to provide food for livestock, either under controlled grazing or as cut forage, fed fresh or dried (see Tables 5 and 6 above). Similarly you could use lemon grass, sugar cane or sisal if a market exists for such crops.
(c) One row of shrubs and trees could be added to this forage vegetation to produce timber, firewood, fruit or additional fodder for your livestock. Suggested species, which should be selected according to local conditions of climate and soil, include:
(d) A live fence can be made of (more densely planted) shrubs and trees (see above for suitable species).
Establishing and maintaining vegetation strips
19. Perennial vegetation strips should be established in several phases.
(a) Determine and mark the contour lines at regular intervals, normally spaced to provide a farmed strip 15 to 30 m wide (see Topography, 16).
(b) Prepare the contour strips just before the rains start.
(c) Establish the vegetation after some good rains have fallen, preferably by planting either seedlings or cuttings to cover the soil as soon as possible.
(d) Seedlings are produced in separate nursery areas and are transplanted to the contour strips after a few weeks. The nursery area should have well-prepared seed-beds. Seeds are sown in rows at about 1.5 to 2 cm deep and covered with well-pressed soil. Seeds can also be planted in small plastic bags containing soil, which help to retain moisture and control weeds.
(e) Cuttings should be healthy, about six months old and with at least two nodes. Small cuttings are planted at a 40° angle with one node in the soil. Long cuttings are buried in the soil about 10 to 15 cm deep.
(f) Protect all seedlings and cuttings well from grazing until the vegetation is well established. For shrubs and trees, this might take as long as three to five years.
(g) Keep weeds under control, especially around the young plants.
(h) Establish the dead filter just uphill of the vegetation by slightly burying wooden branches, crop residues or stipes of banana leaves in the soil.
20. The vegetation strip should be regularly maintained.
(a) Repair and strengthen any breaches through the strip by planting additional vegetation in the fragile zones.
(b) As the terrace builds up, place new dead filters uphill of the buried ones. Repair these filters as needed.
(c) Watch for localized erosion either of the lower lip of the terraces or of their steeper banks; immediately repair, adding vegetation.
Dealing with steep slopes
21. On slopes steeper than 15 to 20 percent, it may not be sufficient to establish perennial vegetation strips to control soil erosion adequately. The area of land suitable for farming will also be much reduced with this method, owing to the reduced spacing between vegetation strips.
22. You should therefore consider the following guidelines:
(a) Avoid farming cash crops.
(b) Limit farming to perennial crops.
(c) Select or encourage shrubs and trees that protect the soil. A natural forest, if well managed and protected from fire, may be the best solution.
(d) If you choose to plant shrubs and trees, it is best to build individual micro-terraces rather than using more expensive and more elaborate techniques. Protect these terraces from erosion by planting grasses and legumes at their raised edges. Protect your plantations from grazing, fires and uncontrolled cutting.
4.2 Wind protection in fish farms
Protecting fish ponds from wind
1. When a strong wind blows over a fish pond, it affects the environment in several ways.
(a) It increases evaporation at the surface of the pond, especially if the wind is a dry one, resulting in greater water losses.
(b) It sets and keeps water in motion, inducing surface water currents toward the pond dike facing the wind and returning deeper currents in the opposite direction. These currents help the transfer of heat and dissolved oxygen from surface to deeper water.
(c) It may generate waves, which greatly accelerate the oxygenation of surface water (see Section 2.5), although wave action against the downwind dike may damage the latter through erosion.
(d) If relatively cold, it may delay the warming of small ponds intended for fish breeding and nursing early in the warmer season.
2. Although wind has definite advantages for fish farming, mainly keeping the ponds well mixed and oxygenated, there are particular situations in which you may wish to protect at least part of your fish farm:
The characteristics of an efficient wind-break
5. An efficient wind-break should have certain characteristics. It should be:
Note: carefully check on the prevalent direction of the wind against which you seek protection. If this direction is too variable, you may either increase the length of the wind-break or establish several ones in different directions.
Designing a live wind-break
6. When designing a live wind-break, pay attention to the following points:
(a) Plant the wind-break at least 3 m outside the centre line of pond dikes and even further if the trees are likely to have long horizontal roots.
(b) Use at least one continuous row of tall trees. If necessary, add one or more rows of smaller trees, shrubs or even tall grasses to complete the semi-permeable screen in its lower part.
(c) The protected zone will extend slightly in front of the wind-break and much further behind, with the wind velocity being reduced in proportion to the maximum height (H in m) of the wind-break:
The maximum height of the wind-break is 10 m. The protected zone will extend at the most from about 10 m in front to 150 m behind the wind-break.
(d) Preferably, plant several rows of trees:
(e) To protect large areas, you may require a series of wind-breaks parallel to each other. The distance between each wind-break should be about 15 times their maximum height.
(f) Select tree species well adapted to local conditions of climate and soil. Seek advice from your forestry or agriculture extension agent.
(g) Diversify the benefits of your wind-break as much as possible, according to your own needs and those of your community. Adapt the volume of production of each particular product to local demand.
(h) In addition to these last two considerations, give preference to tree species with the following characteristics:
Choosing vegetation to use in a wind-break
7. Very few tree species have all these desirable characteristics, and therefore it is usually necessary to mix different species to ensure that the wind-break has the desired efficiency and structure.
8. In most cases, you will require tall trees to increase the size of the protected area and to produce various wood products; depending on the local conditions you may use:
9. You will also need small trees and shrubs to complete the windbreak below the crown of the tall trees. These species will mainly produce firewood, animal fodder and fruit. Depending on the locai conditions, you may use some small legumes (see Table 7) or fruit-bearing trees (Anacardium occidentale, cashew; Morus spp., mulberry).
10. At the lowest level of the wind-break, you could also plant:
Various kinds of wind-breaks
11. Various kinds of wind-breaks can be planted, usually made of two to six rows, determined not only by the kind of additional benefits expected but also by the land available. Common examples of wind-breaks are the following:
(a) Two-row wind-breaks: one fast-growing tree planted with a smaller tree. The smaller tree can be planted either in front of or behind the larger one, according to the resistance to the wind of both kinds of trees.
(b) Three-row wind-breaks: two rows of tall trees, one of which may be fast-growing but relatively short-living (e.g. Eucalyptus spp. or Azidarachta indica) and the other one may be slow-growing but long-living (e.g. Acacia albida or Tamarindus indica); and one row of smaller vegetation producing firewood, fodder, fruit, etc. Major wood production is expected from the exploitation and even removal of the middle row when the wind-break becomes too dense.
(c) Four-row wind-breaks: especially useful for additional benefits such as fodder, poles and firewood. The four rows may be planted with one tree species such as a leguminous tree. In dry locations, consider Cassia siamea and in wet locations, Dalbergia sissoo. Plant these trees in alternate rows, with about 3 m between trees.
(d) Five-row wind-breaks: from front to back row, the following species can be planted: Cajanus sp., Casuarina equisetifolia, Acacia nilotica (or two inside rows of Cassia siamea).
Establishing, maintaining and renewing a wind-break
12. To establish your wind-break, proceed in stages:
(a) Obtain or produce vigorous plants of uniform size for the tree species you have selected.
(b) Prepare the strip of land well for planting by loosening the soil to a depth of 0.6 to 0.8 m and by digging deep holes. Fertilize if the soil is infertile.
(c) After the rains have started, plant the young trees.
(d) Protect them from being damaged by grazing animals and fire.
(e) Replace all dead plants as soon as possible.
(f) Water the plants if necessary, at least until they have developed a deeper root system.
(g) Eliminate the weeds and loosen the soil around the plants regularly.
13. Later, once the wind-break is established and growing fast, it should be maintained regularly, which may also provide wood products.
(a) Remove and if necessary replace trees which are dead, diseased or much slower-growing.
(b) If the permeability of the screen becomes too low or if the tree growth starts declining, reduce tree density.
(c) Pollarding* may also become necessary.
(d) Continue to protect the plants against overgrazing, fire and uncontrolled cutting.
(e) If necessary, improve the wind-break efficiency by adding one or more new rows of vegetation.
14. When the trees of a wind-break reach maturity, their ability to reduce wind velocity decreases greatly. Exploiting and renewing them becomes necessary. The most common practice is to first exploit one half of the wind-break by cutting one or two rows of trees at ground level. This vegetation is then renewed either by coppicing* or by planting, and the other half of the wind-break is cut down a few years later. This system is particularly easy to manage with a four-row plantation, but a similar scheme can be adopted for other types of wind-break.
4.4 How to protect dikes and canals against erosion
Protecting your dikes
1. You have already learned earlier that you should protect newly built dikes against erosion from rainfall, covering them as soon as possible with a thick grass cover (see Section 6.9, Pond construction, 20) Pond construction, 20). You should maintain this grass cover well, cutting it regularly and fertilizing it if necessary.
2. You have also learned how to protect your fish ponds against wind (see Section 4.2) and the resulting wave action (see Section 4.3).
3. Dikes should also be protected against damage caused by heavy livestock traffic, as you will learn later (see Section 4.5).
4. Dike erosion can also take place at the pond inlet under the action of the inflowing water. Protection may be given either:
Protecting your water canals
5. Water feeder, drainage and diversion canals are subject to erosion, particularly if the water current exceeds the maximum permissible velocity (see Section 8.2, Pond construction, 20). Sheet erosion during rainfall may also take place along the canal side slopes if they are not properly protected.
6. There are different ways of providing additional protection to water canals. You can do this in one of the following simple ways.
(a) First take any steps possible to reduce water flow in affected sections (e.g. by draining ponds carefully) or to reduce sheet erosion (e.g. by diverting water away from the side slopes with small trenches).
(b) You may connect the trenches with gravel filter channels, if you need to conduct the water safely down the canal side. These are strips of gravel 30 to 40 cm wide and 20 to 30 cm deep, which run diagonally down the side of the slope.
(c) Establish and maintain a strong short grass cover on the canal sloping sides, using similar grasses as those recommended for pond dikes (see Section 6.9, Pond construction, 20).
(d) Cover the sides of the canal with lengths of wood or bamboo driven into the canal bottom next to each other.
(e) Tied bundles of sticks or branches can also be used.
7. More expensive ways include:
Note: any change in the quality of the canal walls will affect the water discharge capacity of the canal (see Section 8.2, Pond construction, 20).
4.5 Traffic control: fencing
1. Fencing is often used on fish farms:
2. Fences may also be used as wind-breaks (see Section 4.3), to diversify production (wood, fruit, leaves), to provide privacy and to improve the appearance of your fish farm.
3. There are different types of fences. You should select the right type according to its main purpose and the amount of money you wish to invest. The chart below should assist you.
4. A live fence is made of shrubs and trees planted closely together as a hedge and regularly trimmed to produce a barrier to keep animals out.
5. If planting material is readily available, these fences are quite cheap to install, needing only to be planted. They also have the advantage of providing additional benefits such as the production of wood, fruit and animal fodder as well as acting as low wind-breaks and being an attractive feature in the landscape.
6. However, before considering the use of live fences, you should be aware that:
8. A piled fence is made of a row of cut vegetal material piled up high enough to keep out animals and sometimes also people. The best way is to use thorny branches, but you could also use any waste from land clearing or tree felling. Tie the material intermittently to vertical posts to give it more strength.
9. Usually, this type of fence can last for some years, although it can also be very susceptible to fires, rot and termites.
10. A simple light fence can be made using woven matting, for example, bamboo, rush or leaf matting, fixed on a framework of wood or bamboo poles, with horizontal support bars at the top and bottom. These fences should be securely braced with angled support to keep them upright.
11. A post-and-rail fence consists of wooden posts strongly driven into the ground at regular intervals and joined with horizontal wooden rails. It is particularly useful in areas where wood or bamboo is available.
12. This type of fence is easily made as follows:
(a) Prepare strong wooden posts with a diameter of at least 12.5 cm and 1.8 to 2.6 m long. If necessary, treat the wood to increase its resistance to termites and rot (see Section 3.1, Pond construction, 20).
(b) Prepare the wooden rails, usually using either lengths of split bamboo or wooden poles 10 cm in diameter.
(c) Drive the posts vertically into the ground to a depth of 0.5 to 0.8 m, at 2.5- to 4-m intervals. If necessary, add some angled supports to brace the posts.
(d) Fix the rails to the posts, in three to five horizontal rows. Make joints of the rails only at the posts, and not all on the same post.
(e) Install posts for gate openings. You may also want to install passes or stiles for crossing the fence (see below).
13. A wire fence is made of several wire lines tightly stretched between a series of vertical posts. Wire fencing is expensive and should be limited to areas where it is necessary and where cheaper fences cannot be established. There are two kinds of wire, usually galvanized for protection against corrosion:
14. Plain wire is defined by its gauge (see the chart below), while barbed wire quality is defined by three numbers defining the gauge, number of barbs (2 or 4) and distance between barbs (8 to 11 cm); for example, "16 x 4 x 11" describes a 16-gauge wire with four barbs every 11 cm.
15. Wooden posts are generally cheaper than concrete posts but less resistant to rot, fire and termites. Select a naturally durable hardwood or treat less durable wood with a preservative (see Section 3.1, Pond construction, 20).
16. There are two types of post in a wire fence:
18. Instead of standard posts, you can also use live posts consisting either of trees growing on the fence line or of specially planted trees. They are cheap and long-lasting, providing additional benefits such as wood, fruit, animal fodder and shade. Excellent live posts are made of Gliricidia sepium, a tree legume widely used at low altitudes in Latin America, where it is trimmed at 1 to 1.5 m in height to be directly grazed by livestock.
19. To make a simple wire fence, proceed as follows.
(a) Lay out the fence line as straight and unbroken as possible.
(b) Clear the ground area.
(c) Install the strainer posts, about 2 m long, at gates, passes, corners, top and bottom of slopes and at any intermediate point if the straight distance is over 150 to 200 m. They should be at least 15 cm in diameter and set into the ground 80 cm deep. Brace them well according to their position:
20. Different types of stays can be used according to soil conditions:
21. You can either set these posts in dug or bored holes with firmly tamped soil around them, or you can drive pointed posts into the soil, giving them more stability. For this, it may be useful to build a simple hand driver as follows:
(a) Get a steel pipe 20 cm in diameter and 90 cm long.
22. The posts should be held vertically by a helper, while someone standing on a raised platform such as the back of a truck or a mobile wooden bench strikes the post head from above with the hand driver.
23. Install the intermediate posts, about 1.6 to 1.8 m long, exactly in line, at 3- to 5-m intervals. Their diameter should be 7.5 to 12.5 cm, and they should be set 40 to 60 cm deep.
24. Install the bottom wire 15 to 40 cm above the ground, securing it first to a strainer post and leading it straight to the next strainer post. It is then tightly stretched using a wooden lever and secured to the post. Make sure that the wire passes on the inside of all the intermediate posts. Make one turn around any corner post and secure the wire by wrapping it around and stapling it to the post. Loosely fasten the wire to the intermediate posts by stapling.
25. Install the other three to five wires from bottom to top, at 20- to 30-cm intervals, as described above. The top wire should be 10 cm below the head of the posts. Then collect all bits of wire, nails and staples left on the ground to keep animals from swallowing them later.
26. When all of the wire has been installed and stretched, it is time to install gates. Points for pond workers to cross fences, such as passes, should also be installed during construction. However, such crossing points as stiles can be placed after the fences are completed. Three kinds of gates, two kinds of passes and a stile are illustrated below.
Note: it is easier to stretch the wire if permanent wire stretchers are installed on it every 20 to 25 m; final stretching is done after the wire has been secured at each end to strainer posts.
27. Wire-netting fences are primarily used on fish farms to stop intruders and to protect the fish stocks from theft. To be effective, these fences should be high, dense, sturdy and topped with barbed wire. They can be quite expensive and their use should be limited to enclosing particularly valuable stocks such as broodstock and heavily stocked fish kept in storage ponds before being sold.
29. Whenever stones are plentiful, a cheaper fence may be built by piling stones "dry" into a wall 0.7 to 1.2 m wide at the base. Although construction is labour intensive, maintenance costs are quite low. For extra security, short wooden posts can be built into the wall to carry some additional rows of barbed wire.
Providing controlled access for livestock
30. In some integrated farms, livestock should be given access to at least one pond for drinking. It is then best to limit access to a small portion of the pond, which should be well protected against erosion with gravel, concrete or asphalt. You can use fences, as described earlier, to restrict access.
4.6 Animal pest control in drained ponds
1. Farmed fish have many enemies and competitors, such as wild fish, frogs, insects and birds, from which they should be protected.
2. Protection is particularly important while the fish are still very small, for example still in nursery ponds. You can protect your fish in various ways.
(a) You can control the pests after each complete harvest and before restocking the ponds, the choice of method depending on whether:
(b) During each production cycle while your fish are growing in the pond, you should continuously try to control the most dangerous pests (see Section 4.8).
3. Pest control in drained ponds, also called pond disinfection, has several objectives, namely:
4. Certain disinfection treatments have additional benefits such as improving water and bottom soil quality (see Section 5.0) or increasing the pond fertility.
5. Earthen fish ponds are most easily disinfected after their water has been drained as thoroughly as possible, either by gravity for drainable ponds or by pumping for undrainable ponds. If necessary, complete the draining of remaining pools by deepening additional small trenches toward the main draining trench.
6. There are several ways to disinfect a drained pond. These are usually combined to give most reliable results.
(a) Keep the pond dry (preferably in warm, sunny weather). The ultraviolet rays of the sun have a powerful sterilizing effect. Depending on air temperature, keep the pond fully dry from 24 hours (at the minimum) to one month.
Note: you learned earlier how to keep a pond dry to improve water quality (see Section 2.5). Remember that certain types of pond should not be kept dry for too long.
Note: for a thorough disinfection, it is best to treat the drained pond twice at eight- to 15-day intervals. Refill the pond ten to 15 days after the second treatment.
7. Three chemicals are commonly used for disinfecting drained earthen ponds (see Table 9):
8. Some agricultural by-products can also be used to disinfect drained ponds cheaply whenever they are locally available, for example rice bran (400 to 1000 kg/ha), crude sugar molasses (400 to 500 kg/ha) and tobacco dust or tobacco shavings (300 kg/ha). Spread the required amount of by-product over the pond bottom. Flood with 5 to 10 cm of water for ten to 15 days. It is best not to drain the pond but to fill it up, so as not to lose the fertilizing effect of the organic disinfectant. Before stocking fish, check carefully on the dissolved oxygen content (see Section 2.5).
Note: before applying tobacco dust or tobacco shavings, it is best to soak the sacks in water overnight. This step will prevent the dust being blown away by wind during spreading on the pond bottom.
Taking precautions when handling dangerous chemicals
9. When using caustic and toxic chemicals, you should be very careful on your own behalf and on that of other people. Take the following precautions.
(a) Whenever possible, choose a day without wind to apply the chemical. If you have to do it on a windy day, progress in the direction of the wind, avoiding chemicals being blown over you or over others.
(b) Fully protect skin and eyes from contact with chemicals by using impermeable clothing, boots, goggles or glasses and a hat.
(c) Avoid inhaling chemicals. Protect mouth and nose with a piece of cloth.
(d) Thoroughly wash your hands before touching any food.
(e) Thoroughly clean all equipment and clothing when you have finished treating the pond.
(f ) Store all chemicals so as not to present any danger to animal or human life, children in particular.
4.7 Animal pest control in undrained ponds
1. If the fish pond cannot be completely drained, for example if it is undrainable or if there is no water available to refill it for the next production cycle, pests such as wild fish, frog eggs and tadpoles and snails should be controlled after harvesting the fish by treating the water left in the pond. In nursery ponds, voracious insects and even some zooplankters* should also be destroyed before restocking.
Controlling pests by treating the water
2. After harvesting your fish, proceed as follows to control the pests.
(a) Lower the water level as far as possible, keeping in mind that you will thereafter need water to refill the pond.
(b) Estimate the volume (in m3) of water present in the pond by multiplying its surface area (in m2 ) by its average depth (in m) (see Section 2.0, Water, 4).
(c) Treat the water with one of the products suggested in Table 10, ensuring that it completely mixes with the pond water. It should kill all fish, frog eggs and tadpoles, snails and most insects.
(d) After ten to 12 hours collect the dead fish with nets.
(e) Wait ten to 15 days for the organic poison to break down and disappear.
(f ) Stock a few fish, preferably keeping them in a submerged net or a small cage to be able to watch them carefully.
(g) If these test fish survive well and do not show any abnormal reactions, your pond is ready for stocking.
Note: Similar procedure is also used in addition to netting as a means of harvesting fish from undrainable ponds (see Section 11.1).
3. Some of the products listed in Table 10 require processing before being used in the pond:
(a) Derris root: select fresh, small roots. Cut into small pieces. Soak in water overnight. Pound, crush and squeeze to extract rotenone; dilute and mix with water in pond.
(b) Teaseed cake: dry and finely grind the seeds. Let them soak in lukewarm water for 24 hours. Dilute and mix with water in pond.
(c) Rotenone or saponin: mix the total required amount in water. Treat the pond while keeping this solution well mixed.
Controlling insects and zooplankters in nursery ponds
4. Several aquatic insects such as water beetle adults and larvae, dragonfly nymphs and adult water bugs can attack and destroy many fish fry in your nursery ponds. Most aquatic insects are also competing for the food necessary for your small fish to grow. Some of the largest zooplankton species may also harm very young fish fry. You should protect them from these enemies by:
5. To eradicate aquatic insects which have to come to the water surface to breathe air, such as the most harmful Notonecta, Nepa, Ranatra and dysticid species, proceed as follows.
(a) Clear all the vegetation from the pond. Cut the grass short on the wet dike slopes.
(b) Three to four days before stocking, slowly drag a fine-mesh net through the water to capture as many insects as possible and destroy them.
(c) Preferably on a calm, dry day but 12 to 24 hours before stocking, spread a thin layer of an oily substance on the water surface (see Table 11).
(d) Keep this layer undisturbed for at least two hours. If necessary, keep spreading more oily substance so as to keep the layer unbroken over the whole pond surface.
6. To eradicate all aquatic insects together with large zooplankters, you will have to buy special agricultural chemicals. Most of these are organophosphates, commercial insecticides such as Baytex, Dipterex, Dylox, Flibol, Fumadol, Masoten and Sumithion. The last is particularly useful as it is toxic to insects, copepods and cladocerans but is not so toxic to small zooplankters such as rotifers (see Section 10.1), the natural food of very young fish. Proceed as follows.
(a) Calculate the volume (in m3) of the water present in the nursery pond. The pond should preferably be only half full.
(b) Measure the total quantity of insecticide required for treating the water volume. According to the kind of chemical you are using, the amount can vary from 0.25 to 3 g/m3. Check the calculations of water volume carefully.
(c) Dissolve this weight of insecticide into 10 to 20 l of water.
(d) Apply this solution evenly to the pond either directly from the banks if it is small enough, or from a boat if it is larger.
(e) Wait four to five days before stocking the pond with young fry. This will give time for the small-sized zooplankters to develop well again.
4.8 Animal pest control in stocked ponds
1. Once fish have been stocked in ponds, they should be protected as much as possible against predators such as carnivorous fish, frogs, turtles, snakes, birds and mammals. Theft of fish by people may also require preventive measures.
Trapping water turtles
4. Build a simple turtle trap as follows:
(a) Assemble a square wooden frame made of four boards. Add four legs. The frame should be high enough so that at least 30 cm of it will be above water level in the shallow part of the pond.
(b) Add a bottom made of wire mesh or chicken wire.
(c) Anchor the trap well in shallow water.
(d) Place a slanting board on the outside of this frame, leading from the pond bottom to its top edge. This will serve as a ramp for turtles.
(e) Fix another board at the end of the slanting board to tip inside the frame when weight is put on it. If you use spring hinges, the tip board will return to the upright position after a turtle has fallen into the trap.
(f) All around the upper edge of the frame, drive in a row of nails fairly close together and bend them slightly down.
5. Bait the trap at its centre with fish or meat. Any turtle climbing up one of the slanting boards and crawling on to the tip board should fall into the trap.
Trapping water snakes
6. A simple cylindrical trap, 25 cm in diameter and 70 cm long, can be made with fine metal netting. The two end openings are closed with funnels, one of which can be easily removed.
7. Install several traps close to the area where the young fish are fed. Half of the trap should be kept under the water surface. Bait the traps with dead fish or frogs and check them every day.
8. Frogs are equally harmful in breeding and nursery ponds, where some species such as Xenopus actively feed on young fish; in addition, tadpoles compete for food.
9. Frog control is not easy and seldom completely successful. To reduce the population as much as possible, try the following regularly.
(a) Catch tadpoles, either with a scoop net or a lift net. Use the lift net over a feeding trough where the tadpoles accumulate, or bait the net itself with some food to attract tadpoles. A lift net can be attached to a movable post, which can be taken from place to place around a pond or from pond to pond.
(b) Trap adult frogs, especially Xenopus, in baited wire traps set along the pond banks. This is similar to the wire trap shown for snakes above.
Protecting against birds
10. Several kinds of bird are fond of fish, for example kingfishers, herons, fish eagles, pelicans and cormorants. In shallow ponds and wherever fish are concentrated, the damage and losses incurred can be considerable.
11. There are several ways to protect particularly vulnerable areas of the fish farm, such as broodstock, breeding, nursery and storage ponds. Those most commonly used are:
12. One of the best deterrents is human activity near the ponds. If you live on your fish farm you will have far fewer problems than if your ponds are completely isolated.
Controlling harmful mammals
13. Aquatic mammals can be harmful in two ways:
14. Apart from fencing, which might be expensive, the most effective control is obtained by:
15. Action should be taken as soon as it has been discovered that an animal has become active on the farm itself or in the neighbourhood.
16. Theft of fish caused by people is unfortunately rather common on fish farms, particularly if the ponds are isolated and far away from housing.
17. As you learned earlier in Section 4.5, a good security fence is expensive. Its use should be limited to the protection of the most valuable fish stocks, such as broodstocks and food fish held ready for marketing.
18. To protect a fattening pond from poaching with nets such as seine or cast nets (see Sections 8.2 and 8.3), you can use one of the following simple ways.
(a) Throw bamboo, stripped of leaves, with plenty of lateral branches into the pond, particularly along its banks.
(b) Take a young tree and cut off all its branches, leaving 10 to 15 cm close to the tree trunk. Cut off the tip of the tree down to where the stem is about 15 cm thick. Cut this end into a point and drive the tree upside-down about 50 cm deep into the pond bottom. Repeat for several trees, placing some at 1.5 to 2 m from the banks and others in the rest of the pond area.
(c) Make some hooks about 60 cm long from iron rods and set them into old metal containers filled with concrete. Sink these devices into your pond at various locations.
(d) Install a series of wooden stakes in the pond bottom. Join them with barbed wire or simply secure a few layers of barbed wire around the head of each stake.
19. It is usually difficult to steal fish by draining a pond, unless it is unguarded for long periods of time. Avoid the risk, and avoid loss of water caused by someone tampering with the outlet structure. Make access to monks and pipes difficult, by removing valve handles and, if necessary, putting locks on monk and sluice boards.
4.9 Aquatic vegetation control in fish ponds
1. Aquatic vegetation may exist in various forms and is usually classified as floating, submersed or emersed plants. A small growth may not be harmful but, if it becomes excessive, it may result in adverse effects on fish pond management. Vegetation control then becomes necessary for several reasons:
(a) Vegetation absorbs too many nutrients from water and bottom mud.
(b) It reduces sunlight penetration into the water, reducing photosynthesis (see Section 2.0).
(c) It provides refuge for the enemies and competitors of fish.
(d) It makes the pond bottom too rich in cellulose fibres, slowing down the decomposition of mud.
(e) It may greatly hamper the harvesting of farmed fish.
2. Vegetation should be controlled regularly as part of routine pond management. It is cheaper to weed out vegetation before it becomes excessive. Natural food production and sanitary conditions will be improved as a result.
Remember: a fringe of emersed plants can be useful for protecting dikes exposed to the wind (see Section 4.3).
3. There are three ways to control aquatic vegetation:
4. As far as possible, you should choose biological or mechanical methods. Chemical methods should be restricted to situations where the other methods cannot be applied, for example because of high cost of labour or large farm size.
Controlling aquatic vegetation mechanically
9. Hand clearing of aquatic vegetation is probably the most common method used. It can be most effective in smaller ponds, especially if carried out in drained ponds just before they are refilled.
10. It is best to pull out rooted plants entirely. With some strong emersed species such as reeds and papyrus, this is not always possible.
11. If the roots of the plant are too strong to pull, cut them as close to the ground as possible when the pond is dry or after the water level has been lowered. The pond should be refilled as soon as possible thereafter
12. In small ponds, filamentous algae and non-rooted floating plants, such as duckweed, can be pulled out using a perforated scoop fixed at the end of a long pole. Loosely rooted vegetation can be removed with hand rakes or a hook attached to a heavy rope.
13. The detached vegetation should always be removed from the pond to prevent further sprouting and to avoid any accumulation of decomposing organic matter which might cause dissolved oxygen deficiency (see Section 2.5). Such plant material can be most usefully Section 2.5). Such plant material can be most usefully recycled into organic fertilizer through composting (see Section 6.4). When this plant material is dry enough, it is sometimes preferable to heap and burn it in the drained pond. The ashes can then be spread over the pond bottom.
Controlling aquatic vegetation chemically
14. Several commercial chemicals are known to control algae (algicides) or higher plants (herbicides), in particular emersed and floating species. The control of submersed species is much more complicated, especially in full and stocked ponds.
15. The control of algae and algal blooms is best done with copper sulphate (CuSO4), a very effective and cheap algicide which can be safely used in stocked ponds if the total alkalinity of the water is sufficiently high. For best results, remember the following points:
(a) Determine the total alkalinity of the water (see Section 5.0). If it is higher than 50 mg CaCO3/l you can treat the pond in the presence of fish. If not, you have to harvest the fish first.
(b) Determine which type of algae are to be controlled:
Note: the bar scales adjacent to all examples of cellular, colonial and filamentous algae shown below are equal to ten micrometres, with the exception of the plant-like filamentous algae where the bar scales are equal to one millimetre.
Remember: 1 micrometre (micron) = 1µm = 0.001 mm or one thousandth of a millimetre.
(c) If fish are stocked, it is safer to treat only one-third or one-half of the pond surface at any one time, particularly if the total alkalinity of the water is low or if you are using concentrations higher than 1 g/m3.
(d) It is most important to determine carefully the volume of water to be treated (see Water, 4).
(e) Whenever possible, choose a dry, calm day for the treatment.
(f) It may be necessary to repeat the treatment after a few weeks.
(g) After the treatment and the killing of the algae, carefully watch for any sign of dissolved oxygen deficiency and take appropriate action (see Section 2.5).
(h) Copper sulphate is a poison. Handle and store it with care.
16. If possible, test the dose of copper sulphate you plan to use on some of your fish in two to three plastic or glass containers filled with pond water, before treating the stocked pond. Observe the behaviour of the fish over 24 to 36 hours (see also Section 15.3).
17. Copper sulphate exists in two forms, powder or crystal. To treat the pond, use one of the following methods.
(a) For powder, evenly distribute the required amount over the water surface to be treated.
(b) Alternately, for powder or small crystals, completely dissolve the required amount in 10 to 20 l of lukewarm water and evenly apply this concentrated solution to the water area to be treated. Keep the solution well mixed. Ensure good mixing with the pond water.
(c) For crystals, put the required amount in one or more small bags made of mesh material, such as netting. Attach these bags to a floating support. Distribute the chemical in the pond area to be treated as evenly as possible by moving the float back and forth over this area. You may use:
18. The use of herbicides to control aquatic higher plants is a much more delicate matter. The success of the herbicide depends on the choice of the most suitable chemical mainly in relation to the kind of vegetation, the time of the year, the fish species present, the treatment method to be used and the care with which it is applied. In fish farms, herbicide treatment should only be carried out by competent and skilled personnel.