Effects of Commercial Catfish Production Systems (Traditional, Intensively Aerated, and Split) On Pond Water Quality in Arkansas

Monday, September 9, 2013
Governor's Hall I (trade show) (Statehouse Convention Center)
John Farrelly , Aquaculture/Fisheries, University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff, Pine Bluff, AR
Maintaining optimum water quality (e.g., dissolved oxygen; DO) is vital for catfish pond production. Currently, many different pond production systems, such as traditional ponds (TP), intensively aerated ponds (IP), and split-ponds (SP), are being used in commercial catfish farming in Arkansas. Each pond production system has its own management strategy. However, water quality performance is not comparatively evaluated among these pond systems. Replicate commercial ponds from each system (i.e., two in split, three in traditional, and four in intensively aerated) were sampled from May to October, 2012. Each pond was sampled monthly (May-Oct.), weekly (June-Aug) and one 24-hr sampling per month (June-Aug), respectively. Water quality parameters were analyzed using one way repeated measures ANOVA.  DO and total ammonia nitrogen (TAN) were the only significantly different parameters among the three production systems in all the sampling periods (P < 0.05). In general, the IP’s had higher DO and TAN than those of the other two systems during monthly, weekly, and 24-hr monitoring periods. Monthly TAN increased over 4 mg/L after July 2012 in the IP ponds. In the 24-hr monitoring periods, DO began to drop after 4:00 pm and reached minimum (i.e., DO < 2 mg/L) at the 5:00 am slots in all the ponds. TAN in the IP ponds maintained over 2 mg/L in the 24-hr cycles. The current study indicated that more water quality management may need to be focused on the IP ponds.