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August 14, 2014

How Much Salt Should I Add To My Fish Pond?

Treat Your Fish With Salt: Dosage Concentration And Calculation
It is mandatory to express concentration of salt (or any chemical material to be used on animals for that mater) based on amount in weight per volume of water or in volume of standard solution of chemical in volume of water (and not per number of animals which is misleading), otherwise we risk over-dozing.

In preventive medication with salt (e.g. when you are trying to quarantine newly introduced fish into your ponds from another farm that you are not sure of), I am aware that 5ppt or 5 parts per thousand is adequate. This means weighing 0.5 kilos of salt into every 100 liters of water or 5 kilos salt into every 1,000 liters of water (whichever is easier to understand).

However, in curative medication (eg when fish are infected with a particular disease outbreak (especially parasitic) and you want to stabilize them with salt before you apply other medications), up to 10 ppt have been used depending on the enormity of the infection. Of course, suspending feeding for a period of up to 3 days has been recommended during the process of salting.

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How To Prevent And Treat Broken Skull Disease in Fish

Disease is caused by Vitamin deficiency in Catfish feed.

To prevent Broken Skull Disease on your fish farm, it has been recommended that farmers ensure that the Ascorbic acid (Vitamin C) supplementation rate in catfish feed be 100 mg ascorbic acid per kilogram weight of feed but in a research in Nigeria, it was recommended that we would require 150 mg per kg feed for catfish. Please always check the nutrition label on the feed you are giving to your fish and if it is below this, either buy and add more or to be on the safer side, change to a more reliable feed.

1. Remove all the fish from the pond and use salt solution to thoroughly wash your pond.
2. Return the fish to the pond and  fill your water to about 1m depth and add 7kg of salt for every 1000 fish and leave for 1 hour, fill water to the brim after 1 hour. Do not feed them. Repeat this process morning and evening for 3 days without feeding
3. If you are using locally pelletized feed, change to Imported floating feed preferably Coppens for about a week or more, then return to your normal feed making sure there is enough Vitamin C in the premix.

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Common Uses Of Salt In Fish Farming

In Aquaculture, salt is added to freshwater aquariums for these reasons:

    To aid fish that like more salt in their water such as brackish fish and many livebearers.
    To reduce the toxicity of nitrite when present.
    To help fish regulate their osmotic pressure.
    To deter and kill various parasites, bacteria, and funguses.

Fish who prefer some salt in their water

There is a small class of fish that are classified as brackish which means they are in between freshwater and saltwater. Examples include freshwater puffers, scats, monos, archers, and more. They need to have salt added to their water.

Many livebearers prefer salt and some will not do well without it. Mollies can live in brackish water and are happy with a tablespoon per gallon or even more of aquarium salt. Guppies also like some salt, perhaps a tablespoon per few gallons.

Reducing the toxicity of nitrite

Adding salt, at least a tablespoon per 5 gallons, will help detoxify nitrite if that is the problem. Keep in mind that salt is harmful to plants and some sensitive fish in high doses. Once nitrate test kits register nitrate present, the danger has most likely passed. This takes about a month or so.

Also, note that salt should be used sparingly if zeolite is also being used. This is because zeolite can be refreshed using sodium salts which replace the ammonia in the zeolite. If lots of salt is added to a tank or pond with zeolite that is full of ammonia, the zeolite may release noticeable amounts of ammonia which could be harmful. Use the zeolite to remove ammonia and later, if nitrite becomes too high, use salt to render it less toxic and remove the zeolite. Using small amounts of salt in a tank or pond with zeolite should not make much difference.

Regulating osmotic pressure

Sodium chloride (table salt, aquarium salt, pond salt) increases the ion concentration in the water. Inside the fish, there are more ions than in the pond water. When you have two bodies of water next to each other, they want to reach equilibrium which means water will flow from the higher concentration of ions side to the lower concentration side. For the fish, that means that they must constantly pump water out of their bodies that is flooding into it. That takes work. When we add a little bit of salt to the water, it reduces the work the aquatic animals have to do. They save energy. At some point, the salt gets too high and kills the animals as then there is more salt inside their bodies than in the water, and the water flows out of their bodies, and they dessicate.

Deterring parasites, bacteria, and funguses

If you look at nature, freshwater ponds normally do not have much salt in them. They also do not have many fish and thus have low amounts of fish nasties which include fish parasites, bacteria, funguses, and viruses. Now, in our aquariums and ornamental ponds, we usually cannot help ourselves, and we put a ton of fish in. Due to higher concentrations, any fish nasties also multiple happily.

Just like with the fish (see above), the fish nasties have salt inside their bodies. When salt is added to the water, they have less water flooding into their bodies. If there is enough salt, water starts to go out of their bodies, and they dessicate (dry up). The fish nasties are more prone to that happening than the fish which means that salt will kill many parasites, bacteria, and funguses.

For treating dropsy, it is often suggested to use magnesium sulfate (Epsom salts) instead of sodium chloride. The dose is 1/8 of a teaspoon per 5 gallons for Epsom salts according to one web site and a tablespoon per 5 gallons according to another!

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August 10, 2014

How And When to Stock Catfish In A Pond

The number of fish to stock in a pond depends on the following:

✔ the size of the pond
✔ the aeration system
✔ the experience of the producer and access to labor
✔ the length of the growing season
✔ the desired market size
✔ the acceptable risk

The most important of these factors is the size of the pond. Fish should be stocked according to the surface area of the pond. Overestimating the area can result in more fish per acre than can be safely grown. Pond depth is not a factor in determining stocking rate. Experienced producers may stock up to 10,fish per acre to produce 8,000 or more pounds per acre per year. However, inexperienced producers should stock no more than 6,000 fish per acre. A lower stocking density reduces the amount of feed needed, shortens grow-out time, and lowers the risk of losses to oxygen depletions and diseases. In time, a new producer will gain the management experience that allows higher stocking rates. In general, new ponds produce more pounds per acre with fewer problems than old ponds that have built up a lot of organic matter in the bottom sediment.

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August 5, 2014

Common Symptoms, Signs And Problems Of Fish Disease And Parasite Infection

Catfish Parasites and Diseases

The stress caused by low dissolved oxygen, handling, crowding, transporting, and poor nutrition makes fish more susceptible to parasites and diseases. If fish feed slowly or stop altogether, appear sick, or die, analyze the situation immediately. First, test the water to see if the condition could be caused by low oxygen, high carbon dioxide, ammonia or nitrite toxicity, or pesticide pollution.

If these problems can be eliminated, watch the fish closely. Are the fish:
✔ not eating?
✔ lying lazily in shallow water or at the surface and not swimming off rapidly when disturbed?
✔ nervous or irritable?
✔ flashing or swimming erratically? Catch some fish that seem sick. Do they have:
✔ worn-away areas on gills, fins, mouths or skin?
✔ open sores?
✔ heavy mucus (slime) covering all or parts of their bodies?
✔ pale or swollen gills?
✔ protruding eyes?
✔ swollen or sunken bellies?
✔ skinny or emaciated bodies?

These are all signs of disease. If you see any of these signs, get a diagnosis immediately. Early diagnosis is essential for effective treatment.

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