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Effect of Various Loading Rates of Rice Straw on Physical, Chemical and Biological Parameters of Water



Sunila Rai, A.M. Shahabuddin, Yang Yi, A.N. Bart and James S. Diana
 
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ABSTRACT

An experiment was conducted to assess the effect of different loading rates of rice straw on the physical, chemical and biological parameters of fertilized water in 21 cemented tanks for 35 days using seven treatments with three replicates. Treatments were: Control (T1), rice straw mats with loading rate of 625 kg ha-1 (T2), 1,250 kg ha-1 (T3), 2,500 kg ha-1 (T4), 5,000 kg ha-1 (T5), 10,000 kg ha-1 (T6), 20,000 kg ha-1 (T7) on dry weight basis. Result showed that water quality deteriorated with increased loading rates of rice straw. Dissolved oxygen and pH were significantly lower in rice straw treatments than control. Transparency was significantly higher in the treatment T4 and lower in treatment T7. Total alkalinity, total ammonia, nitrite, TKN, total phosphorus, TSS, TVS and chlorophyll-a in treatment T7 was significantly higher than other treatments (p<0.05). Plankton, periphyton densities and bacterial load did not differ significantly among treatments. Dry matter and ash free dry matter of periphytons were significantly higher in the treatments T2, T3, T4 and T5. Chlorophyll-a concentration of periphytons was significantly higher in the treatment T3 than in the treatment T6 and T7. To sum up it can be said that the loading rate of 625 kg ha-1 appeared to be best among treatments. However, the experiment was carried out in tank without fish, so, effects of decomposition on fish growth and production needs to be assessed in ponds.

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Sunila Rai, A.M. Shahabuddin, Yang Yi, A.N. Bart and James S. Diana, 2012. Effect of Various Loading Rates of Rice Straw on Physical, Chemical and Biological Parameters of Water. Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Science, 7: 364-378.

DOI: 10.3923/jfas.2012.364.378

URL: https://scialert.net/abstract/?doi=jfas.2012.364.378
 
Received: November 11, 2011; Accepted: July 02, 2012; Published: August 06, 2012



INTRODUCTION

Heterotrophic food production increased several fold by providing organic matter and suitable substrate (Schroeder, 1978). Attached algae and plankton are important part of energy fixation (Periyanayagi et al., 2007). Energy demand of herbivorous carps and tilapia can not be fulfilled only by plankton (Dempster et al., 1995; Hossain et al., 2007) they also need larger benthic algae, algal detritus or plant fodder, that can be harvested more efficiently (Yakupitiyage, 1993; Horne and Goldman, 1994). These types of algae can be grown in the substrates so that fish can harvest them efficiently (Dempster et al., 1993; Van Dam et al., 2002). Periphyton based aquaculture system generated a lot of interest in recent years (Tidwell et al., 2000). Microbial biofilm in the pond not only important as food of fishes (Banu and Khan, 2004), it also improves water quality in the pond (Thompson et al., 2002). Various materials like tree branches (Welcomme, 1972; Hem and Avit, 1994), plastic (Shrestha and Knud-Hansen, 1994), split bamboo (Faruk-ul-Islam, 1996), rice straw (Mridula et al., 2003, 2005), Eichhornia (Ramesh et al., 1999; Ndimele, 2012), sugarcane bagasse (Dharmaraj et al., 2002; Mridula et al., 2005), kanchi (Wahab et al., 1999; Azim et al., 2002a), PVC pipes (Keshavanath et al., 2001), bamboo (Azim et al., 2002b, 2004; Keshavnath et al., 2002; Azim et al., 2004), jute stick (Azim et al., 2002a) and stripe bamboo (Sahu et al., 2007) have been used as substrate in periphyton based aquaculture system. Though bamboo is superior but it is very expensive to afford by small scale farmers. So, attention should be given on identification and using of low cost materials that enhance fish production (Van Dam et al., 2002) and which is appropriate to rural aquaculture. Biodegradable materials like rice straw and sugarcane bagasse fall in this category (Ramesh et al., 1999; Keshavanath et al., 2001; Dharmaraj et al., 2002; Mridula et al., 2005). Besides being cost effective, these biodegradable substrates favour the growth of bacteria (Van Dam et al., 2002) and also reduce clay turbidity in the pond (Yi et al., 2003) which is advantage over non biodegradable material.

Rice straw is widely available in the farm in South Asia because it is widely cultivated in this region. It is a low cost material and has low nutritive value (Potikanond et al., 1987). Farmers often burn them in the field instead of using wisely in the fish ponds that may pollute the environment. Rice straw can be used in fish ponds to mitigate turbidity (Yi et al., 2003), to develop bacterial biofilm and periphyton (Ramesh et al., 1999; Mridula et al., 2003, 2005) that eventually enhance the fish production. However, excessive loading of rice straw can cause oxygen depletion and may kill fishes (Keshavanath et al., 2001; Van Dam et al., 2002). Hence, prior to applying to the pond, it is prerequisite to identify the appropriate loading level of rice straw that doesn’t degrade water quality. No research has been done so far on it. Therefore, present experiment was conducted to investigate effects of different loading levels of rice straw on the physical, chemical and biological parameters of water.

MATERIALS AND METHODS

The experiment was carried out in 21 cement tanks of 5 m2 (2.5x2x1.1 m) at Asian Institute of Technology, Thailand for thirty five days. The experiment was conducted in a completely randomized design and there were seven treatments, each with three replicates. The treatments were: without rice straw mats (T1, control), rice straw mats with loading rate of 625 kg ha-1 (T2), 1,250 kg ha-1 (T3), 2,500 kg ha-1 (T4), 5,000 kg ha-1 (T5), 10,000 kg ha-1 (T6) and 20,000 kg ha-1 (T7), on dry weight basis. Prior to start of the experiment all tanks were drained and dried for a week. Water was filled to 1 m deep. Then a mat was suspended in each tank by using bamboo pole. Tanks were fertilized weekly with urea and TSP at a rate of 28 kg-1 ha-1 week-1 and 7 kg-1 ha-1 week-1, respectively.

Temperature, Dissolved Oxygen (DO) and pH were monitored at three depths (10, 50 and 70 cm) from the water surface everyday at 06:00 h. Dial DO, temperature and pH were recorded at 06:00, 10:00, 14:00, 18:00 and 06:00 h every week. Secchi disk visibility was monitored daily at 0900-1000 h. Composite column water samples were collected weekly for the analysis of total alkalinity, Total Ammonia Nitrogen (TAN), nitrite nitrogen (nitrite-N), nitrate nitrogen (nitrate-N),Total Kjeldahl Nitrogen (TKN), Soluble Reactive Phosphorus (SRP), Total Phosphorus (TP) and Total Suspended Solids (TSS) and Total Volatile Solids (TVS) following standard methods (APHA, AWNA, WPCF, 1980). Chlorophyll-a of plankton were analyzed following Boyd and Tucker (1992). Plankton samples were taken every week. Five liter of sampled water was passed through plankton net to make a concentrated volume of 50 mL for the analysis. The samples were preserved in 6% formalin. Plankton density was estimated using the formula:

Image for - Effect of Various Loading Rates of Rice Straw on Physical, Chemical and Biological Parameters of Water

Where:

N = The number of plankton units per liter of original pond water
P = The number of planktons counted in ten random fields of S-R cell
C = The volume of final concentrated sample (mL)
L = The volume (L) of the pond water sample

Periphyton samples were begun to collect after two weeks of rice straw mat suspension in the water column. Pieces of rice straw was cut from three different depths and wrapped in aluminum foil for weekly periphyton analysis. Each sample was transferred to an Erlenmeyer flask containing 50 mL distilled water and shaken in mechanical shaker for 3 h to detach periphytons from the straw. The straw was dried overnight in oven to get the dry weight. For taxonomic identification, samples were preserved in 6% formalin. Periphytons were counted using S-R cell under a binocular microscope. The number of periphyton units was estimated by the formula:

Image for - Effect of Various Loading Rates of Rice Straw on Physical, Chemical and Biological Parameters of Water

Where:

N = Number of periphyton units
P = Number of periphyton units counted in ten random fields of S-R cell
C = Volume of final concentrated sample (mL)
A = Area of rice straw (cm2)

Dry matter of periphytons was estimated by filtering samples through pre-weighed and oven-dried filter papers and drying for 24 h in oven at 105°C. It was further combusted in muffle furnace at 550°C for 30 min to get ash content (%). Chlorophyll-a concentration was determined following the standard methods and bacteria number (CFU g-1) was determined by total plate count method. Data were statistically analyzed by one way analysis of variance (ANOVA) and regression using SPSS (version 12.0). Tukey-test was performed to compare treatment means if significant differences were found by ANOVA. Differences were considered significant at an alpha level of 0.05 (p<0.05). All means were given with ±1 standard error (SE).

RESULTS

Dissolved oxygen (R2 = 0.60), pH (R2 = 0.70) and transparency (R2 = 0.55) decreased with increased rice straw loading rates whereas total alkalinity (R2 = 0.97), total ammonia nitrogen (R2 = 0.06), nitrite nitrogen (R2 = 0.60), total Kjeldahl nitrogen (R2 = 0.28), total phosphorus (R2 = 0.60), total suspended solids (R2 = 0.63), total volatile solids (R2 = 0.62) and Chlorophyll-a (R2 =0.80) increased with rice straw loading rates (p<0.05, Table 1). The DO level decreased from two to three days of the start of the experiment (Fig. 1). Dissolved oxygen at three depths (10, 50 and 70 cm) and pH values were significantly lower in the rice straw treatments than in the control (Fig. 2, p<0.05). Transparency was significantly higher in the treatment T4 and lower in the treatment T7 (p<0.05).

Image for - Effect of Various Loading Rates of Rice Straw on Physical, Chemical and Biological Parameters of Water
Fig. 1: Dissolved oxygen content in different treatments during the experimental period

Image for - Effect of Various Loading Rates of Rice Straw on Physical, Chemical and Biological Parameters of Water
Fig. 2: pH value in different treatments during the experimental period

Table 1: Summary of water quality parameters in different treatments during experimental period
Image for - Effect of Various Loading Rates of Rice Straw on Physical, Chemical and Biological Parameters of Water
Different superscript letters in the same row are significantly different at p<0.05

Total alkalinity, nitrite nitrogen, total Kjeldahl nitrogen, total phosphorus, total suspended solids, total volatile solids and chlorophyll-a content were significantly higher in the treatment T7 than in the control and the treatments T2, T3, T4, T5 and T6 (p<0.05). Temperature, soluble reactive phosphorus, nitrate nitrogen and total ammonia nitrogen did not show significant differences among treatments (p>0.05).

The mean phytoplankton number ranged from 1,640,009 L-1 (T1) to 4,250,283 L-1 (T3) and zooplankton ranged from 6,044 L-1 (T7) to 20,867 L-1 (T3). Total number of plankton varied from 1,653,200±303,105 (T1) to 4,271,150±2,987,660 (T3). There were no significant differences in phytoplankton, zooplankton and plankton densities among all treatments (p>0.05). Phytoplankton community was comprised of 7 major groups. In total 51, 55, 50, 58, 60, 59 and 50 phytoplankton genera were identified in treatments T1, T2, T3, T4, T5, T6 and T7, respectively. Among the groups of phytoplankton, Cyanophyceae showed significant difference between the treatments (p<0.05, Table 2). The highest average number of Cyanophyceae was found in treatment T2. Among different groups of phytoplankton Chlorophyceae was the dominant in all the treatments. Zooplankton was comprised of 8 groups. There were 25, 22, 21, 22, 22, 18 and 21 zooplankton genera in treatments T1, T2, T3, T4, T5, T6 and T7, respectively. Among different groups, Ciliata showed significant difference between treatments (p>0.05, Table 3). Highest number of ciliates was counted in treatment T6.

Periphyton community was composed of 10 phytoplankton and 6 zooplankton groups. Periphyton genera found in treatments T2, T3, T4, T5, T6 and T7 were 39, 41, 41, 43, 32 and 37, respectively. However, periphyton density also did not differ significantly among treatments (p>0.05, Table 4). Dry matter and ash free dry matter of periphytons were significantly higher in the treatments T2, T3, T4 and T5 than in the treatments T6 and T7 (p<0.05, Table 5). Ash content was significantly higher in the treatment T2 than in T4 and T7 (p<0.05). Bacteria total plate count did not differ significantly among treatments (p>0.05, Table 4).

DISCUSSION

The study showed that treatments had significant effect on water quality. Water quality found to deteriorate at high rice straw loading rates. Dissolved oxygen and pH was critically low at higher rice straw loading rates. Olaleye and Adedeji (2005) also reported that pH in the open water found to be lower in the water with palm oil effluents. Lower dissolved oxygen concentration at higher straw loading rate was probably due to intense decomposition of rice straw that consumed dissolved oxygen from water. This can be attributed to the increased biological oxygen demand in water with predominant heterotrophic food production which accounts for bulk of the oxygen consumption (Moriarty, 1997; Hassan and Javed, 1999). Physicochemical properties of pond are important for food production (Ndome et al., 2011). Mridula et al. (2003) reported similar type of results with rice straw and Masifwa et al. (2004) found same results with water hyacinth decomposition in water. However, DO content was safe in low rice straw loading levels. Since decomposition released CO2, pH was brought down in the water (Kusakabe et al., 2000). Organic and inorganic fertilizer increase the fish food organisms for fish (Ghaffar et al., 2002), though same rate of fertilization was applied, nitrite-nitrogen, total Kjeldahl nitrogen and total phosphorus were higher in the high loading treatments. This can be attributed to nutrients leaching from rice straw to water. The nutrients released from rice straw and fertilizer subsequently increased phytoplankton and hence total suspended and volatile solids (Olaleye and Adedeji, 2005). Transparency is a measure of turbidity and has a reciprocal relationship with Chlorophyll-a and TSS.

Table 2: Abundance of phytoplanktons (units L-1) in tank water in different treatments
Image for - Effect of Various Loading Rates of Rice Straw on Physical, Chemical and Biological Parameters of Water
Different superscript letters in the same row are significantly different at (p<0.05)

Table 3: Abundance of zooplanktons (units L-1) in tank water in different treatments
Image for - Effect of Various Loading Rates of Rice Straw on Physical, Chemical and Biological Parameters of Water
Different superscript letters in the same row are significantly different at p<0.05

Table 4: Abundance of periphyton (units cm-2) and bacteria (x106 CFU g-1) on rice straw in different treatments
Image for - Effect of Various Loading Rates of Rice Straw on Physical, Chemical and Biological Parameters of Water
Different superscript letters in the same row are significantly different at p<0.05

Table 5: Periphyton biomass in rice straw in different treatments during experimental period
Image for - Effect of Various Loading Rates of Rice Straw on Physical, Chemical and Biological Parameters of Water
Different superscript letters in the same row are significantly different at p<0.05

Present experiment also exhibited similar relationship as found by Azim et al. (2001), Huchette et al. (2000). However, dark brown water colour imparted by dissolved organic matter and by the suspended particulate matter from the decomposing plant matter can not be overruled. Transparency was higher in the treatment T4 which might be the indication of appropriate loading rate of rice straw to clear the turbidity in fertilized tanks.

Plant substrate offer plankton growth (Olaleye and Adedeji , 2005) and plankton density didn’t differ significantly among treatments which indicated that periphyton did not affect plankton growth (Azim et al., 2002b; Leghari, 2001). Periphyton biomass was low in high rice straw loading treatments which might be due to lower euphotic layer caused by dense phytoplankton which is reflected in Chlorophyll-a content. Light is the key factor to affect periphyton biomass (Azim et al., 2002a; Van Dam et al., 2002). Bacteria are the prominent microbial group responsible for the decomposition. However, bacteria total plate count number did not vary among treatments.

The water quality was unsafe for fish culture at high rice straw loading treatments. Oxygen susceptible fish like carps are unfit at high rice straw loading rate. Further, periphyton biomass decreased in high rice straw loading treatments. So, it is not wise to increase rice straw loading higher than 0.625 kg ha-1. The loading rate of 625 kg ha-1 found to be best among treatments and appropriate for carp culture. Nevertheless, the experiment was carried out in tank without fish, so, effects of decomposition on fish growth and production needs to be assessed in ponds.

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

This research is a component of the Aquaculture Collaborative Research Support Program (ACRSP), supported by the US Agency for International Development Grant No. LAG-G-00-96-90015-00 and by contributions from the University of Michigan, the Asian Institute of Technology and the Bangladesh Agricultural University (BAU). The authors wish to thank Aye Mon for her help to carry out laboratory analysis. The ACRSP accession number is 1340. The opinions expressed herein are those of the authors and do not reflect the views of the US Agency for International Development.

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