African Journal of Aquatic Science

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Characterisation of potential aquaculture pond effluents, and physicochemical and microbial assessment of effluent-receiving waters in central Ghana

YB Ansah, EA Frimpong, S Amisah


An understanding of specific aquaculture systems and the impacts of their management practices leads to sound and cost-effective policies to protect the aquatic environment. Water samples were collected in 2009 from fish ponds, streams that receive effluents directly from ponds and reference streams in Ghana to assess potential environmental impacts of pond aquaculture. Although relatively dilute, fish ponds had higher levels of all physicochemical variables measured compared to those of locations upstream and downstream of farms, and to reference locations. Total nitrogen and BOD5 were most clearly statistically significant. Of 292 earthen fish ponds surveyed in central Ghana, approximately 92% were used for either Oreochromis monoculture or Oreochromis–Clarias polyculture. These had similar pond water (i.e. potential effluent) quality but different management practices. The study ponds had the potential to pollute effluent-receiving streams, but their actual impacts will depend on how pond effluents are managed. Conventional treatment of effluents from these small-scale, low-volume operations, which discharge relatively dilute effluents infrequently, might not be cost-effective.

Keywords: aquaculture–environment interaction, earthen ponds, effluent characterisation, K-means clustering, t ilapia, water quality

African Journal of Aquatic Science 2013, 38(2): 185–192
AJOL African Journals Online