Growth rate of African catfish (Clarias Gariepinus) and plankton diversity in ponds under organic and inorganic fertilization

  • P.A. Otieno
  • D.O. Owiti
  • P.O. Onyango
Keywords: Aquaculture, fertilization, Clarias gariepinus, growth rate, plankton diversity


Aquaculture offers the opportunity for safeguarding local and global food security in the face of declining capture fisheries. However, the form of aquaculture that is commonly practised in Kenya is characterized by the use of agrochemicals such as fertilizers that negatively impact biodiversity especially when effluents from fish ponds drain into water bodies. This study aimed to determine differences in growth rate of Clarias gariepinus, an important aquaculture fish in Kenya, to assess plankton diversity, and to identify phytoplankton species associated with pollution under organic and inorganic fertilization regimens using chicken manure, Diammonium phosphate and urea, respectively. Average growth rate calculated per day was higher in the organically-fertilized ponds at 0.06 cm/day, followed by inorganically-fertilized ponds at 0.05cm/day and then, the control at 0.04 cm/day. Average weight gain was higher in organically-fertilized ponds at 0.08 g/day followed by ponds fertilized with inorganic fertilizer at 0.07 g/day and the control, at 0.06g/day. There were significant differences in growth rate across fertilization regimens (length: F2, 264 = 24.06, p = 0.0399; weight: F2, 264 = 20.89, p = 0. 0457). Specifically, although differences in growth rate of fish in organically and inorganically fertilized ponds were not significant, fish in fertilized ponds were on average, longer and weighed more than those in the control pond. Jaccard’s similarity index for phytoplankton was highest (0.38) between organically fertilized ponds and control but lowest (0.25) between inorganically-fertilized ponds and control. Use of chicken manure produced the highest diversity of zooplankton (Shannon-Weiner’s H in organically-fertilized pond = 1.886; inorganic = 1.044, and control = 0.935). The use of DAP and urea produced the highest proportion of phytoplankton species associated with pollution. These results do not support the commonly reported notion that ponds fertilized using inorganic fertilizers are more productive. Findings suggest that the use of inorganic fertilizers may threaten biodiversity in aquatic ecosystems through the production of toxic algae.


Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 1684-5374
print ISSN: 1684-5358