VERMICOMPOST: THE QUALITY ORGANIC MANURE FOR AQUACULTURE

By Kapil Deb Nath, Nabadeep Saikia,
Lakhan Sarkar & Arup Kumar Das
                                                                                        
1.Introduction
Aquaculture techniques involve both management of soil and water quality for husbandry of fishes. The purpose of pond manuring is primarily to provide adequate amount of nutrients for phytoplankton production (Wunder, 1949; Edwards, 1980; Doria and Leonhardt, 1993; Jhingran, 1997). Manuring is widely practiced in fish pond for natural fish production as it is important for sustainable aquaculture and reduces expenditure of costly fertilizers and feeds which form more than 50% of the total input cost (Edwards, 1980; Pilay, 1995; Omoyinimi et al, 2005). Wide varieties of organic manure such as livestock manure, sewage waste, industrial waste, farm yard manure etc. have been used to improve fish production (Schroeder, 1980; Dhawan, 1989; Jhingran, 1997; Chakrabarty et al, 2009). The addition of manures affect the relative abundance of the plankton density and their community structure. Several investigators observed high plankton density in ponds treated with organic manures (Dhawan, 1989). Smith and Swingle (1939) established a direct relationship between average plankton and fish production. However, the indiscriminate use of these manures in fish ponds may lead to pollution. Therefore, it is necessary to know the standard doses of those manures which would keep the physic-chemical parameters of pond water in a favorable range required for survival growth of fishes (Dhawan and Toor, 1989). Vermicompost contains all the major nutrients (N,P,K) and trace elements are also found in it. Use of vermicompost as pond fertilizer may avert many such problems and shows promise in stimulating growth.

Recent studies show that effect of vermicompost as organic manure is better than the other fertilizers (both organic and inorganic), both by keeping the hydro biological parameters of treated water in favourable ranges as well as maximizing the fish production. Application of vermicompost @ 10,000 – 15,000 kg /ha/year increases the production of all Indian carps and suppresses the growth of pathogenic microorganisms, also maximizes the zooplankton production in the pond as compared to other organic waste such as pig manure, poultry manure, and cow dung (Godara et al., 2015). Vermicompost is even safer than cow dung in terms of toxicity to the pond as pond water shows least physiochemical changes.

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