Role of Natural Zeolite in Improving Water Quality


Role of Natural Zeolite in Improving Water Quality, Performance and Health Status of Nile Tilapia (Oreochromis Niloticus L.) in Earthen Ponds

Author/s : Samir M. Saeed 1; Ahmed F. Fath El-Bab 2; Mohamed T. Shehab El-Din 3 and Ibrahim H. Ibrahim 4. / 1 Limnology Dept, 2 Fish Production Dept, 3 Fish Diseases Dept, Sakha Aquaculture Research Unit, 4 Fish Genetics & Breeding Dept. Central Laboratory for Aquaculture Research, Abbassa, Agriculture Research Center, Egypt.


This experiment was designed to determine the impact of natural zeolite on water quality, growth performance and health status of Nile tilapia freshwater fish, (Oreochromis niloticus) in earthen ponds. Three treatments included six earthen ponds (two replicates for each treatment) of one feddan each were stocked by Oreochromis niloticus. The first treatment (control) without zeolite, the second treatment (T1) in which natural zeolite was scattered on the bottom of the pond (about 500kg\feddan), while in the third treatment (T2) natural zeolite was used as a mechnical filter where zeolite (500kg) was placed in a concrete pond with dimentions (1.5 m length, 2.30 m width and 90cm height) in which the irrigation water passed through it and then distributed to the ponds by water inlet pipes. The results revealed that application of zeolite in fish ponds improves water quality parameters; decrease heavy metals accumulation in water, sediment and fish organs as well as it increases fish growth parameters. However, proximate chemical composition of the whole fish body of O. niloticus not significantly varied among different treatments. In conclusion, application of zeolite in fish ponds helps to get good fish production and improves water quality and fish health especially, when scattered on the pond bottom than used as filter. Moreover, using zeolite was a truly effective preventive measure for facing fish diseases.

Keywords: Natural zeolite, Water quality, Earthen ponds, Nile tilapia, Performance, Health status

Role of Natural Zeolite in Improving Water Quality

Water quality is determined by some variables like temperature, transparency, turbidity, water colour, carbon dioxide, pH, alkalinity, hardness, unionized ammonia (NH3), nitrite and nitrate (Saeed, 2013; Saeed and Abdel-Mageed, 2011; Chandra Das et al., 2005). For improving water quality and decreasing ammonia toxicity, there are several possible methods including zeolite addition (U.S.EPA, 2007; Shalaby, 2007). Zeolite addition has been used successfully in freshwater systems to decrease ammonia concentrations and toxicity for several decades. However, zeolite in marine systems has been used less because ions in the seawater interfere with zeolite’s ability to adsorb ammonia (Burgess et al., 2004). Constantly ongoing research shows promising opportunities for using natural and modified zeolites to purify wastewaters and environment protection, because of their unique molecular sieve, sorption and ion exchange properties (Kedziora et al., 2014).

Natural zeolites represent a large and very diverse group of minerals such as water-silicates that are characterized by three-dimensional structure and belong to the class of aluminum silicates from a chemical point of view (Strakova et al., 2008; Vaughan, 1988). Additionally, natural zeolites are porous and contain hydrated aluminum silicates that have ion-exchange and adsorption properties and have a large surface area that helps in the adsorption properties (Xia et al., 2009). Moreover, zeolite can be used as an antimicrobial agent (Haile and Nakhla, 2010).

Forms of zeolite have been used to remove ammonium from aqueous solutions (Wen et al., 2010). Zeolites are used in industry, agriculture, environment protection and even in medicine. Zeolites have a relatively high Si/Al compositional ratio which gives it the special ion-ex-change selectivity for large monovalent cations. Natural or synthetic zeolites (sodium aluminum silicates) are known to ease adsorb metal ions by exchange reactions (Jain, 1999). So, the natural zeolites, clinoptilolite may be useful as metal scavengers in metal-rich sludges to its ability to take up heavy metals; Cd, Cr, Cu, Fe, Mn, Ni, Pb, Zn (Zorpas et al., 2000).

As good water quality of fish culture ponds and aquatic environment play a critical role for successful fish production, water quality management in fish ponds is a determent step (Saeed, 2013). Thus, natural zeolites can apply successfully in aquaculture to remove ammonium from hatchery, transport, aquarium waters, generate oxygen for aeration systems in aquaria, transport and additives fish feed. Zeolite cation exchange removes NH4 + from recirculating fish production systems and hatcheries waters produced by the decomposition of excrement and/or unused food, much as NH4 + is removed from municipal sewage effluent and wastewaters (Bruin et al., 1980; Piper and Smith, 1984). Therefore, the present study was conducted to evaluate the impact of adding natural zeolite for improving water quality of fish culture, growth performance and health status of Nile tilapia (Oreochromis niloticus) fish in earthen ponds.

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