Biofilter efficiency of Eichhornia crassipes in wastewater treatment of fish farming in Amazonia

MAL Rubim, PR Isolino Sampaio, P Parolin


Fish is a very important part of the human diet in Amazonia. Near the growing cities, fish populations and individual size have decreased over the past decades. Alternatives to traditional and industrial fishing arise, including fish farming. Strategies to minimize the impact of fish farms on the environment are needed to have a regular and healthy fish supply. This is to avoid a reduction of biodiversity, a depletion of natural resources, and/or the induction of significant changes in the structure and functioning of adjacent ecosystems. Very little research has been performed on management of effluents as to maintain the quality of water resources. The present study aimed at testing the efficiency of the Amazonian aquatic macrophyte Eichhornia crassipes as a biofilter for the treatment of effluents from fish farming. In three filtering treatments (50%, 75% and 100% plant cover) and a control (0%), physical and chemical properties of the water were measured and analyzed in a nursery with fish after passing the biofilter system, with a hydraulic retention time of 24 hours. The analyzed variables showed no significant differences (p>0.05) among the treatments with 50-100% cover, indicating that 50% cover would be enough for a good efficiency of the biofilter. All parameters were reduced after passage of the biofilter under the presence of E. crassipes: 73.7% for electrical conductivity, 15% for pH, 84.5% for turbidity, 86.8% for nitrite, 69% for total phosphorus, and 77.8% for orthophosphate. The concentrations of total nitrogen, nitrate and ammonium ions were not significantly changed (p>0.05). We conclude that E. crassipes is effective in improving the quality of effluents from fish farming, with less efficiency for nitrogen compounds. Our treatment system can be adopted by small and medium-sized farmers, aiming at a sustainable employment of the activity.

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Phyton. International Journal of Experimental Botany. ISSN print 0031-9457 ISSN en line 1851-5657 Fundación Rómulo Raggio Gaspar Campos 861,  Vicente López, Buenos Aires, Argentina (C.P. 1638) Tel 54 11 4791-0868 / 4796-1456