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Co-culture and rotated culture of lotus and fish

Review: Abdel Rahman El Gamal (Founder of the website)

Lotus-aquaculture culture system has been practiced for long time in China and is being evaluated recently in some Asian countries where lotus (Nelumbo nucifera) is native macrophytes. Several fish species have been used in such integrated systems including carps, tilapias and others.

The two culture forms are either the co-culturing of two crops in the same field and for the same time or apply the rotation type in which the culture of each crop is done individually in a one after another pattern.

The evaluation of lotus-aquaculture systems has always considered the technical as well as the economics of such integrated systems. Even the outcomes of the two forms varied and could be related to the culture conditions, there have been some agreements. For example, in the co-culture form, the shading resulting from the shading of lotus leaves which reduce the phytoplankton production and hence the dissolved oxygen in the water. Added to that, if the dead water leaves were not removed from the pond, they decompose and worsen the dissolved oxygen situation which is not in favor of fish production.

Regarding the lotus, fish can feed on aquatic grasses that may compete with lotus for living resources. Also, fish excreta would be a good source of organic fertilizers that leads to enhanced lotus growth.  Feeding fish on harmful pests is another benefit of such co-culture method. On the rotation form of lotus-aquaculture, the main advantage is having two different crops instead of one bigger crop. Also, the fish crop would assist in releasing the trapped nutrients from the pond bottom to be usable in the subsequent culture of lotus in an ideal recycling model.

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