When water conditions are out of balance, the potential for problems exist and usually multiply very quickly. Treating the diseased fish with chemicals and medications such as antibiotics is an after the fact remedy because the underlying cause (unhealthy water conditions) is not being addressed.
No matter how expensive or technically advanced the equipment is in a recirculating or static land based aquaculture system, it is still at best just an artificial environment and prone to water quality problems.
Even the normal processes in any artificial aquatic environment will eventually cause the system to become unbalanced, allowing unfriendly bacteria to multiply and negatively impact water quality, leading to bacterial infestations which affect fish health.
The old adage that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure is surely relevant here. Since the use of antibiotics is becoming highly restrictive, the key can only be bio-augmentation, the use of probiotic non-pathogenic good bacteria to maintain healthy water conditions.
While the concept of bio-augmentation is not new, the use of probiotic micro-organisms to improve water quality is still in its early stages. Until now, this may have been due to the lack of specific commercially available micro-organisms that cannot only operate differently in a wide range of water conditions, but also significantly improve the biological action of other bacteria operating within the processes.
Recently, a new bio-augmentation product that can control ammonia in aquatic environments using a novel process in addition to nitrification was introduced by a small biotech company from Dublin, Ireland.
The product contains for the very first time Class I micro-organisms called ‘extremophiles’ not previously commercially available and the result of more than three years’ intensive proprietary manufacturing development.
What is unique about these ‘extremophiles’ is their ability to function in a wide range of normal and hostile water conditions using traditional and novel methods.
While ‘extremophile’ micro-organisms are present everywhere in the environment, they are not in sufficient quantities to have significant effects on their own or on other bacteria. However, in highly concentrated quantities with other Class 1 micro-organisms they have demonstrated are bio-synergistic characteristic, having the ability to act on their own as well as significantly improve the biological action of other bacteria operating within the processes.
In test after test, ‘extremophiles’ continue to demonstrate their unique capabilities.
Contaminant removal rates such as ammonia, nitrite, nitrate and organic sludge are not only faster but under conditions not previously thought to be possible. Lag times are significantly reduced in both normal and hostile water conditions. Other product combinations with ‘extremophiles’ are in development.
So now the future for improving water conditions looks a lot clearer and operators may have a new tool to help them.