Natural Way to Kill Mosquito Larvae in Ponds

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  Natural Way to Kill Mosquito Larvae in Ponds By Renee Miller Mosquitoes lay their eggs in standing water where the larvae hatch and feed before pupating and emerging as adults. The larvae come to the surface of the water to feed and breathe and then hide from predators under vegetation in your pond. Killing larvae naturally may require more than one treatment. It must be timed for after the eggs have hatched, but before the larvae go into the pupa stage of development. Step 1 Install aeration pumps or a water feature such as a fountain in your pond. Mosquitoes prefer standing water when selecting a place to lay eggs. The eggs must be close to the surface of the water when they hatch so that the larvae can feed and breathe. Moving water prevents the larvae from hatching at the surface. Step 2 Run the water feature or the pump for a few hours each day. This will be adequate to prevent the larvae from hatching successfully. Step 3 Stock ornamental ponds with native fish or minnows or with another larvae-eating fish such as koi. Do not add non-native fish such as koi to natural ponds that feed into larger bodies of water, however. Consult your local department of agriculture to find out which type of native fish would be ideal for mosquito control in your region. Step 4 Place mosquito dunks, or mosquito control rings, in your pond to kill larvae that are in the feeding stage, which is between hatching and pupating. These small rings contain a naturally-occurring bacterium which kills feeding mosquito larvae and can be purchased at local lawn and garden stores. Mosquito dunks are safe for use in natural and ornamental ponds. Step 5 Replace the mosquito dunks after 30 days to continue killing larvae as they hatch. Step 6 Spray a light coating of vegetable-based cooking oil over the surface of ornamental ponds. Do not use oil in  ponds that are naturally occurring or that feed another larger body of water. The cooking oil is non-toxic and evaporates within a few days but it suffocates the larvae by blocking the small tubes that they breathe through when they come to the surface. Step 7 Remove food sources such as algae by placing barley straw in your pond. Barley straw can be purchased at lawn and garden supply stores and is installed near a water feature. The barley naturally controls algae and is not toxic to aquatic life. Step 8 Reduce vegetation such as lily pads to eliminate potential hiding places for mosquito larvae. These plants can  provide a safe place for mosquito larvae to evade natural predators such as fish and dragonfly larvae.  Getting Started with Small Scale Tilapia Farming   December 20, 2012 Home Tilapia Farming 11  Have you ever wanted to grow your own fish? Do you have a desire to raise your own food for a more self-reliant and healthy lifestyle? Well then, farming tilapia may be for you. Tilapia are warmwater, hardy fish that are easy to grow. You don’t have to have a “blue” thumb, but it helps to do some planning before you launch into tilapia farming. You want to set up a growing system that is easy to maintain and that will fit your lifestyle. Tilapia are good to eat and have mild, white fillets. There are hundreds of tilapia recipes, so that you can create new, healthy meals for your household. Fresh tilapia are in demand, not only for home consumption, but by restaurants and seafood outlets. Tilapia are often grown along with vegetables in aquaponic systems. The nutrients from tilapia waste can be used by the vegetables (lettuce, kale, tomatos, cucumbers, and other plants) for growth and this helps to purify the water. Here are 7 steps that will help you start growing tilapia: 1. Take a quick inventory of your personal motives and readiness.  Why do you want to raise tilapia? Determine what your goal is. Are you looking to grow fish to feed your family? If you grow enough fish, will you barter them with your neighbors for other goods or services? Do you want to sell them at a local farmers market? Do you want to learn tilapia aquafarming on a small scale before venturing into a larger, commercial enterprise? What resources do you have? Do you have a source of water available to you. For example a farm pond or stream on your property. Don’t worry if you don’t have a natural water source available. Tilapia are freshwater fish and ha ve been grown successfully in conditioned tap water. Do you have materials available that you can use as part of your farming efforts. You don’t need a fortune to start growing tilapia, but you must likely will need a modest budget to purchase fish and some other items. Look at ways to use the resources you have at hand. For example, a plastic child’s swimming pool may be the  perfect “tank” to hold your first crop of fish.  Can you learn fish rearing techniques? Tilapia are easy to grow, but it will take some education on your part to learn about how to raise these fish successfully. If your personal assessment confirms that raising tilapia is for you, then continue on to following steps.  2. Find out about your local regulations.  Before you begin raising tilapia, even for home consumption, you should check with your state authorities to determine if there are any specific regulations on obtaining and possessing tilapia. Each state has its own guidelines. You may also be able to get assistance on growing tilapia from your state’s aquaculture extension agent.  If you intend to sell the fish you raise, then you will want to organize your business. You can register as either sole-proprietorship, partnership, corporation or LLC. For business ventures, there may also be a commercial license, operating permit, and other requirements that may be required by the state. CAUTION: Tilapia are invasive fish and can quickly displace native fish populations if you introduce them into natural water bodies. You must take care to make sure you properly dispose of any live fish or waste water containing eggs or juvenile file. Any fish that you don’t consume can make ideal compost if added to your home garden. 3. Develop a plan and budget.  Take the time to develop a plan for how you will raise your tilipia. This does not have to be a formal plan or even written down, but you do need to think about the following items: How will you learn about culturing tilapia? For example, will you purchase a book, contact your state’s  extension agent, use online resources, or attend a course on tilapia culture. What is your budget? The amount of money you have available for your project will have a bearing on whether you purchase materials new or used, or whether you try to improvise using materials you already have. Do you need to purchase items, such as a tank, biofilter, aerator, nets, feed or other equipment? If so, where will you get them? How will you maintain your fish? What will you feed them and when? How will you maintain the proper levels of dissolved oxygen, carbon dioxide, pH, and nitrogen compounds present in water? How will you keep these warmwater fish at the proper temperature? Tilapia are able to withstand a range of environmental conditions,  but you do need to try to optimize their growing conditions for best results. Do you intend to breed fish so that you can avoid having to purchase fry or fingerlings? If so, what type of hatchery system will you use? What will you do when fish are ready to harvest? Do you intend to use them for your household food or sell them to local markets? 4. Set up your tilapia system.  Tilapia can be grown successfully in a variety of environments, including ponds, cages, raceways, and tanks. Urban farmers have even reported growing them in trash cans. Growing fish in a pond is perhaps the simplest method. You may even be able to allow the fish to feed on the natural food available in the pond  If you are using a tank or cage, you will need to purchase the materials needed to set up these systems. If you are using tanks, especially where the water is not being recirculated, you may need to condition the water for a few days before introducing your fish. So set up your culture environment. It is probably best to start small and evolve into a larger system, as your experience grows. 5. Get fish to start your farm.   Now that you have your culture environment ready to go, it is time to introduce fish into your system for growout. Typically, you will purchase tilapia fingerlings (juvenile fish in range of 0.75″   to 2.0″). Find a reputable dealer to purchase your fish from. After you receive your fingerlings, you may need to acclimatize your fingerlings slowly to the temperature, pH, and general water conditions of the growout environment. Introduce your new crop of fish into the growout environment and begin farming.  Note: You may also purchase fry (fish less than 0.75″), but they require more attention  for their growout. 6. Grow your fish to harvestable size.  During the growout phase you need to feed your fish and maintain favorable environmental conditions. The best growth occurs when water chemistry is maintained within an optimal range. For tilapia, the recommended water chemistry values are as follows: Temperature: 80-100°F, 85°F is optimal (Note: tilapia will slow their eating at 75°F, will become weak at 60°F and die at 50°F) Dissolved Oxygen: 5-7 ppm (parts per million) PH: 7-7.5 Free Ammonia (not total ammonia): optimal=0, 2ppm will kill, 1ppm will slow growth.  Nitrite: 0.3 mg/l or less  Nitrate: 200-300 ppm CO2: 20 mg/l or less Chlorine: 0 Just like growing a traditional vegetable garden requires proper care and maintenance, you will need to watch over your “aquacrop” to promote optimal growth. Under proper growth conditions, tilapia fingerlings will reach harvestable size in 8 months. In addition to raising your fish for food, you may want to set aside some of your adult fish as breeders to  produce fry and fingerlings to “reseed” your fish crop for another harvest. This is truly the way to make your tilapia farm self-sustaining. 7. Harvest your fish.  After the grow out phase, your fish are ready for harvesting and you can start to enjoy the fruits of your labors. Find some interesting new tilapia recipes and prepare some healthy, tasty meals for your family to enjoy. If you intend to sell you fish, then initiate your tilapia marketing and sales program.
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