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This could be 1-inch fish or 10 inch fish. However, this really doesn't take into account the fact that a 10 inch fish weighs a great deal more than 10 1-inch fish and therefore produces many times the waste. Perhaps a better rule would be a single 6 inch fish per gallons of water. In addition to the total volume of water, you need to be concerned with the surface area of the pond. In general, the deeper the pond, the more fish it can support The larger the surface area, the more gas exchange can occur oxygen in, noxious gases out. When calculating the volume of pond that can support fish, you should only count volume at a 4 foot depth or above.

Keep in mind there are about 7. Using these figures you can get rough estimates for the amount of fish your pond can support. Here are a few examples of these calculations: a pond 10 feet wide, by 10 feet long, by 2 feet deep cubic feet or about 1, gallons could hold about 7 6-inch fish. A pond 10 ft by 10ft, by 4 feet deep cubic feet or about 3, gallons could hold about 15 6-inch fish.

However, a pond 10 ft by 10 ft by 10 feet deep, could still only hold 15 6 inch fish, as the extra depth will not add any fish carrying capacity due to the fact the surface area of the pond remains constant. It is difficult for oxygen to diffuse into the lower levels of the pond and thus, no more fish. In New Hampshire, we have long, cold winters that can hit Fahrenheit C. So a pond depth of 2 feet is essential, and even this will usually require some type of heater or aerator.

Ponds less than 2 feet deep run the danger of freezing solid. But even if the pond doesn't freeze solid, fish can easily suffocate due to lack of oxygen in the ice covered pond. A small heater or aerator will keep a small area clear of ice an allow just enough oxygen in to keep the fish going. For winter conditions, the deeper the pond the better. Also, another rule of thumb is simply dig your pond bigger than you will think you will need.

Virtually everyone who builds a pond wishes it was bigger as that giant empty hole you originally dug looks much smaller filled with water and plants. After you decide the general size of the pond you need, next you have to think about how you are to construct it. Very large ponds those measured in acres are generally not excavated due to the costs of not only digging a hole, but hauling the spoil. However, small ponds under and acre are usually more practical to simply be excavated. Very small ponds a few thousand gallons or less can even be dug with a shovel, but this will take a significant amount of time even for very small ponds.

Also you should check local regulations regarding digging ponds. Some areas may require a permit, fencing around a pond or have other rules or regulations.


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Also, you will need to check to be certain you will not damage underground utilities or other systems. In most circumstances, small ponds will need to be lined in order to keep the water from simply draining away. For liners you may chose pre-formed fiberglass or plastic These ponds usually have built in shelves and are very durable. However, they are the most expensive type of liner per unit volume and they are generally only available for very small ponds under gallons.

Flexible plastic liner are another option. These are much cheaper per unit volume than preformed liners and the pond can be virtually any size and shape as these liners can be made quite large and are relatively easy to seam. Everyday I am amazed at how well this pond is doing. Manmade, liner, no pump!! Thank you for your blog. It explained so much! We clearly did just what we needed to to make out pond work!!! When our pond was first built, there was a slight increase in the mosquito population you could barely tell since the mosquitoes are so bad here!

Our pond is about 5 feet deep and 15 ft diameter. Thank you for any help! Never heard of such an ordinance. Do you have to aerate natural ponds too? Clearly a case of government officials not knowing anything about ponds. The easiest way to aerate a pond is to add an air pump used by aquarium people. I never have had a problem with mosquitoes. I think the bass and brim eat them. It has a good year round spring feeding it. I am getting older and having a harder time maintaining such a large pond.

The thought of selling come to mind time to to time. It is beautiful most of the time but does have the yearly spring turnover. Shoud I just let the algae stay on the pond and let nature take care of it or do you keep on treating the water and using fountains. You can let the algae grow, or add a fountain will will help a bit to cut down on algae. Add more water lilies — they reduce light getting to the algae and it will grow less. Sit the pump on the bottom, and you have a few options.

Make it as a fountain and let it spray up. Or attach a cute spitter and have it spray into the pond. Or make a little waterfall area by covering a small area with plastic, top with stones and situate the tubing so that the water returns to the pool. An added bonus to any of the options is that you will be adding the sound of water. Be careful, though. Our fish liked to jump up into the waterfall, like spawning salmon. A few landed on the ground beside the pond and perished before we saw them and could rescue them. That way, when the fish jump up into the falling water, they will fall back into the pond, and not onto the ground.

Would that be suggested? If so what pump would you recommend? Sounds good. Select the pump to meet your flow rate requirements. There are two variables; height and flow rate — which are connected. Height reduces flow rate, mostly due to friction. The size of the spillway is also important. Double the width of the spillway, and you need double the flow rate. I suggest googling several sites for pump selection — it gets a bit too complicated for here. But I prefer an external pump. Thank you for the valuable information.

I am planning to build a raised pond with bricks and a glass window to view the fish. The pond will be 3m x 1. To keep it a natural pond what am I supposed to use instead of the pond liner. Am a newbie so am sorry if this sounds stupid. Also I have been reading about fibreglass pond, whats your opinion. Thanks in advance. The key is to hide the liner with stones and planting shelves. Some preformed ones do not have enough planting shelves to allow you to hide it. This is a great idea. I am now inspired to install my small pre-formed pond.

I will keep up with the posts. Thanks Tony. Great info on ponds! How much shade does a pond need? I have a wide open spot where I could pur a pond but it would get full Texas sun. Also interested in your opinion of a container pond in case I have to go that route- in which case it could be in shade.

I have a small frog pond in the backyard without filtration. It is 1. I have had it for 3 years without any major issues. By mimicking nature I found that plants and substrate alone can do the job. I will use some of your suggestions when replanting next season. How beneficial will the moss be? I live in Vancouver, how deep does a pond need to be to avoid freezing solid? I am in zone 5, and I doubt mine ever freezes much past 1 foot — my deep one of 4 feet deep. In Vancouver, I doubt you would reach 1 ft. When my pond was smaller, I brought the fish inside for winter.

My oldest fish is 8 years old and still trucking! Any water plant that is suitable for your climate. Houttuynia chameleon plant is one example. Just remember to shake and rinse off all the soil from a garden plant before adding it. Other land plants that grow well in the water are spearmint and probably other mints as well , lemon balm, and creeping Jenny or golden Jenny. The advice is good except you have to make sure these plants do not escape into the garden. It took me 3 years to get rid of Houttuynia chameleon plant from the garden — came as a weed from a friend.

Still trying to get rid of mint after years. I would never put creeping jenny in my garden. How small can you go and keep the balance? Is it harder in a big pond or easier to keep it healthy? You can swim in them. In fact natural pools are becoming popular in Europe. Great post! There are decorative rocks around the edge but nothing in the pond and most of the sides have a good slope to them. Any ideas on how I could add plants to help clear up the water? I thought about nets on the side with rocks?? The pond slopes from shallow to deep. There is also a fountain in the pond.

I had a lot of algae last summer due to lawn fertilizer making its way in. I really want to have clear water to allow the family to swim. Any ideas from you or your readers would be greatly appreciated. Thanks again for the great post! With out planting shelves it is difficult to add enough plants to keep the pond clear of algae. Since the pond is built it may be best to look at mechanical filters to do the job. An alternative is to add a second pond beside the first, and use if for filtering the water. Water would be pumped to the second pond, and allowed to flow back to the main one.

Although I know I should! Instead I kinda build my own, by placing a big flat rock on top of other rocks, making a kind of table. The plants sit on the table, and the fish have a fun cave underneath! And I have to say, you should work on preventing any runoff from your yard, from entering the pond. Try building up a berm around the edge. Bogs are cool.

You can try those if you do not have planting shelves. Worked great for me. Not in cold climates. If you have frost, cement will eventually crack. In warm climates it will probably work just as well. A newly made pond could be quite alkaline and you might need to replace the water a few times to reduce the pH. I have 3 natural ponds and all run excellent, i have the perfect balance as you explain. Resulting in frogs white clouds and goldfish regularly breeding, however i had mosquito fish and they were awful fish.

Not worthy of any water, to the point where a few were chucked into my aquarium gunk tub used strictly as high potent liquid fertiliser. They live in it to this day, well at least the smallest one was last seen!! This is wonderful but p,ease someone tell me, do I need to change my pool liner or can I just throw in dirt and rocks around it? I would like an aesthetic waterfall but loathe to spend money on filtration and aeration.

6. FISH POND CONSTRUCTION

Am I ok to do this? Aussie here. Pool killing me to mai Tain. Kid wants turtles so……. I am not sure what your question is. If you are thinking of getting rid of the pond and filling it with soil, I would remove the liner. Yes sorry, iPad typing. I wanted to know if I could retain the pool liner for the pond and if filtration or anything electrical is absolutely not required unless I wanted a waterfall. I am not familiar with pool liners, but I suspect they are thinner than pond liners, and as such might not last as long.

Fish farming

On the other hand, pool liners have a back support to protect them. You can certainly use them provided they hold water. Your article confirms my initial thoughts RE: pond construction. We patched the liner, but the bear came back, this time slashing the PVC liner beyond repair. But what else can I do to mitigate any on-going bear damage?? EPDM is quite tough. I tried to poke a hole with a knife and had a real hard time.

Well, we survived the summer, but on Dec 24 in the upper 60s in Pennsylvania! I got alarmed when I saw the fish at the top of the very cloudy water, evidently seeking oxygen just like you said. We scooped out a fair amount of algae and decaying leaves and set a sprinkler on an exposed rock to aerate the water. Any other things we should do?

Thanks and merry Christmas! The fish were indeed gulping air to get oxygen. Better than a sprinkler are air bubbles. You can use an aquarium pump for them. The air bubbles will also tend to keep the pond from getting a solid covering of ice. Once the ice is solid there is no gas exchange and CO2 builds up. The warm temperatures probably increased the decomposition of the leaves, and the normal pond plants are already dormant.

Nutrients being produced with nothing to use them up except algae. Thanks very much. Do we need to meet a certain gph or other criteria for the pump to be effective? Our pond is very roughly gallons. You use the air pump to just keep a small hole in the ice so it does not need to be a big pump.

The amount of air needed depends on how cold it gets and how long the cold lasts. I am planning on digging a rather large pond for fish and swilling. Just need to decide bass and blue gill or kio, always wanted kio. But would me swimming in it stir up the dead matter at the bottom? I like your post and recommendations.

I notice in the past, especially in around the 18th century, ponds existed that were created without pumps or filters and they still had fish in them that were able to survive. I also notice that these ponds had water plants, as you said, like lilies or lotus. Any suggestions. You need to design for too much.

What Happens in a Natural Pond?

I always include an area where the edge of the pond is lower than any other point. Loved the article. I have a gallons preformed pond. And have it all winterized and ready to go with a heater in it. I leave two pumps running but not sure if I should take the filters out and just leave the pumps running. I live near Chicago, Illinois and winters are brutal. The ice in my pond never completely freezes over, but it is harder getting the filters out every couple of weeks to clean them, especially since I am getting up in age.

Can I just leave the pumps running to circulate the water for the fish, or do you suggest keeping the filters in there too? I was so excited to find this post and this blog, and to hear that others in even less tropical environments than my zone 6 Ozarks have successfully created natural backyard ponds. My 15x30ish concrete swimming pool has been home to a thriving population of goldfish and a handful of pond plants for several years with no intervention of any sort.

The population of fish has grown, it has resident frogs and even at least one young pond turtle. It also attracts many dragonflies. I would like to make it more accommodating to the needs of the birds and small mammals, as it currently is still steep sided with only floating logs and milk-crates for self-rescue, but no easy way for animals to approach safely to drink. I would love to hear other ideas and suggestions for how I might accomplish all this, since I have all winter ahead of me to accumulate materials in anticipation of improving the pond habitat in the spring once everything has come out of winter hibernation.

I would not fill the center in case you decide you want it open in the future, Why not just make a raised corner using stacked cement bricks. Found this site again! The more I read the more I see that my original plan had a lot of flaws. Hi Robert! Love the article.

I have a small 10 by 10 pond that I raise waterfowl on. I have a teeny 11gallon preformed pond few weeks old which I hope to attract wildlife, frogs etc to get rid of slugs and snails. I also see what looks like long trails of green excrement on the white rocks I have under the surface and wonder what is making it? Try to buy plants that are plentiful in your local ponds — not exotic plants. If they survive locally there is a better chance the local population of slugs will leave them alone.

I suspect that the green excrement is from frogs or toads. I am surprised and excited to think that frogs or toads may already have found my tiny pond weeks so thanks for the cough interesting video, they sure make a mess but the trails I am seeing are much narrower?? What ever kind of excrement it is, it does contain nutrients. Too many nutrients in the water and algae will start to grow. How much is too much — hard to say.

It depends on the amount of water and the amount of plants. Thank you so much for your informative post. My question is can I still have the waterfall without a pump?

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If not, what will I need to have? A pump is needed to move the water to a higher level so it will flow down, causing the waterfall. If you are just starting out with waterfalls, and the system is fairly small preformed ponds usually are then I would get a submersible pump. They take a bit more work to keep them clean, but they are easier to install, and they usually cost less than an external pump. The key to pump size is to use the largest hose possible from the pump to the top. A large hose means less friction, and more water being moved. In turn this means you can use a smaller pump.

I suggest you to talk a store selling ponds and ask them to size the pump for you. You will need to give them the size and height of your system. They will probably try to sell you a small hose — insist on a larger one. My main water fall pumps water to a height of over 10 feet and a distance of 40 feet. Fish, turtles, and fogs do hibernate in the bottom, where the CO2 levels are highest. If a lined pond freezes over, for a long period they will die. A linerless pond will always loose some water. It becomes a function of how fast it looses water, and how much you will tolerate.

Bentonite does work. Hi Robert. This is great advice — exactly the kind of thing I am looking for. I care for a flock of chickens and outside their coop is a large concrete depression that I really hope to make into a low-maintenance pond. I would love your plant recommendations, besides irises. Also, any advice on how to make the planting shelf when the sides are sloped? Should I still use a plastic liner and the carpet material for the shelf? Thanks so much!

Once you have sloped sides, it is not really feasible to make planting shelves. You can however, uses pots right in the water, either sitting on the bottom or raised up with some rot-proof material. Devery Wallace I have a pond that is built on my deck it is a box and with plastic lining structure using a pump that sends water up to a fountain. There is no ledge to put plants and rocks.

We have some plants, adopted snails and lots of algae. Can you make suggestions to help minimize the algae that is in the pond as well as hanging from the fountain. Dear Robert — thanks for much for this article. We rent a lovely little home with a fairly large large for this small backyard pond approx feet in diameter — although not a circle — and feet deep with a creek-like waterfall feature.

Your article and the responses to it have helped me understand a different way to keep the pond beautiful. Hi Could you advise me please? Can I apply the same guidelines for a natural pond to very small ponds? The problem with small ponds is that there is less room for error. But most of the principals I discuss apply. Hi Robert, Our one-month old 19 x 12 foot pond is undergoing an algae bloom, I think, in the form of a soft brown mat on all surfaces that is now also clouding the water.

Tiny fragments perhaps dead? What affect might this have on the five small bluegill sunfish in the pond? We also have frogs and snails. We are slowly adding plants, but we need many more- it will take some time. Thanks for your expertise. Pond life will be fine. If a lot of algae is dying, it will reduce oxygen levels in the water which is not good for fish. If you see them with their mouths at the surface of the water — they need more oxygen. Just my bit for the topic: I have a pond with pump installed. I bought a pump and filter including UV lamp for sole purpose to solve green water algae.

It did work, but UV bulbs need rather frequent replacements, so its not too practical solution. This year, we made a small reconstruction of the pond, made a small brook with waterfall, using the output of the pump. The water is crystal clean now, like in some alpine lake. I am surprised the brook and waterfall made that much difference, but all of the rocks in the brook are now covered with bacteria, and they are helping to keep the water clean.

Hi Robert, We have built a pond about 19 feet by 12 feet, with depth from 1 to 3 feet and lined it with the 45 mil EPDM, in Pennsylvania zone 6. As we start adding plants, do we have to be concerned about the roots eventually damaging the liner? Thanks for your great posts. I tried to use a utility knife to puncture the liner — just to see how easy it was to get a hole.

It was damn hard. I doubt roots can puncture it. I love this! I had done lots of internet research but only found one place that said it was possible to go pumpless. That gave me courage and knowing that it was reversible if it was a horrible disaster clinched the deal. It was pretty ugly at first but I was determined, and impatient. Bad idea but not fatal. Now my ammonia levels are still too high for fish to live in but my plants are fantastic.

Then on you tube I discovered floating islands for ponds. I adapted them and went out hunting for wild plants, begged plants, and even bought a few. Now I have lovely floating islands that sail around in the breeze like swans gliding. Some plants like the duckweed and water primrose just go crazy, trying to take over, but I like them as compost around my fruit trees. Even now the frogs, dragonflies, and other small creatures are moving in. Sandra — thanks for the link to the plant islands — I watched several videos and am looking forward to trying this.

This is so helpful. Circles are much more stable. Lots of them. I scavenged my Water Primrose, cattails, horsetail, and Pickerel from wild ponds and river back waters. Begging ads on Craigslist and freecycle got me some donated plants, and I got Mosquitofish from the county.


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A kind, overstocked Koi breeder gave me a great deal on some of her less beautiful ones, and the feeder goldfish I got at Walmart are doing fine. My duckweed was beautiful. I have mixed feeling about the duckweed. It was so beautiful and I was harvesting it every few days to put around the fruit trees. And harvesting might have gotten old after a few months. I get to stay cool and feel virtuous instead of lazy. Then I pulled the twine shorter to ruffle the matting and tied the ends together. It seems like the fish enjoy it.

It is in a rural area. Agriculture land. The area inside this so called tank that I call has been cemented so that water does not leak out. Also it is in open land. I want to keep fishes, and creat a low cost ecosystem for the fish to survive. Please guide how to go about it. The concepts I have outlined in the post should still apply. Hi, i have concrete pond in my backyard myself. I think 8 feet deep is rather too deep for most pond plants. You can make however small islet in the middle where water is maybe just feet deep and plant water lilies there.

Wonderful post! My friend bought a year old house that had been empty for a few years. In the garden was a smallish pond with large goldfish living happily in it although there was clearly no filter, no bubbler, no human to feed them. I always wanted a goldfish pond, never wanted the pump and filter, so I was thrilled to learn about this functional little system. Now your post makes me think I might be able to have one of these beauties myself. Thank you for sharing!

Twenty years ago — long before ponds, I also kept a 6 ft long aquarium in a natural state, for several years. Full of plants, and some fish, but no air and no filter. I just put in a small preformed pond gal. I am an avid gardener, but have never done a pond before. I would rather not do filtration, but will a pond this small do ok with only plants and fish? We have a small school of minnows, and 2 goldfish, and I am getting ready to purchase some plants. It is full of algae, but not stinky yet.

I am planning to purchase a water lily.. As far as plants go, use native plants that grow in your area. I like Iris, except for the yellow flag iris which has become invasive in many areas. Two species of bull rushes have naturally seeded in my pond. I have a 50 gallon thats been going for some years now. I think being gallons may be better getting through a long winter though.

Even here I put in a heater during our several 25Deg F days , but that was only because I have platys in the pond. Also my preformed pond is not in the ground completely, so the water is not as protected. In my 50 gallon pond I have dwarf papyrus, cork screw reed and spikerush. I have hornwort as a floating submersible plant and two dwarf water lilies. I also have a solar water pump that only cycles the water over some stones when the sun is out.

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This set up has worked really well for me all these years. I also have a bunch of ghost shrimp too. Hopes this helps. BTW if you have no plants in there at all for sure get some hornwort. Plus it gives your fish a place to hide and breed. Horse tail is another great bog plant too for keeping the water clear.

I wish I could send you some pictures of my little set up. I would not recommend horsetail because it is extremely invasive, and will grow through out the whole garden. Water from our driveway and house has been directed to the area. It is shaded, has a bubbler, a couple of submerged plants and horsetails at the edge.

Unfortunately, since the little brown bat population plummeted a few years ago, the mosquito population has only gotten worse. A couple of gold fish will take care of the mosquito problem. Great site, thank you! My husband and I would like to build a small natural pond without a pump! One question I have is, can a small pond support a reasonable amount of plant and animal life?

We are considering something under sq feet. Another question is, is it fair to assume that a liner is needed to keep to pond from leaking? We live in the northeast U. Thanks much. Looking forward to more posts. Will the clay soil hold your water? That depends on the clay and your water table. I have a natural pond ie no loner that is 20 ft higher than the lowest part of the land right next to it. It holds water just fine. We also have clay soil. However the water level does drop over the summer, probably do to a combination of evaporation and leakage.

Try digging a hole, and filling it with water and see what happens. If it runs away you will need the liner. It has always had a large water lilly too big for the pond size really which came with it and I have had out twice and split down creating spare parts to sell on. There is a cluster of Pond Iris in one end and oxygenating plant the other end which during Summer is constantly being thinned out as it grows rapidly. Never had filters or anything on the pond and never had an algae problem. I have taken out sludge twice in these 10 yrs and have wondered about if there is a mechanical way to do this or not and wether or not a filter would help.

The first step, therefore, in recognizing the actual benefits of fish ponds is to recognize and identify that both use benefits and non-use benefits do exist, and that non-marketed benefits are as important as marketed products. The second and most important step is to assign a value to the non-marketed benefits. Table 1 shows that, besides marketed fish products, fish ponds offer a wide range of non-marketed benefits, which include: medicinal fish oil; nutrient-rich bottom-mud used as farm fertiliser; moist soil supporting waterlogged crops like yams, bananas and sugarcane.

In fact, all these benefits must be considered when assessing the actual benefits and value of fish ponds. By putting value on non-marketed benefits before making decisions on resource allocation, we recognise all benefits from fish ponds and thereby put aquaculture development in its proper place. The data reported here was part of a larger survey, which identified economic factors critical to the adoption of fish farming technology. This study was conducted from November to May in 25 selected villages of Morogoro and Dar es Salaam Regions.

For the nature and complexity of this problem, a field survey design that focuses on individual farmers as the unit of analysis was used. This method is capable of describing the existing perception, attitudes, behaviour or values of individuals within a household [8]. In total, respondents were selected out of whom were fish adopters those who adopted and continued with fish farming , 70 adopters-abandoned those who abandoned fish farming after adopting it and non-adopters those who did not adopt fish farming.

Three hundred and seventy three respondents of the total sample size were from Morogoro Region, and the remaining 37 were from Dar es Salaam. A systematic random sampling approach was used to select the respondents from each village. The instruments used for data collection were: a questionnaire, Participatory Rural Appraisal PRA and secondary sources. A structured questionnaire was prepared and given to aquaculture experts to check content and validity. All questionnaires were administered through face-to-face interviews by the author and an assistant researcher.

In each village a PRA meeting was conducted covering various topics including direct and indirect value of fish ponds, sources of animal protein and income. For each research question cross-tabulations, percentage, frequencies and means were produced to validate the research question. In the PRA meeting, a question was discussed and a point was accepted after consensus among members was reached.

Disagreements among members also were reported. Male respondents comprised As expected, This is likely due to a lack of permanent cash crops along the Uluguru Mountains. So as a result farmers work in other income-earning businesses to supplement incomes. The main type of business, particularly in Morogoro Region, is making local brew.

Other businesses include: small shops, and selling timber, charcoal, bricks and crops. Sixty-two percent of the respondents had their primary education, about The percentage of those with no formal education This is probable because most parts of Morogoro highlands were centres for Missionaries who had emphasised formal education. The average age of the respondents was The advantages of fish ponds include income generation on a regular basis and at a period when there is shortage of other sources of income [11]. The real value of fish ponds is, therefore, better analysed on the basis of these two attributes.

Like other cash crops, fish farming is adopted to generate cash income [11]. However, Table 3b shows that TZS ,, in total was earned from the direct sale of fish and payments made from carrying out various activities of fish farming. In addition, a number of indirect benefits could not be valued Table 3b. One of the postulated advantages of farmed fish as a cash crop over others is that it is a source of cash income for the majority of farmers, and income from it can be earned on a regular basis [11]. Moreover, fish farmers earned cash income from fish ponds for only two months of the year on average.

Conversely, business, permanent crops and others earned income in more months 9 of the year than other activities. This was followed by remittances 5 , seasonal crops 4 and animal husbandry 3. Another postulated advantage of farmed fish as a cash crop over others is the continuous flow of income non-seasonal as a result of planned production and harvest [11].

This advantage is rarely found in many other farm cash crops. Since a majority of farmers derived their income from agriculture, the availability of income exhibited a seasonal trend. Income shortage was prevalent during the farming season November - June while income was readily available during postharvest months. During the farming season, income was low because off-farm activities either were temporarily stopped or done infrequently to comply with the food-first strategy.

Of all income-earning activities, seasonal crops exhibited a stronger seasonal trend than other sources. This is not a surprise, as rural agriculture depends on seasonal rains. Other income-earning activities, such as business and livestock sales also showed a slight seasonal trend. Permanent crops had a lesser fluctuation than other activities. Another postulated advantage of fish ponds is that farmed fish can be consumed frequently and at a period when there is shortage of animal meat relish.

The real value of fish ponds, in terms of relish supply, is better analysed on the basis of the two attributes. Dagaa or sardines were the main source of meat from animals in the study area. Sardines or dried fish were the only source of meat consumed at least once in each month of the year. It was hard to see any farmer who was not eating sardines. This was followed by eggs and chicken 6 months , pork 5 months , beef 4 months , farmed fish 3 months and others 1 month. On average, fish farming adopters consumed farmed fish in more months 4 months than adopters-abandoned 1.

The consumption of meat at the household level was determined by the availability of relish and income patterns which was, in turn, dependent on the farming season. During the farming season November - June a majority of farmers have limited income to buy animal meat. Besides cash income earned from fish farming, about TZS ,, was spent to hire labour, particularly for pond construction Table 3b.