Intensive marine and brackishwater shrimp farms commonly use large quantities of zeolites in ponds with the aim of removing ammonia through ion exchange, providing physical cover over sediments to prevent leaching of metabolites into the water column, removing suspended solids, and improving water colour and diatom blooms. Zeolites have the capacity to remove ammonia and other nutrients/ metabolites from fresh waters by ion exchange and absorption. However, there are doubts as to their efficacy and cost-effectiveness in saline waters. This research was conducted to investigate the effect of zeolites on water quality under a range of conditions in seven laboratory-based trials and one pond trial. These investigated the effects of six types of commercially available zeolites and three other alumino-silicate clays at levels from one to 26 times the recommended dose rate (380 kg ha-1 month-1) in water at salinities of 0-30%o for periods of 3-19 days. The results indicated that none of the zeolites or natural alumino-silicate clays from Thailand had any significant effects on the removal of nutrients from water at salinities of 0-30%. Neither were these able to prevent nutrient emission from shrimp pond sediments in water at 20-2l%o salinity. Furthermore, none of the other suggested functions of reducing levels of particulate nutrients, enhancing algal biomass, or affecting oxygen and pH dynamics were evident. This study could not establish any useful, cost-effective role for zeolites in shrimp pond culture.
Aquaculture Research (1996) 27 (5) 301-311 [DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-2109.1996.tb01257.x]