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Eco Pond Rescue Research

Understanding Fish Kills
Lakewatch - University Of Florida Circular 107 - http://lakewatch.ifas.ufl.edu/LWcirc.html
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A fish kill is an event in which dead or dying fish are observed in a lake or waterbody. Some fish kill events involve small numbers of fish and others may involve hundreds, or even thousands of fish.
There are many factors that can contribute to a fish kill. This pamphlet was created to explain the most common factors and how they affect Florida’s freshwater systems. It includes discussion of both natural and human-induced causes, as well the effects that stress can have on fish
— a component of virtually every fish kill situation.

We hope this information will provide a greater understanding of the processes that commonly occur during a fish kill event, and perhaps
alleviate some of the concerns you may have. Should a fish kill occur in your area, the last section of this pamphlet (pages 14-16) provides steps you can take to help determine the cause.

While this task can be challenging, the chances for success are greatly increased if both fish samples and water samples can be collected from the waterbody and analyzed in a timely manner. A listing of fish health diagnostic laboratories is provided on page 16.* If too much time has
already passed or if you don’t have time to submit samples, the observations you collect can still provide important clues about what may have happened. Be sure to gather this information as soon as possible and contact the appropriate agency, listed on page 14.


FISH KILL CAUSES

Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission http://www.myfwc.com
FULL TEXT

A sudden appearance of dead fish in a lake or pond causes considerable concern and alarm for most people.  Our first reaction is to suspect someone of poisoning the water body.  Most fill kills; however, result from natural events, although people can influence their frequency and severity. Fish kills usually result from too little oxygen in the water, according to biologists with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.  The Southwest Regional Office of the Commission covers 13 southwest Florida counties and receives between 100 and 150 fish kill reports each year. While some result from spills or illegal discharges of toxic substances, most kills occur when oxygen dissolved in the water drops to levels insufficient for fish survival.

Plant Management in Florida - Fish Kill

University of Florida IFAS Extention http://aquat1.ifas.ufl.edu
FULL TEXT

The most common cause of fish kills is related to the depletion of oxygen in shallow waterbodies. Oxygen depletion may be caused in various ways. Three of the most common are as follows:

Whenever aquatic organisms die, oxygen is pulled from the water column and is used in the decay process. Oxygen can become critically reduced in this way, especially in waterbodies that have an abundance of algae. For waterbodies in which the concentration of total chlorophyll exceeds 100 ?g/L, (indicating a high algae level), oxygen depletion is a likely cause of a fish kill. This is because the fraction of the algal population that is dying naturally is a big amount of mass and therefore its decomposition can consume significant amounts of oxygen.

Similarly, oxygen depletion can also occur when large amounts of aquatic plants die within a short time. Herbicide applicators commonly treat areas of aquatic plants at different times in order to avoid this situation, or they use herbicides that cause plants to die slowly.

A fish kill due to oxygen depletion can also be triggered by several days of overcast skies, especially during hot weather. This can happen because aquatic plants and algae add oxygen to water only when there is sufficient sunlight for photosynthesis. However, they consume oxygen all the time in their normal biological processes. When overcast skies persist for several days, oxygen levels can become depleted because the plants are using more oxygen than they are producing. Waters are particularly vulnerable when the temperature is high, because warmer water contains less oxygen to start with than cooler water. Fish "gulping" at the surface may be a sign of an oxygen problem.

   
   

 

 

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