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Biomonitoring as a potential tool for water quality in tilapia culture: a case study of Baixa Mogiana region of São Paulo State, Brazil


The objectives of this study were to test an artificial substrate sampler method for aquaculture ponds and assess the water quality based on the benthic macroinvertebrate community living in fishpond sediment at four farms with tilapia production in the Baixa Mogiana region of São Paulo State, Brazil. Benthic macroinvertebrates were monitored every 15 days for 3 months. Approximately 500,000 organisms distributed in 47 taxa were collected. Chironomidae, Glossiphonidae, Hirudinidae, Libelullidae, Oligochaeta, and Polycentropodidae were present in all collected samples, with the dominance of Chironomidae in the benthic community. Polycentropodidae, a sensitive family to organic pollution, had a greater abundance in fish farms with better environmental conditions. Significant differences in dissolved oxygen and pH were observed among fishponds at different fish farms. Biomonitoring with artificial substrate is a simple and low-cost alternative to monitoring water quality of tilapia culture in fishponds. The artificial substrate sampling method was effective, but the evaluation of more critical conditions of water quality would improve the method and enhance the knowledge of taxa and ecology of macrobenthic organisms in fishponds.

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The authors are grateful to ASPI (Associação Paulista de Piscicultores) for support at all stages of the project, and to the technical staff of Laboratory of Aquatic Ecosystems of Embrapa Environment.


This research was funded by Empresa Brasileira de Pesquisa Agropecuária (Embrapa).

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Correspondence to Mariana Silveira Guerra Moura e Silva.

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Taxa list and mean abundance of benthic macroinvertebrates at fish farms.

Taxa Fish farm
Ampullaridae 0.000 0.000 0.628 0.011
Baetidae 0.000 0.011 0.011 0.011
Belostomatidae 0.000 0.000 0.000 0.011
Calamoceratidae 0.000 0.000 0.000 0.011
Ceratopogonidae 0.218 0.065 0.032 0.221
Chironomidae 1990,426 607,630 1008,202 861,042
Cladocera 6,030 0.185 0.840 0.021
Coenagrionidae 0.050 0.087 0.053 0.032
Collembola 0.000 0.000 0.021 0.000
Conchostraca 0.000 0.120 1,223 0.000
Copepoda 0.129 0.130 0.011 0.000
Corbiculidae 0.000 0.000 0.415 0.000
Corduliidae 0.089 0.000 0.074 0.011
Corixidae 0.000 0.391 0.000 0.000
Dysticidae 0.000 0.000 0.053 0.021
Elmidae 0.010 0.000 0.000 0.000
Ephemeridae 0.000 0.000 0.032 0.000
Euthyplocyidae 0.000 0.076 0.000 0.000
Gelastocoridae 0.010 0.011 0.000 0.011
Glossiphonidae 8,030 30,652 2,436 248,821
Gomphidae 0.000 0.011 0.021 0.000
Gyrinidae 0.020 0.022 0.053 0.000
Hebridae 0.000 0.000 0.021 0.000
Hidracarina 0.000 0.000 0.021 0.011
Hirudinidae 8,634 10,652 0.851 41,189
Hydrobiosidae 0.000 0.076 0.000 0.000
Hydrophilidae 0.000 0.000 0.000 0.011
Hydropsychidae 0.000 0.076 0.000 0.000
Leptoceridae 0.000 0.011 0.021 0.000
Libellulidae 0.574 0.196 0.340 0.263
Lutrochidae 0.000 0.000 0.011 0.000
Nematoda 0.059 0.011 0.000 8,926
Notonectidae 0.119 0.000 0.000 0.000
Odontoceridae 0.000 0.022 0.000 0.000
Oligochaeta 100,614 64,728 14,840 64,705
Ostracoda 0.000 0.000 0.021 0.000
Perilestidae 0.010 0.043 0.000 0.000
Philopotamidae 0.000 0.022 0.000 0.000
Piscicolidae 0.000 0.000 0.000 0.021
Polycentropodidae 0.010 16,663 0.074 0.032
Polimitarcydae 0.059 0.326 0.149 0.011
Planorbiidae 0.000 0.000 0.096 0.505
Protoneuridae 0.000 0.011 0.000 0.011
Tabanidae 0.010 0.000 0.000 0.000
Tipulidae 0.000 0.000 0.000 0.000
Thiaridae 0.059 0.000 8,532 8,105

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Moura e Silva, M.S.G., Losekann, M.E., Luiz, A.J.B. et al. Biomonitoring as a potential tool for water quality in tilapia culture: a case study of Baixa Mogiana region of São Paulo State, Brazil. Environ Monit Assess 194, 597 (2022).

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  • Aquaculture
  • Artificial substrate
  • Benthic macroinvertebrates
  • Sustainability