Paraquat is the most common contact and non- selective herbicide for exterminating vegetative pest. Fish are ideal sentinels for detecting aquatic pollutants and are largely used as bio indicators of environmental pollution. This study is aimed to determine the behavioural changes, lethal concentrations (LCs) and mean lethal time (MLT) of paraquat exposed to Clarias gariepinus. A 96 hours renewable bioassay was conducted with various paraquat concentrations 0.0, 0.25, 0.50, 0.75, 1.0 and 1.25 mg/l. Behavioural changes and cumulative mortality were observed and recorded at 12, 24, 48, 72 and 96 hour. Behavioural changes such as air gulping, erratic swimming, loss of balance, excessive mucus secretion, discolouration and death were observed with severity increasing as concentration and duration of exposure increases. The LC50 values were decreased from 0.191mg/l (0.171 â€“ 0.222) in 12 hour to 0.107mg/l (0.065 â€“ 0.150) in 96 hour, while relative toxicity factor (TF) was increased from 1 to 1.79 times respectively. The 96hr MLT values were decreased from 91.18 hours (54.09-105.64) at the lowest concentration to 16.22 hours (9.06 â€“ 25.15) at the highest concentration with relative toxicity time (RTT) increasing from 1 to 5.62 times. Herbicide should be apply with caution and studies on the sub lethal effects of paraquat on the haematological, biochemical and histological parameters of C. gariepinus juveniles will be necessary.
Keywords: Clarias gariepinus, paraquat, behavioural changes, lethal concentration, lethal time.