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Monitoring options for freshwater fish

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There are a variety of factors to consider when choosing the best technology and equipment to monitor fish in freshwater.  To ensure that you’re making the best choice for your study, we recommend that you speak with a Lotek representative. 

Option 1: We’ll call you.
Start by using our Project Profile form to send us the details of your study.  Once you complete the form and click the Send button, a Lotek representative will contact you shortly to discuss your project and recommend the best system, based on the details that you’ve provided to us.
  
Option 2: You call us.
Start by reviewing the product descriptions on this web site, and then call us to confirm your choices and place your order. To better prepare you for that conversation, here is a brief overview of some of the main factors that will influence your choice:
Do you want to use tags that passively store data or actively transmit data?
Data storage (or “archival”) tags gather time, temperature and depth data in the tag for retrieval at a later date. Transmitting tags, on the other hand, emit a signal (radio and/or acoustic) which you must detect either in real-time or by using a datalogging receiver station.

If data storage tags:  If you want data storage tags for your freshwater fish, see our LAT 1000 Series of time, temperature and depth recorders.

If transmitting tags:  If you’ve selected transmitting tags, the next step is to determine whether you want your tags to transmit radio, acoustic, or combined acoustic-radio signals: 

Will the fish be moving through different environments?
If your study subjects will be in both fresh and salt water environments, or in both shallow and deep waters, then you may need to use both acoustic and radio technologies to track them.

If yes:  If you need a combined acoustic-radio system, see our Acoustic/Radio Transmitters page to learn more about our CART Series tags.

If no:  If there’s no need for combined acoustic-radio transmitters, then the next step is to determine whether you’ll need acoustic or radio technology:

Will the electrical conductivity of the water be high?
One factor that determines whether radio or acoustic technology is more suitable for your study is the anticipated water conductivity in the study area.  Although radio is usually the better choice for freshwater telemetry, radio signals are significantly weakened at high conductivity levels, making acoustic a better technology choice in those cases.

If high conductivity:  If your water conductivity is 800 microSiemens per centimeter (µS/cm) or more, you’ll most likely need to use acoustic technology for your telemetry study.  See our Acoustic Transmitters page and our Acoustic Receivers page for details about available acoustic products.

If medium or low conductivity:  If your water conductivity is low (200 µS/cm or less) or medium (200 to 800 µS/cm), the next factor that will help decide the “acoustic/radio” question is the water depth:

Will the fish be moving in deep waters?
Again, although radio is usually the better choice for freshwater telemetry, radio signals are significantly weakened at greater water depths, making acoustic a better technology choice in those cases.

If deep water:  If your water depth is 20 meters or more, you’ll most likely need to use acoustic technology for your telemetry study.  See our Acoustic Transmitters page and our Acoustic Receivers page for details about available acoustic product options.

If medium or shallow water:  If you will be tracking your species in water that is neither highly conductive nor more than 20m deep, you’ll most likely be best served by a radio monitoring system.  See our Radio Transmitters page and our Radio Receivers page for details about available radio products.

Other considerations ...
There are also other factors that will influence your choice of monitoring technology. Please ask your Lotek representative about additional factors such as:

Tag size & weight:  Lotek tags come in a variety of sizes.  The generally recommended rule of thumb is that the tag should not exceed 2% of the subject’s body weight.  However, like any rule of thumb, there are some exceptions to the rule.  Your Lotek rep will be able to help you select the best size tag for your study.

Detection range:  The greater the tag’s output power, the greater its detection range.  But the greater its power, the larger the tag.  Again, we can help you balance all of the factors that need to be considered when it comes to tag size, life and detection range.

Operational life:  Depending on the specific model, Lotek tags can continue operating for either days, months or years.  The model you choose should be the one that best matches your study’s objectives.

Programming flexibility:  Many Lotek tags also offer options for choosing different burst intervals, user-selectable activation programming schedules, delayed activation & deactivation, and more.  Your Lotek rep can explain all of the options and recommend the best configuration for your study.

Sensor data:  In addition to transmitting signals for detection, many of our tags can also transmit additional sensor data on depth, motion and temperature if required for your study.  See our Radio Sensor Transmitters page and our Acoustic Sensor Transmitters page for details and options.

If you’d like a Lotek representative to help you choose the best system for your study, you can either use this Project Profile form to send us the details of your study, or simply contact us by email or telephone.  We look forward to hearing from you.