In vitro nitrogen fixation, phosphate solubilization, survival and nutrient release by the three strains of Azotobacter (Mac-27, nitrogen fixer; PS-21, phosphate solubilizer and MSX-9, a phytohormone producer) in an aquatic system using three different organic substrates (cow-dung, piggery and poultry waste/excreta) were studied. It was shown that Azotobacter can grow and multiply in an aquatic system when fertilized either with cow-dung (100 mg 1(-1)), poultry (50 mg 1(-1)) or piggery (25 mg 1(-1)) waste/ excreta. Mac-27 and MSX-9 strains of Azotobacter fixed higher quantities of nitrogen (0.03-0.12 mg 1(-1) d(-1)) in aquaria water treated with cow-dung, while with poultry and piggery excreta, the three strains of Azotobacter fixed 0.03-0.09 mg 1(-1)d(-1) of nitrogen. O-PO4 concentration was also high in microbial-inoculated aquaria as compared to the controls which decreased with respect to time. Similarly, a decrease in total nitrogen concentration was also observed in the aquaria water after the maximum levels of fixation had been reached. Concomitant with the decrease in total nitrogen concentration, a simultaneous increase in NO3-N, NO2-N and NH4-N was observed. Maximum phytoplankton population was observed in MSX-9, while the population of zooplankton was maximum in Mac-27 inoculated aquaria. These studies indicated that Azotobacter can be used as a biofertilizer for enhancing nitrogen input and phosphate solubilization in fish ponds. Microbial inoculation along with organic substrate, however, has to be repeated at least at biweekly intervals.