Accepted 25th March, 2019.
Improved culture of the African catfish (Clarias gariepinus) is important to addressing the increasing demand for fish especially in the developing countries. Hence, the present study evaluated the growth performance, survival and feed conversion ratio (FCR) of C. gariepinus larvae fed with locally formulated diet of low crude protein. The treatments consisted of crude protein (CP) contents of 35%, 30%, 25% and control (28 %). The fish larvae (average weight, 0.03±0.01 g and length, 20.0±0.01 mm) were stocked in glass aquaria at 7 fish/L, and reared at room temperature for 6 weeks. The fish larvae were sampled weekly for length-weight measurements. Prior to sampling, Water analysis was done for temperature, ammonia (NH3) and pH. Fish larvae fed on the test diets exhibited significantly higher length and weight, specific growth rate (SGR), and survival than those fed with control diet (p < 0.005). Specifically, C. gariepinus larvae fed 35% CP diet exhibited better growth performance and feed utilization, and relatively higher survival rate than those fed 30% CP or 25% CP. These findings demonstrate that African catfish larvae can be reared with low CP diets and hence cheaper for small holder fish farmers. The present findings contribute towards the success and realization of the improved production of C. gariepinus larvae, which is essential for successful aquaculture development in developing countries.
Keywords: Clarias gariepinus, Catfish, Crude protein, Survival rate, Fish nutrition, Aquaculture