Optimization of feeding and growth performance of African catfish (Clarias gariepinus Burchell, 1822) fingerlings. - PhDData

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Optimization of feeding and growth performance of African catfish (Clarias gariepinus Burchell, 1822) fingerlings.

The thesis was published by Hossain, Mostafa A R, in September 2022, University of Stirling.


The present studies were undertaken because feeding remains the single most important determinant of the economic viability of fish culture The research identified the factors pertinent to feeding strategies and growth performance of African catfish Clarias gariepinus (Burchell, 1822) fingerlings. Existing literature relating to the feeding and growth of African catfish is reviewed and the key factors highlighted.
A preliminary experiment investigated the effect of the three most important factors – density, light and shelter – on the growth and survival of C. gariepinus. Low density, low light intensity and shelter enhanced growth rates, although not the rates of survival of C. gariepinus fingerlings. The second preliminary experiment was conducted in order to establish an appropriate methodology for measuring feed intake and gastric evacuation. The X-ray method using radio opaque Ballotinis proved successful for accurate estimation of feed intake and gastric evacuation of C. gariepinus. These two studies provided information on environmental parameters in catfish rearing and the appropriate techniques for monitoring feed consumption and evacuation rate.
Using feed marker and X-ray technology, based on gastric evacuation and return of appetite, maximum daily feed intake was estimated and a feeding schedule for fingerlings of this species proposed. The effects of particle size and energy level of food on gastric evacuation are evaluated and optimum feed particle sizes and energy levels were determined. Fingerling C. gariepinus grow best on diets of intermediate pellet size (1.5 and 2 mm) and intermediate dietary energy level (22.84 kJ g’1), resulting in high feed intake and feed utilization and low food conversion.
Although this species is believed to have a nocturnal feeding habit, to date no research has established a diel rhythm. Using infrared video technology and continuous recording of feeding activities a precise diel rhythm was identified. Predominantly a nocturnal feeder, C. gariepinus shows two distinct feeding peaks given access to feed for 24 h – one immediately after the onset of dark phase and the second just prior to the onset of the light phase.
In order to maximize growth performance and feed intake, fish were fed with diets of intermediate pellet size and energy level in three different modes – following their feeding rhythm, only in light phase and in light and dark phase continuously. Fish fed in response to their rhythmic feeding peak had highest weight gain, feed intake and feed utilization and lowest feed conversion. On this basis, a comprehensive feeding guide for fmgerling C. gariepinus was established.

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