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Training on improvement of feeding rations for aquaculture development in Gorongosa, Mozambique, ACP FISH II

Introduction to scientific fish feed nutrition, detail on Tilapia feed and feeding
Practical applied researches proposals for Gorongosa area

Mr. G. Negroni and Mr. J. Murama April 2011


Foreword Introduction 1 Fish nutritional requirement 2 Ingredients 3 Feed preparation and feeding 4 Feed and genetics 5 Tilapia natural food and feeding habits 6 Tilapia nutritional requirements 7 Tilapia fertilizers and fertilization 8 Tilapia supplemental feeds and feeding 9 Tilapia feed formulation and preparation/production 10 Feeding schedules 11 Feeding methods/ methods of feed presentation 12 Nutritional deficiencies 13 Short description of Gorongosa aquaculture situation 14 Applied research proposals A Green water B Green water and supplemented local feed C Separated green water production 15 Conclusions 16 Recommendations Bibliography Annex I Some indication on plankton and invertebrate nutritive value

Mature O. Niloticus brood stock

Tilapia is the common name for a vast number of freshwater fishes of the family Cichlid. This is one of the largest families of fishes, containing more then 1 800 members, some of them in use in aquaculture. Members of the family range from very small ornamental species used in the aquarium industry to large food-size species rose in the fish-farming industry. Tilapia culture and production, mainly of food fish, has been well documented over the years and appears in ancient documents, is drawn on old cave walls, and is part of the Biblical story. The cichlids, tilapias included, are distributed around the world on both sides of the equator. However, our interest is in the species originating from Africa and the Middle East. In both more recent history and in Biblical days, tilapia is mentioned as the fish of the miracles or the fish for the people. Simultaneously and independently, the culture of tilapia as a common and basic food staple has been developed in various parts of the world. Compared to other cultured species, tilapia culture and consumption are the most widely spread worldwide. Tilapia is produced and consumed in over 100 countries and is a staple food for very poor people around the world; however, nowadays, it has also become a staple cuisine in the most expensive restaurants in luxury markets.

This paper is to satisfy the ToR requirements to support the IIP in its research for the development of most efficient, effective and sustainable aquaculture in the area of Gorongosa. The ToR also requested some more detail as following: to prepare a study identifying needs and initiatives/actions to providing/improving feed for aquaculture development in Gorongosa. To develop the above requests, it is necessary to understand some of the basic principles of fish nutrition and connected researches system organization. Moreover it is necessary to provide information for efficient, effective and sustainable aquaculture in Gorongosa and particularly for feed and feeding applied research. The study it is divided in three main sections: a general introduction on fish feed nutrition, a specific section on Tilapia feed and feeding and a final section providing indication on three possible applied researches to be developed in Gorongosa. The applied researches are fitted for the need of Aquaculturist in Gorongosa area and try to satisfy the need of the local stakeholders represented by 7 aquaculture associations; it is important be considered that there are not any research facilities in Gorongosa and the area have some logistic problem. Consideration to have some research facilities in a better organized area could be discussed. This study was performed after the first field visit in Gorongosa area that provided first hand field information with Gorongosa Aquaculture Baseline. Aquaculture feed system Even in aquaculture systems where the cultured species derive all their nutrition from natural food, an understanding of nutritional requirements and how various supplementary feedstuffs (ingredients) might be utilised can help improve the productivity of the system. For intensive systems, where animals rely totally on feed inputs, it is essential that feeds are formulated to meet but not exceed the target species energy and nutritional requirements. As many aquaculture farmers in Africa also farm other livestock (e.g. chickens and pigs), it is worth briefly considering the major differences between feeds for terrestrial and aquatic species. The major difference is that aquatic animals have much lower requirements for energy than terrestrial animals; because they are cold-blooded and live in an aquatic environment, their energy needs for thermoregulation and locomotion are much lower. There are two obvious implications of this: firstly, aquaculture diets are usually higher in protein; and secondly, the food conversion efficiency for aquaculture species is usually much better (i.e. the food conversion ratio (FCR) is lower). Some omnivorous and filter feeding species have some capabilities to utilize alternative protein sources as there are always competition for protein in nature; in the next chapters we will analyse as to take advantage of these characteristics for sustainable aquaculture.

1 Fish nutritional requirements

Published values for aquatic animals protein requirements range from about 2060%. Why is this big range? The overall protein contents of the tissues of different aquaculture species are actually remarkably similar at 6070% of dry weight (Anon. 1992) and 1618% of wet weight. The large difference reflects differences in the ability of different species to utilise non-protein sources, lipid and carbohydrate, for energy. This is called protein-sparing. For herbivorous and omnivorous species, dietary protein contents are much lower than for carnivorous species because the animals can use 4

carbohydrate (and sometime cellulose) for energy. Although not a nutrient per se, dietary energy is just as important in fish nutrition as in nutrition for other species. The focus of this paper is on tropical, freshwater species as Tilapia. Regardless of whether fish feed predominantly on natural food (including phytoplankton, macro algae, zooplankton, meio fauna , benthos and other pond organisms, including other fish) or on supplementary or complete feeds, they require energy and the same suite of nutrients. Research on nutrition of carps, tilapias and catfish is carried out in Europe and America in addition to Asia (Allan et al. 2000). The most expensive nutrient to supply is usually protein. Carnivorous species tend to have a higher protein requirement than omnivores or herbivores, and are more expensive to feed. Earlier life stages such as fry and fingerlings also require relatively more protein than juveniles and immature adults. Published requirements for protein and essential amino acids for several species are already well known. Fish do not require protein as such, but rather a well balanced mix of essential and non-essential amino acids. One of the nutritional features that separate herbivorous and omnivorous fish from carnivorous fish is the ability to utilise carbohydrates, especially starch, for energy. Most of the carps, tilapias and many of the catfish are able to efficiently utilise carbohydrates, a feature that is closely linked with their success in traditional and extensive and semi-intensive aquaculture where fish are fed on natural food items, or low-cost, available ingredients that typically contain a high content of carbohydrates. In addition to its role as an energy source, starch also plays a very important role in pellet manufacture. It is very difficult to process pelleted diets without some carbohydrate (starch), and the matrix formed by starch is responsible for most of the binding properties of manufactured pellets. The role of starch in extruded diets is especially critical and largely responsible for buoyancy control. Lipids or fats are required nutrients for fish and supply energy and essential fatty acids. They can also be an important consideration in the manufacture of pellets, especially where extrusion technology is used. Although lipid has a protein-sparing effect for tilapia, contents above 12% depressed growth (reported in Shiau (2002) some author put at 4% the tilapia requirement, this may be a future research area for tilapia nutrition (Shiau 2002). Practical diets for channel catfish typically contain 56% lipid, with about 35% coming from dietary ingredients and the rest sprayed onto pellets after manufacture, to control dust (Robinson and Li 2002). Channel catfish seem to require n-3 fatty acids (12% of diet) but not n-6 fatty acids (Robinson and Li 2002). Fish also require vitamins and minerals. In extensive and semi-intensive culture, these requirements are met through natural food and, in general, supplementary diets require less attention to specific requirements for vitamins and minerals. Tables 10 and 11 present summaries of published requirements for vitamins and minerals. Table N. 1. Dietary protein requirement of carps, tilapias and catfish Specie Protein diet requirements Size Carp species Cyprinus carpio 3038 Fingerling/juveniles Ctenopharyngodon idella 2835 Fingerling Hypophthalmichthys molitrix 3742 Fry/fingerling Aristichthys nobilis 30 Fry Catla catla 3547 Fry Tilapias species Oreochromis niloticus 45 Fry 3036 Fingerlings 5

Oreochromis mossambicus

2835 50 3040 2935

Juveniles Fry Fingerlings Juveniles

Catfish Clarias garinepinus 35 Source. from information summarised by Jantrarotai (1996), Takeuchi et al. (2002), Murthy (2002), Shiau (2002) and Paripatananont (2002). Table N.2 Quantitative essential amino acid requirements (per cent of dietary protein) Nutritional requirements of carps, Labeo, catfish and tilapia nilotica Amino acid Cyprinus carpio Catla catla Labeo rohita O. Niloticus Ictalurus puntatus Arginine 4,2 4,8 5,8 4,2 4,3 Histidine 2,1 2,5 2,3 1,7 1,5 Isoleucine 2,3 2,4 3,0 3,1 2,6 Leucine 3,4 3,7 4,6 3,4 3,5 Lysine 5,7 6,2 5,6 5,1 5,1 Methionine 3,1 3,6 2,9 2,7 2,3 Phenylalanine 6,5 3,7 4,0 3,8 5,0 Threonine 3,9 5,0 4,3 3,8 2,0 Tryptophan 0,8 1,0 1,1 1,0 0,5 Valine 3,6 3,6 3,8 2,8 3,0 Source: Summarized information by NCR (1993), Jantoratoi (1996), Murthy (2002) and Shiau (2002) Table N.3 Recommended dietary nutrient levels for omnivorous fish species Nutrient level Fish size class Fry Fingerlings Juvenile Grower Crude lipid, % minimum 8 7 7 6 Fish: plant lipid 1:1 1:1 1:1 1;1 Crude protein, % minim. 42 39 37 35 Amino acids, % minimum Lysine 2.48 2.31 2.19 2.07 Methionine 0.81 0.75 0.71 0.67 Cystine 0.29 0.27 0.26 0.24 Carboydrate, % max 30 35 40 40 Major minerals Calcium, % max 2.5 2.5 2 2 Available P, % max 1 0.8 0.8 0.7 Magnesium, % Min 0.08 0.07 0.07 0.06 Data from Tacon (1990)

Brood fish 5 1:1 37 2.19 0.71 0.26 40 2 0.8 0.07

Table N. 4 Vitamin requirements of carps, tilapias and Asian catfish (mg or IU/kg) Vitamin Cyprinus carpio Orechromis niloticus Clarias batracus Vitamin A (IU) 4,000 . 20.000 Vitamin D3 Not required Vitamin E 100-300 50-100 Vitamin K Not required Thiamine Required Not required Riblofavin 4-10 Required Pyridoxine 5.4 Required Pantothenate 30-50 Required Nicotinic acid 28 Required Biotin 1 Folic acid Not required Required Cynocobalamin Not required Not required Inositol 440 Choline 4000 Ascorbic acid Not required 1,250 Required Information summarized by Tacon 1990 Table N. 5 Mineral requirements, carps and tilapia Mineral Carps Tilapias Calcium 0,028% 0,65% Phosphorus 0,6 0,7 % 0,5-0,9 % Magnesium 0,04 0,05 % 0,06-0,08% Zinc 15-30 mg/Kg 10 mg/Kg Copper 3 mg/Kg 3-4 mg/Kg Manganese 12-13 mg/Kg 12 mg/Kg Information summarized by Tacon (1990) and Jantrartoi (1996)

2 Ingredients
Protein, carbohydrate and lipid all supply energy fish need for maintenance and growth. Energy is released by the oxidation of amino acids, carbohydrates and lipids. However, as there are major differences between how well different species of fish digest the energy from different ingredients, as well as major differences between ingredients, it is very important to understand the bioavailability of energy from different feed ingredients before formulating diets. Comprehensive descriptions of the pathways of energy flow in fish can be found in NRC (1993) and Tacon (1990). The major losses from ingested energy occur in faeces (excretory loss). The remainder is called digestible energy. From digestible energy, losses occur in gill and urine excretions (the remainder is metabolisable energy). From metabolisable energy, losses occur in energy needed for waste formation and digestion and adsorption (the remainder is net energy). From net energy, any energy not used for maintenance (basal metabolism, voluntary activity and any thermal regulation), becomes recovered energy and is that energy contained in the fish carcass (NRC 1993). In contrast to warm-blooded terrestrial animals, fish are cold blooded, and once excretory losses of energy are accounted for, the other losses are minimal, and differences between different ingredients and fish species relatively minor. For this reason, determination of digestible energy is usually the focus of ingredient evaluation in fish nutrition. When evaluating the potential for any ingredient to be used in 7

fish feeds the following factors need to be considered: 1. The nutrient composition of the ingredient. In general, the higher the protein content the more valuable the ingredient (provided there is no contamination or anti-nutritional factors present). A summary of some of the key nutrients for some of these ingredients are available (e.g. Hertrampf and Pascual 2000; Anon. 1992). Consistency of composition is very important as well. Many animal waste products, like slaughterhouse wastes, can vary widely in composition and this can present considerable difficulties to diet formulators. 2. Availability and price. Clearly, ingredients that are easily available and relatively cheap are preferable. 3. Presence and concentration of anti-nutrients. Anti-nutrients are usually found in plant ingredients and can cause serious problems, ranging from reduced feed intake, food efficiency and growth, as well as pancreatic hypertrophy, hypoglycaemia, liver damage and other pathologies (De Silva and Anderson 1995). Fortunately, most anti-nutrients are heat labile and are easily deactivated by cooking. Some of the major anti-nutrients are described in Table 12. 4. Presence of contamination (e.g. from pesticides, hydrocarbons from fuel or oil or toxins from fungal contamination [a common problem with peanut meal]) (Table 12). 5. Digestibility and how well energy and nutrients are utilised. Effects on attractiveness and palatability of feeds are important, in general, aquatic products like fish meals, and animal meals, tend to make feeds more attractive (i.e. bring animals to the feeds) and palatable (i.e. make fish want to keep eating the feeds). It is well know that there are some undetected grow factor in some ingredient as for example the fish meal that provide a superior performance to fish feed. In other chapters it will be mentioned of vitamins and minerals, including their inter and intra relations, their activities can greatly influences the diet performances.

3 Feed preparation and feeding

Different aquaculture intensity system Types of feed preparation are (see also Figure 2) belonging to the aquaculture intensity: 1. Extensive no inputs of fertiliser or feeds, animals are totally dependent on natural food 2. Semi-intensive fertilisers and/or feeds are added to enhance and complement natural food respectively 3.Intensive animals are totally dependent on nutritionally complete diets.

Figure 1 Aquaculture system, schematic representation of the range of aquaculture practices in relation to inputs.

Source: Modified from De Silva (1993) Practices that involved flooding fields with water containing larval or juvenile fish, or netting off sections of natural waterways, and then harvesting fish some time later, are examples of extensive aquaculture. Adding nutrients is usually done to increase productivity, and over 70% of the total production of finfish in Asia was semi intensive (Tacon et al. 1995). The simplest method is to add fertilisers. Tacon (1990), Lin et al. (1997), Knud-Hansen (1998) and Edwards et al. (2000) discuss how and when to fertilise ponds. The basic goal of fertilisation is to increase the amount of natural food available for fish. Either organic fertilisers (manures), inorganic fertilisers (sometimes called chemical fertilisers [e.g. urea, superphosphate]) or a combination of both are used. The basic nutrients added are nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P) and carbon (C). Other nutrients may also be required to stimulate phytoplankton growth, including potassium (K), silicon (Si), calcium (Ca), magnesium (Mg) and chloride (Cl), depending on the nutrient status of pond soil and water (Lin et al. 1997). Considerations in choosing the type of fertiliser include availability and cost, fertility of water and soil, and type, availability and value of the fish to be farmed. For detailed accounts of when liming is required (how much and what types to add see Boyd 1990, Tacon 1990 or Lin et al. 1997). Many inorganic fertilisers, particularly P, have low solubility in water. Meanwhile nitrogen is more soluble. The undissolved portion ends up in the sediment and can be released over time or remain bound to sediments. The amount of nutrients in some types of fertilisers is presented in Table6 (after Lin et al. 1997). On same farms, manure could be in short supply and often used on other crops. The relative benefits of using manure in fish ponds compared with the benefits of using the manure on corn or other crops need to be considered in the context of whole-farm income and profit. For semi-intensive farming systems where supplementary feed is added, farmers may just add feeds towards the end of the culture cycle as natural food resources become overgrazed, or combine fertiliser and feed inputs throughout the culture cycle. Edwards et al. (2000) emphasised that supplementary feeds should complement the limiting nutrients in natural foods. They presented unpublished data demonstrating the sequential improvements to tilapia production when fish in ponds received fertiliser 9

only, fertiliser plus an energy supplement, fertiliser plus an energy and a protein supplement, fertiliser plus an energy, protein and a P supplement, and fertiliser plus an energy, protein, P and vitamin supplement. The relative merits of different approaches will be determined by the type of species (or mix of species) being farmed and the availability and cost of fertilisers and supplementary feed ingredient and feeds.

TableN. 6 Total amount of nutrients in different types of fertilisers. Fertiliser Nutrient content Nitrogen Phosphorus Urea 45 0 Ammonium nitrate 35 0 Superphosphate 0 10 Triple superphosphate 0 22 Diammonium phosphate (DAP) 18 24 Cattle faeces 1.9 0.6 Cattle urine 9.7 0.1 Pig faeces 2.8 1.4 Pig urine 13.2 0.02 Buffalo faeces 1.2 0.6 Buffalo urine 2.1 0.01 Human faeces 3.8 1.9 Human urine 17.1 1.6 Percentage of dry weight for inorganic fertiliser and faeces, urine as liquid

Fish size at harvest in ponds where only fertilisers have been used is often smaller than in ponds where supplementary feeds or complete diets have been used. Presumably, this is because larger fish have difficulty obtaining sufficient nutrition from plankton and other natural food items (Edwards et al. 200 0). In general, fish productivity is greatest when they are fed nutritionally complete diets. However, although excellent diets are widely available, their price is often prohibitive. Farmers have the option of using complete diets for part of the culture cycle only (e.g. just after stocking or in the month before harvest) or blending the complete diet with other feed ingredient(s) (e.g. rice bran or diets for other animals like pigs or poultry). Preparing feed There are many methods of preparing feeds, ranging from none (unprocessed feed ingredients) to factory-based, sophisticated manufacture of extruded pellets. Supplementary feeds may just be single ingredients, e.g. rice bran, or quite sophisticated blends of several ingredients. Complete diets are also sometimes used as supplementary feeds and fed in addition to other ingredients or only at certain stages of the culture cycle. Some species are not very efficient at consuming feed ingredients delivered as powder and feed delivered in this form may simply act as an expensive fertiliser. To increase the feed digestibility it is recommended to grind the ingredients to a little size as possible to increase the ingredient surface area for better gastric enzyme activity. Moulding the feed into moist balls usually improves the feeding efficiency. Another common practice is to process feed ingredient(s) through manual or motorised mincers that force the mixture through a die to give long strands of feed. These strands may then be sun-dried and 10

broken up and delivered to fish. Artisanal feed production can have several advantages but the diet formula must be balanced to obtain good growing result, size of ingredient particles must be little for a better binding action and to permit the mincer to make a good work. Where several ingredients are used, they should be thoroughly mixed before being put through the mincer. The process of mixing and mincing can increase the feed efficiency by ensuring that individual food particles are of a suitable size for effective intake and digestion, and that all ingredients are well distributed within the mixture. Mincer internal pressure also help for better starch digestibility. Cooking feed Feed ingredients and mixtures are often cooked before being fed to fish. Cooking has several potential benefits. Firstly, it is very effective at destroying bacteria that may be contaminating the feed or ingredients. It also helps preserve the feed if it is to be stored. Cooking also helps to increase the digestibility of carbohydrate rich ingredients (e.g. broken rice, rice bran and corn bran) by gelatinising the starch. Finally, because of the gelatinisation of starch, cooking can help to bind the feed together. Other options for delivering feeds include feeding trays or hanging bags. Feeding practices These have the added advantage of helping farmers to monitor feed consumption. The optimum number and position of feeding trays or bags will depend on fish species and pond size and dynamics. In general, feeding trays or bags should be positioned in areas where water quality is best and more trays or bags are better than fewer trays or bags. If feeds are to be broadcast, it is best to spread them over as large an area as possible and to avoid the possibility of uneaten feeds building up and decomposing on the pond bottom. Feeding rates and timing of delivery are very species dependent. Commercial feed producer presents a number of feeding schedules for different species, but natural conditions greatly influence the fish feed behaviour intake. Even where ingredients are unprocessed, the storage of feeds can be a critical issue. Feed conservation Feeds or ingredients that are stored incorrectly can become mouldy, fats in the feeds can become rancid and unpalatable (or even toxic) and any heat-labile vitamins can be damaged or destroyed. It is preferable to store feeds or ingredients for as short a time as possible. The most important considerations when storing feeds are temperature and moisture (humidity). Feed in bags should always be kept on pallets off the floor and not in contact with walls or the ceiling. Feed sheds should be well ventilated and every effort should be made to make them vermin proof. Care should be taken not to store feed or ingredients in plastic bags as these can exacerbate problems with condensation. Insects can also cause considerable damage to feeds and ingredients and should be excluded. Mouldy feeds and ingredients should not be fed. Mould growth can reduce the nutritional value of feeds and ingredients (through enzymatic destruction of lipids, amino acids and vitamins), negatively affect flavour and appearance and, for some moulds, produce metabolites (called mycotoxins) that can be very toxic to fish. Diet formulation Diet formulation it is not an easy process for all animal species as one ingredient is not enough to satisfy the diet requirements. The requirements of main cultured fish and crustacean are known and it is available in literature and in some chapter of this papers. The formulation it is a process where the appropriate feed ingredients are selected and blended to produce a diet with the required amounts of 11

the requested nutrients. The most correct diet is the one that: select various ingredients, in a correct amounts, with balanced nutritional value, in mixable/pelletable system, is palatable, is easy to store and use. The basic information required for feed formulation are: Nutrient requirement of the specie cultivated; The feeding habit of the specie ; Ability of the culture organism to utilize nutrients from various ingredients as well the prepared diet; o Nutrient composition of the ingredient o Digestibility (DE) and metabolisable energy (ME) of the ingredient o Dietary interaction: vitamin-vitamin, mineral-vitamin, micronutrientdiet composition inter. Flavour quality Local availability, cost of the ingredients; Expected feed consumption Feed additives needed Type of feed processed desired

Many factors need to be considered in fish feed formulation, principally both nutrition and feeding cost must be taken into account. Feed cost is the highest cost for intensive and some time semi-intensive aquaculture operational costs. Supplying adequate nutrition for aquaculture species involves the formulation of diets containing 40 essential nutrients and the proper management of a multitude of factors relating to the diet quality and intake. In essence, bioavailability of nutrient, diet acceptability (palatability), feed technology, storage methods and chemical contamination can have profound effects quality of the diet and the performance of the cultured organism. In Intensive system the diet will provide all the nutrient (and energy) growing factors meanwhile in the semi-intensive system only a supplemental nutrition will be required. Some strategic points for an appropriate formulation must be considered: Feed formulation must be economic (at least cost) Linear programming are sued but need to consider the nutritional experiences Considered seasonal changes in ingredient availability and quality Protein must be of good quality, palatable, of good&balanced amino acid composition, easily digestible Energy intake are highly influenced by the protein, vitamin and mineral diet availability Good and well preserved ingredient provide high quality food The nutritional consideration that should be taken into account in a diet formulation are the energy content and the digestible/metabolisable energy to nutrient ratios, particularly the protein to energy ratio. These are followed by the calculation of the protein content and the amino acids balances, selecting lipid type, and level to satisfy essential fatty acid and energy requirements and augmentation of vitamins and minerals. Simple algebraic calculation can support the formulation of simple feed diet without considering the protein amino acids and fatty acids imbalances, more sophisticated linear programming software are available as simple excel sheet.


Feeding strategy The most-effective feeding strategy will not only depend on the species being cultured but also on the cost and availability of nutritional inputs (fertilisers, supplementary feed ingredients and feeds and complete diets) and on the market price of the species cultured. Understanding the best strategy or mix of strategies for different species, farming systems and in different regions is an important priority to optimise production. Of equal importance is the need to develop effective methods to empower farmers, especially low-income farmers, to be able to make these decisions for them. Feeding strategy is influenced by economics, local condition and technology, normally extension services help in optimizing the above. For Tilapia farming it is recommended the use of fertilisation for green water production, particularly for remote and rural areas with low capital availability.

4 Feed and genetics

The genetic selection of a domesticated specie is important and greatly influence the feed utilization as for other animals species. Particularly, several organisations have invested substantial resources in the genetic improvement of Nile tilapia. The Genetically Improved Farmed Tilapia (GIFT) strain developed by the WorldFish Centre as well as other strains (GET EXCEL, GenoMar ASA and GenoMar Supreme Tilapia) have a significantly better growth performance than unaltered strains (Asian Development Bank, 2005). Selected Tilpaia strain has a better Feed Conversion Factor than other permitting a feed conversion optimization and reducing feed costs. Figure 2 Grow of tilapia fry under different feeding frequencies using 43%proteina (hormone sex reversal) From Sanches and Hayashi (2001)

Source: Sanches and Hayashi (2001), More often feeding provide better results In the last decades some strains of Orechromis niloticus were selected with good result to avoid the sex growing pattern differentiation of the Tilapine species, they are already commercialised to the industry.


Figure 3 Sex differentiation in Tilapia nilotica

5 Tilapia natural food and feeding habits

Early juveniles and young fish are omnivorous, feeding mainly on zooplankton and zoo benthos but also ingest detritus and feed on aufwuchs and phytoplankton. At around 6 cm TL the species becomes almost entirely herbivorous feeding mainly on phytoplankton, using the mucus trap mechanism and its pharyngeal teeth (Moriarty and Moriarty, 1973). The pH of the stomach varies with the degree of fullness and when full can be as low as 1.4, such that lyses of blue-green and green algae and diatoms is facilitated (Moriarty, 1973). Enzymatic digestion occurs in the intestine where pH increases progressively from 5.5 at the exit of the stomach to 8 near the anus. Nile tilapia exhibits a diel feeding pattern. Ingestion occurs during the day and digestion occurs mainly at night (Trewavas, 1983). The digestive tract of Nile tilapia is at least six times the total length of the fish, providing abundant surface area for digestion and absorption of nutrients from its mainly plant-based food sources (Figure 2) (Opuszynski and Shireman, 1995). Ontogenetic dietary shifts of different size classes of Nile tilapia are presented in Table 7. TableN. 7 Ontogenetic dietary shift (% of total food intake by volume) of different stages/classes of Nile Tilapia. O. Niloticus
Food type Algae Phytoplankton Detritus Invertebrates Fry 78 22 <1 Fingerling 80 20 <1 Juvenile/adult 37 Juvenile/Adult 22 74 Adult 10 23 0,4 - 10,2 Adult Any size 155 cm 63-51


zooplankton Fish Macrophytes


1 2


0,6 10,7 1,3 20,4

Data source: 1Abdel-Tawwab and El-Marakby (2004), 2Talde et al. (2004), 3Weliange and Amarasinghe (2003), 4Getachew and Fernando (1989), 5Petr (1967), 6Njiru et al. (2004); Seed Production

Approximate indicative weight in gr of different size classes of Nile tilapia: Fry 0.2 1 Fingerlings 1 10 Juveniles 10 - 25 Adults > 25 Figure 4 Nile Tilapia digestive apparatus, note the little stomach and the long intestine

Stomach with pH <2 and anal opening The digestive tract of Nile tilapia has thin walls and is very long (6 x body length) for efficient absorption of nutrients (courtesy of Wing-Keong Ng).

6 Tilapia nutritional requirements

One of the essential point to calculate a balanced diet is to know the fish nutritional requirements. It is a scientific job and the authors report some information, consider as not all the requirements are well know, more scientific work it is needed. Most of the values were determined under controlled laboratory conditions and may not be directly 15

applicable in a commercial set-up. Even though information on the exact quantitative nutrient requirements for other life stages of tilapia is lacking, it can be expected that early juvenile fish (0.0210.0 g) would require a diet higher in protein, lipids, vitamins and minerals and lower in carbohydrates. Sub-adult fish (10-25 g) require more energy from lipids and carbohydrates for metabolism and a lower proportion of protein for growth. Adult fish (>25.0 g) would require even less dietary protein for growth and can utilize even higher levels of carbohydrates as a source of energy. Comprehensive reviews of tilapia nutrition are available in various publications including that by Jauncey (2000), Shiau (2002), ElSayed (2006) and Lim and Webster (2006). Nile tilapia requires the same ten essential amino acids as other fin fishes. Protein requirements for optimum growth are dependent on dietary protein quality/source, fish size or age and the energy contents of the diets and have been reported to vary from as high as 45-50% for first feeding larvae, 3540% for fry and fingerlings (0.02-10 g), 30-35% for juveniles (10.0-25.0 g) to 28-30% for on-growing (>25.0 g) (Table 2). The best protein digestibility occurs at 25C (Stickney, 1997) and the optimum dietary protein to energy ratio was estimated in the region of 110 to 120 mg per kcal digestible energy respectively for fry and fingerling. Tilapia brood fish require about 40-45% protein for optimum reproduction, spawning efficiency and for larval growth and survival. The lipid nutrition of farmed tilapia has been reviewed by Ng and Chong (2004). The minimum requirement of dietary lipids in tilapia diets is 5% but improved growth and protein utilization efficiency has been reported for diets with 10-15% lipids (Table 2/3). Both n-3 and n-6 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) have been shown to be essential for maximal growth of hybrid tilapia (O. niloticus x O. aureus). For Nile tilapia the quantitative requirement for n-6 PUFA is around 0.5-1.0% (Table 2). Unlike marine fish species, tilapia appear not to have a requirement for n-3 highly unsaturated fatty acids (HUFAs) such as EPA (20:5n-3) and DHA (22:6n-3) and its n-3 fatty acid requirement can be met with linolenic acid (18:3n-3). The studies and the practical experience has provided the commercial feed industry some reliable diet as the one shown in Table 8 from CP group, one of the world leading fish and shrimp feeding group. Table N. 8 Commercial least-cost formulation for tilapia feeds Nutrient Limit Pre starter Starter Protein Min 40 30 Lipid Min 4 4 Lysine Min 2.04 1.53 Total P Max 1.5 1.5 Fibre Max 4 4 Fish meal Min 15 12 Source: Chawalit et al. 2003 (CP group)

Grower 25 4 1.28 1.5 4 10

Finisher 20 4 1.02 1.5 8 8

The major nutrient requirements of cultured tilapia are reasonably well established and are summarized in the following Tables Table N. 9 Tilapia protein requirement in freshwater Life stage Weight (g) Requirement (%) First feeding larvae 45 50 Fry 0.02 1 40 Fingerlings 1 - 10 35 -40 Juveniles 10 - 25 30 - 35 Adults 25-200 30-32 16

>200 Broodstock

28-30 40-45

Table N. 10 Protein requirements of Tilapia at different salinities Species Salinity (ppt) O. niloticus 0.024 0 5 10 15 O. Niloticus X O. Aureus 2.88 32-34

P. requirements (%) 30.4 30.4 28.0 28.0 24.0

Table N. 11 Essential Amino Acid requirement (EAA) for Tilapia % of protein % of diet Arginine 4.20 1.18 Histidine 1.72 0.48 Isoleucine 3.11 0.87 Leucine 3.39 0.95 Lysine 5.12 1.43 Methionine 2.68b 0.75 Phenylalanine 3.75c 1.05 Threonine 3.75 1.05 Tryptophan 1.00 0.28 Valine 1.00 0.78 b In the presence of Cystine at 0.54% of dietary protein. Total sulphur amino acid (Methionine plus Cystine requirements is 3.21% of the protein c in the presence of tyrosine at 1.79% . Total aromatic acid (phenylalanine plus tyrosine requirement is 5.54 % of the protein Table N. 12 Crude lipid, essential fatty acid (EFA) and energy Crude lip %, min 10-15 Essential fatty acids 18: 2n-6 0.5 1 d 20:4n-6 1d 18:3n-3 20:5n-3 22-6n-3 Carbohydrate % max e 40 Crude fibre % max 8-10 Protein to energy ration (mg/Kcal) 110 f 120 g d 1 % 20:4n-6 or 0.51% 18:2n-6 e Dietary utilization of carbohydrate appear to decrease with decrease in fish size f mg protein for kcal of gross energy (GE) g mg protein for Kcal of digestible energy (DE)


Data source Shiau (2002), Fitzsimmons (2005), El-saye (2006), Lim and Webster (2006) TableN. 13 Summary of dietary nutrient (minerals and vitamins) requirement of Nile tilapia, Oreochromis niloticus (% of dry feed except otherwise mentioned) Minerals
Macroelements % Calcium, max Phosphorus, min Magnesium, min Potassium Iron Sulphur Chlorine Copper Manganese Zinc Cobalt Selenium Iodine Molybdenium Chromium Fluorine Vitamins, min IU/Kg dry diet Vit A (Retinol) Vit D (Cholecalciferol) Vitamins , min mg/Kg dry diet Vitamin E ( - tocopherol) Vitamin K Vitamin B1 (Thiamine) Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin) Vitamin B3 (Niacin/nicotinic acid) Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic acid) Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine) Vitamin B9 (Folic acid) Vitamin B12 (Cyanocobalamin) Choline Inositol Vitamin B7 (Biotin) Vitamin C (Ascorbic acid) 60 0.7a 0.8-1.0 0.06 - 0.08 0.21-0.33b

Microelements, min mg/kg dry diet

2-3 12 30-79 0.4 1 139.6 b

5,000 375 b 50-100 c 4.4 4 5-6 d 26 121 b 10 a 1.7 9.5 e 0.5 Not required 1.000 b 400 b 0.06 c 420

Minerals macro elements % a Based on data from O. aureus; b Based on data from hybrid tilapia (O. niloticus X O. aureus). c Based on diets with 5% lipid. Vitamin E requirement increases to 500 mg/kg dry diet at 1015% dietary lipid level D Based on data from hybrid tilapia (O. mossambicus X O. niloticus) and O. aureus e Based on data from hybrid tilapia (O. niloticus X O. aureus) at dietary protein level of 28%, requirement 15-16.5 mg/kg diet at 36% protein diet Data source: Shiau (2002), Fitzsimmons (2005), El-Sayed (2006), Lim and Webster (2006)


The exact carbohydrate requirements of tilapia species are not known. Carbohydrates are included in tilapia feeds to provide a cheap source of energy and for improving pellet binding properties. Tilapia can efficiently utilize as much as 35-40% digestible carbohydrate. Carbohydrate utilization by tilapia is affected by a number of factors, including carbohydrate source, other dietary ingredients, fish species and size and feeding frequency (El-Sayed, 2006). Complex carbohydrates such as starches are better utilized than disaccharides and monosaccharides by tilapias. Hybrid tilapia (O. niloticus x O. aureus) showed the carbohydrate (44%) digestibility in the following progression: starch > maltose > sucrose > lactose > glucose (Stickney, 1997). Carbohydrate utilization by tilapia species have been reviewed by Shiau (1997). Nile tilapia are capable of utilizing high levels of various carbohydrates of between 30 to 70% of the diet. It has also been demonstrated that larger hybrid tilapia (O. niloticus x O. aureus) utilized carbohydrates better than smaller sized fish. Stickney (2006) reported that the inclusion of soluble non-starch polysaccharides (NSP) in the form of cellulose in the diet of Nile tilapia increased the organic loading of the culture system, while insoluble NSP (guar gum) placed less organic load on the system by increasing nutrient digestibility and improving faeces recovery. Vitamin supplementation is not necessary for tilapia in semi-intensive farming systems, while vitamins are generally necessary for optimum growth and health of tilapia in intensive culture systems where limited natural foods are available. Several vitamin requirements of tilapia are known to be affected by other dietary factors and these must be taken into consideration in diet formulations. For example, the vitamin E requirement is influenced by dietary lipid level with Nile tilapia requiring 50100 mg/kg when fed diets with 5% lipid and increased to 500 mg/kg diet for diets with 10-15% lipid (Table 3). Apart from dietary lipid level, the unsaturation index of the dietary oil will also affect the amount of vitamin E required. The presence of other antioxidants in the diet, such as vitamin C, has been reported to spare vitamin E in diets for hybrid tilapia. Choline can be spared to some extent by betaine. Carotene can be bioconverted to vitamin A with a conversion ratio of about 19:1 (Hu et al., 2006). Pyridoxine requirement level has been shown to vary with the level of protein in the diet: 1.7-9.5 and 15-16.5 mg/kg diet for fish fed 28 and 36% protein diets, respectively for hybrid tilapia. The source of dietary carbohydrates influences niacin requirement for hybrid tilapia which was reported to be 121 mg/kg for dextrin-based diets and 26 mg/kg for fish fed glucose-based diets. Vitamin requirement values are also dependent on the stability and bioavailability of the vitamin compound that was used. For example, the phosphate forms of ascorbic acid are more available than the sulphate forms. There is little information on the mineral requirements of tilapia. Like other aquatic animals, tilapias are able to absorb minerals from the culture water which makes the quantitative determination of these elements difficult to carry out. For example, when Nile tilapia reared in fertilized ponds were fed with diets either containing complete mineral mixes or one deficient in Ca, P, Mg, Na, K, Fe, Zn, Mn or I and it was found that only the addition of phosphorous significantly affected weight gain, food conversion ratio and protein efficiency ratio (Stickney, 1997). Despite its ability to absorb minerals from the culture water and the presence of minerals in feed ingredients, tilapia feeds should contain supplemental mineral premixes. This is to ensure that sufficient levels are available to protect against mineral 19

deficiencies caused by reduced bioavailability such as when plant phosphorus sources are used in tilapia feeds. Like vitamins, the amount of minerals to be added in the diet will also depend on the source of the element. For example, Shiau and Su (2003) reported that ferric citrate is only half as effective compared to ferrous sulphate in meeting the iron requirement of tilapia. Phytase Many of the plant-based feed ingredients have high phytic acid content which appears to bind metal ions such as calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, manganese, zinc and iron rendering them unavailable. The ability of phytic acid to bind metal ions is lost when the phosphate groups are hydrolyzed through the action of enzyme phytase. Although phytase activity has been shown to be present in ruminants, animals with a simple stomach such as fish lack this enzyme in their gastrointestinal tracts and hence cannot utilize the phytate bound phosphorus or other metal ions. Therefore, feeds are often supplemented with phosphorus in the form of mono or di-calcium phosphate. Phosphorus and calcium requirements are interdependent. Addition of microbial phytase in the diet of Nile tilapia significantly improved the growth of fish (Portz et al., 2003; Furuya et al., 2003). Variations in the quantitative values reported in literature can also be expected due to differences in dietary ingredients used.

7 Fertilizers and fertilization

In general, tilapias can efficiently utilize natural food and yields of 2,000 kg per hectare can be sustained in well-fertilized ponds without any supplemental feed. This feeding strategy depends on the application of inorganic and/or organic fertilizers to stimulate the production of live food organisms and plants in the culture system and is typical of extensive and semi-intensive tilapia farming systems. In the case of Nile tilapia culture, the production of phytoplankton should be the primary target (see Section A above). The success of a pond fertilization strategy depends on the initial drying, tilling and liming of the pond substratum (Figure 8). The drying out period to allow for adequate mud mineralization is usually between 5 to 10 days. After drying, the pond bottom should be limed to reduce acidity/to increase pH and to ensure that the culture water has a pH of about 7-8. This will allow the tilapia culture ponds to respond optimally to fertilization. The total alkalinity of the water should be above 20 mg/l. A suggested liming rate for ponds based on pH and soil texture is given in Table 4. Table N. 14 Fertilization program Inorganic fertilizers Organic fertilizers Pond drying Removal of excessive mud and silt Liming Tilling Partial filling Manuring Fertilizing Progressive filling Stocking Pond fertilization strategies are locality dependent. Many factors determine the success of a fertilization regimen. The most important of these are soil type, water quality, species cultured and the type, application method and rate of fertilizers used and all must be carefully considered. Despite the lack of a standardized protocol of pond fertilization, the effectiveness of any program can be easily monitored by 20

measuring the turbidity of the pond water by means of a Secchi disk, on the assumption that the main source of turbidity within the pond comes from phytoplankton population. It has been recommended that a Secchi disk visibility of about 30 cm is optimal to achieve and maintain proper fertilization. The elemental composition of the major organic fertilizers and inorganic fertilizers used in aquaculture is summarized in the following Tables. To have some practical points to evaluate the animal manure production Table N. 14.1 Animal production and pond manuring Specie Production Kg/dry Advice on % of manuring Max animal number manure organic matter / (dry basis) on fish over 1 Ha of pond 100 Kg live weight of standing stock animals Cows / cattle to 1 3-4 80 150 Sheep to 1 3 -4 350 - 500 Pig 1 to 1 3 -4 70 Duck 1 to2 2 (2 - 4) 1200 1500 Chick 1 to2 2 (2 3) 800 - 1000 Source: G. Schroeder and Negroni unpublished practical trial Some practical recommendation for pond manuring: Recommended manuring: max 75 to 100Kg dry matter per day per Ha standing stock biomass Manure stockage greatly decrease the mineral content The best manure composition is 20:1:0,2 N-P-K that is similar to the duck and chicken fresh manure, C must be available Look in the early morning if fish are gulping the water surface, this means low oxygen, stop manuring and add some freshwater Animals can be hold over the pond as the fresh manure ahs the best composition, and less manpower is utilized for collection Utilize 8000 / 20.000 / Ha fish stocking density according the desired size of the final product Main species profiting of the manuring are: Tilapia, carps and milkfish species Drain, disinfect and dry the pond before stocking and fertilize before re-stocking 25.000 to 35.000 kg of standing stock /Ha can stay in a well fertilized pond, if we need more fish we need to supplement with a diet the additional fish weight 30 Kg day/Ha fish weight can be produced in an appropriate fertilized (manured) and managed pond Pond develop a deep olive-green or brown-green colour it is OK on the contrary add more manure or chemical fertilizer Manuring must be often and uniformly distributed in the pond are to provide a good plankton development, plankton must be nourished constantly


Table N. 15 List of commonly used organic manure used for tilapia culture and their N:P ratio and NPK content

Type of fertilizers N:P Ratio Faeces / Dung Buffalo Cattle Sheep Pig Poultry manure Duck manure Urine Buffalo Cattle Sheep Pig Meals Blood meal Bone meal Plant material Wheat straw Maize straw Soybean stalk Cotton stalk and leave Cottonseed meal Groundnut straw Bean straw Coffee pulp Sugarcane trash Grass Oil palm pressured fibre Molasses Water Hyacinth Azolla sp Lemna sp Ceratophylum Hydrilla sp Data source Tacon 1987 b 16.85 0.31

N:P ratio and Ca and NPK content (%)

Nitrogen (N) 1.23 1.91 1.87 2.80 3.77 2.15 2.05 9.74 9.9 10.88 11.12 3.36

Phosphorous (P) 0.55 0.56 0.79 1.36 1.89 1.13 0.01 0.05 0.10 1.25 0.66 10.81 0,11 0,10 0,15 0,90 0,32 0,12 0,04 0,03 0,10 5,30 0.37 0.20 0.20 0.47 0.28

Potassium (K) 0.69 1.40 0.92 1.18 1.76 1.15 3.78 7.78 12.31 17.86 1,06 1,38 1,85 1,16 1,34 1,80 1.50 0,26 0,36 1,99 3.40 0.15 0.69 5.90 2.90

2.24 3.41 2.37 2.06 1.99 1.90 205 194.80 99 8.70

0,49 0,58 1,30 0,88 7,05 0,59 1,57 1,79 0,35 0,41 1,24 2,09 Aquatic plant and algae 5.51 2.04 18.40 3.68 16.55 3.31 5,80 5,87 7,83 4,91 14,92 8,75 13,67 12,40 0,39 7.02 9.64 3.30 2.70


Table N. 16 . List of commonly used organic/ inorganic fertilizers, their rate, frequency used for tilapia culture
Country Panama Fish size On growing Stocking density (N. Ha) Fertilizers Dried pig manure Dried poultry manure Dried cattle/goat manure Animal manure Animal manure Dried poultry Liquid cesspool slurry (DM) Fresh cow manure Semi-dry mixture of goat, sheep, poultry, rabbit droppings Fresh pig manure Fresh rumen contents Single superphosphate Urea Double superphosphate Triple superphosphate Dried poultry manure Urea Triple superphosphate Rate (Kg/Ha/Year) 24.800 18.200 36.500 7.800-13.000 13.000 14.000 27.600-45.400 78.000 235.000 1.456-5.929 Frequency App. Method


Thailand Kenya

Spawners Fingerlings Fingerlings Growout

50.000 20.000 10.000 5.000-20.000

7/week 1/week 1/week Crib Broadcasted or crib

39.000 26.000-41.600 480 120 672 720 3.900 3.068 1.300

1/week 1/week

Broadcasted or crib Broadcasting



Zambia Ivory coast Thailand

Growout Growout Fingerling 17.600

2/month 1/week 1/week 1/week

Suspended basket

Dissolved w. Sacking overnight

Data source: Tacon (1987b); Tacon (1991); Broussard et al. (1983); Knud-Hansen et al. (1991)

The first limiting nutrients affecting phytoplankton productivity in ponds are phosphate (P) and nitrogen (N). Inorganic fertilizers are commercially available and are generally based primarily on one major element and the correct combination of fertilizers is needed to optimally stimulate plankton productivity. As a general rule, three to five times less P than N should be added to culture ponds. Organic fertilizers or manure include all plant and animal materials and their fertilizer value is dependent primarily upon its carbon (C), N, P and potassium (K) content. Common organic fertilizers used in aquaculture are poultry, cow and pig dung but cottonseed meal, rice straw and other agricultural waste products can also be used. Inorganic fertilizers are usually applied on a weekly or bi-weekly basis. Raising the frequency will lower the risk of sudden phytoplankton blooms, leading to low DO levels. Fertilizers should be applied to supply 0.5 1 mg/l of nitrogen1 and 0.1 0.5 mg/l of phosphate2. Newly constructed ponds require higher initial fertilization rates. Organic fertilizers have to be applied as often as possible and almost daily. In Israel, manure (as dry organic matter) is applied daily at 2-4% of the fish biomass. Few parameters have to be carefully monitored and fertilization should be immediately stopped if dissolved oxygen falls below 4.0 mg/l, pH above 9.0, or water transparency below 25 cm. 23

A number of country-specific fertilization guide for tilapia pond culture are summarized in Table 17-18. Table N. 17 Suggested guideline for liming of pond based on Ph and texture of pond soil Ph of pond soil Lime requirements (Kg/Ha of CaCO3) Heavy loams or clays Sandy loam Sand 4 14,320 7,160 4,475 4 4,5 10,740 5,370 4,475 4,6-5,0 8,950 4,475 3,580 5,1 5,5 5,370 3,580 1,790 5,6 6,0 3,580 1,790 895 6,1 6,5 1,790 1,790 0 Data source: Tacon (1988) The fertilization regime used will, among others, depend on the management system (extensive versus semi-intensive), stocking density (no./ha)/biomass of fish (kg/ha) and type of fertilizers used (organic, inorganic or combination). Site specific factors other than nutrient input that affects primary productivity (e.g., weather) makes it difficult to provide a general pond fertilization guide for tilapia farming. Therefore, the information provided in Table 16/17 is intended purely as a general guideline. In Thailand, chicken manure applied weekly at 200-250 kg dry weight/ha together with urea and triple super phosphate (TSP) at 28 kg N and 7 kg P/ha/week, respectively, produced a net harvest of 3.4-4.5 tonnes/ha in 150 days at a stocking density of 3 fish/m2 or an extrapolated net annual yield of 8-11 tonnes/ha. ( In Honduras where there is sufficient dissolved phosphorus in the culture water, weekly application of chicken manure at 750 kg dry matter/ha and urea at 14.1 kg N/ha yielded 3.7 tonnes of tilapia/ha when stocked at 2 fish/m2. Grow-out tilapia ponds in Indonesia are fertilized with urea, TSP, and manure at 2.5 g/m2/week, 1.25 g/m2/week and 250 kg/month, respectively, together with a feeding regime of commercial tilapia feeds (Nur, 2007 see next table 18). Table N. 18 Summary of fertilization practices for Nile tilapia in three different countries Country Stocking Chicken manure Urea1 TSP2 density Thailand 3 fish/m2 200-250 kg3/ha/week 28.0 kg N/ha/week 7.0 kg P/ha/week Honduras 2 fish/m2 750 kg3/ha/week 14.1 kg N/ha/week * Indonesia*** 4-8 fish/m2 250 kg/ha/month 2.5 kg/ha/week 1.25 kg/ha/week Source: Nur 2007 One of the interesting ways to improve pond productivity is to practice polyculture with common carp or shrimp. While feeding, common carp stir up the substratum and this releases nutrients into the water column and therefore enhances primary production. In extensive farming systems in Africa and Asia, bamboo poles or tree branches are planted within the ponds to increase natural productivity. These substrates increase the surface area for enhanced periphyton production (see Figure 5), which is grazed by the fish. More recently, synthetic substrates (Aquamats) for bacteria and algae have been used in tilapia and shrimp culture systems. Although tilapia is a hardy fish and can tolerate extremes in most water quality variables, they should not be exposed to low dissolved oxygen for longer period as it negatively affect the metabolism resulting in reduced growth (Stickney, 1996). Tilapia cannot tolerate water temperature below 12C (Tom Hecht, Pers. comm.). Pond culture of Nile tilapia with shrimp, leads to improved feed utilization efficiency,


reducing shrimp pathologies, reduced environmental pollution and improved production (Yi et al., 2003 and Negroni 2011 unpublished data). Figure 5 Poles in the pond to increase natural periphyton production

8 Supplemental feeds and feeding

Supplemental feeding compensates for natural food nutrient deficiencies in fertilized ponds and is the usual feeding method for semi-intensive tilapia culture systems. A comprehensive review supplemental feeding practices and of various supplementary feeds is provided by Tacon (1988) and De Silva (1995). The use of supplemental feeds leads to significant increases in tilapia yield in comparison to fertilized ponds alone. However, farmers must be aware of the complex interactions between the natural food supply and supplemental feeds and those incorrect feeding strategies can lead to financial loss. Supplemental feeding should be carried out properly coupled with a good understanding of the nutrient content of the various feed ingredients (Table 19). Supplementary feeds can be made up of single ingredients or combinations of ingredients either simply mixed together or powdered and compounded into moist dough before feeding. The most common feedstuffs are agricultural by-products such as rice bran, broken rice and maize with occasional use of grass and leaves. Dry ingredients are normally ground before being dispersed throughout the pond. However, many raw ingredients of plant origin are inappropriate for tilapia fry, but can be used for fingerling and larger fish. It should be mentioned that commercially formulated pellets can also be considered as supplementary feed when used in combination with a pond fertilization regime, or used in combination with cheap feed ingredients. Some farmers often use formulated feed as a single feed source for a particular life stage Table N. 19 List of most commonly used supplemental feed ingredient in Tilapia culture, nutrient contents are given in % on feed basis Feed Nutrient composition Estimated FCR ingredient
Moisture Crude protein 81.5 9 Crude lipid Ash 2 7 Gross energy (Kj/g) 20 7.5 1.5 1.7 2.3 4.4

Feeds of animal origin

Blood meal Chironomidis, fr. 10.4 84 14


Daphnidis, fresh Earthworm Fishmeal Trash fish Meat meal Silkworm pupae, fresh Snail meat, fresh Banana leaves Cassava leaves Corn Cottonseed cake Soybean Water hyacinth Wheat bran

89 81.1 7-9 52 - 83 6.9 74.9 78 75 74 12.2 7.8 10.7 9 91.5 12

3 7.5 10.6 57 - 72 11 - 26 53 13.7 12 2.4 7.7 9.6 22-41 24-38 0.2 14.7

2 4-9 1 - 36 8 1 1 1 4 10 1.3 4

3 10 - 26 12 31 1.2 4

1.2 2.5 3.1 16 - 20 16.8 6.9 4 4.7 4.9 16.3 17 - 18 18-21 1.4 16

4 6.4 8-10 1.5 - 3 49 2 3-5 22 25 10-20 4.6 3 3-5 50 6. - 7

Feeds of plant origin

2 2 8.3 7 1 5.5

Data source: Tacon (1987, 1988) There are no generalized feeding tables for the use of supplementary feeds in Nile tilapia farming although feed manufactures often provide recommended feeding rates for their feeds. However, there are some general rules. The population of natural food organisms in the culture system gradually decreases as the standing crop increases such that the amount of supplementary feeds should be gradually increased as the fish grow. Feeding rates should be assessed according to the natural productivity of the ponds and the fertilization program. Thus, if transparency decreases, feeding rates should be reduced. Conversely, if transparency increases, feeding rates and/or nutrient quality (such as protein content) should be increased. Optimal feeding rates and frequency of feeding are site specific and also depends on the various types of supplementary feed items used. In a detailed profitability analyses of various inputs for pond culture of Nile tilapia in Thailand, Yi and Lin (2000) reported that fertilizing ponds with urea and TSP at 28 kg N and 7 kg P/ha/week, respectively, and supplementing with pelleted feed at 50% satiation level starting only when the fish reaches 100 g size, yielded the best economic returns. Orachunwong et al. (2001) reported that red hybrid tilapia in floating cages fed a 25% protein diet three to four times a day resulted in better growth and feed conversion ratio than when fed twice a day.

9 Tilapia feed formulation and preparation/production

Live food First feeding Nile tilapia juveniles that do not have access to live food display morphological anomalies in their digestive system that reduces their ability to digest, absorb and assimilate nutrients efficiently, resulting in low weight gain that may persist through adulthood (Bishop and Watts, 1998). The use of live food can therefore reduce the time required to complete organogenesis and the early completion of a functional digestive system thereby maximizing the growth potential of the tilapia fry. The practise of rearing juveniles in smaller ponds or in hapas prior to ongrowing is universal. Natural productivity in nursing ponds or hapas provides the necessary live food for the growth of tilapia. Organic and/or inorganic fertilizers can be used to stimulate the production of phytoplankton which is the main live food consumed by tilapia during these early stages. Therefore, no specialized separate live food production facilities are needed in the culture of tilapia although there are reports that many tilapia farmers produce zooplankton such as Daphnia and Moina and use them as supplementary feed for fry and fingerlings for increased production. Also separated plankton production is under several applied researches with interesting results. FAO-FIRA Species Profile for Aquaculture Feed and Nutrient Resources Information System: 2011 10 26

Formulated feeds High quality formulated feeds are used to achieve high yields and large sized fish (600-900 g) within a short period of time. The maximum size at harvest of Nile tilapia reared in ponds that are only fertilized is generally less than 250 g after 5 months of on growing. Under semi-intensive farming systems, most tilapia farmers in Asia fertilize their ponds and use formulated feeds. However, in intensive pond and tank culture systems or in cages, tilapia farmers mainly depend on commercial pelleted feeds. The nutrient inputs used and the yield and weight of tilapia at harvest in several Asian countries are summarized by Dey (2001). In terms of pond yields, Dey (2001) reported that overall, the average yield of pond farming in Taiwan, Province of China is very high (12 to 17 tonnes/ha) while ponds in Bangladesh, China, the Philippines, Thailand and Viet Nam produce around 1.7, 6.6., 3.0, 6.3 and 3.0 tonnes/ha, respectively. Tacon, Hasan and Subasinghe (2006) conservatively estimated that the global production of industrially manufactured aquafeeds in 2003 was about 19.5 million tonnes with projections of 27.7 million tonnes by the year 2010. Tilapia feeds accounted for about 8.1% of global aquafeed production in 2003. Commercial tilapia feeds are mainly dry sinking pellets and extruded floating pellets. Production estimates for farm-made tilapia feeds are not available as these are usually site specific and dependent on locally available feed ingredients. In countries such as the Philippines, on-farm feeds are not very popular as tilapia farmers find it more convenient to purchase formulated feeds from feed companies. A brief summary of the advantages and disadvantages of various feed types is provided in Table 9. The main issue in formulating feed is to meet the protein and essential amino acids (EAAs) requirements of the species. Fishmeal is generally the preferred protein source because of the high quality of the protein and its EAA profile. However, fishmeal is generally expensive and is not always available. Nile tilapia can be fed with a high percentage of plant proteins. It is economically judicious to replace fishmeal with alternative protein sources including animal byproducts, oilseed meal and cakes, legumes and cereal by-products and aquatic plants. Most of these ingredients are deficient in some EAA and hence require supplementation or be compensated with other feedstuffs. Although most of the oilseed cakes/by-products are generally deficient in lysine and methionine, blending of different oilseed cakes often provides balanced amino acid profile. However they contain many anti-nutritional factors (such as gossypol, glucosinolates, saponins, trypsin inhibitors etc.) which limit their use in compound feeds or require removal/inactivation through specific processing (such as heating, cooking etc). There are also several non-conventional protein sources that may be suitable for O. niloticus such as silkworm pupae, snails, earthworms, Spirulina, corn and wheat gluten, almond cake, sesame cake, brewery waste, etc.

10 Tilapia feed ingredients

Feed ingredients of plant and animal origin used in the formulation of tilapia feeds with their general nutritional values, Tilapia nutritional requirements and other relevant information are provided in Tables 10-11-12-20. The maximum inclusion level of each feedstuff that can be used in tilapia feeds is dependent on several factors such as the level of dietary protein, how the feedstuff was processed, life stage of the fish, economics, availability, etc. Some practical application for their maximum dietary inclusion based on the data obtained from tilapia and other herbivorous fishes are already included in several practical diet. However, it should be noted that these are only suggestions and with research data coming from more recent feeding trials and the 27

advancement of processing techniques, many of these recommendations would need to be revised in future. Better processing techniques of feedstuffs such as soybean meal and poultry by-product meal can now be included at much higher levels in tilapia feeds than previously recommended. A review of various alternative dietary protein sources for farmed tilapia and its replacement potential for fishmeal in tilapia diets is provided by El-Sayed (2006). A summary of the tested and recommended levels of different protein sources for Nile tilapia compiled by El-Sayed (2006) is listed in Table 20 Table N. 20 Recommended levels of different alternative protein sources tested for Nile Tilapia under laboratory conditions. Level tested is a replacement of conventional protein sources as fishmeal or soybean meal Protein source Level tested % Recommended level % Fish weight
Animal origin Shrimp meal Shrimp head waste Meat and bone meal + Met Meat and bone meal Blood meal Hydrolysed feather meal Chicken offal sludge Soybean meal + Met Soybean protein concentrate Cotton seed meal + Lys Palm kernel cake Macadamia press cake Cassava leaf meal Jackbean meal Cowpea leaf protein concentrate Maize gluten + soybean meal Azolla (A. Pinnata) Azolla (A. Pinnata) Water net (Hydrodiyion sp) Eleocharis Ochrostachyus Curly pondeweed (Potamogeton sp) Duckweed (Lemna) Duckweed (Spirodela) 100 0-60 40-50 100 100 0-100 0-20 100 60 50 100 <100 66 20 20 1.4 11 mg 20 20 0.01 10.8 0.8 3.2 3.2 2.5 7.5 12 14-15 7.6 0.16 30 0,011 4 to 40 1 7 14.5 14.5 13.9

Oilseed meals 75 75 0-100 100 100 100 0-100 60 0-100 50 Terrestrial leaf and grain protein 20-100 <100 20-30 20-30 0-50 20-30 100 100 Aquatic plants 8-42 42 0-100 25 0-100 20 20-40 20-30 25-50 25 0-50 50 0-100 30

Data source El-sayed 2007 Table N. 21 Type of formulated feed used for Tilapia culture with advantage and disadvantage and type of processing Type of feed Advantages Disadvantage Moisture max % Processing techniques
Farm made feeds Dry Dry pellet 10% and moist diet 30% Wet dough extruded through a meat mincer and sun dried



No energy requirement (pellets may be made by hand with a meat mincer and then sun dried); vitamins preserved. Feeds available on site. Easy to make. Utilize local waste products. Dry feed last longer than moist feeds.

Starches not cooked and not well digestible; low water stability (additional binder may be required);shorter storage period; low FCRs; large surface required for drying. Moist feed cannot be stored and need to be used immediately. 10% Dry ingredients required; vitamins partially lost. Generally lower FCR than floating pellet. Fish feeding can not be observed.

Hand made dough

Industry manufactured pellet Sinking Starches partially cooked; good digestibility and water stability (gelatinization improved by prior steam treatment). Cheaper than floating pellets and so lower capital costs. Floating Almost complete starch gelatinization; better digestibility and stability; better FCR; many antinutritional factors removed with the heat treatment. Fish feeding can be observed.

Compressed pellet Steam treated compressed pellet

10% Extruders more expensive and so high production cost. Requires more skill in production.

Extruded pellet


Ingredient for Feed formulation The ingredients used in the formulation of farm-made tilapia feeds vary regionally. In Thailand, a typical feed formulation for herbivorous fish may include fishmeal (16%), peanut meal (24%), soybean meal (14%), rice bran (30%), broken rice (15%) and vitamin/mineral premixes (1%) (Somsueb, 1995). Some examples of farm-made feed formulations for tilapia at various life stages under semi-intensive farming conditions are listed. In some countries (e.g. the Philippines) farm made feeds are not commonly used, despite the fact that feed accounts for up to 79% of total operating costs. The main reason why farm made feeds are not commonly used in the Philippines and in other countries is because of erratic supplies of raw materials, high capital requirements and the lack of equipment specifically designed for small scale farmers (


Table N. 22 Feed formulae (ingredient composition) and proximate composition of commonly used farm-made feed (as fed basis) for different life stage of Nile Tilapia in semi-intensive farming system (Thailand)
Ingredient/proximate composition Ingredient composition (%) Cassava starch Cassava meal Coconut meal Rice bran Soybean meal Fish meal Fish oil Dicalcium phosphate Vitamin and mineral premix* Proximate composition Dry matter Crude protein Crude lipid Ash Crude fibre NFE Gross Energy (Kcal/Kg feed) Cost USD/Kg Early fry 15 0 0 30 0 47 5 1 2 8.3 30 10 16.3 3.8 31.6 2.800 0.45 Life stages/size class Fingerling 0 23 0 15 30 25 4 1 2 9 31 7.4 12.6 4.2 35.8 2.700 0.34 Grower (cage) 0 23 0 20 25 25 4 1 2 9 30 7.5 12.8 4.4 2.700 0.32 Grower (pond) 0 22 30 0 25 20 0 1 2 9.1 29.9 4.1 10.7 6 2.500 0.26

Data source: Thongrod (2007)

11 Feeding schedules
In the provinces of Guangdong, Fujian, Guangxi and Hainan in China, tilapia are stocked at 30,00037,500 fish/ha and fed with pelleted feed (28-35% CP) two to three times daily at 6-10% body weight (BW)/day for fish <100g, 3-6% BW/day for fish 100-250 g and 1.5-4% BW/day for fish 300-800 g (Lai and Yi, 2004). Under these conditions yields range from 15-20 tonnes/ha at a feed conversion ratio of 1.52.0. It is generally known that smaller fish consume more feed per unit body weight compared to larger fish. Recommended feeding schedules for different sized tilapia with expected growth rates as provided by a feed manufacturer is presented in Table 25. Recommended feeding tables for tilapia using formulated feed under different stocking densities in semi-intensive (pond only) and intensive farming systems (cages, tanks and ponds) are presented in Tables 24 and 25, respectively . The suggested feeding schedules as shown in Table 25 are widely used for semi-intensive and intensive culture in freshwater ponds in China(Miao and Liang (2007) and in intensive culture of tilapia in ponds and cages in many Southeast Asian countries (Orachunwong et al., 2001). It should be noted that tilapia consume less feed during the colder months of the year in countries where there are substantial seasonal temperature fluctuations. Physiologically Tilapia took advantage of multiple feeding sessions, in Gorongosa situation plankton availability is constant and this provide continuous feeding to our fish, supplemental feeding can be distributed 2 or more time per day.


Table N. 23 Composition of mineral premix used in formulated diet for intensive aquaculture Minerals In freshwater (g/Kg premix) In seawater (g/Kg premix) CaHP042H2O 727.78 MgSO47H2O 127.5 510 NaCl 60 200 KCl 50 151.11 FeSO47H2O 25 100 ZnSO47H2O 5.5 22 MnSO4H2O 2.54 10.5 CuSO47H2O 0.785 3.14 CoSO47H2O 0.4775 1.91 Ca(IO3)6H2O 0.2995 1.18 CrCl36H2O 0.1275 0.51 Data source: Jauncey and Ross (1982) Table N. 24 Recommended feeding schedules for tilapia provided by feed manufactures, Philippine Feed type Fish size g Feeding rate (% of Growth rate Feeding duration biomass per day) (g/day) (weeks) B-MEG Tilapia Fry mash 0.01-2.0 15/20 0.02 Starter crumble 2-15 7/10 0.35 Starter pellet 16-37 6-7 0.47 Grower pellet 38-83 4.4-5.8 0.86 Finisher pellet 91-1.000 1.5-4.1 1.8 Vitarich Fry mash 3-15 6-13 1-3 Fry crumble 22-62 5-6 4-7 Extr. juvenile pellet 77-105 3-4 8-9 Extruded adult p.t. 130-250 2-3 10-14 Data source: Sumagaysay-Chavoso (2007)

TableN. 25 Feeding table for tilapia using formulated feed under semi-intensive farming in pond Life stage Fish size (g) Stocking Feed type Feed size Feeding rate (% Feeding density (N. (mm) body weight) frequency Ha) (n. /day) Early fry 0-1 10.000 Powder 0.2 1 15-10 4 30.000 Fry 1-5 Crumble 1 1.5 10-5 2 Fingerling 5-20 Sinking 1.5 2 5-3 pellets, balls Juvenile 20-100 < 10.000 2 3-2 1-2 Grower >100 34 2 Brood stock 150-300 4 Secchi disk depth in fertilized ponds under semi-intensive farming system should be between 25-35 cm


12 Feeding methods/ methods of feed presentation

In general, the feeding method used for tilapia farming depends on the culture system used, the size of the farm/ponds and the availability and cost of manual labour. In most tilapia farms where pelleted dry or moist feeds are used (either farm-made or commercial feeds), broadcasting by hand is the preferred method of feeding. Being active swimmers, tilapia will readily swim to the edge of the pond or cage where the feed is being broadcasted. Broadcasting is also the recommended method since this allows the farmer to monitor the feeding behaviour and general health of the fish with any kind of aquaculture. However, in very large ponds, a truck may be used to tow a feeder that blows pelleted feeds over a wider area of the pond to ensure even feed distribution. In our specific case the broadcasting of the feed by hand it is considered important to manage the little size tanks of the Gorongosa area. Nevertheless, in some cases where the supplementary feeds are in powder form or other physical forms that does not allow broadcasting to be carried out effectively, feeding trays, bags or baskets can be placed in the water to contain these raw materials for the tilapia to consume. In cage culture, feeding rings are required if floating pellets are used, and feeding trays may be necessary with sinking pellets to avoid the feed being swept away. Intensive culture systems are common in countries where the labour cost is high. Various semiautomatic systems are therefore used to reduce this cost, and increase the growth rate and to reduce the FCR: - Clockwork-driven belt feeders permit a constant distribution of feed in small quantities over a 12 hours period and are very effective for rearing of fry and fingerlings. Vibratory feeders permit to control feeding rates and times but require power supply. - Pendulum demand feeders are commonly used for on growing tilapia in cages, raceways and ponds. They are relatively inexpensive and do not require electrical power. This kind of device still requires feed allowance monitoring and computing, and may be used together with hand broadcasting. Any dry pellet can be used but extruded floating pellets are recommended because they reduce the risk of clogging the feeder through the disintegration of pellets from water splashing. - Electrical systems such as scatter feeders can spread pellets over the pond surface and allow for strict control of feeding rates. In super-intensive systems, computer controlled automatic feeders are used. A distribution network is installed throughout the fish farm and the feed is send from the silos to the fish with an air-compressor. No handling is required and the feeding rates and frequencies are managed from a computer. This equipment is often used in closed recirculation fish farms where feeding may be accurately adjusted with the supply of oxygen to the system. The use of demand feeder can complement manual hand feeding of the fish. Automatic feeders can also be set to dispense larval feeds continuously to allow tilapia fry access to feeds throughout the day. Feeding hours should also be constant in order to adjust the fish behaviour. The author prefers hand feeding for the easy monitoring of the aquatic animal behaviour.

13 Nutritional deficiencies
It is important for farmers to recognise at least the most common nutritive deficiency symptoms. Deficiency signs of farmed tilapia may occur when fish are fed nutrient deficient diets or raised in a low nutrient-input culture system. Essential amino acid (EAA) deficiency in tilapia generally leads to loss of 32

appetite, retarded growth, and poor feed utilization efficiency (Table 30, EAA/EFA). In some fish species (e.g. rainbow trout, sockeye salmon, Atlantic salmon, chum salmon, coho salmon), lysine, methionine or tryptophan deficiency results in various signs such as scoliosis, lordosis, fin erosions and cataracts although none of these deficiency signs have been reported for tilapias. Similar to EAA deficiency, the lack of essential fatty acids (EFA) will also lead to loss of appetite and poor growth in tilapia. Other reported signs of EFA deficiencies in Nile tilapia include swollen pale and fatty livers. Mineral deficiencies are difficult assess in tilapia as most trace elements are obtained both from the dietary ingredients and from the culture water. The following deficiency signs have been reported for Nile tilapia: - calcium- reduced growth, poor feed conversion and bone mineralization; - magnesium- whole-body hypercalcinosis; - and manganese- reduced growth and skeletal abnormalities. In a study by Dabrowska et al. (1989) with Nile tilapia, excess magnesium (0.32%) in a low-protein (24%) diet produced severe growth retardation and showed a significant decrease in blood parameters, haematocrit and haemoglobin content, and magnesium deficiency in a high-protein (44%) diet caused whole-body hypercalcinosis. A dietary magnesium content of 0.059-0.077% was adequate for optimum performance of this species. Vitamin deficiency symptoms of tilapia under controlled culture conditions have been extensively reviewed by Jauncey (2000), El-Sayed (2006) and Lim and Webster (2006) and these are summarized in the next table. It should be noted that under culture conditions, vitamin deficiency signs are not a common occurrence in tilapia. In fact, several studies have reported on the non-essentiality of adding vitamin premixes to tilapia diets (for review, see Jauncey, 2000). Vitamins obtained from natural food in fertilized ponds, endogenous vitamins present in feed ingredients used in tilapia feeds and the microbial biosynthesis of some vitamins in the gut are all likely to contribute significantly to the vitamin requirements of tilapia. Ascorbic acid deficiency is common in intensively cultured fish. This is often due to manufacture error or to improper storage. Indeed, vitamin C is degraded at high temperatures and after long term storage. Moreover it is rapidly consumed when the fish are stressed. Vitamin E deficiencies cause anorexia, reduced growth and death. It is also a strong antioxidant that protects unsaturated fatty acids. Vitamin E deficiency may also lead to pathological effects as a consequence of oxidized lipids (congestion, haemorrhages, lordosis, exophthalmia etc.) Incorporation of antibiotics into the feed reduces the vitamin synthesizing capacity of fish. For instance, vitamin B12 is entirely produced by Nile tilapia in normal conditions but should be added to the feed when fish receive antibiotic treatments. TableN. 26 Dietary nutritional deficiency, vitamins
Vitamins Vitamin B2 (Riboflavina) Species O. aureus Deficiency signs/syndrome Poor grow. High mortality, lethargy, fin erosion, anorexia, loss of body colour, dwarfism, cataracts Poor grow, gill lamellae hyperplasia, fin erosion, haemorrhage, anaemia, sluggishness Haemorrhage, deformed snout, gill oedema and skin, fin and mouth lesions Poor grow and poor feed efficiency, anorexia, light coloration, nervous disorder, low haematocrit and red blood cell count and increase serum pyruvate

Vitamin B5 (Pantothetic acid)

O. aureus

Vitamin B3 (Niacin/Niacotricin acid) Vitamin B1 (Thiamin(

Hybrid Tilapia (O. Niloticus X O. Aureus) Hybrid Tilapia


Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine)

Hybrid Tilapia

Vitamin B7(Biotine) Folic acid Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin) Choline

Hybrid tilapia O. niloticus O. niloticus Hybrid tilapia

Inositol Vitamin C (Ascorbic acid)

O. niloticus O. niloticus

Vitamin A (Retinol)

O. niloticus

Vitamin D (Cholecalciferol) Vitamin K Vitamin E (tocopherol)

Hybrid tilapia O. niloticus O. niloticus,

Poor grow and poor feed efficiency , high mortality, abnormal neurological signs, anorexia, convulsion caudal fin erosion, mouth lesion Poor grow Poor grow and reduced feed intake and efficiency Poor grow and survival, and reduced blood trygliceride, cholesterol and phospholipide concentration Poor grow and poor feed efficiency, scoliosis, lordosis, poor wund healing, haemorrhage, fin erosion, anaemia, exophthalmia, gill and operculum deformity Poor grow and poor feed efficiency, restneless, abnormal swimming, blindness, exophthalmia, skin fin and eye haemorrhage, pot belly syndrome, reduced mucus excretion, high mortality Poor grow and poor feed efficiency, low haemoglobin, reduced liver size Poor grow and poor feed efficiency anorexia, skin and fin haemorrhagic, muscle degeneration, depigmentation

Data source: Jaucey (2000), El-sayed (2006), Lima nd Webster (2006) Table N. 27 Dietary nutritional deficiency, essential amino acid (EAA), fatty acid (EFA) and minerals Essential amino acid Deficiency signs/syndrome Lysine Dorsal/caudal fin erosion, retard growth, increased mortality Methionine Retarded growth, cataract Tryptophan Retarded growth, scoliosis, lordosis, caudal fin erosion Essential fatty acid* Retarded growth, swollen pale liver, fatty liver *reported EFA deficiency signs for O. Niloticus, other general EAA deficiency symptoms in fish Data source: Tacon (1987, 1992) Minerals Deficiency signs/syndrome Phosphorus Lordosis, poor growth Calcium Reduced growth, poor feed conversion and bone mineralization* Potassium Reduced grow and feed efficiency, anorexia, convulsions Magnesium Reduced growth/whole body hypercalcinosis* Iron Microcytic, homochronic anaemia Zinc Reduce growth and appetite, cataracts, high mortality, erosion of fin and skin Manganese Reduced growth and skeletal abnormalities*, anorexia, loss of equilibrium Copper Reduced growth , cataracts Selenium Increased mortality, muscular dystrophy, reduced growth, cataracts, anaemia Iodine Thyroid hyperplasia (goitre) *In italicus, Reported deficiency signs for O. Niloticus, other: general mineral deficiency in fish


Data source: Chow and Schell (1980), Tacon (1987a), Tacon 1992, NRC 1993, Jaucey 2000

14 Short description of Gorongosa aquaculture

Gorongosa area was studied under the Gorongosa Aquaculture Baseline from ACP Fish II team in March 2011, the multi-specialized team had some conclusion visiting 4 of the 7 Aquaculture association in the Gorongosa district. During the Aquaculture Baseline Study was noted that the Gorongosa Aquaculturist feed and fertilize too little or too much the ponds they manage lacking an appropriate system of feeding and ferilization. The average pond is of 100 sq mt of area and the majority of the farmers own one or two tanks at family level. The main constrains belong from the scarce control of feed and feeding, particularly the low protein level of the supplemental feed provided to the ponds. About the green water production and management the aquaculturists do not have an appropriate scheduling of the fertilization and do not control the plankton production. Despite these constrains some of the visited fish farmers has a good quantitative production of Tilapia mossambica with three harvesting for year with a total production comparable to 10/Ton/year fish; this is considered a good production.

Table N. 28 Descrio da situao actual da Aquacultura em Gorongosa Sitie/Nome Hom/Mujer N. tanque Sup M2 Produc Kg Abstenc Agua Qualidade Ph Nhataka 10/10 36 4.750 800 Subterranea 8.5 Canda 50/5 7 (56 700 350 Gravidade Nhamadzi inoperacin (5.600) (A) ais) Can.. N. (B) 15/3 26 4.100 144 Gravidade Tsiquiri 15/7 20 2.000 800 Gravidade Nhandemba 10/2 4 400 100 Subterranea 8.5 Nhauranga 19/7 144 14.400 6.000 Gravidade 8.5 Nhadjudje 15/2 13 1.300 Gravidade na Source: Gorongosa Aqauculture Baseline Alimenetao Milho, mapira, feijo ber (Cajanus cajans), folhas de mandioca e repolho. Fertilizao: estrume de boi, cabrito e galinha Alevinos nao estas sexado

Soil Clay

Clay Cla

15 Applied research proposals for Tilapia feed and feeding in Gorongosa

As the scope of this mission is to collaborate with IIP to set up some studies and applied researches for Tilapia feed, in this section it will be proposed some applied researches that can provided good examples of feeding methodology for Gorongosa area. The proposed studies involving the evaluation of practical feeding formulation, regime and fertilization will be conducted under condition as similar as possible to the stakeholder condition, trying at the same time accurate collection and analysis of data. The studies should be probably conducted in 100 sq mt tanks in Gorongosa or other areas. The effect of the different regime of diet/fertilisation proposed will be tested in a controlled environment; for a realable feed test, it is mandatory to keep all controllable variables equal among treatments except the one being tested. For this type of test a specific structure must be available; the aquaculture research centre must be managed according specific criteria for data collection safety. 35

Specialists must control daily the experiments and collect data. Alternatively less scientific research can be done in collaboration with the 7 Aquaculture Associations, the collected data will be less qualitative and more quantitative from the scientific point of view. Detail on environmental feed study Some characteristic of controlled environmental feed studies are provided in this section, the yield will be statistically reliable, some need for a scientific study are in the following lines: Complete research field station with applied research facility (see next section) capable to contain all the experimental fish at their final stage. We need around 10 ponds of 100 sq mt each, to be constructed (suggested place Nhambirira, Nhoranga that are already structured with dam and channels/pipes). It is mandatory ponds easy to harvest and dry (0,80 1.20 mt of deep), with appropriate dikes (1:3 slope in clay soil), apt to perform statistical study at country condition. Water availability all year around, as requested, of standard quality and ponds of similar characteristic of the one used by the stakeholders Standardized fast growing tilapia genetic strain are desiderable, (actually in Gorongosa it will be difficult) could be locally selected High enough number of animals per pond to avoid the problem of an unequal sex ratio (2/5 per sq mt min.) For statistical porpoise each test should be replicated in a minimum of three time for a growing cycle The test diets/fertilization for experiment must be very similar in the common part , feed able, nutritionally complete If local ingredient is used they must be standardized and uniform in their batch before the experiment start, All the ingredients and fertilizers must be ready before the starting of any experiment, Ingredient must be mixed in an uniform way, to allow maximum control over the diets to be tested The supplemental integrated feed must be: .Feed able .Palatable (water stable, optimum particle size and texture) .Nutritionally complete, belonging to a balanced diet .As far as possible made with standardized ingredient .Binded with an agent to hold the feed particles together for a time .Sanitary conform Management, the fish must be conditioned 1 or 2 weeks before to be going the experiment, they must be disinfected and prepared (acclimatised to the experimental diet and fed with the experimental diet to avoid diet acceptability) During the experiment fish must be fed at the maximum growth rate (satiation feeding) this enhance sensitivity to diet differences Length of the feeding trial will depend upon the time required to register statistical viable data and to enhance differences between the tests Small fishes must be fed more time a day large fishes less according with protocol The length of the feeding trials and grow cycle must be similar to the one done locally by the stakeholders


In case of disease, not related to the diet, the test must be discontinued until the fish return to normal feeding or treatment could confound experimental effects Fish should be sampled at the beginning of the experiment, then biweekly weightings will allow comparison, statistical data gathering and diet adjustment Result measuring must be done in a statistically sound system

Measuring responses Growth is the most important response in fish diet experiment, it is important to distinguish between growth and fat tissue accumulation that can provide false indication on the experimental fish growth. In fact part of the diet composition can be used to the fat tissue formation and not to the fish growth. Weight gain can be also be influenced by the fat accumulation in the tissue. Chemical analysis (fat, protein) of the experimental fish can provide clear explication about the fat tissue accumulation at the end of the experimental period. The response result can be provided in different way: standing crop, net production, percentage gain, gain per day, feed conversion ratio and growth curve. Other experimental indicator can include clinical and subclinical nutrient deficiency sign and fish size variation in every test batch In case of preparation of diet or supplemented diet it is important a detail procedure will be established for experimentation uniformity and comparison of trials. Practical step to prepare the an integrated diet: Mix the ingredient Add binding agent (oil, gelatine, eggs... ) Add 350 ml of water very Kg of diet Extrude through a food grinder with proper diameter holes in the grinder plate Break extrusion into shorts lengths with a sharp implement Use, frozen or dry quickly Several studies (El Sayed 2008 and other) and the consultant practical experience in Tilapia farming showed that Tilapia can be successfully farmed on plankton only or with moderate supplemental feeding (at 100-150 gr or after 80 days grow out period). The type of research it will be proposed must be considered as applied research as there is not the possibility to have standardized fingerlings, concrete pond, aquaria nor semi purified diet in Gorongosa area. The proposed research to propose Gorongosa practical diet and feeding system will involve fish feed similar to the commercial practice, but is amenable to sound statistical design. Pond feeds and feeding practices should be evaluated in some experimental ponds (to be constructed) the result represent the combinated and inseparable effects of the pond and the test feed. Particularly Tilapia will have an important part of the diet from the natural plankton production for the semi intensive system used. Channel catfish can gain 250 Kg per Ha from the natural environment meanwhile Tilapia from 1000 to 2000 Kg/Ha . In our practical experiment the supplemented diets are not necessary complete as in all the ponds will


be available natural resources as plankton for the fish; only the least available nutrients will be present, our diet will be called supplemental feed diet. The aquaculture situation, described in the above chapter, show clearly as the producers are available to use an improved green water system with some supplementary feed locally available. To stay in line with their needs and possibilities the consultant together with the IIP aquaculture department will suggest three possibilities for Gorongosa applied research. The proposals are prepared following a simple protocol prepared by the consultant. The proposal will be applied in the field in the near future from IIP staff (or other local institution) includes the following steps: Justification List of structure / equipment Technicians/Manpower needs Cost (indicative) Time Basic applied research protocol: after the facilities construction a more detailed protocol appropriate to the local condition and needs of the researches will be prepared according with the characteristic of the aquaculture site. The proposed following experiments must be considered as production type experiment for providing results to be practically applied to the stakeholders real situation. There will be three proposals A-B-C, they can be implemented simultaneously or one by one, every proposal has three different similar cases, to optimize the technology. Every case must be repeated 3 times at least (three time means three grow cycle). Then ten ponds of 100 sq mt will be necessary. More the plankton production site. Needs of appropriate structure More over the need of a Gorongosa (or close area) structure it is important to perform the requested applied researches, a detailed project must be prepared for the facilities construction. Applied research structure Actually there is not any available facility for feed experimentation in Mozambique, it is forecasted the construction of one facility in a well organized place, the facility will be organized with good aquaculture site construction and management practices. The experimental site will be used as example for all the fish farmers. Facilities for one technician, his family, one worker and/or a guardian must also be available nearby, not to forget all ancillary facilities. A detailed project must be prepared, just to remember some needs for an aquaculture research station it is mentioned in the following list: Aquaculture structure: dam, water filter, inlet/outlet channels, 10 ponds (100 mt sq), inlet / outlet pond controlled water pipe Station structure: gates, fences, warehouse, feed/manure silos, basic laboratory, workshop, garage, offices, energy supply Technician(s) facilities: house, guest house, guard/worker facilities, potable water storage and network, toilets and showers Laboratory aquaculture equipment (Secchi disk, balances, Ph meter, microscope, hema citocrome, thermometer, oximeter,...), computers and software 38

Feeding preparation equipment: grinder, mixer, pelleting machine, drier, basic ingredient/manure analysis Aquaculture equipment all metal: nets, buckets, selection table, hapa, cast net, poles, bottle, plankton filter Transport facilities: car and/or motorbike must be considered. Office facilities: desk, table, aircond, chairs, armchair, safe, computer, copy machine, scanner, ... Table N. 29 Cost example for applied research station N Description Cost Euro 1 Aquaculture structure 2000 M2 water max 20.000 2 Station structure 10.000 3 Technicians facility (home) 10.000 4 Laboratory aquaculture equipment 5.000 5 Laboratory feeding equipment 5.000 6 Aquaculture equipment 1.000 7 Transport facilities 20.000 8 Office facilities 3.000 9 Technicians (1 full time, I part time and guard/worker) I year 25.000 10 Manutention, fuel for transport and energy 4.000 11 Impreview 2.000 12 Consumable (feed, fertilizer) 5.000 Total Euro 110.000 Source: data from Gorongosa area, last Team survey The cost are considered with IIP/INAQUA staff use. The cost for applied research are only indicative, it is recommended produce a study to prepare the facilities and the management detail for the above structures; price change quickly in this area. Research station management The structure will be managed according with detailed protocol (See also Detail on environmental feed study) the main IIP aquaculture researcher will provide to the technicians and the worker (probably from INAQUA). Some example of Good Management Practices for the aquaculture station could be: Main intake dam must be periodically cleaned and a filter must avoid the organic material from the water intake The intake and output channel must be periodically cleaned as the dike to avoid too high grasses Water quality must be periodically controlled Fish parameter must be periodically controlled according with the experimental needs Pond must be drained after every harvest well dried, disinfected and dried for 10 days at least Fingerlings must be well selected possibly certified and if not available on the market auto produced in Gorongosa Feed and fertilized batches must be analysed to guarantee a constant composition and quantity Feed and/or fertilizers must be ready for all the cycle before starting any experiment Feed conservation must be controlled Equipments must be periodically tested Budget must be available periodically (i.e. 6 months period) to guarantee all the station needs

o o o o o o o o o o o


Periodical inspections must be guaranteed by audit personnel (scientific and economic specialized) The data collected during the applied researches could be utilized, between the other, to calculate some parameters: differences in average weight gain, specific growth rate (SGR), feed conversion ratio (FCR), protein efficiency ratio (PER) among fed supplemental diets and/ or different fertilization. Relative cost per unit weight gain and cost per unit weight gain

The applied research proposals could be the follow:

A Green water
Justification. Green water or the production of phyto and zoo plankton is the most economic and easy way to feed filter feeding fish as Tilapine family. Tilapia have naturally some branchiospine close to gill permitting them to graze on plankton. No supplemental feed will be used in this experiment. Several researchers and the practical experience of the consultant forecast a 1500 / 200 Kg Ha of production with green water as feed input. List of equipment: three 100 m2 ponds, laboratory equipment, constant quality water, 300 (considered 20% more for the mortality rate) fingerling of Tilapia mossambica per pond total 900, aquaculture equipment Technicians/Manpower needs: 1 technicians full time, one supervision control every 15 days, one worker full time for cleaning dike weeds and feed preparing, for one year Cost: aquaculture station availability, 2 technicians (1 full time and one part time), 1 worker/guard full time, appropriate number of fingerlings, dry and fresh manure (different animal species around 2 - 3 T dried), equipment. See Table 29 for details. Timetable: minimum 3 cycles of 4 month each for every case, one year Applied research protocol Respecting the aquaculture station good practices (See the Gorongosa Research station management) production of plankton will be enhanced with different quantity and animal manure specie. The control pond could be one of the local fish farmer nearby. Example: Pond 1: until 1 kg dry chicken manure per day, Pond 2: until 2 kg of dry goat manure per day Pond 3: until 2,5 kg dry cow manure per day

B Green water and supplemented local feed

Justification According with several researches to use supplemental feed it is interesting, from the growth point of view, after 70 - 100 gr or after 80 days of Tilapia growing, three different supplemental feed can be tested, fertilization will be constant during all the trial. Economic must be attentively monitored during the trial. The ingredient will be the one available to the fish farmers. The ingredients anyway must have some value. 40

List of equipment: three 100 m2 ponds, and same as A Manpower needs: same than A Cost: same structure and equipment of A, (Tot 40.000) Time: one year Applied research protocol: Respecting the aquaculture station good practices (See the Gorongosa Research station management) the three ponds will be uniformly fertilized (Example 1 to Kg dry manure day) then different supplemental diet can be provided ad libitum. The control pond could be one of the local fish farmer nearby. Example: Pond 1 - standard fertilization + diet 1 (corn %, bean%, peanuts %, cassava leaves meal%, blood meal%, bone meal%, binder) Pond 2 standard fertilization + diet 2 (Different %) Pond 3 - standard fertilization + diet 3 (Different %)

Table N. 30 Proposed supplemental diets for Gorongosa developed during the training course Ingredients Maize flower integral* Blood meal Peanuts Bone meal Cassava leaves Beans Soja Binder Diet 1 37 7 13 5 25 12 1 Diet 2 38 3 13 1 25 19 1 Diet 3 30 0 18 0 20 19 13 1

The diet are calcualted with a specialised software: Diet Formulator Programme (CSIRO Marine & Atmospheric Research, 2011)

C Separated green water production

Justification Following several researcher and the author practical experimentations, sole plankton production, in specialised pond, can provide until 10 gr/plankton dry matter/ per day in a European sunny condition with manuring only. The plankton pond(s) will have elliptical shape, 20 cm deep and a continuous slow recirculation stream, it must be appropriately fertilized and plankton bloom controlled. List of equipment: same than A Manpower needs: same than A 41

Cost: same than A, more one/two plankton production pond will be built at 1.000 Euro cost nearby the three experimental tanks) Time: one year Applied research protocol The plankton production will be separated from the fish on-growing pond, the plankton will be transferred trough a pipe to the grow-out fish ponds. The on-growing production ponds will be fed with the same plankton coming from the production pond. Different size of fish will be placed in the three ponds, no feed will be given to the fish, fertilization will be added at different levels to the three trials (example): Pond 1 - standard fertilization + plankton (25 cm Secchi disc), normal fry Pond 2 standard fertilization +50% plankton (normal fry) Pond 3 - standard fertilization + more plankton with adult fish (starting 100 gr)

16 Conclusions
The presentation of the fish nutritional requirements, some ingredients composition, fertilizer and fertilization techniques, the diet formulation system and other details on Tilapia feed and feeding has presented to the reader the vast complexity of the matters, Suitable feed and feeding strategies are necessary to sustain aquaculture development. There is no tradition of on-farm feed formulation than can be widely used in small-scale aquaculture systems. Manufactured pellet feeds are very expensive compared with other local feed ingredients and fertilisation. Fresh fish feeds are often available with local ingredients mixed by the fish farmers. In Gorongosa area the local ingredients are poor in protein supplement. The experience of government employees is considered limited for planning and conducting feed and feeding research; thus periodical training is need to organize applied research and extension activities. Mozambique research priorities on feed and fish nutrition are axed on fertilization and increasing protein level in the local self prepared diet. For a practical application of the above statement it is important to prepare appropriate applied researches facilities to implement nutrition applied research studies as requested. In case of the availability of the facilities the consultant proposes three applied researches trails according with the Gorongosa fish farmer needs: A, B, C. The proposed applied research studies need appropriate structure that must be prepared with a project package, this will need a long preparation time that is estimated by the consultant in minimum one year from proposition to building facilities to starting activities. One possible option, in addition or not with the field research station, could be to propose collaboration with the aquaculture association that can built and manage appropriate facilities under the IIP/INAQUA supervision, this waiting the financing and preparation for the applied research station.

17 Recommendations
The consultant, in collaboration with the IIP&INQUA staff and the other local Gorongosa stakeholders is able to provide a serial of recommendations for future development of activities in Gorongosa area as following: 1. Continue to considered only diet/fertilisation applied research level for future activities for the local logistic difficulties and the stakeholders needs 2. A Gorongosa or other more suitable sites field station should be established for demonstrative and feed and feeding aquaculture applied research porpoises. 42

3. 4. 5. 6.


Capacity building of IIP staff in aquaculture diet/fertilizer applied research technology and management, with a focus on feeds and feeding technology, is needed. Periodical refreshing extension training must be provided for INAQUA of staff (Maputo, Sofala, Gorongosa) Periodical training and extension activities for feed and feeding must be established for Gorongosa stakeholders (7 Associations) by IIP/INAQUA staff The extension network and research collaboration between institutions dealing with aquaculture development and education, including feed and feeding technology, should be improved. Applied researches activities (A-B-C) for supplemented Tilapia feed, green water and separated green water must be carefully planned by IIP staff; the applied research must have three repeated cycles.

Applied research scope A. Fertiliser and manure availability, operating costs and optimal combinations B. Alternative supplementary feeds, availability of ingredients, diet formulations, local manufacturing of supplementary feeds, could be used after 80 days or 100-150 gr in the grow out C. Separated green water production and management, one tank will produce the plankton and the other will be feeded with the concentrated plankton

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Add plankton production bibliography

Annex I


I Some indication on plankton and invertebrate nutritive value Names Moisture % Crude protein %

Crude lipid %

Ash %

Phosphorus % 47


Algal SCP freshwater

Algal marine

5.7 6.7 Scenedesmus obliquus, dried 6.0 S. acutus, dried 8.1 Cladophora glomerata, dried 1.6 SCP Filamentous bluegreen algae, 9.1
Spirulina maxima mixed fresh Oscillatoria phormidium spp, fresh Diatoms, mixed fresh Phytoflagellates, mixed fresh Marien Chlorella (C. Vulgaris), fresh Activated sludge, domestic sewage dried AS brewery processing waste, dried A.S. paper processed waste, dried Cultured on bakers yeast, + clorella

Chlorella vulgaris, dried

47.2 58.6 52.6 43.6 31 2.3 1.6 2.9 3.9 12.2 39.6 44.4 42.3 6.2 7.7 6.7 44.3

7.4 4.8 13.0 10.5 5.2 0.2 0.4 0.9 1.3 5.4 2.6 8.0 0.4 1.8 2.4 2.1 4.0

10.6 6.7 8.0 7.4 23.2 5.1 12.2 6.5 0.7 2.3 21.1 12.6 27.7 0.7 0.5 1.1 15.6

1.76 3.66

% 29.1 23.2 20.4 30.4 39.0 2.3 2.9 2.6 5.2 4.3 31.1 30.0

82.9 87.1 88.9 75.8 5.6 5 3 90.7 88.7 89.0 18.7

0.61 1.65

Mixed SCP culture

2.30 0.127 1.138 0.14

26.6 0.6 o.7 1.1 17.4

Invertrebate Rotifers, Brachionus plicotilis, wet basis Brine shrimp, Artemia salina

Larvae (nauplii), just after hatching, wet basis Brine shrimp meal (adult), dried