Friday, February 19, 2010

PREPARATION AND TRIAL OF A LOW COST BALANCED PELLET FEED FOR TILAPIA USING Urochloa mutica (PARA GRASS)

Madhumita Mukherjee*, Shibdas Basu, and Sidhartha Sarkar
Office of the Deputy Director of Fisheries (Microbiology & Parasitology), Aquatic Resource Health Management Center, Pailan ,Department of Fisheries , Government of West Bengal. India
E-mail: arhmc_pailan @yahoo.com. Tilapia fish presently is the second highest preferred food fish in the world. The fish are delicious to eat, with no fine intramuscular bones and little carcass waste; easy to breed; cheap to feed; and tolerant of wide temperature, salinity and water quality ranges. Also, the fish are comparatively free from parasites and disease. Many Tilapias are sold whole, but some are sold as fillets, breaded fish sticks, and other further processed products and has been selected for this venture. Due to increasing demand, high costs and uncertain availability of fish meal, together with risk factors associated with disease from animal protein sources, a cost effective new formulated feed have been evolved. As Tilapia is a basically herbivorous fish with long gut, a suitable palletized feed with low production cost has been prepared using Para grass as a main carbohydrate & protein source. Now-a-days different types of grasses are being used as fish feed ingredient in different countries. Urochloa muticaas is a locally available species has been collected, processed and used as a main carbohydrate and protein souse in palletized fish feed.

The study was conducted at Pailan Research Center. Fingerlings of Tilapia were collected from local market. 36 fingerlings (avg. wt. 4-5gm/fish) were stocked in concrete tanks (9m2) at a rate of 4 fish/m2. Trial has been given and obtained an excellent result. The fish were batch weighted in every 15 days to know the growth and health status. The water quality was assessed weekly. The weight gain, specific growth rate (SGR), feed conversion ratio (FCR) and protein efficiency ratio (PER) were the response parameters with respect to dietary treatment. No significance variation (p>0.05) was observed in weight gain, SGR, FCR and PER in fish between the effect of standard commercial feed vs our formulated feed. This may partially be explained by the fact that Tilapia is said to prefer feeding on plants such as periphyton growing in marshy areas and hence lack of animal protein in the diet did not affect growth.

It can be concluded that more expensive and limited animal protein sources can partially be replaced by this new formulated feed in order to get better growth rates in Tilapia. The results indicate that Tilapia does not rely on expensive sources of protein to achieve good growth. This approach may be open up an alternative horizon to the feed and aquacultural sector.


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