Two experimental feeding trials were conducted concurrently to study the growth response of African catfish Clarias gariepinus fingerlings to graded levels (0, 5, 10, 15 or 20%) of clupeids in Danish fish meal (DFM) based diets. Chemical analysis of the DFM and clupeids fish meal (CFM) was carried out. Completely randomized design with triplicated groups of fingerlings were used for both trials in an indoor and out-door concrete tanks for six and twelve weeks respectively. The study aimed at achieving a cost effective fish meal from local aquatic resources (clupeids fish) highly prolific and abundant in Nigeria water bodies to replace foreign fish meal in West Africa Region. A project supported by West African Agricultural Productivity Project (WAAPP) in NIFFR, Nigeria.
The results of proximate, amino acid profile, mineral and fatty acid composition analysis of CFM indicated values which are very close to those of the DFM. The proximate analysis revealed CFM to contain 70.6% crude protein while DFM contains 72%. There were no significant difference between the treatments with respect to final weight, feed consumed, feed conversion ratio, digestibility and survival (P>0.05) although there was significant difference in specific growth rate (P<0.05) with the highest value obtained in the diets with both fish meal at ratio 1:1. There were no significant difference in haematological parameters (P>0.05). However the lymphocytes were high in all the groups which might not be particularly due to the treatments. The high proliferation of the body defence cells by the fish could be a mechanism of survival in the aqua-medium which is likely to be high in microbial load due to waste materials. Feed Cost/Kg for DFM was N260.16 while for CFM was N227.16. The results of chemical analysis and feeding trials indicated positive replacement of the DFM with CFM in fish feeds without negative effect on growth performance
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