Livestock Research for Rural Development 27 (8) 2015 Guide for preparation of papers LRRD Newsletter

Citation of this paper

Growth response, feed utilization and survival rate of Heterobranchus bidorsalis (Geoffroy St; Hilaire 1809) fed varying levels of vitamin C

I U Udo and I B Okon

Department of Fisheries and Aquatic Environmental Management, Faculty of Agriculture, University of Uyo, Uyo - Nigeria
dorime_2004@yahoo.com

Abstract

The growth of aquaculture industry in Nigeria depends to a large extent on the availability of high quality fish feeds. Processing of ingredients has resulted in the deficiency of ascorbate which is a nutrient required to maintain the physiological process of different animal including fish. This study was conducted to determine the effects of dietary vitamin C on growth performance, feed utilization and survival of Heterobranchus bidorsalis fingerlings. Three diets designated as NoAA, 250AA and 500AA containing ascorbic acid at 0, 250 and 500 mg kg-1 diet respectively were fed to H. bidorsalis fingerlings (3.730.13 g) in triplicate tanks thrice daily for a period of 114 days.

Daily weight gain, specific growth rate, feed conversion and protein efficiency ratio were better for diet 500AA than for diets NoAA and 250AA. The best survival rate was also recorded for diet 500AA. It is concluded that supplementation with vitamin C at 500 mg kg-1 diet enhanced the growth performance, feed utilization and survival rate of H. bidorsalis in intensive fish culture.

Keywords: feral catfish, nutrition, supplementation


Introduction

The aim of aquaculture is to produce table size fish within a short period of time. This can be achieved by formulating a nutritionally balanced diet for the fish during culture. One of the hindrances in achieving this is the high cost of feed ingredients which of course determines the overall cost of the diet. Among such ingredients, fishmeal is the costliest. High cost of feed has been a major problem to aquaculture development in Nigeria for a decade now (Udo and Umoren 2011). According to Gabriel et al (2007), fish feed accounts for at least 60% of the total cost of production. Attempts to cut down the cost have made feed formulators resort to partially or totally substituting fishmeal with other ingredients that are inferior to fishmeal in terms of vitamin profile. This has resulted in imbalanced diets which culminates in poor growth of fish (Merchie et al 1996).

Ineffective culture and care in fish farming result in high mortality as a result of parasitism and diseases. These can be remedied by the use of vitamins. Research has shown that there are treatment that are not only curative but also prophylactic such as the boosting of the immune system using vitamin C (Velhac and Gabaudan 1994). Ascorbate is a nutrient required to maintain the physiological process of all animals including fish (Roberts et al 1995). Most fish including Heterobranchus Spp. are not capable of biosynthesis of vitamin C (Chatterjee 2003) due to the absence of enzyme 2-gulonilactone oxidase which is responsible for synthesis of ascorbic acid (Wilson 1973). Thus, fish depend upon exogenous sources of vitamin C in their natural environment (De Silva and Anderson 1995). Vitamin C is present in most natural food but in intensive fish culture its supplementation becomes necessary since much of it is leached during culture. A small amount of these vitamins is sufficient to prevent and cure scurvy. However, larger amounts may be essential to maintain good health during environmental adversities, situation of physiological stress and condition of infections/parasitic disease (McDowell 1989; Lim and Lovell 1978).

Much research work has been carried out on the use of dietary Vitamin C (Ascorbic Acid) to improve natural resistance to infection in fish. The possible mechanism and the doses used vary according to species. However, there is paucity of information on the effect of dietary supplementation of Ascorbic Acid (AA) on the growth performance and survival of Heterobranchus bidorsalis. Therefore, the objective of this present study was to investigate the effect of dietary supplementation of AA on growth performance, feed utilization and survival of the feral catfish (H. bidorsalis) .


Materials and Methods

The experiment was conducted in the fish farm complex of the Department of Fisheries and Aquatic Environmental Management, University of Uyo, Uyo, Akwa Ibom State from 31 December 2014 to 21 April 2015.

Collection and processing of feed ingredients

Feed ingredients used in this experiment included soybean, fishmeal (Ethmalosa fimbriata), palm kernel cake and white maize. These were procured from Uyo main market. The ingredients were brought to the processing unit where they were finally processed. Soybean was toasted until it became brown in colour and the chaff was blown out before grinding it into powdered form. White maize was dried and ground into powdered form. Palm kernel cake was already prepared and was ground to smaller particles. Fishmeal was dried in the oven to removed moisture and was then ground.

Proximate composition of feed ingredients

The proximate composition of the feed ingrediets (Table 1) is taken from standard nutritional tables (NRC 1993; ADCP 1993).

Table 1: Proximate composition and digestible energy of the feed ingredients used in this experiment

 

Content (%)

 

DM

CP

CF

EE

Ash

P

Ca

NFE

LS

MT

DE#

FM

91.1

52.9

3.11

5.78

21.9

2.89

5.14

16.3

4.85

2.62

2861

SBM

88.5

88.5

6.5

3.5

5.67

0.2

0.2

31.3

2.8

0.6

2230

WMM

88.5

7.31

2

3.2

0.51

0.09

0.01

76.6

0.3

0.18

3432

3137

PKC

91.6

20.4

9

8.9

5.7

0.6

0.3

56.6

0.75

0.94

FM=fishmeal; SBM=soybean meal; WMM=white maize meal; PKC=palm kernel cake
DM=dry matter CP=crude protein; CF=crude fibre; EE=ether extract; P=phosphorus; Ca=calcium; NFE=nitrogen free extract; LS=lysine; MT=methionine; DE=digestible energy
#
(Kcal kg-1 DM)

Feed formulation

Diets for this experiment were formulated using software for windows (Winfeed 2.8).  All diets were formulated on dry matter basis (Table 2).

Feed milling and drying

Diets were mixed thoroughly. Two percent of cassava starch was used as a binder. Hot water was then put into the mixture and mixing continued. After some minutes, the diets were then pelleted using a manual pelletizer with a 2 mm die ring and dried accordingly. The required quantity of vitamin C was dissolved in about 5 ml of water and spread on the dried pellets which were dried again.

Table 2: Ingredient composition of the experimental diets formulated using Winfeed 2.8

 

Minimum (%)

Maximum (%)

% used

Ingrediets

 

 

 

Palm kernel cake

-

-

2.21

White maize meal

-

-

64.4

Soybean meal

10

-

23.4

Fishmeal

10

-

10

Proximate composition

 

 

Dry matter (%)

-

-

88.8

Digestible energy

-

-

3476

Methionine

-

-

1.51

Phosphorus

-

0.45

0.45

Calcium

-

-

0.63

Nitrogen free extract

-

-

67.2

Ash

-

-

4.41

Crude fibre

-

5

3.73

Ether extract

-

5

4.09

Crude protein

35

40

40

Cost kg-1 (N)

 

 

219

 

Source of fingerlings

Two hundred fingerlings of H. bidorsalis were procured from Udosen Farm in Ikot Abasi, Local Government Area. They were transported in a 20 litre rubber container with open top for oxygen to penetrate. This was brought to the experimental site. No transport mortality was incurred.

Acclimation

The  H. bidorsalis fingerlings acclimated for one week in the hatchery unit of the fish farm.  During this period the fish were fed ad libitum with a commercial diet of 45 per cent crude protein.

Experimental procedures

Nine tarpaulin tanks (3000 litres) were washed, dried and quarter-filled with water supplied a bore-hole; water depth was 2 m.

The design was acompletely randomized arrangement of the treatments (CRD). One hundred and eighty fingerlings (3.730.13 g) were randomly distributed into nine experimental tanks (20 per tank). These were assigned to three treatments and replicated thrice. The control treatment received no supplementary Vitamin C (NoAA). The other two treatments received diets with 250 mg vitamin C (250AA) or 500 mg AA (500AA). The feeding rate was 5% of body weight distributed at 6, 13 and 18h for 114 days. The feeding rate was adjusted at intervals according to changes in body weight. The water was changed weekly. Physico-chemical parameters (pH, temperature, ammonia and dissolved oxygen) were monitored thrice weekly.

Data collection

The weights of individual fish were determined with an electronic scale (Mettler Toledo, model PB 602).  Fish daily weight gain, feed conversion ratio, specific growth rate and survival were determined. Daily weight gain (g) was calculated as follows:

DWG = FW–IW)/N ………………………………………. (1)

Where: DWG = Daily weight gain; FW = Final weight of fish; IW = Initial weight of fish; N = number of days the fish were cultured.

Specific Growth Rate (SGR) was calculated as:

SGR= (Ln FBW – Ln IBW)/N 100 ………………………………. (2)

Where: FBW = Final body weight at each harvest; IBW = Initial body eeight; Ln= Natural logarithm and N = number of days the fish were cultured.

Feed conversion Ratio (FCR) was calculated as:

FCR = DWFF (g)/WG (g)………………… (3)

Where: DWFF = dry weight of feed fed; WG = mean weight gain

Protein Efficiency Ratio (PER) was calculated as:

PER = WG (g) /TPI (g)…………………… (4)

Where: WG = mean weight gain; TPI = total protein intake.

The survival rate (SR) was calculated as:

Survival (%) = TH/TS x 100………………………… (5)

Where: TH = total number of fish harvested; TS = total number of fish cultured

Statistical analysis

Data were subjected to analysis of variance (ANOVA),  and the treatment means compared for significant differences (P<0.05), using a computer statistical package for social scientists (SPSS19) for windows. Where there was significant difference, post hoc analysis was performed using Duncan Multiple Range Test.


Results

Water quality

Physico-chemical parameters fluctuated slightly (Table 3) but were within the recommended ranges for pH, dissolved oxygen (DO) and temperature (Boyd 1979).

Table 3. Physico-chemical parameters of the water during the 114 days culture period

Parameter

NoAA

250AA

500AA

Dissolved oxygen (mg l-1)

5.590.8

5.660.15

6.121.9

Morning temperature (oC)

26.62.76

26.11.72

25.72.09

pH

6.990.39

7.594.19

7.020.14

Ammonia (mg l-1)

0.030.01

0.010.02

0.020.01

Growth performance and feed utilization  

The highest daily weight gain was recorded for AAA500,  while the lowest was in the control (NoAA) (Table 4). The specific growth rate followed the same pattern. Generally, the fish showed good appetite on all the treatment diets, attested to by the increase in body weight (Figure 1). The growth trends show that there was a similar growth pattern until the 9th sampling date when fish fed 500AA started growing faster than the fish in both the control (NoAA) and 250AA diets. The survival rate was best on the 250AA diet

Table 4: Growth performance and feed utilization of Heterbranchus bidorsalis fed different experimental diets

 

 

NoAA

250AA

500AA

SEM

p

 

Initial weight, g

74.50.23

74.40.33

74.50.2

0.177

   -

 

Final weight, g

84.213.2a

11927.2ab

21650.6b

7.09

0.012

 

Daily weight gain, g

0.07520.0164a

0.5140.0973b

1.310.126c

0.0734

<0.001

 

Specific growth rate

0.1230.027a

0.4390.124b

0.9520.111c

0.502

<0.001

 

Feed conversion  

1.150.081a

1.430.891bb

1.640.837c

0.0307

<0.001

 

Protein efficiency ratio

0.3210.442a

1.040.352a

2.382.43b

0.227

<0.001

 

Survival rate, %

84.415.2a

73.524.4a

97.14.35b

2.68

<0.001

 

abc Means in the same row without common letter are different at P<0.05

 


Figure 1.  Trends in growth of Heterobranchus bidorsalis fingerlings fed diets with different;levels of Vitamin C (AA ascorbic acid)


Discussion

Water quality monitoring revealed that the difference in the mean weight of H. bidorsalis in the three treatments was not as a result of differences in the physico-chemical parameters.

The best performance on the diet supplemented with 500 mg AA kg-1   confirms that H. bidorsalis fingerlings needed adequate exogenous vitamin C to maintain normal growth and physiological functions as reported by several authors (Wang et al 2003; Mitra and Mukhopadhyay 2003; Gbadamosi et al 2006; Ibiyo et al 2007). Tewary and Patra (2008) reported that among four diets with vitamin C at 0, 500, 1000 and 1500 mg kg-1 maximum growth  of Labeo rohita fingerlings was observed  with1000 mg AA kg-1 while the lowest growth was observed for fish on the control diet. Alam et al (2009) reported a similar result in Heteropneustes fossilis. Yousefi et al (2013) extended Vitamin C to 2000 mg kg-1 in the diet of Barbus sharpeyi fingerlings and found that the best growth response was observed at 1000 mg kg-1. Although the highest concentration in this study was 500 mg kg-1, it can be deduced that the region for maximum growth falls within 500 – 1000 mg kg-1.

Our results differ from those of Ai et al (2006) and Adewolu and Aro (2009) who reported that growth performances were not significantly influenced by different dietary supplementation of AA levels in Pseudosciaena crocea and Clarias gariepinus, respectively. The different results reported may have been due to differences in fish species, the form of vitamin C, supplementation levels and experimental conditions.  It is generally believed that metabolic rate is the primary factor regulating AA requirements (Dabrowski 1991) and growth rate always correlates with metabolic rate (Jobling 1985; Ai et al 2006).

 The results for protein efficiency were similar to those reported by Alam et al (2009) who found that FCR and PER improved linearly with increased ascorbic acid levels. Similarly, Tewary and Patra (2008) stated that PER increased with enhanced feeding supplementation levels up to 1000 mg kg-1 diet, but no further increase was observed when levels were increased beyond 1000 mg kg-1. On the contrary, C. gariepinus fingerlings given a diet without vitamin C supplementation had poorer FCR and PER compared with those fed diets containing vitamin C supplements (Adewolu and Aro 2009). It seems that the high concentration of vitamin C in the diet might be helpful for proper nutrient utilization, because AA plays an important role in certain aspects of protein metabolism (Tewary and Patra 2008). In the present study, survival rate generally increased with increase in dietary vitamin C. Ibiyo et al (2007) reported that survival of the fish increased significantly with dietary vitamin C inclusion and there was no significant difference between all the groups that received the vitamin C supplemented diets with respect to survival in Heterobranchus longifilis fingerlings. Similar results from dietary supplementation with vitamin C on percentage survival rate have been reported in C. gariepinus (Adewolu and Aro 2009). Results of this study could serve as a working model for the fish farmers in Nigeria who take African catfish as favorite species with considerable potential for aquaculture in many areas.


Conclusions


Acknowledgment

We thank the Department of Fisheries and Aquatic Environmental Management University of Uyo, Uyo – Nigeria for the Logistical support.


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Received 14 April 2015; Accepted 5 July 2015; Published 1 August 2015

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