This study evaluated the growth performance and body composition of Oreochromis niloticus fingerlings (average initial weight 16.53 ± 0.44 g) fed 9 experimental diets (A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H and I) containing three different levels of protein (26, 31 and 36 g 100 g-1) at three different gross energy (GE) levels (16, 19 and 22 MJ kg-1) for a period of 64 days. Significant differences were observed in the feed consumption, body weight gain, specific growth rate (SGR), condition factor (k), feed conversion ratio (FCR), protein efficiency ratio (PER), net protein retention (NPR) and apparent net energy retention (ANER) values of fish when the energy level of diet was increased at different protein levels. The maximum weight gain, SGR and k were observed on diet F containing 36% protein and an energy level of 19 MJ kg-1 of dry feed with a protein to energy (P/E) ratio of 18.96 (g protein MJ-1 GE). A further increase in the energy content of the diet (22 MJ kg-1) at the same protein level (Diet I) did not produce any improvement in the growth performance. Lowering the energy level at the same protein level significantly affected the growth performance. Fish fed diet B containing 31% protein and a lower energy level of 16 MJ kg -1 with the same P/E ratio of 18.61 as diet F showed significantly lower weight gain and growth performance than diet F. Diets E and H containing 31% crude protein at all three energy levels produced similar results as diet B. The poorest FCR was observed when the diet contained both lower levels of protein and energy. Fish fed diet G, containing 26% protein at high energy level (22 MJ kg-1), showed the best PER and NPR values. The PER and NPR were the poorest on diet C containing 36% protein at low energy level (16 MJ kg-1). The body moisture content at all protein levels decreased (P < 0.05) with the increasing level of dietary energy whereas the body fat content increased (P < 0.05). Similar trends were observed in the body ash and energy content. Increasing the dietary energy content at lower protein levels did not show any difference (P > 0.05) in body protein content. Our results indicated the optimum P/E ratio for O. niloticus as 18.96 g protein per mega joule of gross energy at 36% dietary protein level and a dietary gross energy value of 19 MJ kg-1.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Aquatic Science