Asian Fisheries Society

Effect of Feeding Different Levels of Alfalfa Meal on the Growth Performance and Body Composition of Nile Tilapia (Oreochromis niloticus) Fingerlings


The study was conducted to evaluate the growth performance and body composition of Oreochromis niloticus fingerlings (average initial body weight 12.38 ± 0.39g) fed isonitrogenous and isoenergetic diets containing different levels (0, 5, 10, 15 and 20 %) of alfalfa meal, for a period of 67 days. The inclusion of alfalfa meal over 5% in the diets reduced (P < 0.05) growth performance and nutrient utilization in fish as compared to control diet (without alfalfa meal). The decrease in growth performance was linearly correlated with level of alfalfa meal in the diet. No significant (P < 0.05) differences were, however, observed in specific growth rate and body condition factor of fish fed either 10 or 15% of alfalfa meal. The diet containing 20% of alfalfa meal showed poorest (P < 0.05) growth performance and nutrient utilization. Inclusion of alfalfa meal over 5% in diets significantly (P < 0.05) reduced feed intake in fish compared to the control diet. Diets containing 15 or 20% alfalfa meal however, did not show any significant (P > 0.05) difference in feed consumption of fish. The efficiency of feed utilization decreased linearly when the level of alfalfa meal in diets increased over 5%. No significant (P < 0.05) differences were, however, observed in the feed conversion ratio (FCR) of diets containing 10 or 15% of alfalfa meal. Similar results were observed for protein efficiency ratio (PER). Net protein retention (NPR) and apparent net energy retention (ANER) values however, differed significantly (P < 0.05) at all inclusion levels. Body moisture content of fish increased whereas fat and gross energy contents decreased when the level of alfalfa meal in diets was either 15 or 20%. No significant differences were however observed in the body moisture, fat and gross energy contents of fish fed either 15 or 20% of alfalfa meal. The level of alfalfa meal in fish diets did not affect body crude protein and ash contents. The results of the present study indicated that up to 5% level of alfalfa meal could be used in the diets for Oreochromis niloticus.

Publication Date : 2003-01-01

Volume : 16

Issue : 1

Page : 59-67

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Date 2003/01/01
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