Submitted to: Aquaculture America Conference
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: September 1, 2007
Publication Date: February 9, 2008
Citation: Li, M., Peterson, B.C., Bates, T.D., Robinson, E.H. 2008. Growth and Feed Efficiency of Juvenile Channel Catfish Ictalurus punctatus Fed Diets Containing Various Levels of Fish Meal at Different Water Temperatures. Aquaculture America Conference. P: 204 Technical Abstract: Unlike warm-blooded animals, channel catfish do not feed consistently when water temperatures are below 20°C and generally stop eating at temperatures of 10°C and below. Many catfish producers choose not to feed during winter months for various reasons, one of which is that it is difficult to see a positive response from a winter feeding program. However, based on research results, winter-feeding is beneficial, though the magnitude of benefit from a winter feeding program depends on the severity of the winter. Fish will gain (if fed) or lose (if not fed) more weight during a mild winter than a cold one. Since feeding activity of channel catfish is reduced at low temperatures, it may be that adding a highly palatable feedstuff, such as fish meal, to the diet would increase feed consumption of catfish at low temperatures. There have been anecdotal reports that channel catfish ate better at low temperature when they were fed diets containing fish meal; however, there is a lack of research data to verify whether this is true or not. Therefore, a study was conducted in recirculating systems to examine effects of fish meal levels on feed consumption, weight gain, and feed efficiency of juvenile channel catfish reared at various temperatures. Fish with an average initial weight of 9.6 g were stocked in each of 23-liter clear polycarbonate tanks maintained at approximately 17, 21, and 27ºC respectively. Four tanks were used for each fish meal × water temperature combination. The fish were fed to apparent satiation with diets containing 0, 4, and 8% menhaden fish meal for 9 weeks. There was a significant interaction between water temperature and fish meal level for weight gain. At 27ºC, fish fed diets containing 4% and 8% fish meal gained significantly more weight than fish fed the all-plant-protein diet. However, no significant differences were observed in weight gain of fish fed diets containing three levels of fish meal at 17 and 21ºC, respectively. This suggests that the olfactory and gustatory responses of channel catfish to fish meal (up to 8% in the diet) may not be as sensitive at low temperatures as at optimum temperatures. Results also indicate that 4% fish meal in the diet is adequate for optimum growth and feed efficiency of channel catfish fingerlings raised at optimum temperature.