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Location: Warmwater Aquaculture Research Unit

Title: Effects of varying dietary compositions using common feed ingredients on growth and feed efficiency of pond raised channel catfish

item Li, M
item Robinson, E
item Bosworth, Brian
item Oberle, D
item Lucas, P

Submitted to: Aquaculture Research
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 7/30/2009
Publication Date: 7/1/2010
Publication URL:
Citation: Li, M.H., Robinson, E.H., Bosworth, B.G., Oberle, D.F., Lucas, P.M. 2010. Effects of varying dietary compositions using common feed ingredients on growth and feed efficiency of pond raised channel catfish. Aquaculture Research. 41:1133-1139.

Interpretive Summary: Early commercial feeds for food-size channel catfish contained 8% or more marine fish meal primarily because there was a lack of nutritional information for catfish, and fish meal was known to be a high-quality protein. Because fish meal is of limited supply and more expensive than most other protein sources, reducing or eliminating its use in feeds for food-sized catfish, while maintaining optimum fish performance, will reduce feed cost and make catfish production more environmentally friendly and sustainable. The primary goal of catfish feed development is to use a mixture of feedstuffs of plant origin in an optimum proportion to replace all fish meal and other animal proteins in the diet without comprising fish performance. Although diets containing fish meal in general resulted in slightly higher weight gain and lower feed conversion ratio than fish fed all-plant diets, diets containing certain combinations of all-plant feedstuffs, such as soybean meal-corn-cottonseed meal or soybean meal-corn-wheat middlings-cottonseed meal, provided the same level of fish performance as some fish meal diets. This information can be useful to optimize cost-effective feed formulations for catfish.

Technical Abstract: Two experiments were conducted to evaluate various ingredient combinations in a 28% or 32% protein diet for optimum performance of channel catfish Ictalurus punctatus. All diets contained soybean meal and corn, but with or without cottonseed meal, wheat middlings or fish meal. Channel catfish fingerlings were stocked into 0.04-ha earthen ponds at 18,530 fish per ha. Fish were fed one of eight diets once daily to apparent satiation for two growing seasons. Results demonstrated that the dietary ingredient composition used had significant effects on fish performance, but magnitude of differences was relatively small. Overall, diets containing fish meal resulted in greater weight gain (Experiments 1 and 2) and lower feed conversion ratio (Experiment 1) than fish fed all-plant diets. However, certain combinations of plant ingredients provided the similar fish growth as some diets containing fish meal. There were no significant differences in weight gain between fish fed soybean meal-corn or soybean meal-corn-wheat middlings-based diets with cottonseed meal or fish meal. The use of wheat middlings in the diet had no significant effects on fish production characteristics.