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Nursing duration and pond fertilization level affect polycultures of Indian major carp (rohu Labeo rohita and mrigal Cirrhina mrigala) with monosex Nile tilapia Oreochromis niloticus

Hossain MA, Little DC & Bhujel RC (2003) Nursing duration and pond fertilization level affect polycultures of Indian major carp (rohu Labeo rohita and mrigal Cirrhina mrigala) with monosex Nile tilapia Oreochromis niloticus. Aquaculture Research, 34 (9), pp. 765-775.

This study investigated the effects of nursing duration on the subsequent performance of rohu (R) Labeo rohita and mrigal (M) Cirrhina mrigala in polyculture with monosex male Nile tilapia (T) Oreochromis niloticus at four levels of pond fertilization. Nile tilapia, rohu and mrigal were stocked at a ratio of 4:1:1 in a 90-day trial based on 40 20-m2 pens fixed in four 400-m2 earthen ponds. Growth of carp fingerlings during prolonged nursing (5 or 12 months) was stunted compared with fish nursed over a conventional duration of 3 months (3) but showed superior growth subsequently. Mean daily weight gain of stunted rohu (12) ranged from 2.2 to 2.8 g per fish day−1 compared with 1.1–1.6 g per fish day−1 for younger fish (3). The comparable ranges for mrigal were 1.9–2.8 and 1.4–2.1 g per fish day−1. Growth of Nile tilapia was inversely related to duration of carp nursing at the four levels of fertilization. Nile tilapia showed more response to increasing levels of fertilizer input (Y=−1.421+1.716X, where Y is the daily weight gain of Nile tilapia and X is the fertilizer level, r2=0.98, P less than 0.01, n=12). At a high level of fertilization (3.0 kg N:1.5 kg P ha−1 day−1), performance of stunted fingerlings (5 and 12) of both rohu and mrigal was similar (range 2.3–2.8 g per fish day−1, P greater than 0.05), but younger mrigal (M3) grew faster than rohu (2.1 g per fish day−1 and 1.6 g per fish day−1 respectively). Older rohu (12) appeared to perform particularly well, and Nile tilapia poorly at the lowest level of fertilization (1.5 N:0.75 kg P ha−1 day−1), suggesting the impact of age of seed on competition within polycultures. The net fish yield (NFY) of tilapia was not affected significantly (P greater than 0.05) by differential stocking age of carps; therefore, combined NFY of the three experimental fish species was not affected by the age of carp, as tilapia was the dominant species in polyculture. The highest combined NFY of all species in the most intensively fertilized pond (3.0 N:1.5 P kg ha−1 day−1) was calculated at 4.06±0.08 g·m−2 day−1, which was significantly higher (P less than 0.001) than the yield (1.82±0.12 g·m−2 day−1) from the pond with the lowest fertilization. At the highest fertilizer level, tilapia, rohu and mrigal contributed 72%, 14% and 14%, respectively, to the NFY, whereas the ratio was 60%, 20% and 20% at the lowest fertilization level. The study indicated that yields from tilapia in polyculture with the two carp species in more eutrophic water can be optimized if advanced nursing of carps is practised. Moreover, higher inputs of inorganic fertilizer and advanced nursing of carp are economically attractive under Bangladeshi conditions. Advanced nursing of rohu also improves its performance in more extensive systems when tilapia densities are high.

Indian major carp; Nile tilapia; advanced nursing; stunting; polyculture; pond fertilization

Aquaculture Research: Volume 34, Issue 9

Author(s)Hossain, Mohammed Arshad; Little, David Colin; Bhujel, Ram C
Publication date25/07/2003
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