Saturday, May 25, 2024

Types of Fish Feed and Best Feeding Methods

Commercial fish feeds are manufactured as either extruded (floating or buoyant) or pressure-pelleted (sinking) feeds. Both floating and sinking feed can produce satisfactory growth, but some fish species prefer floating, others sinking. Shrimp, for example, will not accept floating fed, but most fish species can be trained to accept a floating pellet.

Extruded feeds are more expensive due to the higher manufacturing costs. Usually it is advantageous to feed a floating (extruded) feed. This enables the farmer can directly the feeding intensity of his fish and adjust feeding rates accordingly as this is an important management strategy in ensuring maximum fish growth and feed use efficiency.

As earlier said manufactured feeds are available in variety of sizes ranging from fine crumbles for small fish (fry, swim-up frys) to large sizes. The pellet size should be approximately 20-30% of the size of the fish species mouth gape. Feeding too small a pellet results in inefficient
feeding and feed utilizations because more energy is used in finding and eating more pellets.

Read Also: Fish Nutrition, Feeds and Feeding

Conversely, pellets that are too large for fish mouth will depress feeding and, in the extreme, cause choking. Therefore the appropriate feed size for the right fish to eat and the fish will actively eat.

Feeding Rate, Frequency and Timing

The most important rule in fish nutrition is to avoid overfeeding. Overfeeding is a waste of expensive feed. It is also results in water pollution, low dissolved oxygen levels, increased biological oxygen demand, and increased bacterial loads.

Usually, fish should be fed only the amount of feed that they can consume quickly (less than 25 minutes). Many growers use floating (extruded) feeds in order to observe feeding activity and to help judge ifmore or less should be fed.

Even with careful management, some feed ends up as waste. For example, out of 100 units of feed fed to fish, typically about 10 units of feed are uneaten (wasted) and 10 units of sold and 30 units of liquid wastes (50% total wastes) are produced by fish. Of the remaining feed, about 25% is used for growth and another 25% is used for metabolism (heat energy for life processes).

These numbers may vary greatly with species, sizes, activity, water temperature, and other environmental conditions.

Feeding rates and frequencies are in part a function of fish size. Small larval fish and fry need to be fed a high protein diet frequently and usually in excess. Small fish have a high energy demand and must eat nearly continuously and be fed almost hourly. Feeding small fish in
excess is not as much of a problem as overfeeding larger fish because small fish require only a small amount of fed relative to the volume of water in the culture system.

As fish grow, feeding rates and frequencies should be lowered, and protein content reduced. However, rather than switching to a lower protein diet, feeding less allows the grower to use the same feed (protein level) throughout the grow-out period, thereby simplifying feed inventory and storage.

Feeding fish is labour-intensive and expensive. Feeding frequency is dependent on labour availability, farm size, and the fish species grown. Large catfish farms with many ponds usually feed only once per day because of time and labour limitations, while smaller farms may feed twice per day.

Generally, growth and feed conversion increase with feeding frequency. In indoor, intensive fish culture systems, fish may be fed as many as 5 times per day in order to maximum growth at optimum temperatures.

Feed acceptability, palatability and digestibility vary with the ingredients and feed quality. Fish framers pay careful attention to feeding activity in order to help determine feed acceptance, calculate feed conversion ratios and feed efficiencies, monitor feed costs, and
track feed demand throughout the year. Recommended framed fish feeding rate is between 1-4% of their body weight per day.

Read Also:  Nutritional Requirements of Fishes for Optimum Performance


Benadine Nonye is an agricultural consultant and a writer with over 12 years of professional experience in the agriculture industry. - National Diploma in Agricultural Technology - Bachelor's Degree in Agricultural Science - Master's Degree in Science Education - PhD Student in Agricultural Economics and Environmental Policy... Visit My Websites On: 1. - Your Comprehensive Practical Agricultural Knowledge and Farmer’s Guide Website! 2. - For Effective Environmental Management through Proper Waste Management and Recycling Practices! Join Me On: Twitter: @benadinenonye - Instagram: benadinenonye - LinkedIn: benadinenonye - YouTube: Agric4Profits TV and WealthInWastes TV - Pinterest: BenadineNonye4u - Facebook: BenadineNonye

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