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Growth and Economic Performance of Clarias gariepinus Fry Reared at Various Stocking Densities | OMICS International
ISSN: 2332-2608
Journal of Fisheries & Livestock Production
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Growth and Economic Performance of Clarias gariepinus Fry Reared at Various Stocking Densities

Ajani EK, Orisasona O* and Jenyo-Oni A

Department of Aquaculture and Fisheries Management, University of Ibadan, Ibadan, Nigeria

*Corresponding Author:
Orisasona O
Department of Aquaculture
and Fisheries Management
University of Ibadan Ibadan, Nigeria

Received Date: May 27, 2015 Accepted Date: June 11, 2015 Published Date: June 24, 2015

Citation: Ajani EK, Orisasona O, Jenyo-Oni A (2015) Growth and Economic Performance of Clarias gariepinus Fry Reared at Various Stocking Densities. J Fisheries Livest Prod 3:136. doi:10.4172/2332-2608.1000136

Copyright: © 2015 Ajani EK, et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

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The biological and economic performance of Clarias gariepinus fry was investigated at various stocking densities. Five aquaria tanks were stocked at 100 (STK1), 150 (STK2), 200 (STK3), 250 (STK4) and 300 (STK5) fry/L. Triplicate groups of experimental fish were fed for 28 days with commercial diets. Water quality parameters were monitored throughout the experimental period, with pH, dissolved oxygen and temperature within the recommended range for the culture of C. gariepinus. Mean weight gain was significantly higher (P<0.05) in STK1 and STK 2 groups. Specific growth rate also followed the same trend, with the highest (8.47) recorded in STK 1, while the least (6.55) was recorded in STK 5. Performance indicator reduced with increasing stocking density. Profitability index were high in STK1 (3.21) and STK2 (3.30) while Incidence of costs were significantly lower in these two groups. This study reveals that stocking density significantly affects the performance and survival of fry of the African catfish, therefore stocking density of 100- 150 fry/L is recommended for C. gariepinus fry.


Stocking density; Clarias gariepinus; Survival; Growth


The ultimate goal of aquaculture is the production of high quality fish in the highest quantity, within the shortest possible time at the least cost. This is achievable with careful selection of species, appropriate feeding, and good water quality and to a great extent, the density to which the fish are stocked [1]. The determination of the optimum carrying capacity of an aquatic environment is therefore very important.

The number of organism that can be stocked in a culture medium per unit area or volume is referred to as stocking density and described optimum stocking density as the density at which yield is maximized without negatively affecting growth rate.

Studies concerning the relationship between stocking density and growth in fish have shown that optimal stocking density for obtaining the highest possible fish yields depend upon the amount and the quality of food available [2].

In Nigeria, Clarias gariepinus is widely cultured because they tolerate many extremes in water quality and generally adapt to culture environment, although intensive culture, where fish are kept crowded under high stocking density, fish natural abilities to repel diseases are weakened and thus more susceptible to disease attacks [3]. Schreck and Essa [4,5] noted that high stocking density as a technique to maximize water usage and thus increase stock production has an adverse effect on growth on Oncorhynchus kisutch and the hybrid of Oreochromis niloticus X O. aureus. Studies on the stocking densities of C. gariepinus fingerlings and other bigger sizes abound, however, information on the optimal stocking density of fry to actualize the farmers’ objective of economic growth and profit maximization is inadequate.

This study investigates the growth, survival and economic performance of C. gariepinus fry at different stocking density, to establish the optimum stocking density for this species.

Materials and Methods

Experimental fish and rearing units

The experiment was conducted using fifteen aquaria (105 Litre capacity) filled with 80 L of aerated-water. Fry of C. gariepinus (initial mean weight 0.021 g) were obtained from the University of Ibadan Fish hatchery.

At the start of the experiment, a total of 50 fry were taken in duplicate from the common stock in order to determine initial weights. Wet weight was recorded using an electronic weighing balance (accuracy of ± 0.01 mg). Fish were counted and stocked at 100, 150, 200, 250 and 300 fry/L to give STK1 (8000 larvae), STK2 (12000 larvae), STK3 (16000 larvae), STK4 (20000 larvae), and STK5 (24000 larvae) respectively, and each treatment replicated thrice. Daily water exchange in the tanks was 1.5 L/min. Fish were fed encapsulated brine shrimp (Artemia salina) four times daily to satiation for the first 3-days, after which they were fed at 10% of total biomass three times daily (At 7:00, 12:00 and 17:00 hrs.) with commercial diet (45% Crude protein). Excess or uneaten feed and faecal wastes were siphoned using 2 mm hose with a screen once daily. Dead fish in each tank were removed and recorded. Tanks were uniformly aerated. Water temperature and dissolved oxygen were measured using a Combined Digital Probe (YSI Model 57, VWR Company, New Jersey), weekly pH were measured using pH meter (Metler Toledo-320 model, U.K), while ammonia and nitrite were measured using API test kits.

Fifty fish were weighed per tank biweekly, using electronic toploading balance (OHAUS corporation model: V21PW15) and the average weight calculated, this was used to adjust for feed requirement. After 28 days of rearing, all surviving fry were collected, counted, weighed, and individual body weight recorded. Specific Growth Rate (SGR), Mean Daily Weight Gain (MDWG), Apparent Food Conversion Ratio (AFCR), Survival Rate (S.R) and Performance Index (P.I) were calculated as follows:






Economic analysis

The cost of production of experimental fish was calculated as described by [6] as follows;

Investment Cost Analysis (ICA)=Cost of feeding (N)+Cost of fry Stocked (N)

Net Production Value (NPV)=Mean Weight gain of fish (g)×Total survival (n)×Cost per kg (N)

Gross Profit (GP) = NPV (N) - ICA (N)




Statistical analysis

The data obtained were subjected to a one way analysis of variance and the difference between means were separated using Duncan Multiple Range Test at P>0.05, using SPSS version 17.

Results and Discussion

The growth performances of experimental fish are shown in Table 1. The results showed that mean weight gain were significantly higher (p<0.05) in STK1 and STK2 groups. Highest weight gain (0.21 g) was recorded in STK1, while the least value (0.11 g) was recorded in STK5. This same trend was observed in the SGR. Availability of space and reduced competition and stress may have contributed to the result obtained in this present study. Higher stocking density was observed to increase stress, leading to higher energy requirements, causing a reduction in growth rate and food utilization [7]. This result is in agreement with [8] who reported better growth in Heteropnestes fossilis at lower stocking density. Significant decrease in weight gain was also reported in the works of [9,10] for C. gariepinus and the hybrid as a result of high stocking density. Superior SGR in fish stocked at lower stocking density was observed in [11].

Parameters STK1 STK2 STK3 STK4 STK5
Initial WGT 0.023 ± 0.00a 0.021 ± 0.00a 0.021 ± 0.00a 0.021 ± 0.00a 0.021 ± 0.00a
Final WGT 0.233 ± 0.01c 0.224 ± 0.00c 0.173 ± 0.01b 0.144 ± 0.00a 0.136 ± 0.00a
Mean WGT gain 0.209 ± 0.01c 0.202 ± 0.00c 0.1513 ± 0.01b 0.123 ± 0.00a 0.114 ± 0.00a
Feed Intake 0.242 ± 0.00e 0.227 ± 0.00d 0.208 ± 0.00c 0.204 ± 0.01b 0.192 ± 0.01a
SGR 8.47 ± 0.08c 8.32 ± 0.09c 7.53 ± 0.24b 6.82 ± 0.04a 6.55 ± 0.19a
AFCR 1.04 ± 0.06a 1.01 ± 0.03a 1.20 ± 0.09c 1.41 ± 0.05d 1.40 ± 0.04d
Performance Indicator(PI) 0.717 ± 0.06d 0678 ± 0.02d 0.474 ± 0.01c 0.373 ± 0.01a 0.330 ± 0.01a
SR 96.00e 93.76d 87.50c 85.00b 81.00a
Biomass Harvested 1792.53 ± 104.82a 2426.66 ± 162.29b 2524.23 ± 61.23bc 2453.46 ± 83.64bc 2643.20 ± 81.78c

Table 1: Growth performance of Larvae at varying stocking density.

Significant variation (p<0.05) is observed in the feed intake of experimental fish. Higher stocking density resulted in reduced feed intake per fish. Reduction in growth could directly be attributed to this, as growth in fish has been shown to depend on food intake and a host of intrinsic factors [12]. The result of this present study is corroborated by [2]. The AFCR values of 1.04 and 1.01 recorded in STK1 and STK2 respectively, were superior to values recorded in other groups. This shows that feed conversion may be more efficient when competition is less. Feed utilization efficiency has also been reported to decrease with increased stocking density [13,14]. The highest performance indicator (0.72) was recorded in STK1 and this continuously reduced with increase in stocking density.

Survival rate ranged from 81.0% in STK5 to 96.0% in STK1, indicating that stocking density significantly affected survival of C. gariepinus fry. This negative influence of high stocking density on survival rate has earlier been reported in the work of [1] on Clarias batrachus. However, harvested biomass was higher at higher stocking density, as shown in Table 2.

Parameters STK1 STK2 STK3 STK4 STK5
Investment cost Analysis (ICA) 3251.81 ± 0.00a 4721.40 ± 0.05b 5960.00 ± 0.00c 7346.00 ± 0.00d 8527.20 ± 0.05e
Net Present Value (NPV) 4012.53 ± 0.03a 5681.75 ± 0.00e 5295.50 ± 0.05c 5227.50 ± 0.05b 5540.36 ± 0.03d
Profit Index (PI) 3.21 ± 0.00d 3.30 ± 0.00e 2.70 ± 0.00c 2.23 ± 0.01b 2.19 ± 0.01a
Incidence of Cost (IC) 0.70 ± 0.01a 0.71 ± 0.01a 0.77 ± 0.00b 0.95 ± 0.00c 0.96 ± 0.00c
Benefit Cost Ratio (BCR) 1.23 ± 0.01e 1.21 ± 0.00d 0.88 ± 0.01c 0.71 ± 0.00b 0.65 ± 0.00a

Table 2: Economic analysis of varying stocking density of C. gariepinus fry.

For profitability of aquaculture investment, it is important for stocking density to be economically viable [15]. Investment cost analysis (ICA) was significantly increased (P<0.05) with increase in stocking densities. The highest Net Present Value (NPV), Profit Index (PI) were recorded in STK2, while the Incidence of cost (IC) was significantly lower (P<0.05) in STK1 and STK2. From the result of this study, an economic stocking density is evident in STK2 group.

Hydrogen ion concentration (pH) ranged from 6.91 and 7.18; water temperature ranged from 28.46 to 29.56; and dissolved oxygen from 4.95 to 5.40. All these parameters as shown in Table 3 fall within the recommended range [16]. Nitrate levels in experimental units were significantly higher (p<0.05) in STK4 and STK5, while nitrite levels marginally increased with increase in stocking density. This may be as a result of the increase in waste generation associated with increasing biomass. The result obtained here is in agreement with [17].

Parameters STK1 STK2 STK3 STK4 STK5
Temperature oC 28.46 ± 0.45a 29.30 ± 0.26b 29.10 ± 0.10b 29.43 ± 0.05b 29.56 ± 0.05b
Dissolved oxygen (mg/l) 5.40 ± 0.01d 5.20 ± 0.01c 5.24 ± 0.01c 5.10 ± 0.02b 4.95 ± 0.05a
pH 7.18 ± 0.02b 7.11 ± 0.02b 7.03 ± 0.05ab 7.00 ± 0.02ab 6.91 ± 0.18a
Nitrate mg/l (NO3) 0.08 ± 0.01a 0.09 ± 0.01a 0.10 ± 0.01c 0.12 ± 0.01d 0.13 ± 0.01d
Nitrite mg/l (NO2) 0.02 ± 0.00a 0.08 ± 0.10a 0.03 ± 0.00a 0.04 ± 0.00a 0.04 ± 0.00a

Table 3: Mean Water quality parameters of experimental units.

In conclusion, the results of the present study have shown that higher stocking density affected the feed utilization, growth performance and survival of C. gariepinus fry. Therefore, a stocking density of 150 fry/L is recommended.


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