Comparative study of growth parameters of African Catfishes as panacea for food security
Aquaculture assist in bridging the wide gap by meeting demands for fish and provision of less expensive animal protein in Nigeria. Clarias gariepinus and Heterobranchus bidorsalis are generally acceptable important species of catfish, and highly priced because of their high biological values in terms of protein retention, assimilation and low cholesterol content, necessitating the need to evaluate their potentials. Fingerlings of Clarias gariepinus (purebreed) and Clariabranchus (hybrid) were grouped according to their weights, assigned to two tanks each and fed 5% of their body weight daily. Measurements of body weight (g), total length (cm) and standard length (cm) were taken weekly on each fish. At the commencement of the experiment, there were 281 fishes comprising 150 pure breed and 131 hybrids. By the end of the study some died or were outliers. A total of 224 fishes comprising 108 pure breed and 116
hybrids were finally evaluated. Indices computed included Length-Weight Relationship (LWR), Fulton’s Condition Factor (K), Absolute Growth Rate (AGR), Specific Growth Rate (SGR), Relative Growth Rate (RGR) and Mean Growth Rate (MGR). The coefficient of the LWR was respectively 2.42 and 2.82 for the pure breed and hybrids. Effect of breed was highly significant (P<0.01) on all variables studied and the hybrid consistently outperformed the pure breed except in exception of condition factor which is a measure of wellness of the fish. The superiority of the hybrid over the pure breed in all variables studied except one, is indicative of its potential as a better feed converter, thus it is more efficient in feed utilization, and it is recommended for commercial fish producers for maximum yield and higher profit. The study provides a veritable platform for further research on the potentials of interspecific hybridization with a view to minimize production cost engendered by high cost of feed.
Keywords: Catfish, Clarias gariepinus, Heterobranchus bidorsalis, Growth traits, interspecific hybridization, aquaculture
Copy right of all published material rests with the Nigerian Journal of Animal Science.