Comparative Study of Growth Performance of
Heterobranchus Longifilis (Valenciennes, 1840), Reared
With Two Organic Fertilizers in Earthen Ponds
Wilfred–Ekprikpo Peace C*
Aquaculture Department, Nigerian Institute for Oceanography and Marine Research, Lagos, Nigeria
Wilfred–Ekprikpo Peace C, Aquaculture Department, Nigerian Institute For Oceanography and Marine Research, 3, Wilmot
Point Road, Victoria Island, PMB 12729, Lagos, Nigeria, Tel: +23457081068; E-mail:
Received: June 26, 2018; Accepted: July 19, 2018; Published: July 28, 2018
Wilfred EPC (2018) Comparative Study of Growth Performance of Heterobranchus Longifilis (Valenciennes, 1840), Reared With Two Organic Fertilizers in Earthen Ponds. J Poul Fish Sci .2(2):1-4. DOI: 10.15226/2578-1898/2/2/00112
The performance of Heterobranchus longifilis reared in earthen
ponds fertilized with two organic fertilizers (meadow grasses and
chicken droppings) was investigated. The study was carried out in
6 earthen ponds measuring 24.9 square meters each at Nigerian
Institute for Oceanography and Marine Research (NIOMR) fish farm
Ijoyi-Badore Lagos. Results obtained showed better food conversion
ratio value in treatment 1 (1.28 ± 0. 11) fertilized with meadow
grasses and chicken droppings in combination with commercial
extruded feed than in treatment 2 (1.72 ± 0.32) fertilized with only
chicken droppings in combination with commercial extruded feed.
The total weight gain were 665.39 ± 22.05Kg and 623.93 ±40.64kg
respectively for treatment 1 and 2 while the daily growth rate was
4.01 ± 0.13g and 3.76 ± 0.24g for treatment 1 and 2 respectively. H.
longifilis in treatment 1 performed better than treatment 2 probably
due to the efficiency of the organic fertilizers in treatment 1 than
treatment 2. Fertilizer used in treatment 1 could be used in fish
ponds to reduce cost of pond fish production.
Keywords: Heterobranchus longifilis; Growth performance;
Organic manure; Fertilizer; Feed;
In Nigeria, fish culture is one of the predominant aquaculture
activities and most of the culture is land based. Heterobranchus
Plate 1: Heterobranchus longifilis specie
longifilis (Plate 1) belongs to the catfish family clariidae that has
gained widespread recognition as promising specie in aquaculture
production (Lennient, et al. ). H. longifilis is an economically
important food fish cultured primarily in fresh water ponds in
tropical countries (Babalola and Aputa,  and Akinwole and
Faturoti, ). This specie exhibits many qualities which makes it
suitable for commercial culture. These include such as hardiness,
rapid growth, high disease resistance, high yield potential,
high fecundity, air breathing characteristics and good market
potentials (Ayinla, et al. ). The traditional and extensive fish
cultures is dependent on the natural pond productivity, while the
semi-intensive and intensive fish culture system developed than
extensive by using of various inputs such as manures, fertilizers
and supplementary feed (Charabarty et al. ). Moreover,
Charabarty, et al.  reported that the in freshwater fish ponds,
total primary fish production, mainly depend upon the availability
of nutrients, nutrient recycling and primary nutrients in the form
of organic and inorganic fertilization and artificial feed .Attention
has been paid to enhance the natural productivity of the pond
through the application of different types and dosages of manures
and fertilizers, fish species to be stocked and their compatibility
(Britz, et al. ).Fish production can be increased by feeding
and pond fertilization. Optimum fertilization rate is the amount
of organic matter that should be cost effective and can be utilized
in a pond ecosystem without having harmful effect on water
quality as well as on fish growth (Abass, et al. ). To improve the
productive efficiency of fish ponds and to have a maximum yield
from the limited resources of fresh water bodies, it is necessary to
fertilize the fish ponds with balanced food in sufficient quantities.
Pond fertilization using both organic manure and inorganic
fertilizers is the latest management protocol to enhance the
biological productivity of treated waters (Dhawan and Kaur, ;
Bhakta, et al. ). The basic principle behind the fertilization
of a fish pond with suitable manure is to actually increase the
production of beneficial phytoplanktons, the key component of
aquatic food chain which is responsible for increasing the amount
of harvestable fish. It is estimated that pond fertilization can
enhance the fish harvest of the given water body up to 2.8 times
of an unfertilized pond (Hayat, et al. ; Godara, et al. ).
The types of fertilizers used are organic and inorganic fertilizer
which boost the nutrient content of ponds and promote the yield
of natural food required by the aquatic organisms, especially
fish. Conte,  stated that organic fertilizers like hay, straw
and manure are among the earliest sources of fertilizers and are
commonly used throughout the world to initiate alga blooms
in fish pond and is important for pond productivity. The aim of
this work is to carry out a comparative analysis of two organic
compositions and evaluate fish growth performance.
Materials and methods
This study was carried out in the Nigerian Institute For
Oceanography and Marine Research (NIOMR) Integrated Fish
Farm at Ijoyi - Badore along Ajah road, Lagos State, Nigeria. It lies
approximately between longitude 06º 30′ 25′′ E and 06º 32′ 28′′
E, Latitude 03º 36′ 19′′ N and 03º 39′ 17″ N (Figure 1).Six earthen
ponds of 24.9 m3 each (Plate 2) which comprise two treatments,
were used. In treatment 1, a combination of organic chicken
droppings were applied weekly at the rate of 0.7 kg ha-1 (278 kg
ha-1) per pound (Ita, ) while the hay /meadow were applied
at the rate of 1.2 kg-500 kg ha-1 weekly (Boyd, et al. ). The hay
(meadow) used (Plate 3) in the fertilization were Eleusine indica,
Setaria longiseta, Panicum repens, Kyllinga bulbosa, Kyllinga
squamutata, Panicum laxum and Eragrostisa trovirens.
Figure 1: Project location in Lagos State
Plate 2: Layout of Earten ponds used in the Study
Plate 3: Meadow grasses used for the hay infusion
Post fingerlings of H. longifilis were stocked in the six earthen
ponds of 24.9 m3at a stocking density of 20 fish/m3. The H.
longifilis post fingerlings with an initial mean total length of 7.73 ±
0.58 cm and an initial mean weight of 3.67 ± 0.037g were stocked.
The fish species was randomly stocked in each of the replicated
experimental units and reared for 166 days. Coppens feed was
used throughout the duration of this experiment. Composition of
the feed was as stated by the manufacturer. Feeding was at the
rate of 1.5% fresh body weight given three times (07.00, 13.00
and 19.00 hours) daily using 45% crude protein diet, for the
first 3 months. Thereafter from the fourth month, feeding was
reduced to 1% fresh body weight using 42% crude protein till
the attainment of one kilogram average body weight. The body
weight of the fish were measured to the nearest 0.0lg using a
digital weighing scale (Model DT-302) and an analog weighing
balance (Model- camry weighing scale 0-100kg) as the weight
increased.The Physico-chemical parameters such as air and
surface water temperature were measured with mercury in glass
thermometer (1000 C max). Other physico-chemical parameters
such as Hydrogen ion concentration (pH), Dissolved Oxygen (DO),
Conductivity, salinity, alkalinity, nitrite, ammonia and turbidity
were determined according to Forth,  with LaMotte fresh
water aquaculture test kit.
Results and Discussion
The highest total mean body weight gain of 665.39kg was
obtained in Treatment 1 followed by fish cultured in Treatment 2
(623.93kg). Details of the results are presented in Table 1. There
were no significant differences (p > 0.05) in Weight Gain (WG),
daily Growth Rate (GR), Specific Growth Rate (SGR), Survival Rate
(SR) and Mortality Rate (MR) between the treatments. This could
be attributed to the fertilizer used (meadow grasses and chicken
droppings) in combination with the commercial extruded feed.
The value of FCR was lower in Treatment 1 (1.28± 0.11) than
in Treatment 2 (1.72 ± 0.32) which showed a better FCR of 1.28
than 1.72. The lower the FCR value, the better the FCR. The FCR
obtained in this study were better than those of Adewolu et al.
 for H. longifilis (1.82) and its hybrid (1.75). However they
were within the range of 1.33-1.79 recorded by Ofor and Onuoha
(2011) for H. longifilis fed different commercial feeds. But higher
than the range of 0.9 - 1.20 recorded for Clarias gariepinus by
Anyanwu et al. .
The specific growth rates (SGR) of 3.54 and 3.52% (Table 1)
obtained from the two treatments respectively in this study were
within the range of 2.74 - 3.57% obtained by (Bichi and Ahmad,
) for C. gariepinus but higher than value range 1.25 - 1.94%
obtained by Ofor and Onuoha,. The daily growth rates of 4.01
and 3.76 g (Table 1) obtained in treatments 1 and 2 respectively
were within the range of 2.34 - 6.01 g obtained for C. gariepinus
by Bichi and Ahmad, , Adewolu, et al.  in their experiment
obtained 5.05, 4.47 and 5.40 g SGR for C. gariepinus, H. longifilis
and their hybrid respectively which was higher than the SGR
(3.42 – 3.54%) obtained in this study.
The survival rate of 96.73 and 93.47% (Table 1) obtained
for this study are within the range of 67.0-97.5% as obtained by
(Anyanwu, et al. ) for C. gariepinus. The difference between
Treatments 1 and 2 could be due to the combined fertilizer
applied in treatment 1 which produced more food items than
in Treatment 2, resulting in better living conditions. There were
no significant differences (p > 0.05) in the physico-chemical
parameters however they were numerically not the same, which
may be attributed to, different fertilization levels, as Treatment
1, had meadow grasses and chicken droppings while Treatment
2, had only chicken droppings. The values of water temperature
obtained in this study were within the range of 28.6-31.80C
and 26.9-31.60C for Treatments 1 and 2 respectively; pH values
were 7.03 and 7.00 respectively; Dissolved Oxygen obtained in
Treatments 1 and 2 were 4.21 and 4.20 mg/l respectively; mean
total ammonia obtained in this study for Treatments 1 and 2 were
0.75 and 0.65 mg/l, the toxic unionized ammonia obtained were
0.006 and0.005 mg/l which were within tolerance range of 0.2-
2.0 of unionized ammonia ; Nitrite concentration obtained were
0.06 and 0.05 mg/l respectively according to Body (1998).
Table 1: Mean Values of Some Growth Parameters of H. Longifilis
Mean values ± S.D.
Food Conversion Ratio
1.28 ± 0.11b
1.72 ± 0.32ab
Weight Gain (kg)
665.39 ± 22.05a
623.93 ± 40.64a
Daily Growth Rate (g)
4.01 ± 0.13a
3.76 ± 0.24a
Survival Rate (%)
96.73 ± 0.70a
Mortality Rate (%)
3.27 ± 0.70a
6.53 ± 1.40a
Specific Growth Rate (%)
3.54 ± 0.07a
3.52 ± 0.04a
Means of the growth parameters with different letters as
superscript are significantly different between and within
the treatments (p < 0.05). Means values are followed by ± S.D
The mortality rate (%), did not give significant difference
within the Treatments due to the wide gap in their values.
The value for the nutrient utilization parameters are presented
in Table 2 while protein intake (g) values obtained were 355.865
and 472.659 g for Treatments 1 and 2 respectively. These values
are higher than the values obtained by Adewolu, et al.  for C.
gariepinus, 81.07g, H. longifilis 59.33 g and their hybrid, 98.99 g.
The protein efficiency ratio (PER) (g) obtained in treatment 2 was
1.321 g which was lower than the values obtained by Adewolu et
al., (2008) for C. gariepinus (1.59) and Hybrid (1.63) but the value
obtained for treatment 1 was higher than those of Adewolu, et al.
 for H. longifilis (1.87). The apparent net protein utilization
(ANPU) (%) obtained were 0.953 and 0.791% in treatments 1
and 2 respectively (Table 2).
Table 2: Protein utilization of H. Longifilis
Protein Efficiency Ratio (PER) (g)
Apparent Net Protein Utilization (ANPU) (%)
The physico-chemical parameters obtained in this study were
within tolerance range the performance of H. longifilis reared in
the two treatments were, very good since the result showed rapid
growth rate and efficient feed utilization. Data obtained from the
study indicated that meadow grasses can be effective in pond
culture of H. longifilis leading to lower production cost.
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