By Jolly Kabirizi
Profitable fish culture requires a reliable supply of fish feed as a source of protein for growth nutrients and energy currency.
Because of the rising cost and scarcity of fish meal, it is necessary to replace the traditional fish meal with locally available cheaper ingredients of either animal or plant origin.
The aquaculture industry depends worldwide on the availability of low-cost and high-quality feeds.
Fish meal is one of the most expensive ingredients in fish diets.
Because of the increasing price, fish nutritionists have tried to use less expensive plant protein sources to replace fish meal.
The development of low-cost fish feed would help in enhancing aquaculture production.
- Collect fresh water hyacinth leaves and wash them thoroughly in clean water to remove dirt and debris, drain properly and later sundry the leaves.
- Mill-dried leaves of water hyacinth and pack them in airtight polyethene bags.
- Fish diets can contain different combinations of dry leaf water hyacinth meal (0-70%), soyabean cake, rice bran, fish meal.
- Add mineral/vitamin mixture and Calcium bentonite clay (binder).
- Mix the ingredients thoroughly in a mixer until a homogenous mass is obtained and make them into fish pellets, which are immediately sun-dried.
- After drying, break the pellets by hand into convenient pellet sizes before feeding the fish.
Water hyacinth cannot solely replace the traditional fish meal. Therefore, it is used as a supplementary fish feed ingredient along with the traditional ingredients; but the incorporation level of traditional ingredients like fish meal, soyabean cake, maize bran etc are kept at a lower inclusion level.