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Keywords:

  • feed colour;
  • fingerlings;
  • larvae;
  • Nile tilapia

Abstract

Two experiments were conducted to investigate the effects of feed colour on the performance of Nile tilapia (Oreochromis niloticus) larvae and fingerlings. In the first experiment, triplicate groups of newly hatched larvae (0.01 g fish−1) were stocked in 40 L glass aquaria at a density of 2 fish L−1. The fish were fed a test diet (400 g kg−1 crude protein) with six different colours (dark blue, dark green, red, dark brown, yellow and light brown) for 60 days. The best performance and survival were achieved in fish fed on dark-coloured diets, while light-coloured diets (yellow and light brown) resulted in inferior performance. Dark diets also produced higher body protein than light diets. Body water, lipids and ash showed irregular trends. In the second experiment, triplicate groups of Nile tilapia fingerlings (5.30 g fish−1) were stocked in 140-L aquaria, in a recirculating indoor system. The fish were fed a test diet (350 g kg−1 crude protein) with the same colours used in the larval trial, for 60 days. Growth rates, feed efficiency, survival and body composition were not significantly affected by feed colours. These results suggest that Nile tilapia larvae are visual feeders, and they prefer dark-coloured diets to light-coloured diets, while fingerling fish showed no preference to diet colours.