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Aims: To evaluate the effects of varying inclusion levels of Moringa oleifera leaf meal (MLM) on the growth, survival and food utilization of the African catfish Heterobranchus longifilis.
Place and Duration of Study: Institute of Oceanography, University of Calabar, Nigeria, between January 2017 and May 2017.
Methodology: Fifteen (15) tarpaulin unit measuring 100 by 80 by 100 cm was used to aid triplication of the five experimental groups. Five isonitrogenous feeds including Feed A (control), Feed B (5% MLM), Feed C (10% MLM), Feed D (15% MLM) and Feed E (20% MLM) were used for this study. A total of three hundred (300) fingerlings of H. longifilis with mean bulk body weight 361.60 ± 0.3 g and total length 11.15 ± 0.04 cm were stocked in the 15 units (20 in each unit).
Results: M. oleifera leaf meal (MLM) had a crude protein level of 27.80 ± 0.02%, crude fibre (18.50 ± 0.01%), ash (6.45 ± 0.02%), moisture (8.36 ± 0.03%), crude fat (2.72 ± 0.02%) and nitrogen free extract (36.17 ± 0.02%). Best results for all the growth performance indices was obtained in fish fed Feed D (15% MLM) whereas least values were obtained in the control diets with no M. oleifera leaf meal. Weight gain (g), length gain (cm), growth rate (g/day), specific growth rate (%/day) and mean growth rate (mg/day) were significantly (P=0.05) highest in fish fed Feed D (15% MLM) and least in fish fed Feed A (control diet). Food conversion ratio (FCR) and food conversion efficiency of the experimental fishes did not vary significantly (P=0.05).
Conclusion: In conclusion, M. oleifera leaf meal (MLM) could be substituted with fish meal in H. longifilis diets up to 15 % level without any negation with regards to growth, food utilization and survival.