Although natural food organisms may provide certain micronutrients, the contribution of pond organisms to the nutrition of intensively cultured catfish is considered minuscule. The nutritional requirements of cultured catfish are met by using a feed that is formulated to provide all required nutrients (a complete feed) in the proper proportions necessary for rapid weight gain, high feed efficiency, and desirable composition of gain. Feed cost represents about half of variable production costs in catfish culture; thus careful consideration should be given to feed selection and use. High-quality feeds are essential for culture of catfish, but if consumption is poor, rapid growth will not be achieved. In addition, uneaten feed increases production costs and contributes to deterioration of water quality. Proper feeding practices are as important to the catfish producer as are good feeds. The prudent catfish producer should select the appropriate feed for a specific culture system and use it in a manner to ensure efficient conversion of feed to fish flesh. The following sections on feeds and feeding practices, although based on the best available information, are intended only as guidelines since feeding catfish is as much an art as it is a science. If additional information is desired, the reader is referred to the following: National Research Council (1983), Robinette (1984), Dupree (1984), Robinson and Wilson (1985), Lovell (1989), and Robinson (1989).
KeywordsSoybean Meal Fish Meal Feeding Practice Cottonseed Meal Bone Meal
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