FEEDING FREQUENCY OF NILE TILAPIA FED RATIONS SUPPLEMENTED WITH AMINO ACIDS
ABSTRACT: The present study evaluated the feeding frequency of Nile tilapia (Oreochromis niloticus) fed low-protein diets (29% crude protein) supplemented with commercial amino acids (L-lysine-HCl, DL-methionine, and L-threonine). Sex-reversed Nile tilapia (240) of Thai origin, with initial body weight of 0.93 ± 0.03 g each, were allocated in a completely randomized design, to five groups with various feeding frequencies (2, 3, 4, 5, and 6 times a day). Six replications were conducted on separate experimental units comprising eight fishes each. The fish were maintained in 30 130-L aquariums, each equipped with individual water supply and controlled temperature and aeration. Fish were fed identical quantities among all treatments over a period of 30 days. Performance parameters, feed conversion efficiency, body composition, daily protein and fat deposition rates, and nitrogen retention efficiency were evaluated. Increased feeding frequency affected neither performance parameters nor body composition. Values for protein and fat deposition rates and nitrogen retention efficiency were significantly lower in fish fed twice daily than in those fed five times daily. Fish subjected to other feeding frequencies yielded intermediate values without any significant differences. The minimum feeding frequency of Nile tilapia fingerlings fed a low-protein ration supplemented with commercial amino acids is three times a day, owing to increased protein deposition rates and nitrogen retention efficiency.