The objective of the current study was to investigate the growth performance and haematological parameters of Oreochromis niloticus fed on four different diets at different Moringa oleifera leaf meal inclusion levels over a period of 33 weeks. The results indicate that Moringa leaf meal causes depressed growth in fish but may increase the immunity of the fish to fight infections and diseases. The four inclusion levels used were: 0% (No Moringa - control), 5, 10 and 15%. There was a significant (p<0.05) difference in the final weight of fish in the control diet versus the other three treatments. The Specific Growth Rate (SGR), Mean Weight Gain (MWG) and Condition Factor showed no significant (p>0.05) difference among the fish fed with the four diets. However, the SGR and MWG were highest in the control fish followed by 15% then 10% and lastly 5%. The Gonadal Somatic Index, Hepatosomatic Index and Cardiosomatic Index were not significantly (p>0.05) different among the four treatments. The mean values of haematological parameters showed no significant (p>0.05) difference among the fish fed on the four diets. However, the Mean Cell Haemoglobin in 15% Moringa diet was significantly different from the control diet. White Blood Cells were not significantly different among the treatments (p>0.05) though high values were observed in treatments with Moringa inclusion. The study has shown that inclusion of Moringa to the fish diet results in depressed growth but it improves the immunity of the fish because of an increase in White Blood cells. Further studies to explore the use of Moringa in fish diets at rates which do not cause depressed growth but improve immunity are recommended.
Key words: Growth performance, haematological parameters, Moringa oleifera, Oreochromis niloticus, protein source.
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