Effect of ‘Earleaf’ plant (Acacia auriculiformis) as feed additive was examined on Clarias gariepinus fingerlings (4.2±0.5 g) over a period 56 days against farm-made feed which served as the control. A. auriculiformis leaves were collected, air-dried (under shade), powdered and added at varying inclusion levels (0, 0.5, 1.0, 1.5 and 2.0%) to basal diets containing 40% crude protein. Fish were randomly distributed into tanks at 10 fish tank-1 with each treatment in triplicate. C. gariepinus were fed at 5% body weight between 8:00 – 9:00 and 16:00 – 17:00 h for 56 days. At the expiration of the feeding trials, results showed significant differences (p<0.05) in growth performance and nutrient utilization indices measured. The highest weight gain (WG), feed intake (FI), specific growth rate (SGR), protein efficiency ratio (PER) and best feed conversion ratio (FCR) were recorded in C. gariepinus fed A. auriculiformis at 1.5% supplementation level. Fish fed A. aurculiformis supplemented diets had higher WG (3.60 and 5.73 g) than those fed the control diet. Incorporating A. auriculiformis into fish diets did not have any adverse effect on the physiochemical water parameters measured as they were within the recommended ranges for raising warm water fish species. Results showed that diet supplementation with A. auriculiformis at 1.5 and 2.0% gave best growth performance and higher protein conversion, hence, the recommendation for diet supplementation at 1.5 or 2.0% inclusion levels.
Key words: Catfish, growth, Acacia auriculiformis, utilization.
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