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Feeding to Satiation

BY Leslie Ter Morshuizen

How Much to Feed My Fish?

 

A recent article on SARNISSA created a small storm in my inbox! For years I have been training fish farmers to feed to satiation, yet here a respected colleague mentions the method in brief and dismisses it as being `not recommended’. I wish to defend my position, not because it is mine but because I firmly believe that it is the most economically viable method of feeding your fish and it is also the easiest to get right.

 

Why did my colleague dismiss satiation feeding? I believe that this is because his experience is largely based on feeding trout with sinking pellets. Given this assumption, I 100% agree that feeding to satiation is very difficult to implement accurately; under- and over-feeding are direct risks with economic and water quality consequences. However, I firmly believe that sinking pellets are old school, a competent feed manufacturer can produce a high quality floating pellet (certainly in the sizes above 1mm diameter) which is perfect for satiation feeding.

 

Satiation feeding is highly recommended as it is both flexible and simple. Water temperatures, DO levels, time of day, etc all affect the amount of feed a group of fish will eat at any particular meal. With satiation feeding we provide small batches of feed sequentially and continuously until the fish have had sufficient to eat. We know that they have had enough to eat when their rate of feeding slows down, i.e. before it stops completely. Water quality parameters and other variables that affect the hunger of the fish at each meal time are taken into account by the fish themselves, thus removing the massive complexity associated with predicting feed requirement per meal using fish mass, fish quantity and feeding tables.

 

Using floating pellets, even a novice fish farmer can easily monitor the feeding response to continue feeding whilst the fish are hungry and stop when feeding slows. In this way both under- and over-feeding are both simultaneously avoided, allowing for maximum growth and minimal size differentiation per cohort. Using this method we have obtained FCRs of around 1:1 even with tilapia, a fish that normally offers a FCR around 1:1.5, with very real economic benefits!

 October 28, 2014
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