Evaluation of Survival and Growth Performance of Wild Synodontis Melanopterus (Boulenger 1903) Fed with Three Different Diets

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Evaluation of Survival and Growth Performance of Wild Synodontis Melanopterus (Boulenger 1903) Fed with Three Different Diets

  • Ibrahim Shehu Jega
  • Idris Ganiyat Aderibigbe
  • Dalhatu Yahaya Bawa
  • Muhammad Namaga Wade
  • Aminu Baba Gana
  • Mohammad Yahaya Abubakar
  • 110-117
  • Sep 5, 2023
  • Philosophy

Evaluation of Survival and Growth Performance of  Wild Synodontis Melanopterus (Boulenger 1903) Fed with Three Different Diets

1Ibrahim Shehu Jega*, 1Idris Ganiyat Aderibigbe, 1Dalhatu Yahaya Bawa, 1Muhammad Namaga Wade,  1Aminu Baba Gana and 2Mohammad Yahaya Abubakar
1Department of Forestry and Fisheries, Kebbi State University of Science and Technology, Aliero, Nigeria
2Department of Fisheries and Aquaculture, Usmanu Danfodiyo University, Sokoto

DOI: https://doi.org/10.51244/IJRSI.2023.10808

Received: 22 July 2023; Revised: 01 August 2023; Accepted: 08 August 2023; Published: 05 September 2023


This study evaluated survival and growth performance of wild Synodontis melanopterus juveniles fed chicken viscera, commercial feed and compounded feed in plastic bowls. Juveniles of initial mean weight which were recorded were stocked in each treatment replicated 3 times. Fish were cultured for 8 weeks. The stocking rate was 10 fish per bowl. Results showed that S. melanopterus juveniles fed chicken viscera had no significant difference (P>0.05) in final mean weight (10.26g) to commercial feed (11.05g) and compounded feed (12.88g). Chicken viscera had significantly higher (p<0.05) specific growth rate (0.26) than commercial (0.19) and compounded diet (0.12). Fish fed chicken viscera (0.15), commercial diet (0.18) has no significant difference (p>0.05) in feed conversion ratio to compounded diet (0.20). There was no significant difference (p>0.05) in survival rate for fish fed chicken viscera (66.7%) commercial feed (50%) and compounded feed (46.67%). Water quality parameters including temperature (°C), dissolved oxygen (mg/l) and pH were not significantly different (p>0.05) during the study. Based on these findings, chicken viscera is recommended for  feeding S. melanopterus juveniles since it does not give negative effects on growth and whole body composition and also, showed greater survival and higher growth performance.

Keywords:  Growth performance, Survival, Fish feeds, Synodontis melanopterus, Yamama lake.


Fishes are sources of rich Supply of protein and vitamins characterized with low cholesterol level in the diets of Nigerians. The healthiness and income generation of many Nigerians is extremely reliant on fishes. Synodontis melanopterus (Boulenger, 1903), locally called Kurungu in Hausa, is found in Nigeria, dwells in the wetland in Togo and many parts of Benin and it is relished as food due to its tasty muscles and high market value [1] . However, the recent habitat degradation due to water pollution, erosion, salinity and climate change has led to dwindling catches of this species in Nigerian waters, thus categorized as Near Threatened [2].

Fish and other fishery resources are extremely harnessed by man and is basically linked to the trophic chain in the entire environment where they are commonly found [3]. Nigeria’s inland waterbodies is home to variety of aquatic organisms such as phytolankton, zooplanktons, crustaceans, and vertebrates including fish, crocodile, and aquatic mammals [4]. Just like other living beings, growth is a characteristic feature of fish which is simply defined as change in length and weight with time and can also be change in numbers with time in the case of population [5]. According to Welcomme [6], factors that influence growth of fish, can either be endogenous or exogenous. Endogenous factors include genetic components of fish, which limits the maximum size of a given species, while exogenous factors include food availability, feeding rate and the nature of food ingested.

One of the major problems confronting the development of aquaculture industry in Nigeria is species conservation. Fish growth and survival rate depends on the kind of feed, feeding frequency, feed intake and the fish’s ability to absorb the nutrients. Once fishes are removed from natural environment to artificial, enough feed must be supplied in order for them to grow. This could be in form of complete rations, where the artificial diet furnishes all the nutrients required by the fish. Both intensive and semi-intensive fish culture systems involve input of complete commercial feed which account for up to 60% of production costs and can sometimes negate the economic viability of a farm if suitable feed are not used.

Liao and Huang [7] outlined the strategies for domestication in aquaculture to include species choice, stage choice, feeding control, culture from choice, facility aid choice and induced breeding in captivity and stressed that certain species must be cultured from the fry or juvenile stage. After rearing wild fry or juveniles in captivity, they become acclimated and can then be induced to spawn once they reach sexual maturity. The aim of this research was therefore to determine the suitable feed for culture of wild Synodontis melanopterus under captive condition with a view to subsequent artificial breeding of the fish.


Study Area.

Lake Yamama is a natural lake situated between latitude 11°20′- 12″ north and longitude 04°20′- 06″ East. Yamama Lake is an oxbow lake formed by the Sheila River, which sometimes floods into the lake. The lake stretches some 900 m in length and is 195 m wide giving a surface area of about 18 hectares. Aquatic vegetation in the lake consisted of large areas of Lilypads, emergent Typha. Cerratophylum, and other weeds. About 60-70% of the lake is open waters; with the southern portion virtually covered with aquatic vegetation. The lake bottom is very rich in decaying vegetable matters. A few crocodiles were reported to be in the lake.

  1. Species Identification: The species ( melanopterus) was identified by counting of fin rays such as pectoral fins, dorsal fins, anal fins, adipose fins and barbells, according to fish identification manual. The fish has three pairs of barbels, D, V; A, X; P, XII; V, XII; C, 26. The dorsal fin (D) has 5 fin rays, anal fin (A) has 10, pectoral fin (P) has 12, ventral or pelvic fin (V) has 12, caudal fin (C) has 26 fin rays.
  2. Experimental Design: Nine 35 liters plastic bowls were used for rearing of fish. The experiment consists of three treatments T1 (chicken viscera), T2 (commercial feed) and T3 (compounded feed) with three replicates using Complete Randomized Design (CRD). The water for the experiment was sourced from the Departmental borehole.
  3. Experimental Fish: Ninety (90) Synodontis melanopterus juveniles were obtained from Yamama Lake, Kebbi State. Juveniles’ initial mean weight was determined using electronic sensitive weighing balance. The juveniles were acclimatized for one week in order for them to get adapted to their new environment. After which they were fed with the diets. The weight (g) and length (cm) of each juveniles in each bowl was measured at the commencement of experiment. Sampling was carried out bi-weekly to determine the new body weight using electronic sensitive weighing balance and plastic ruler. The sampling exercise was carried out in the morning before feeding the fish. The experiment lasted for 56 days.

Determination of Water Quality Parameters

The water quality parameters that were monitored during the experiment include; Temperature (℃) which was determined using mercury in glass thermometer, the hydrogen ion concentration (pH) was measured using indicator paper and the Dissolved Oxygen (DO) was determined by titration method.

Determination of proximate composition of the feeds

From the proximate analysis of the feed ingredients (Table I), the crude protein content was 35% for chicken viscera, 45% for commercial feed and 22.75% for compounded feed. The compounded feed was subjected to proximate analysis at the Agricultural physical laboratory in Faculty of Agriculture, Usmanu Danfodio University, Sokoto. The analysis includes Crude protein, Crude fiber, Crude lipid and Ash content.

Table I: Percentage Composition of Feed Ingredients for Compounded Sinking Feed

Feed ingredients Percentage composition (%)
Wheat offal 4.84
Maize 14.52
Fish meal 24.05
Groundnut cake 36.07
Soybean meal 12.02
Bone meal 2.5
Methionine 1.0
Lysine 1.0
Premix 1.0
Salt 0.5
Palm oil 2.5
Proximate composition of compounded feed  
Moisture content 9.80
Crude protein 22.75
Crude fiber 9.66
Ether extract 8.06
Ash content 11.50

Determination of survival rate: Survival rate (SR %) was determined using;

Mortality rate (MR %): was determined using;

Determination of Growth Parameters

Percentage weight gain (PWG)

Specific Growth Rate (SGR)

Feed Conversion Ratio (FCR)

Condition factor (K)

Condition factor (K) of the juvenile was calculated at the beginning and end of the experiment as follows:

Data analysis

Survival, growth performances and feed utilization obtained from different treatments was subjected to one-way Analysis of Variance (ANOVA) to test for significant difference at 0.05 alpha level. Results with p ≤ 0.05 were considered significantly different. The statistical analysis was done using IBM SPSS Inc. (Windows version 22.0).                                                            


Water Quality Parameters

Water quality parameters such as temperature, pH and dissolved oxygen (DO) are given in Table II. There were no significant differences (p>0.05) in the water quality parameters of the bowls during the study. The temperature has higher (27.0 ± 0.00) value in T3

(compounded feed) while the least value is in T1 (chicken viscera) and T2 (commercial feed) (26.8 ± 0.00). The pH was highest (6.8 ± 0.00) in T1 (chicken viscera) and T2 (commercial feed) and the lowest in T3 (compounded feed) (6.7 ± 0.00). Similarly, DO was highest in T1 (chicken viscera) (7.4 ± 3.78) and lowest (5.9 ± 2.86) in T2 (commercial feed).

Table II: Mean (+SD) of Water Quality Parameters

Treatments Parameters
Temperature (ºC) pH        DO (mg/l)
T1 (chicken viscera) 26.8 ± 0.00a 6.8 ± 0.00a 7.4 ± 3.78a
T2 (commercial feed) 26.8 ± 0.00a 6.8 ± 0.00a 5.9 ± 2.86a
T3 (compounded feed) 27.0 ± 0.00a 6.7 ± 0.00a 7.2 ± 3.5a

Means in the same column with the same superscripts are not significantly different (p>0.05).

Growth Performance and Survival of S. melanopterus

The growth performance of S. melanopterus juveniles fed chicken viscera, commercial and compounded diets are presented in Table III. At the start of the experiment, the mean weight of the fish were 8.85g, 10.01g and 12.12g for S. melanopterus fed chicken viscera, commercial and compounded diets, respectively. Final weights were 10.26g, 11.05g and 12.88g for chicken viscera, commercial and compounded diets, respectively.

Table III: Growth Performance and Survival of Wild Synodontis melanopterus Juveniles Fed with Three Diets

Treatments       Parameters          
  MIW (g) MFW (g) MWG (g) SR (%) MR (%) PWG (%) SGR (%/day) FCR CF
T1 (chicken viscera) 8.85±1.150a 10.26±1.29a 9.56±1.22a 66.67±21.52a 33.33±21.52a 15.31±1.95a 0.26±0.03a 0.15±0.00a 1.00±0.10a
T2 (commercial feed) 10.01±1.15a 11.05±1.29a 10.53±1.22a 50.00±21.52a 50.00±21.52a 10.71±1.95ab 0.19±0.03ab 0.18±0.00a 0.86±0.10a
T3 (compounded feed) 12.12±1.15a 12.88±1.29a 12.49±1.22a 46.67±21.52a 53.33±21.52a 6.31±1.95b 0.12±0.03b 0.20±0.00a 0.87±0.10a

Means in the same column with different superscripts are significantly different (p<0.05). Means in the same column with same superscripts are not significantly different (p>0.05).

KEY: MIW = Mean Initial Weight, MFW = Mean Final Weight, MWG = Mean Weight Gain, SR = Survival Rate, MR = Mortality Rate, PWG = Percentage Weight Gain, SGR = Specific Growth Rate, FCR = Feed Conversion Ratio, CF = Condition Factor.

From the results obtained, fishes fed with T3 (compounded feed) recorded the highest MFW (12.88 ± 1.29) while fishes fed with T1 (chicken viscera) recorded the lowest MFW (10.26 ± 1.29). However, no significant difference (p>0.05) was observed between the treatments.

The survival rate (%) of juveniles was highest (66.67 ± 21.52) in the T1 (chicken viscera) and lowest  (46.67 ± 21.52) in T3 (compounded feed. Furthermore, significant difference (p<0.05) was observed in PWG (Table III) where fish fed with T1 (chicken viscera) recorded the highest value (15.31 ± 1.95) and T3 (compounded feed) the lowest (6.31 ± 1.95). Significant difference (p<0.05) was observed in SGR in which fish fed with T1 (chicken viscera) showed the highest value (0.26 ± 0.03) and T3 (compounded feed) showed the lowest value (0.12 ± 0.03).

No significant difference (p>0.05) was observed in FCR between the treatments. The lowest FCR was  in T3 (0.20 ± 0.00) and the highest was in T1 (0.15 ± 0.00). Condition factor (CF) was observed not to be significantly different (p>0.05) in all treatments. The  highest CF was recorded from fish fed T1 (1.00 ± 0.10) and the least was from T2 (0.86 ± 0.10).


Fish feed is a major input in fish culture business and has remained a principal constraint to fish farmers in Nigeria and other developing countries because of high cost and availability. According to Dwyer et al. [8] both over-feeding and under-feeding may also affect the specific growth rates and the efficiency of feed conversion. Over-and under-feeding can be detrimental to the health of the fish and may cause a marked deterioration in water quality, reduced weight, poor feed utilization, and increased susceptibility to infection. The physico-chemical parameters of water used for culture of S. melanopterus during the experimental period were within the range recommended for S. melanopterus culture. The water quality parameters in the present study were not affected by the forms of the diets. These values fell within the reported by Ndimele and Owodeinde [9]  as the best for tropical fishes. Generally, survival was good in all treatments. This could be attributed to proper handling during the whole experimental period. Growth parameters, survival and mortality are great tools for evaluating the effect of feed and its value composition on fish species. In this study, S. melanopterus responded positively to the chicken viscera, commercial and locally formulated diets as showed in their growth performance. Growth performance indices evaluated in the present study showed that percentage weight gain (PWG) and specific growth rate (SGR) of Synodontis melanopterus fed chicken viscera significantly differed (p<0.05) from fish fed commercial and compounded feed. Vincent et al. [10] reported that there was significant difference in the weight gain, specific growth rate and feed conversion ratio of African Catfish Clarias gariepinus fed chicken viscera. They further reported that the weight gain and specific growth rate were significantly higher but significantly lower in feed conversion ratio. Ajani et al. [11] reported that there was no significant difference in the mean weight gain and daily feed intake of C. gariepinus fed floating commercial diet and compounded sinking diet. However, they reported higher weight gain in fish fed floating commercial diet than compounded sinking diet. Similarly, Limbu [12] reported that feeding C. gariepinus using either commercial floating diet or compounded sinking diets did not significantly affect growth and survival. Olanipekun [13] showed variations in growth performance with higher mean weight gain and mean growth rate in fish fed compounded sinking diet and also, lower feed conversion ratio and higher survival rate in fish fed compounded sinking feed. Meanwhile, Mustapha et al. [14] and Ekanem et al. [15] found higher growth performance for C. gariepinus fed commercial floating diets compared to those fed compounded sinking diets.

The mean condition factor proved that fish in all the treatments were in good condition throughout the period of this study reason being that they all showed a relatively constancy all through. Olurin and Aderibigbe [16] documented that a fish well fed will obtain a higher condition factor than one poorly fed. The average biweekly growth of fish recorded in this study was higher than that of Jegede and  Fagbenro [17]. There was no significant difference (p>0.05) in survival rate of experimental fish fed with different diets. The Survival rate observed in this study was higher than that of Dayal et al. [18] in India who had 62% as the highest Survival rate. The feed conversion ratio of 0.15, 0.18 and 0.20 was obtained by fish fed with chicken viscera, commercial and compounded diet respectively. FCR in T1 is lower in comparison with others, this is an indication that T1 diet is of better quality than the other diets. This finding corroborates with that of Olele et al. [19]. The lowest FCR of fish obtained indicated better feed utilization by the fish and this obviously accounted for better growth performance of S. melanopterus fed T1 among others, this result supports the observation made by Shabbir et al. [20].

he current results have shown dissimilar growth performance between S. melanopterus juveniles fed chicken viscera, commercial and compounded feeds. There has been a higher weight gain in fish fed chicken viscera (T1) than commercial (T2) and compounded feed (T3). The present study indicates increased biweekly mean weight for S. melanopterus fed chicken viscera, commercial and compounded feeds shows that the fish utilized the feed for growth. Biweekly mean weight gain increasing throughout the rearing period for S. melanopterus fed all the diets indicates the fish converted the feed to flesh.


Farmers depend more on floating (commercial) diet which limits the development of S. melanopterus farming due to its being more expensive and requires specialized facilities to produce than sinking (compounded) diets; moreover most farmers have no technology to produce it. The present study has showed no significant difference in growth performance between the wild S. melanopterus fed chicken viscera, commercial and compounded diets. From the present study, all treatments administered to the fish did not affect the water quality parameters; also, survival and growth performance was good in all treatments. This research revealed that wild Synodontis melanopterus can be reared in plastic bowls at their early stage of growth and can be fed with chicken viscera, commercial floating feed and compounded sinking feed.

Based on findings in this study, it is therefore recommended to adopt chicken viscera in feeding wild S. melanopterus under culture, since it gives better survival rate and growth performances. Chicken viscera are also readily available.


This research was funded by the Nigeria Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFUND), Grant No: TETF/DR&D/CE/ALIERO/IBR/2020/VOL.1. We are therefore thankful for the financial support.


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