Body weight changes, nutrient utilization and intestinal microflora of African catfish (Clarias gariepinus) fed Aloe barbadensis leaves
Keywords:Growth performance, Aloe barbadensis leaves-paste, dietary supplement, Clarias gariepinus
Immuno-nutrition studies have shown that some nutrients are linked to the immunological status of fish. Growth performance, nutrient utilization and intestinal microflora were examined in Clarias gariepinus. The 120 C. gariepinus fingerlings (weight, 2.33±0.07g) were fed with Aloe barbadensis leaves-paste supplemented diets in 40L freshwater-filled plastic tanks ad libitum twice daily for 12 weeks. The experimental diets containing 40% crude protein were supplemented with three concentration of A. barbadensis leaves-paste: ABL1–1%; ABL2–2%; ABL3–3% and control–0%. Mean weight gain (MWG) and percentage weight gain (PWG) increased (p<0.05) as the concentration of A. barbadensis increased. MWG (17.95±0.78) and PWG (772.2±54.94) were highest in fish fed ABL3 and lowest MWG (11.92±1.16) and PWG (17.95±0.78) in fish fed control diet. Nutrients were better utilized among the diets supplemented group at different significant levels (p < 0.05). The highest value of ANPU was observed in ABL1 when compared to all other treatments including the control. Survival rate decreased as concentration of paste increased. There were no significant differences (p>0.05) in the total bacterial counts (TBC) in A. barbadensis leaves-paste supplemented diets and the control having the highest TBC (23.67 ± 0.88 x 105CFU/ml). Growth of total fungal counts (TFC) was not observed in ABL1. There was a reduction in TFC as the concentration increased in the other supplemented diets, and the control having the highest TFC (7.67 ± 0.44 x 105 CFU/ml). The study concluded that inclusion of 1% A. barbadensis leaves-paste as supplement in the diet could effectively improve the growth performance, nutrient utilization and survival of cultured C. gariepinus. A. barbadensis leaves-paste could also reduce the microbial load of the fish.