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Nutritional Requirements of Freshwater Ornamental Fish a Review

Nutritional Requirements of Freshwater Ornamental Fish a Review

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Published by: Azham Yahya on Jun 15, 2012
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Volumen 16(2), Mayo - Agosto 2011
Nutritional requirements of freshwater ornamental sh:
a review
Requerimientos nutricionales de peces ornamentales de aguadulce: una revisión
Yohana Velasco-Santamaría,
* Ph.D, Wilson Corredor-Santamaría,
Universidad de los Llanos, Instituto de Acuicultura (IALL), Research Group on Reproduction andToxicology of Aquatic Organisms (GRITOX), Km 12 vía Puerto López, Villavicencio, Meta, Colombia.*Corresponding: ymvelasco@yahoo.com.
Recibido: Junio de 2010; Aceptado: Febrero de 2011.
The knowledge of nutritional requirements in ornamental sh species is essential toimprove the productive development; however, the nutritional information of these speciesis scarce and sometimes this information is extrapolated from results obtained from non-ornamental sh species. In ornamental sh, a correct formulation of the diet improve thenutrient digestibility and supply the metabolic needs, reducing the maintenance cost andat the same time the water pollution. Inert food such as meal powder, akes, milk powder,bovine heart and liver, tubifex worms, as well as live food including
sp., rotifersand Moina have been used extensively in ornamental sh feeding with a diverse range of nutritional values and productive properties. In contrast with farmed sh, skin pigmentationis a mandatory characteristic in ornamental sh and the use of dietary supplements withcarotenoids is recommended. The aim of this document is to review the specic nutritionalrequirements which are indispensable to improve economical and productive potential of freshwater ornamental sh.
Key words:
Aquarium sh, carotenoids, energy, lipids, ornamental sh, protein, vitamins.
Sources: AIMS, CAB
Rev.MVZ Córdoba 16(2):2458-2469, 2011.
El conocimiento de los requerimientos nutricionales en peces ornamentales es esencialpara su desarrollo productivo; sin embargo, la información nutricional en estas especias eslimitada y algunas veces es extrapolada de resultados obtenidos de otras especies de pecesno ornamentales. En peces ornamentales, una correcta formulación en la dieta mejora ladigestibilidad nutricional y suple las necesidades metabólicas, reduciendo por tanto los
costos de mantenimiento y la contaminación del agua. Alimentos inertes como comida
en polvo, hojuelas, leche en polvo, corazón e hígado de bovino, gusanos tubifex así como
alimento vivo tales como
sp., rotíferos y Moina han sido usados extensivamenteen la alimentación de peces ornamentales, con un amplio rango de valores nutricionalesy propiedades productivas. A diferencia de las especies de cultivo, la pigmentación dela piel es una característica imprescindible en peces ornamentales y por tanto el uso desuplementos con carotenoides es recomendado. En conclusión, conocer los requerimientosnutricionales especícos para cada especie de peces ornamentales es indispensable paraoptimizar su potencial económico y productivo en la acuicultura.
Palabras clave:
Carotenoides, energía, lípidos, peces de acuario, peces ornamentales,proteína, vitaminas. (
Fuente: AIMS, CAB
The production and trade of ornamental shis a protable alternative in the aquaculturesector. Freshwater and marine species havebeen used successfully in the aquariumsh trade, being the most popular: discus
Symphysodona equifaciatus
), guppy (
), swordtail (
 Xiphophorus heller
molly (
Poecilia sphenops
Poecilia latipinna
) and
goldsh (
Carassius auratus
) (1). Despite theeconomical importance of this sector, thenutritional information for ornamental sh
is scarce and often few or even no data
of the nutritional requirements is available(1,2). Guppy and goldsh are the moststudied freshwater sh species (1), andtrue percula clownsh (
 Amphiprion percula
)is considered as reference in nutritional
studies in marine species (3).In natural conditions, sh can regulateand maintain their food intake andtherefore their nutritional requirements,reducing the possibility of sufferingnutritional deciencies; however, thisproblem can be observed when the share subject to connement conditions (4).Most of the information is not specic toornamental sh because it has been basedon results from farmed sh kept underdifferent farming conditions, nutritionalrequirements, feeding habits and type of food. Therefore, the limited informationabout nutrient digestibility in ornamentalsh increases the maintenance costs andthe water pollution (3).Taking into account the above, the aim
of this article is to review the information
available in the nutrition of freshwaterornamental sh with special emphasis on
their nutritional requirements and feedingalternatives and to highlight the need tocarry out more research in this relevantarea.
Nutritional requirements in ornamental
Lovell (4) reported that there are some
factors that differentiate the nutritional
requirements in sh e.g. they can absorbminerals through the gills and some sh
require more dietary unsaturated fatty acids
and vitamin C. Despite ornamental share known worldwide, the determinationof nutritional requirements has not beenstudied deeply and it has based on theinformation from other species suchas nsh used in aquaculture (4). Oneadvantage of ornamental sh over farmedsh is the low amount of food requirede.g. feeding requirements uctuatedfrom 3.8 mg feed/day/g BW in Neon tetra
) to 25.79 mg feed/day/g BW in goldsh (5).
Velasco-Santamaría - Nutritional requirements of freshwater ornamental sh
Volumen 16(2), Mayo - Agosto 2011
The energy required for maintenance
and protein synthesis in sh is less than inmammals (4); therefore, the protein:energyratio in sh is higher mainly due to the lowlevels of energy requirements. It is importantto highlight that the food intake in sh is
closely related to its energy requirements
e.g. a decrease in feeding was observed in
sp. at higher digestible energy (DE):brute protein (BP) ratios due to the fact that
high dietary energy induce satiety (6). It was
also observed that sh fed with low DE:BPratio had a higher protein deposition dueto the increase in the protein consumption(6). Based on that, it is possible to suggestthat sh can use its dietary protein to
maintain the energetic requirements at the
expense of growth. Table 1 shows the energyrequirements in some species of freshwaterornamental sh.
Proteins and amino acids.
The dietary
protein level inuences the body weight inseveral sh species (7,8). The crude proteinrequirements in many sh species generallyrange between 25 to 55% (9) (Table 1).The classication of the amino acidsis based on both the body’s ability
to synthesize them and to meet the
metabolic requirements which allow theirclassication into unessential and essentialamino acids. Most animals including shspecies require 10 essential amino acidsnamely arginine, histidine, isoleucine, leucine,lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, threonine,tryptophan and valine (9). The essentialamino acid requirements in goldsh vary
from 3.4% to 11.8% (10) which are higher
than those reported in Japanese eel (
 Anguilla japonica
), common carp (
Cyprinus carpio
),Channel catsh (
Ictalurus punctatus
) and
Chinook salmon (
Oncorhynchus tshawytscha
0.5% to 6.0%) (9). 
According to Elangovan and Shim (11),the comparison of protein requirementsbetween sh species is complex since
this can vary according to the size and
life stage, diet formulation or farming
condition. In Red tailed tinfoil (
), the optimal dietary protein levelhas been reported to be 41.7% withpositive effect on weight gain. Despitethe increase in the protein deposition of around 40%, this trend was not constant.A signicant decrease in the body weightwas observed with protein level around
50% due to the animal limitations to
use the protein and their reduced feedefciency (11).
Scientifc name
Common nameWeight (g)Energy (kJ/g)Proteinrequirements (%)Reference
 Arapaima gigas
Pirarucu 120.7 ± 3.5
23.63 GE (564.5 kcal/100 g)
48.6 (FM - S)Ituassú et al (12)
Barbodes altus
Tin foil barb
20.38 GE
41. 7 (C)
Elangovan and
Shim (11)
Carassius auratus
11.72 DE
29 (FM - C)Lochmann and
Phillips (13)
20.3 GE
53 (FM - C)
Fiogbé and
Kestemont (10)
Cichlasoma synspilum
Redhead cichlid 0.28
1.55 DE
40.81 (FM)Olevera-Novoa etal (14)
Cichla sp.
Tucunaré 10 - 30
14.65 DE (3500 kcal/kg)37 - 41 (FM - FE - S)Sampaio et al (6)
Colisa lalia
Dwarf gourami NRNR25Shim et al (15)
Poecilia reticulata
13.10 ME
30 - 40 (FM - C)Shim and Chua(16)
Pterophyllum scalare
2.33 ± 0.26
12.97 DE (3100 kcal/kg)
26 (S - CM)
Zuanon et al (17)
Symphisodon aequifasciata
Discus 4.45 - 4.65
21.65 GE
44.9 - 50.1 (FM - C)Chong et al (18)
 Xiphophorus helleri 
Swordtails, 6 - 8 weeks
NRNR45% (FM - S) Kruger et al (19)
Females, 20 wk
1.1 -1.2
16.5 GE
30 (FM - C)Chong et al (8)
Females, 20 wk
0.8 - 0.9
20.9 GE
30 (FM - KM)Ling et al (7)
Table 1.
Protein and energy requirements in some freshwater ornamental sh species. Theprotein source is shown in parenthesis.
NR: not reported. GE: gross energy; ME: metabolizable energy; DE: digestible energy; FM: sh meal; C: casein;CM: corn meal; FE: sh egg; S: soybean; KM: krill meal.

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