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Research article2003Peer reviewed

Effects of algal diets and temperature on the growth and fatty acid content of the cichlid fish Oreochromis niloticus L. - A laboratory study

Tadesse Z, Boberg M, Sonesten L, Ahlgren G


The effects of different algal foods and water temperatures on the growth and fatty acid content of the Nile Tilapia, Oreochromis niloticus L., were studied. Four types of algae, given in the same amounts as the control diet, were used as food: Microcystis aeruginosa, colonial and single-celled forms; Arthrospira fusiformis; and Scenedesmus quadricauda. The control group was fed a commercial diet of cichlid pellets, while another group was left unfed. The feeding experiment was run at 25degreesC. The condition factor decreased in all algal fed fish groups, except the one fed on Microcystis colonies, whereas the control group showed no significant change. Both food quantity and quality were responsible for this result. Some short-chained fatty acids in the diets could be traced in the long-chained counter-parts in the fish tissue. Both saturated fatty acids and monounsaturated fatty acids were higher in the control vs. treatment groups, whereas the polyunsaturated fatty acids displayed no significant differences amongst any of the treatment groups studied, including the unfed group. Direct quantitative comparison of individual fatty acid in the diet vs. tissue lipids in the fish proved to be difficult due to the great capacity of these tilapias to elongate and desaturate 18 carbon acids into long-chained homologues. The effect of temperature was studied by growing the fish at 16, 20 and 25degreesC. All groups were fed commercial cichlid pellets. The level of saturated and monounsaturated fatty acids increased at 20degreesC, whereas polyunsaturated fatty acids showed little variation. Docosahexaenoic acid, belonging to the important 'omega 3' group where the first double bond starts at carbon number three, was highest at 16 S C, resulting in a markedly elevated omega-3/omega-6 ratio at that temperature

Published in

Aquatic Ecology
2003, Volume: 37, number: 2, pages: 169-182

    UKÄ Subject classification

    Environmental Sciences related to Agriculture and Land-use

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