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Aquaculture CRSP 21st Annual Technical Report
Polyculture of Grass Carp and Nile Tilapia with Napier Grass as the Sole Nutrient Input
in the Subtropical Climate of Nepal

Tenth Work Plan, Feed and Fertilizers Research 3 (10FFR3)
Final Report

Narayan P. Pandit and Madhav K. Shrestha
Institute of Agriculture and Animal Science
Tribhuvan University
Rampur, Chitwan, Nepal

Yang Yi
Aquaculture and Aquatic Resources Management
Agricultural and Aquatic Systems and Engineering Department
School of Environment, Resources, and Development
Asian Institute of Technology
Pathumthani, Thailand

C. Kwei Lin and James S. Diana
School of Natural Resources and Environment
The University of Michigan
Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA


An experiment was conducted in outdoor concrete tanks (4.9 4.8 1.75 m) at the Institute of Agriculture and Animal Science of Nepal to evaluate the growth of grass carp and Nile tilapia fed with napier grass in polyculture, to evaluate water quality regimes of pond water, to determine the compositions of foods consumed by Nile tilapia, and to determine the optimal ratio of grass carp to Nile tilapia in polyculture.

The experiment was laid out in a completely randomized design with five treatments replicated thrice. Five stocking ratios of grass carp to Nile tilapia were tested: (A) grass carp only at 0.5 fish m
-2 (control); (B) grass carp at 0.5 fish m-2 plus Nile tilapia at 0.25 fish m-2; (C) grass carp at 0.5 fish m-2 plus Nile tilapia at 0.5 fish m-2; (D) grass carp at 0.5 fish m-2 plus Nile tilapia at
1 fish m
-2; (E) grass carp at 0.5 fish m-2 plus Nile tilapia at 2 fish m-2. Grass carp fingerlings (39.3 ± 2.3 to 46.6 ± 0.2 g) (mean ± SE) were stocked on 26 May 2002, while mixed-sex Nile tilapia fingerlings (9.0 ± 0.1 to 10.0 ± 0.2 g) were stocked six days later. Chopped fresh napier grass leaf was the sole nutrient input and provided ad libitum daily in the morning.

Mass mortality of grass carp (100%) occurred in all three replications of the monoculture (Treatment A) during the twelfth week (81 days) of the experimental period. Survival of grass carp was not significantly different among the polyculture treatments (Treatments B through E) (P > 0.05). At harvest, the mean weights and daily weight gains of grass carp in Treatment C were significantly greater than those in other polyculture treatments (P < 0.05). Net and gross fish yields were highest in Treatment C, intermediate in Treatments D and E, and lowest in Treatment B (P < 0.05). Survival of Nile tilapia was 100% in all polyculture treatments. Mean weights of Nile tilapia at harvest decreased linearly with increased stocking densities, while net fish yields of Nile tilapia increased linearly (P < 0.05).
The combined net and gross fish yields of grass carp plus both adult and recruited Nile tilapia were not significantly different among all polyculture treatments (P > 0.05). There were no significant differences in all measured water quality parameters (P > 0.05). Gut analyses showed that grass carp consumed only grass while Nile tilapia consumed various food items including feces of grass carp.

The optimal density ratio of grass carp to Nile tilapia fed napier grass is 1:1 in the present study, i.e., grass carp at 0.5 fish m
-2 plus Nile tilapia at 0.5 fish m-2. Addition of Nile tilapia to the grass carp tanks fed napier grass as the sole nutrient input can efficiently utilize available resources, reuse wastes derived from grass carp, and augment total fish production. The present study has also demonstrated that grass carpŠNile tilapia polyculture fed napier grass is a low-cost alternative aquaculture system for small-scale, poor farmers.