Field Document 8
November 1990


A report prepared for the project
Fisheries Development in Qinghai Province


Albert G.J. Tacon
Fish Feed Specialist

This report was prepared during the course of the project identified on the title page. The conclusions and recommendations given in the report are those considered appropriate at the time of its preparation. They may be modified in the light of further knowledge gained at subsequent stages of the project.

The designations employed and the presentation of the material in this document do not imply the expression of any opinion whatsoever on the part of the United Nations or the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations concerning the legal or constitutional status of any country, territory or sea area, or concerning the delimitation of frontiers.


This report details the results of a consultancy carried out to develop rainbow trout feeds using locally available ingredients and machinery for use at the Project trout farms in Qinghai Province. Baseline data on the agricultural feed resources of Qinghai Province are summarised, and local agricultural and industrial by-products identified for potential use within fish feeds. On the basis of the feed resources and machinery available, a dry diet formulation and feeding regime is recommended for use at the Project's trout farms. It is recommended that three distinct feed lines be produced (starter, fingerling, and production), and that the diets be manufactured for the Project by a local animal feed manufacturer in Xining. Details of the proposed formulations and feeding regimes are fully described.


The consultant would like to thank Dr David Edwards (Project CTA) and Mr Qiu Benchen (Project NPD, and Director of the Bureau of Aquatic Products, Xining) for their constant encouragement and support. Sincere appreciation is also extended to the following persons who kindly supplied information contained in this report, including Professor Hu Linghao (Director, Qinghai Academy of Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Science, Xining), Mr. Yu Zhong Yuan (General Manager, Qinghai Province Animal By-products Import and Export Corporation, Xining), Mr. Guo Zeng Rong (Director, Qinghai Province Mixed Feed Processing Factory, Xining), Mr. Tang Mingxin (Director, Agricultural Office of Qinghai Province Agricultural and Forestry Department, Xining), Mr. Li Wen-Zheng (Deputy Manager, Xining Huaqing Poultry Production Company, Xining), Mr. Wang Yuong He (Manager, Animal By-products Company, Xining), Mr. Liu Xiao Shi (Manager, Qinghai Province Animal Feed Factory, Xining), Mr. Zhao Yuen Jie (Director, Provincial Government Feed Office, Xining), Mr. Din Jin Shui (Dong Da Tan Trout Farm, Xining), Mr. Wu Da Fa (Section Chief, Ma Fang Rapeseed Processing Mill, Xining), and to all the staff of the Bureau of Aquatic Products in Xining. Finally, special thanks must be given to Mr. Yang Hongzhi (National Project Staff) who acted as both interpreter and counterpart, and without whom this report would not have been possible.

Rome, 1990

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4.1 Feed resources
4.2 Feed compounders
4.3 Feed availability, composition and cost


5.1 Rainbow trout
5.2 Carp


6.1 Rainbow trout

6.1.1 Project objective
6.1.2 Feed formulation
6.1.3 Feed manufacture
6.1.4 Feed storage
6.1.5 Feeding method

6.2 Naked carp

6.2.1 Project objective
6.2.2 Feeding strategy


7.1 In-house training
7.2 Feed manufacturing equipment


Appendix 1: Letter of agreement signed between the Bureau of Aquatic Products and the Qinghai Province Mixed Feed Processing Factory


1. Proximate composition and cost (CAF Xining) of feed ingredients and farm animal feeds available in Qinghai Province

2. Formulation and composition of the diets used at the Dong Da Tan Trout Farm

3. Recommended dietary nutrient levels for rainbow trout

4. Recommended dietary formulations for rainbow trout

5. Recommended quality of fishmeal and oil for salmonid diets

6. Observed dietary inclusion levels (%) of some common feed ingredients within dry practical pelleted feeds for carnivorous fish species

7. Recommended crumble/pellet sizes for trout of different age groups

8. Estimated manufacturing costs for the trout starter, fingerling and production diets

9. Example of a tank/cage rainbow trout daily feeding guide using a good quality commercial dry trout ration



1 Geographical location of Qinghai Province within mainland China and of agricultural related industries within the Province


The Government of the People's Republic of China, assisted by the United Nations Development Programme and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, are engaged in project CPR/88/077, Fisheries Development in Qinghai Province.

As part of the projects operations, FAO assigned Dr A.G.J. Tacon as Fish Feed Specialist Consultant from 2 October to 1 November 1990 with the following terms of reference:

Working closely with the coldwater fish culture specialist, he will assist with formulation and production of good quality trout feeds in Qinghai Province, using locally available ingredients and machinery. He will also advise on feeding of juvenile naked carp and prepare a mission report.


Manila, Philippines 2.10.90
Beijing, China2.10.904.10.90
Manila, Philippines1.11.90 


Mr Yang Hongzhi (National Project Staff - Bureau of Aquatic Products) and Mr Wang Meng (Bureau of Aquatic Products - Xining) acted as interpreter and counterpart staff throughout the consultancy.


4.1 Feed resources

Despite its high elevation (1652–6860m) and remote location in Northwest China (Figure 1), Qinghai Province supports a healthy agriculture industry. The principal agricultural crops grown (expressed in tonnes/year for 1989) include wheat (706,000), barley (171,000), potatoes (110,000), rapeseed (101,000), pea (57,000) and broadbeans (52,500). Other agricultural crops which are grown in the Province include millet, oats, buckwheat, corn, hyacinth bean, mung bean, sorghum, sesame, groundnut, safflower, turnips, sugar beet, melons, and a wide variety of vegetables and fruits. Major secondary products arising from the processing of these crops (expressed in tonnes/year for 1989) include wheat flour (560,000), wheat bran (140,000), rapeseed meal (67,000), rapeseed oil (34,000), spent alcohol grains (from the distillery industry), and brewers grains (2,200 tonnes, wet basis). Figure 1 shows the geographical location of the major crop processing factories within the Province.

Coupled with the extensive grazing lands in the Province, these crops and their by-products in turn support a rapidly growing livestock industry. The major animal species farmed include sheep, cattle, pigs and poultry, and to a lesser extent goats, ducks, rabbits, mink and fish. Total farm animal meat production in 1988 was estimated to be 127,300 tonnes of which 36.7%, 32.3%, 29.9% and 1.2% was derived from sheep, cattle, pigs and poultry/other animal species, respectively. By contrast, in 1989 total aquaculture production was estimated to be only about 400 tonnes per annum (40% silver/bighead carp; 50% common/crucian carp and 10% grass carp).

In 1988 over 29 slaughter houses throughout the Province slaughtered a total of 2,771,500 sheep, 547,100 pigs and 501,900 cattle. The waste by-products arising from the slaughter houses in turn support eight major meat/bone/blood rendering plants. In 1989 it is estimated that 4,000 tonnes of fresh slaughter house waste (liver: lung:stomach, 25:20:40, w/w), 3000–5000 tonnes of dried bone meal, 100 tonnes of dried blood meal, and 100 tonnes of dried meat and bone meal was produced in the Province. Figure 1 shows the geographical location of the major slaughter houses and rendering plants in the Province.

4.2 Feed compounders

Since its inception in the early 1980's the animal feed manufacturing industry currently boasts a production of 90,000– 100,000 tonnes of compound animal feed within a total of twenty small to medium-scale (<1–5 tonnes/hour) factories in the Province (Figure 1). Over 95% of the feed produced is in mash form for pigs, poultry, cattle, sheep, and only a small portion is produced in pelleted form for rabbit, mink and shrimp; the latter being produced for export to coastal provinces within China. At present there is no commercial manufacture of compound fish feeds within the Province.

4.3 Feed availability, composition and cost

Due to the early frosts and harsh winters within the Province the growing season for most agricultural crops is only about 7 to 8 months from March/April to September/October; harvesting of the major agricultural crops generally starting in August and ending by late October. Despite the relatively short growing season most cereal grains, oilseeds, green legumes, and their by-products (including brewers grains) can be purchased throughout the year from the Provincial capital, Xining. Similarly, although major slaughter houses only operate from September until December, visceral by-products (ie. liver, lung, stomach, intestine) and dried by-product meals (ie. meat and bone meal, bone meal, blood meal) can be purchased throughout the year from cold stores (within the major slaughter houses) and Xining, respectively. Other commonly used animal feed ingredients (ie. fishmeal, fish oil, feather meal, soybean meal, sunflower seed meal, cottonseed meal, groundnut meal, binders, antioxidants, and vitamins) are imported from other Provinces within China or from abroad (in the case of Peruvian fishmeal), but are available throughout the year in Xining.

The proximate composition and cost of the major feed ingredients and compound animal feeds available with Qinghai Province is shown in Table 1.


5.1 Rainbow trout

At present there is only one farm in Qinghai Province producing rainbow trout on a commercial scale. The trout farm is located below the Dong Da Tan reservoir at an altitude of 2960m and 81km east of Xining (Figure 1). Operated by the Department of Water Conservancy, Qinghai Provincial Government, the farm began operations in 1985, and since 1988 has produced approximately 2 tonnes of marketable fish (ca. >200g body weight; farm gate value of Yuan 16/kg). The fish growing cycle on the farm is reported to be approximately 2.5 to 3 years from egg to market size (mean water temperature 7 to 9°C, range -0.5 to 20°C). The farm is operated by five staff, including two fishery graduates.

The farm feeding strategy involves the manufacture of a moist pelleted ration on site using a simple motorised meat extruder.

Three formulations are produced for three different fish size groups (Table 2). Dry feed ingredients and fresh slaughter house wastes (liver, lung and blood) are purchased from Xining and Haiyan (5km from farm), respectively. Fresh slaughter house wastes are only available in Haiyan from the end of September to the end of October, and these are purchased in bulk (sufficient for one year's feed requirement), boiled on the farm for 10 minutes (blood) or 30 minutes (liver/lung), and then dried under the sun for about one week (blood) or several months (liver/lung), depending on the weather. The dried by-product meals are then ground to a particle size of 1–2mm using a local grinder and stored at ambient temperature. All diets are produced on a daily basis; starter diets first being prepared as 3mm moist pellets (ca. 25% water) and then sifted by hand to the desired feed particle size. In addition to the use of moist pelleted rations, fish are also fed with fresh fish (naked carp; Yuan 1.4/kg) from the local reservoir when available. Diet costs were reported to be Yuan 2.5/kg and Yuan 1.5/kg for the starter and production diets, respectively.

Fish are fed by hand using a fixed feeding rate; fry 5–8% body weight/day, 4–5 feedings/day; fingerlings 5% body weight/day, 3– 4 feedings/day; production/broodstock 1–3% body weight/day, 2–3 feedings/day. Although the farm quoted an overall food conversion ratio of 1.9, reported fish mortalities were high; mortality rates quoted were 50% from fertilized egg to 0.5g fish, 30% from 0.5 to 5g fish, 70% from 5 to 15g fish (last year, exception due to administrative problems), and 10–30% from 15g to market size. Although the exact cause of the fish mortalities is not known, it is thought to be diet-related (ie. opinion of the farm staff). Trout production costs were reported to be approximately Yuan 9.45/kg, of which 30% constituted feed costs, 25% labour, and 20% fingerling costs.

5.2 Carp

At present the carp farmer in Qinghai Province relies on a semi-intensive feeding strategy; fish growth being dependent upon a combination of natural pond food organisms (resulting from the fertilization of ponds with animal manures) and external supplementary feed inputs. Supplementary feeds commonly used by farmers include kitchen scraps, green vegetable wastes, wheat bran, oilseeds and soybean curd. Under these culture systems fish generally attain a market size of above 400g in about two years. According to the Aquatic Products Supply and Sale Company (a subsidiary of the Bureau of Aquatic Products in Xining) the government wholesale and market price (Yuan/kg, September 1990) of 1) common carp, 2) grass carp, 3) silver carp, 4) crucian carp and 5) naked carp is 1) 6.92 and 8.30, 2) 6.24 and 7.30, 3) 3.00 and 3.60, 4) 7.6 and 9.12, and 5) 2.30 and 2.70, respectively. By comparison, the government market price (Yuan/kg) of beef, lamb, pork, poultry, eggs, and milk is 4.96, 5.32, 5.50, 8.40, 5.28 and 1.00, respectively.

It is important to note here that the Bureau of Aquatic Products has recently (1990) started producing in-house pelleted feeds for use on its fingerling production carp farm in Xining. Although no precise dietary formulations were available, the diet is reported to contain meat and bone meal, rapeseed meal, wheat bran and wheat flour, but no mineral or vitamin premix. Pellets (2–3mm in diameter) are prepared using a Peihe Kelisiliao SLD-ZJ200 farm pelleter (production capacity - 210kg/h) and then dried under the sun before use. The diet is reported to contain 27% crude protein and is costed by farm staff at Yuan 0.7/kg. No details were available on the performance of fish fed this ration. However, past feeding trials conducted by Bureau staff with common carp in cages using an in-house produced dry pelleted diet have been disappointing; a 32.6% protein diet (containing 15% fishmeal, 30% soybean meal, 15% rapeseed meal, 30% wheat bran, 10% corn, and a carp vitamin and mineral supplement) resulting in a food conversion ratio of 3.


6.1 Rainbow trout

6.1.1 Project objective

Immediate Objective No. 5 of the Project Document states:

To encourage the manufacture of good quality trout feeds by local feed mills in Qinghai Province.

Output 1:


6.1.2 Feed formulation

Although fresh animal by-products such as liver and blood are available in limited quantities and could be used by a small-scale trout farmer (< 5 tonnes fish/year) within an in-house produced moist diet, a dry diet formulation and feeding regime is recommended for the Project fish farms.

Three dietary formulations are recommended for use within three distinct feed lines, namely starter, fingerling and production diets. Table 3 and Table 4 shows the recommended nutrient levels and dietary formulations for the three feed lines, respectively. The formulations are conservative in that emphasis has been placed on using high dietary inclusion levels of known quality ingredients (ie. such as fishmeal; Table 5) rather than experimenting with unknown cheaper alternatives such as rapeseed meal. For example, although oilseeds (ie. soybean meal, rapeseed meal) and animal by-product meals (ie. meat and bone meal, blood meal) can and have been successfully used at high dietary inclusion levels within practical salmonid rations (Table 6), their nutritional success is dependent upon the individual manufacturing process used to produce them. Thus, since the level of technology available in Qinghai Province to manufacture these ingredient sources is still in its infancy, and the proximate composition of these ingredient sources is highly variable, their inclusion level within the proposed diet lines has been kept to a minimum.

6.1.3 Feed manufacture

It is recommended that the Qinghai Province Mixed Feed-Processing Factory in Xining manufacture the three trout feed lines for the Project. The factory has considerable experience with the manufacture of shrimp rations (Table 1) and has the necessary pelleting equipment and resident technical expertise to undertake such a venture. Tables 4 and 7 show the recommendations for ingredient grinding and final crumble/pellet feed size, respectively. It is anticipated that approximately 2.5–3.5 tonnes of starter feed, 16–22 tonnes of fingerling feed, and 56–75 tonnes of production feed will have to be manufactured so as to meet the Project's production target of 50 tonnes of trout. This calculation is based on a farm food conversion ration of 1.5–2.0, and a survival from egg (700,000 individuals) to 5g fish of 50%, a survival of 71.4% from 5g to 50g fish, and a survival of 80% from 50g to 250g fish.

The feed mill's estimated manufacturing cost for the three feed lines is shown in Table 8. On the basis of these costings a letter of agreement was drawn up between the Bureau of Aquatic Products and the Qinghai Province Mixed Feeds Processing Factory, concerning the manufacture of the above feed lines for the Project (Appendix 1).

6.1.4 Feed storage

Since the manufactured diets are composed of perishable nutrients it is essential that the feed storage period on the farm prior to feeding be kept to a minimum and that adequate storage facilities are provided. Dry feed lines should be stored under clean dry ventilated conditions within a room with a concrete floor and walls (avoiding high humidity and direct sunlight), and used within two months of manufacture. Bags containing manufactured diets should be stored on wooden pallets and in such a manner so as to facilitate good air circulation between individual sacks, and should never be allowed to rest directly against the concrete floor or walls.

6.1.5 Feeding method

The success of a dry diet feeding regime is dependent not only on the formulation and manufacturing process used to produce the diet, but also on the method of presentation of the feed to the fish. Although the majority of large commercial trout farms in Europe normally use a fixed dietary feeding regime to administer their feed to the fish (Table 9), hand feeding to satiation is recommended for the Project fish farms. Fry should be fed at least 8–10 times per day, fingerlings 4–6 times per day, and larger fish 2–3 times per day, 7 days per week. The main advantage of hand feeding is that it is the fish that dictates how much it wants to eat (and not the feeding technician), and by so doing allows the farmer to keep a regular check on fish feeding behaviour and health, and water quality.

6.2 Naked carp

6.2.1 Project objective

Immediate Objective No. 3 of the Project Document states:

To establish artificial propagation technology for the production of fry and fingerlings of naked carp for stocking the lake.

Output 1:


6.2.2 Feeding strategy

The naked carp Gymnocypris przewalski prezewalski (Kessler) is omnivorous and demersal in feeding habit. In its natural habitat it has been found to consume both plant and animal matter, including Bacillariophyta, Rotatoria, Cladocera, Chlorophyta, Cyanophyta, Euglenophyta, Copepods, Ostracods, and Insecta. Compared with the major Chinese carps the naked carp is believed to be most similar to the common or crucian carp in feeding habit (Mr Yin Bai Cai/Mr Wang Ji Lin, personal communication).

Recent feeding trials (May/June 1990) conducted by Bureau staff at the Institute of Aquatic Products in Xining have shown that newly hatched naked carp larvae can be successfully reared on a traditional diet of boiled egg yolk and bread (supplemented with live zooplankton) with a survival of 70%. In view of this success and the vast wealth of Chinese expertise with carp it is not thought appropriate at this time to recommend any modification to this feeding regime. However, if time allows efforts should be given on the possible use of waste brewers grains from the nearby Hai Hua Brewery as a supplementary feed source for fingerling naked carp within the pond nursery phase prior to transfer to Lake Qinghai.


7.1 In-house training

It is strongly recommended that the Bureau of Aquatic Products assign one staff member to the Project on a full-time basis to cover all aspects of feed formulation, manufacture and feeding. Since there is no provision in the Project Document for specific training activities in this subject area, it is recommended that the Bureau provide funds for the in-house training of the selected individual at the Institute of Aquatic Products in Beijing. It is imperative that the Bureau recognise the importance of fish feeds and feeding in terms of staff training; food and feeding costs generally representing the largest single operating cost item of intensive fish farming operations.

7.2 Feed manufacturing equipment

It is recommended that the Project purchase a small-scale fish feed manufacturing plant. The feed plant would be used to train Project and Bureau staff, and would serve as an ideal demonstration unit for the Bureau in Qinghai Province. The feed plant should be purchased from within China for not more than US $ 20,000 (ie. Huada Machinery Factory, Guangdong Province - HD Brand Model 9KC-1000A). However, it must be made clear at the start that the Bureau should purchase its trout feed requirement for the Project during the first year of the trout farming operation from the Qinghai Province Mixed Feeds Processing Factory (Appendix 1). The feed plant should only be used to produce feeds for the Project after the staff have been sufficiently trained in fish feed formulation and nutrition in the opinion of the CTA. A prerequisite for the production of trout feeds by the above feed plant would be for the Bureau to first establish a modest analytical laboratory for the routine proximate analysis of feed ingredients and feed lines.


Cho, C.Y., 1980 Recent advances in the diet formulation and the nutrition of salmonid fishes: Type of fat and its quality. Proceedings of the Conference for Canadian Feed Manufacturers 1980, Canadian Feed Industry Association, University of Guelph, Ontario, Canada, pp. 23–27

Tacon, A.G.J., 1988 The nutrition and feeding of farmed fish and shrimp - A training manual. 3. Feeding methods. FAO Field Document. Project GCP/RLA/075/ITA, Field Document No. 7, Brasilia, Brazil, 208p.

Figure 1


▲ Provincial capital - Xining
• Town with slaughterhouse
1 Animal feed mill
2 Rapeseed processing plant
3 Meat & Bone/Blood proc. plant
4 Brewery

Figure 1. Geographical location of Qinghai Province within mainland China (a) and of agricultural related industries within the Province

Table 1. Proximate composition and cost (CAF Xining) of feed ingredients and farm animal feeds available in Qinghai Province (all values are expressed as % by weight on a as-fed basis; Water - H2O; Crude Protein - CP; Lipid EE; Crude Fibre - CF; Ash; Calcium - Ca; Phosphorus - P) 1

 Average composition (%)Cost/kg 2
Plant ingredients        
Barley grain12.810.
Brewers grains (wet)
Broadbean, seed11.523.
Corn grain12.
Distillers grains (w)
Oat grain7.710. 
Pea, seed11.820.
Rapeseed meal8.
Rapeseed oil--100----4.53
Sesame oilcake8.625.710.
Soybean meal9.340.
Soybean oil--100----4.00
Sunflower seed meal7.331.68.924.
Wheat grain12.610.
Wheat bran11.612.
Wheat flour12.810.
Animal ingredients         
Blood meal10.873.50.4-
Cattle stomach meal8.315. 3 
Fat (pig)--100----4.10
Fat (fish oil)--100----5.00 4 
Fishmeal (peruvian)
Feather meal9.
Liver meal5.661.220.1- 3 
Lung meal5.630.022.8-10.31.421.170.60 3 
Meat and bone meal5.538.39.80.525.913.36.370.99
FeSO 4.7H2O Yuan 55.85/kg; MnSO4.H2O Yuan 54.94/kg; ZnSO4.7H2O Yuan 65.38/kg;
CuSO 4.5H2O Yuan 63.55/kg; CoCL2.6H2O Yuan 58.93/kg; KI Yuan 126.90/kg;
Na2Se O3 Yuan 78.96/kg; Bone meal Yuan 0.69/kg; NaCL Yuan 0.38/kg
Animal feeds5        
Poultry feed11.4812.301.95-7.140.890.210.86–0.92
Pig feed8.7812.112.52-–0.83
Cattle feed9.0315.833.82-6.690.800.500.67–0.84
Sheep feed9.0210.112.28-
Rabbit feed9.1412.162.40-4.910.490.691.00
Mink feed-33–3814–18----3.20
Shrimp pellet (adult)9.4536.937.51-8.821.071.023.80
Shrimp pellet (grower)7.6743.247.58----4.00
Trout vitamin premix(Institute of Aquatic Products, Beijing)100.00
Trout mineral premix(Institute of Aquatic Products, Beijing)4.40
Shrimp vitamin premix 40.00

1 Data for feed ingredients represents means of several published analyses from the Province.
2 Cost Yuan/kg October 1990 Yuan 4.71 = 1 US $.
3 Represents costs on a wet weight basis.
4 Estimated price from Beijing

Table 2. Formulation and composition of the diets used at the Dong Da Tan Trout Farm

Ingredient (%) 1 Starter 2 FingerlingProduction 3 
Fishmeal (Peruvian)403010
Chicken egg yolk (boiled) 4 20--
Meat and bone meal20105
Liver/lung meal 5 -1530
Blood meal 5 -55
Pea seed meal 6 -105
Wheat bran122040
Wheat flour8105
Additives 7 122
Total 101 102 102 

1 Ingredient costs given as: fishmeal Yuan 3.9/kg, meat and bone meal Yuan 2.1/kg, pea seed meal Yuan 1.1/kg, wheat bran Yuan 0.63/kg, wheat flour Yuan 0.53/kg (not free market price; special arrangement), corn meal Yuan 1.0/kg, fresh blood Yuan 0.03/sheep or Yuan 0.05/cow, fresh liver/lung mixture Yuan 0.2/kg, multivitamin premix Yuan 122/kg
2 Calculated starter diet composition reported as crude protein 35.5–45.4%, crude lipid 5.4%, crude fibre 2.4–5.2%, and ash 7.7–11%. No composition data available for fingerling or production diets.
3 Production diet also fed to broodstock fish (no modification)
4 20% wet weight inclusion level
5 Dried meals prepared on the farm from fresh blood/liver/lung
6 Raw local peas, not cooked, but just ground prior to dietary inclusion
7 Additives purchased from Xining feed company, and contains salt, amino acids, growth promotants, mineral premix and a multivitamin premix. The additives are preformulated for use in conventional poultry and live stockfeed rations.

Table 3. Recommended dietary nutrient levels for rainbow trout 1

Diet code 2 StarterFingerlingProduction
Crude protein, % min504745
Amino acids, % min 3    
Crude lipid , % min 4 121210
Carbohydrate, % max152025
Crude fibre, % max11.52.5
Major minerals, %   
Calcium, % max2.52.02.0
Available phosphorus, % min1.00.80.7
Added dietary supplements    
Trace minerals, mg/kg min   
Vitamins, IU/kg diet min 5    
Vitamin A600045003000
Vitamin D3300022501500
Vitamins, mg/kg diet min   
Vitamin E300225150
Vitamin K1296
Pantothenic acid18013590
Nicotinic acid240180120
Folic acid1296
Vitamin B120.060.0450.03
Vitamin C 6 1200900600
Choline chloride300022501500

1 Dietary nutrient levels recommended for clear water aquaculture systems
2 Starter: 0–5g fish, Fingerling: 5–50g fish, Production: 50–250g fish
3 Amino acid requirement based on the essential amino acid composition of fish
4 Fish:plant lipid ratio of 5–7:1
5 Suggested dietary vitamin levels taking into account processing, storage and leaching losses. Production diets used for broodstock should have their vitamin levels increased by 50% to those employed in the fingerling diet
6 Silicon or fat coated

Table 4. Recommended dietary formulations for rainbow trout 1

 Diet code 3 
Ingredient (%) 2 StarterFingerlingProduction
Fishmeal (peruvian) (64.2/3.3)504034
Meat and bone meal (38.2/8.5)101212
Blood meal (83.1/-)788
Feather meal (67.4/2.2)444
Soybean meal (41.7/5.5)9910
Rapeseed meal (32.8/7.2)-36
Wheat bran (15.5/3.4)4.2--
Corn meal (9.8/3.8)-3.958.7
Brewers grains (23.4/3.0) 4 51010
Fish oil 5
Trout vitamin premix 6
Trout mineral premix 7 21.51
Total 100 100 100 
Calculated composition (%, as fed basis) 8 
Crude protein (N × 6.25)50.0147.0745.09
Crude lipid11.9812.0010.04
Calculated diet cost (Yuan/kg diet) 9 
Total raw ingredient cost 10 2.8792.5522.260

1 Recommended dietary formulations for rainbow trout for use within the Projects fish farms
2 Ingredient name is followed by reported crude protein and lipid content. All ingredients should be first ground so as to pass through a 0.25mm sieve (for premixes and starter rations) and a 0.354/0.5mm sieve forfingerling and production diets.
3 Starter: 0–5g fish; Fingerling 5–50g fish; Production 50–250g fish. Starter feeds should be prepared as 0.5 and 1mm crumbles, fingerling feeds as 1.5mm–3mm crumbles and 3mm pellets, and production feeds as 5–8mm pellets (Table 7). Granules or crumbles should be prepared by crushing or crumbling 3 or 4mm pellets between rollers and then screening out the desired particle size. After sieving the finished feed should contain not more than 10% oversized or undersized granules. ‘Fines’, which result from the manufacture of pellets or crumbles of an intended size should not be used as part of starter feed and should be recirculated continuously so as to minimise variations in the formulations intended. In general ‘fines’ content (defined as feed particles below 0.42mm) should not exceed 2–3% of any finished feed.
4 Dehydrated brewers grains containing 10% moisture
5 Stabilized with antioxidant (Table 5)
6 In the event that the vitamin premix specifications given in Table 3 cannot be produced, the trout vitamin premix produced by the Institute of Aquatic Products (Beijing) can be used. The Institute suppliers recommended dosage level for all diets is 200g premix/200kg dry diet; vitamin premix cost given as Yuan 20/200kg diet or Yuan 0.1/kg diet.
7 In the event that the mineral premix specifications cannot be produced locally, the trout mineral premix produced by the Institute of Aquatic Products (Beijing) can be used. The Institute suppliers recommended dosage level for all diets is 2000g premix/200kg dry diet; mineral premix cost given as Yuan 8.8/200kg diet or Yuan 0.044/kg diet.
8 Calculated composition based on the feed analysis reports of ingredients used by the Qinghai Province Mixed Feed-Processing factory, Xining
9 October 1990; Yuan 4.71 = 1 US $
10 Raw ingredient costs CAF Xining: fishmeal (Peruvian) Y 3.25/kg, meat and bone meal Y 0.99/kg, blood meal Y 2.48/kg, feather meal Y 2.19/kg, soybean meal Y 1.50/kg, rapeseed meal Y 0.58/kg, wheat bran Y 0.56/kg, corn meal Y 0.6/kg, dehydrated brewers grains Y 0.35/kg, fish oil Y 5.0/kg, trout vitamin premix (Beijing) Y 100/kg, trout mineral premix (Beijing) Y 4.4/kg.

Table 5. Recommended quality of fish meal and oil for salmonid diets 1

Fishmeal2 Level 
Crude proteinMore than 68 %
Crude lipidLess than 10 %
AshLess than 13 %
SaltLess than 3 %
Ammonia-NLess than 0.2 %
MoistureLess than 10 %
Antioxidant (sprayed liquid form)200 ppm
Steam processed, ground finer than 0.25mm 
Fish oil  
Peroxide valueLess than 5 meq/kg
Anisidine valueLess than 10
Total pesticidesLess than 0.4 ppm
Polychlorinatedbiphenyls (PCBs)Less than 0.6 ppm
NitrogenLess than 1 %
MoistureLess than 1 %
Antioxidant (liquid)500 ppm

1 From Cho (1980)
2 Heavy metal content of the meal should also be checked

Table 6. Observed dietary inclusion levels (%) of some common feed ingredients within dry practical pelleted feeds for carnivorous fish species (ie. salmonids) 1

Feed ingredient Range Mean Max.Level 
Alfalfa meal1 – 535
Blood meal 2 2 – 107.510
Corn grain, meal2 – 15820
Corn gluten meal4 – 201015
Corn distillers dried solubles3 – 8710
Dicalcium phosphate1 – 21.53
Hydrolysed feather meal 3 3 – 75.57
Fishmeal5 – 6536No limit
Groundnut meal, solvent extracted 4 5 – 201015
Liver meal5 – 652550
Meat and bone meal, solvent extracted 5 5 – 301020
Poultry by-product meal 5 4 – 7515
Rapeseed meal, solvent extracted 6 10 – 301520
Rice bran, solvent extracted5 – 151015
Soybean meal, solvent extracted6 – 301625
Soybean meal, full fat10 – 734235
Wheat grain, meal4 – 331520
Wheat bran2 – 251015
Wheat gluten meal5 – 10715
Wheat middlings2 – 381625
Yeast, dried brewers2 – 19515

1 Adapted from Tacon (1988)
2 Blood meal protein is a rich source of leucine, valine and histidine, but is very deficient in isoleucine and methionine; because of the antagonistic effect if excess leucine on isoleucine, animals fed high dietary levels of blood meal may suffer from an isoleucine deficiency
3 Hydrolysed feather meal protein is a rich source of cystine but is deficient in methionine, lysine and histidine; because of the antagonistic effect of excess cystine on methionine, animals fed high levels of feather meal may suffer from an methionine deficiency
4 The decorticated material should be used and give negative results for aflatoxin
5 May vary in composition and quality, and hence should only be used at low to moderate dietary inclusion levels
6 Varieties containing low levels of glucosinolates and erucic acid (antinutritional factors) should be used

Table 7. Recommended crumble/pellet sizes for trout of different age groups

Feed size (mm) 1 Fish size (g)
0.5 crumble0 – 0.5
1.0 crumble0.5 – 1
1.5 crumble1 – 5
2.0 crumble5 – 10
3.0 crumble10 – 20
3.0 pellet (diameter)20 – 100
5.0 pellet100 – 200
6.5 pellet200 – 1000
8.0 pellet1000 +

1 When moving to a larger feed size it is recommended that the two sizes are mixed together for 5 – 10 days, gradually reducing the amount of the smaller pellet until it is all gone

Table 8. Estimated manufacturing costs for the trout starter, fingerling and production diets (Yuan/tonne dry diet) 1

Raw ingredient cost 2 2879.32553.32238.0
Raw ingredient/handling cost 3 3454.83063.62685.6
Fixed processing costs282828
Administration costs202020
Equipment wear and tear1 – 2%1 – 2%1 – 2%
Profit1 – 3%1 – 3%1 – 3%
Ingredient/production cost 4 3684.833273.32875.65
Factory price 5 3878.763445.573027.0
Retail price 6 4460.573962.43481.05
Wholesale price 7 4149.33686.33238.3

1 Costs provided by the Qinghai Province Mixed Feed Processing Factory for the manufacture of the diets presented in Table 4. (date quotation was received - 20/10/90)
2 Factory estimated cost of raw ingredients
3 Raw ingredient cost × 120%
4 (Raw ingredient cost × 120% + Fixed processing cost + Administration cost) ÷ (Equipment wear and tear × Profit)
    Starter diet 3502.8 ÷ 95.06%
    Fingerling diet 3111.6 ÷ 95.06%
    Production diet 2733.6 ÷ 95.06%

5 Ingredient/production cost ÷ 95%
6 Ingredient/production cost × 115%
7 Ingredient/production cost × 93%

Table 9. Example of a tank/cage rainbow trout daily feeding guide using a good quality commercial dry trout ration in Europe 1

Feeding rate in percent fish weight per day at different water temperatures
Fish weight (g)0–0.50.5–44–66–1010–1515–2525–5050–75
Feed size (mm)2 0.5–0.80.8–
Composition 3 53/1253/1250/1250/1247/1247/1245/1245/12
Temperature °C
Minimum number181612108866
of feedings/day        
Fish weight (g)75–100100–150150–250250–500500–10001000+  
Feed size (mm)  
Temperature °C  
Minimum number of feedings/day443222  

1 Adapted from Tacon (1988)
2 All pellets, except 0 – 6g crumbles; number is expression of diameter
3 Percent crude protein/crude lipid

Appendix 1. Letter of agreement signed between the Bureau of Aquatic Products and the Qinghai Province Mixed Feed Processing Factory

Agreement between the Bureau of Aquatic Products, Department of Agriculture, Qinghai Provincial Government, and the Qinghai Province Mixed Feeds Processing Factory.

  1. The Bureau agrees to buy all trout feeds required for fish production as part of UNDP Project CPR/88/077 during 1991 from the Company.

  2. The Company agrees to make these feeds using the formulations given by the Project consultants, and in accordance with the technology specified by these consultants (e.g. freshness of ingredients, size of particles to be ground, pellet size). Agreed specifications are attached to this agreement.

  3. The price of feeds shall be : Fry diet… , Fingerling diet… , Production diet…. Prices are per tonne ex factory, and will be held throughout 1991.

  4. The Bureau expects to need approx. 5 tonnes of fry diet and 25 tonnes of fingerling diet for its hatchery production during 1991. However, should unplanned mortalities occur, or fish growth be poorer than expected, the Bureau reserves the right to buy only as much food as is needed to feed its fish stocks.

  5. The Company agrees to allow a member of the Bureau staff to be present as an observer in the factory when trout feeds are being made. The Bureau employee will from time to time take random samples of ingredients and/or feeds for independent analysis. Should these prove substandard, the Bureau reserves the right to terminate this agreement.

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