Field Document 7/E



G O V E R N M E N T  C O O P E R A T I V E  P R O G R A M M E

F A O - I T A L Y




Albert G. J. Tacon

A report prepared for the FAO Trust Fund GCP/RLA/075/ITA Project
Support to the Regional Aquaculture Activities for
Latin America and the Caribbean

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.

Postal address: Project GCP/RLA/075/ITA, c/o FAO R, C.P.07-1058, CEP 70330, Brasilia D.F., Brazil.


This document is based on the original lecture texts presented by Dr. A.G.J. Tacon to the trainees of the Fourth Senior Aquaculturists Training Course in Pirassununga, Brazil, from 23 June to 9 July 1986 (based at the Centro de Pesquisa e Treinamento em Aquicultura, CEPTA), and has been revised and updated as a training manual to form the basis of an intensive five week subregional training course on the nutrition and feeding of farmed fish and shrimp to be implemented by the FAO Trust Fund GCP/RLA/075/ITA Project within the Latin America and Caribbean Region. The aim of this training course is to create a core of senior instructors and researchers within the Region who inturn will be able to conduct their own national training programmes, and advise farmers and researchers alike on all aspects of practical aquaculture feed technology.

Although numerous training manuals exist on the nutrition and feeding of farmed fish and shrimp, these have tended to deal almost exclusively with intensive or complete diet feeding, with little or no mention of semi-intensive feeding methods. Since the majority of finfish and shrimp aquaculture production is currently realised within semi-intensive farming systems, clearly emphasis must also be given to semi-intensive feeding methods such as fertilization, composting and supplementary diet feeding. All too often it is believed that the only economic way of feeding fish or shrimp is by using a high quality ‘complete’ pelleted diet; it is not, and farmers and researchers alike should not be misguided to believe so. The training manual is presented in three parts; part 1 deals with the essential nutrients, part 2 deals with nutrient sources, and part 3 deals with feeding methods.


The feeding methods employed for the production of farmed fish and shrimp are presented. Complete diet feeding methods are described, including formulation procedures, feed manufacture and storage, larval feeding, dietary feeding allowances, and feed economics. In addition, information is presented concerning fertilization and supplementary diet feeding methods, including pond preparation techniques, chemical fertilization, manure fertilization through direct application, livestock integration, composting and fermentation, and supplementary diet formulation and feeding practices.

Brasilia, Brazil
June 1988

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1.1  Existing aquaculture feeding strategies
1.1.1  No fertilizer or feed input
1.1.2  Fertilization
1.1.3  Supplementary diet feeding
1.1.4  Complete diet feeding
1.2  Choice of feeding strategy
1.2.1  Subsistence/home consumption farming activity
1.2.2  Commercial cash-income farming activity

2.1  Introduction
2.2  Formulation of complete diets
2.2.1  Considerations
2.2.2  Procedure
2.2.3  Example formulations
2.3  Manufacture and storage of complete pelleted diets
2.3.1  Background
2.3.2  Grinding
2.3.3  Pelleting
2.3.4  Storage
2.4  Feeding practices
2.4.1  Feeding of marine fish and shrimp larvae
2.4.2  Dietary feeding regimes and allowances
2.5  Economics of complete diet feeding and choice of strategy
2.5.1  Objectives and cost of compound feed manufacture
2.5.2  Economic considerations
2.5.3  Choice of complete diet feeding strategy

3.1  Introduction
3.2  Pond fertilization
3.2.1  The pond ecosystem and primary nutrient cycles
3.2.2  Preparation of the pond bottom prior to fertilization  Pond drying  Liming
3.2.3  Chemical fertilization of aquaculture ponds  Effect on pond productivity and fish/shrimp production  Fertilizer application rates  Factors influencing the action of chemical fertilizers
3.2.4  Organic fertilization of aquaculture ponds  Effect on pond productivity and fish/shrimp production  Manure fertilization through straight application  Manure fertilization through livestock integration  Manure fertilization through composting and fermentation
3.3  Supplementary diet feeding
3.3.1  Selection of supplementary feeds for use by rural or subsistence farmers
3.3.2  Feed formulation and natural productivity
3.3.3  Feed preparation and presentation
3.3.4  Feeding level and frequency
3.3.5  Economics of supplementary feeding and pond fertilization




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

  2. Apparent digestibility coefficients of selected ingredients for rainbow trout

  3. Formulation constraints imposed for a 32% crude protein extrusion processed (expanded) pelleted feed for channel catfish and a 45% crude protein conventional steam pelleted feed for a salmonid (rainbow trout)

  4. Observed dietary inclusion levels (%) of the major feed ingredients within practical complete pelleted fish and shrimp diets, and suggestions for their maximum dietary inclusion level

  5. Examples of complete diet formulations which have been tested and proven under practical intensive rearing conditions

  6. Effect of storage relative humidity on feed moisture

  7. Live food feeding regimes currently employed for the mass propagation of marine fish and shrimp larvae

  8. Effect of different artificial diet feeding regimes on the growth and survival of Penaeus japonicus larvae

  9. Selected examples of recommended complete diet feeding regimes and allowances

  10. Economic analysis of compound feed manufacture

  11. Suggested selection criteria for choice of hatchery feeding strategy

  12. Estimated lime requirement needed to increase the total hardness and alkalinity of pond water to 20mg/1 or greater

  13. Examples of suggested lime application rates for aquaculture ponds

  14. Reported fish and shrimp production increases within chemically fertilized ponds compared with non-fertilized controls

  15. Examples of pond fertilization feeding strategies

  16. Percentage dissolution of phosphorus and nitrogen from selected fertilizers after settling through a 2-metre water column at 29°c

  17. Primary productivity and fish yields attainable within chemically fertilized and manured ponds in Israel

  18. (a) standing crops of phytoplankton, zooplankton, chironomid worms and bacteria in manured and non-manured ponds with or without fish in Israel

    (b) Natural food organisms found in water and bottom soil of manured and non-manured fish ponds in Israel

  19. Natural feeding habits of some pond cultured fish and prawn species

  20. Examples of manure fertilization programmes for pond fish and shrimp

  21. Livestock manure production rates and recommended animal stocking densities/unit area of pond water surface

  22. Major physico-chemical factors affecting composting

  23. Examples of composting methods

  24. Optimal physico-chemical parameters for anaerobic fermentation and biogas production

  25. Food quotients of some common supplementary fish feeds

  26. Recommended allowance for vitamins in supplemental and complete diets for warm water fishes

  27. Examples of practical dietary feeding strategies employed for the semi-intensive culture of pond fish and shrimp

  28. Profitability of two feeding systems in a pond environment using identical fish stocking and management techniques



  1. Procedure for diet formulation

  2. Advantages of pelleting

  3. Typical flow sheet for a animal feed manufacturing plant utilizing a extrusion-cooking system

  4. Relationship between ambient temperature and feed moisture content on the risk of pest infestation within stored feed stuffs

  5. Temperatures and relative humidities at which species of fungi commonly found on stored feed materials may be most important

  6. Effect of feeding rate on growth and food conversion of common carp post-larvae and fry fed a commercial trout fry ration at 2-hourly intervals at 24°C

  7. Market value (£ Sterling) of salmonids in the United Kingdom

  8. Generalised representation of a simple aquatic ecosystem

  9. Schematic representation of a pond food web ending in common carp

  10. The carbon cycle

  11. The nitrogen cycle

  12. The phosphorus cycle

  13. Mechanical fertilizer application methods

  14. Fate of applied organic fertilizer in aquatic systems

  15. Relationship between polyculture stocking density and fish yield in standing water earthen ponds receiving fertilizer inputs only

  16. Relationship between manure requirement and standing crop in Israeli fish ponds

  17. Organic manure distribution methods

  18. Diagrammatic representation of a pig-fish integrated farming system employed in Thailand

  19. End products of organic decay

  20. The composting process

  21. Food web of the compost pile

  22. Simple turned pile composting techniques

  23. Main biochemical pathways during the anaerobic fermentation of organic wastes

  24. The biogas cycle in China

  25. Compost crib and anaerobic composting techniques

  26. The role of natural food organisms and artificial feeds in the nutrition of fish and shrimp within extensive, semi-intensive and intensive pond culture systems

  27. Theoretical relationship between fish/shrimp growth and the availability of natural food organisms within semi-intensive pond aquaculture systems

  28. Examples of practical semi-intensive pond feeding strategies

  29. Examples of solar driers suitable for small-scale drying of aquaculture feeds

  30. Examples of supplementary diet feeding techniques

  31. Examples of practical semi-intensive pond feeding practices used in Brazil, Israel and China