Knowledge of how fish respond to starvation periods could provide a basis for improved nutrition, rearing, disease control and thereby help to optimize Oreochromis niloticus culture. In the current study, the effect of alternative starvation-re-feeding regime was monitored on some growth, hematological and serum biochemical parameters in Nile tilapia fingerlings; followed by checking the role of these feeding schedules in combating the disease challenge. The study was performed in glass aquariums at the aquaculture research unit, Sakha, Kafr El-Sheikh governorate, Egypt using 375 Oreochromis niloticus fingerlings weighing 29±0.5 gram. Fingerlings were subjected to different starvation periods (7, 10, 14, 21 days), followed by 30 days of refeeding on a commercial fish ration (25% protein). Fish growth parameters, hematological and serum biochemical parameters were recorded before starvation, before refeeding and after 30 days of refeeding. The experimental challenge was carried out to determine the effect of different starvation intervals followed by refeeding regimes on the immunity of O. niloticus fingerlings; against bacterial infection with Aeromonas hydrophila through recording mortality rates and the histopathological finding.
The collected results revealed that fingerlings can recover all the hematological and serum biochemical parameters values of all food deprived groups close to the normal level of full-fed control fish; concluding that O. niloticus can easily be cultured on suitable economic short-time feeding regime with subsequent refeeding in alternate days without any significant differences in fish size and final production (reducing the food amount and cost required for production cycle). Besides, short-term starvation prior to a bacterial infection followed by subsequent refeeding could promote the defense mechanism of the fish to fight against Aeromonas hydrophila.
Aeromonas hydrophila, Fingerlings, Oreochromis niloticus, Refeeding, Starvtion.