An on-station trial was conducted to evaluate the effect of stocking density of freshwater prawn and addition of different levels of tilapia on production in carbon/nitrogen (C/N) controlled periphyton based system. The experiment had a 2 × 3 factorial design, in which two levels of prawn stocking density (2 and 3 juveniles m¿ 2) were investigated in 40 m2 earthen ponds with three levels of tilapia density (0, 0.5 and 1 juveniles m¿ 2). A locally formulated and prepared feed containing 30% crude protein with C/N ratio close to 10 was applied considering the body weight of prawn only. Additionally, tapioca starch was applied to the water column in all ponds to increase C/N ratio from 10 (as in feed) to 20. Increasing stocking density of tilapia decreased the chlorophyll a concentration in water and total nitrogen in sediment, and increased the bottom dissolved oxygen. The concentrations of inorganic nitrogenous species (NH3¿N, NO2¿N and NO3¿N) were low due to maintaining a high C/N ratio (20) in all treatment ponds. Increasing prawn density decreased periphyton biomass (dry matter, ash free dry matter, chlorophyll a) by 3¿6% whereas tilapia produced a much stronger effect. Increasing stocking density of freshwater prawn increased the total heterotrophic bacterial (THB) load of water and sediment whereas tilapia addition decreased the THB load of periphyton. Both increasing densities of prawn and tilapia increased the value of FCR. Increasing prawn density increased gross and net prawn production (independent of tilapia density). Adding 0.5 tilapia m¿ 2 on average reduced prawn production by 12¿13%, and tilapia addition at 1 individual m¿ 2 produced a further 5% reduction (independent of prawn density). The net yield of tilapia was similar between 0.5 and 1 tilapia m¿ 2 treatments and increased by 8.5% with increasing stocking density of prawn. The combined net yield increased significantly with increasing stocking density of prawn and tilapia addition. The significantly highest benefit cost ratio (BCR) was observed in 0.5 tilapia m¿ 2 treatment but freshwater prawn density had no effect on it. Therefore, both stocking densities (2 and 3 juveniles m¿ 2) of prawn with the addition of 0.5 tilapia m¿ 2 resulted in higher fish production, good environmental condition and economic return and hence, polyculture of prawn and tilapia in C/N controlled periphyton based system is a promising options for ecological and sustainable aquaculture.
- extensive aquaculture
- nile tilapia