Inherent variation in growth efficiency of African catfish Clarias gariepinus (Burchell, 1822) juveniles

C.I. de Matos Martins, J.W. Schrama, J.A.J. Verreth

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24 Citations (Scopus)


Understanding the major causes of growth variation is crucial for the success of fish farming since its reduction contributes to maximize production efficiency, reduce food waste and improve water quality. The growth variation observed in aquaculture has been associated with the establishment of social hierarchies. However, some studies suggest that this variation may not be mainly a consequence of social hierarchies but mainly a result of inherent (genetic) differences. This study investigates the magnitude of individual responses, independently of group effects (fish housed individually), in growth efficiency and feeding behaviour of African catfish Clarias gariepinus (Burchell 1822). Despite the low variation in initial body weight (6.5%) and cumulative feed consumption (7.5%) over the experimental period, catfish exhibited high variation in final body weight (18.1%), specific growth rate (17.2%) and feed conversion ratio (27.9%), suggesting that individual variation in growth efficiency is important in determining growth rate. This individual variation may be related with individual differences in protein/fat deposition since faster growing fish deposited more protein and less fat than slower growing fish. Pronounced individual differences in feeding behaviour (reaction towards feed and time spent eating) were also observed and correlated with individual differences in growth efficiency. Fast eaters were the fast growers. We suggest that the growth variation observed in African catfish may be inherent and that the use of grading to increase uniformity should be further investigated
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)868-875
JournalAquaculture Research
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 2005


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  • slow-growing strains
  • salvelinus-alpinus l
  • rainbow-trout
  • atlantic salmon
  • individual variation
  • arctic charr
  • feeding-behavior
  • swimming performance

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