Aquaponics is a fish-plant recirculating system where nutrients received from the fish culture are absorbed by the plants for growth. The technology is relatively new for fish culture in Kenya, and the principles and operations remain largely untested for many fish species. This study determined how stocking density affects the growth performance and water quality in a Nile tilapia-lettuce (Lactuca sativa) aquaponics system. The experimental design included five replicates for each of the aquaponic systems stocked at densities of 150, 300, and 450 fish/m3 for a rearing period of 56 days. Each treatment had a planting density of 16 lettuce/m2. The water quality parameters ranges during the rearing period were 3.83–5.35 mg/L for dissolved oxygen, 7.44 to 7.6 for pH, 0.014 mg/L to 0.032 mg/L for total ammonium nitrate (TAN), 1.11–1.34 mg/L for nitrate, and 0.01–0.08 mg/L for nitrite, and all decreased with increasing stocking density. The final weight of fingerlings was 25.2 ± 4.2 g, 32.0 ± 3.8 g and 42.6 ± 3.1 g for 450, 300, and 150 fish/m3 respectively. Specific growth rate (SGR) was reduced with increasing stocking density whereas food conversion ratio (FCR) increased with stocking density. Aquaponic systems with the lowest stocking densities performed better than 300 and 450 fish/m3 respectively.
- Nile tilapia
- Stocking density
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
- Aquatic Science