J. Exp. Zool. India Vol. 18, No. 2, pp. 615-619, 2015
FEEDS ON THE GROWTH
OF LIVE BEARER BLACK
Hari Om Verma1, Sagar C. Mandal1 and Jag Pal2
1College of Fisheries, CAU, Lembucherra - 799 210, Tripura, India.
2College of Fisheries, Mangalore - 575 002, India.
(Accepted 20 May 2015)
ABSTRACT: Effect of different feeds with different level of protein (35%, 28%, 21% and 47%) on the growth, survival and
reproductive performance of black molly, Poecilia sphenops was studied over a period of 105 days. Results showed that, fish
growth was significantly affected by different level of protein in feed. Fish fed with Diet D (Tetra bits) having 47% crude
protein had the highest specific growth rate (SGR), and mean weight gain (MWG), than any other level of protein (p<0.05). The
Highest brood and young ones survival was observed in the diet D (Tetra bits) with the protein content 47 percent compared to
other level of protein diet. The Relative young ones production was higher in T4 (Tetra bits) with protein 47% and lowest in diet
A and there was no significant difference observed in all these treatment. The result of the study of black molly fish can
perform better by inclusion of Tetra bits in diet during their growth, survival and reproductive stages.
Key words: Poecilia sphenops, protein levels, growth, survival, reproductive performance.
Keeping ornamental fishes in aquarium has
emerged as the second most popular hobby of people in
recent years, next to photography. It is the one of the oldest
and most popular hobbies worldwide. Ornamental fish
rearing is becoming a necessity from luxury. Ornamental
fishes are assuming importance in recent days as stress
removers (Manikandavelu et al, 2006). The ornamental fish
trade earns foreign exchange, besides serving as a source of
employment to rural population. It has significant role in
the economy of country (Ahilan et al 2010). Poecilia
sphenops is an ornamental fish species, of the genus
Poecilia, commonly called as black molly to distinguish it
from its congeners, it is sometimes called short finned
molly. They inhabit fresh water streams and coastal
brackish and marine waters. Ornamental fish breeding is an
emerging sector and can be world-scale opportunity area for
fish farmers. Ornamental fish industry in Malaysia started
in 1980 and progressively growing over time. It is one of
the top commercially important freshwater ornamental fish
species which can withstand mass-culture in captivity
(Francis, 1992; George & Pandian,1995; Beck et al,2003).
Protein, lipid and carbohydrate are the major nutrients that
provide energy for fish metabolism, growth and
reproduction (Izquierdo et al, 2001). Therefore, it is
important to know and accurately determine the nutritional
requirement of ornamental fish. Dietary proteins are the
source of essential amino acids which are necessary for
maintenance, growth, reproduction and health of fish (NRC
1993). The protein requirement in ornamental fish is
reported to be relatively high compared to terrestrial
animals (NRC 1993). A wide range of variations of 29-50%
protein and 6-10% lipid requirement has been estimated for
freshwater ornamental fish (Lochmann & Phillips 1994;
Chong, et al, 2000; Chong, et al, 2004; Kruger, et al, 2001;
Ling et al,2006). Optimum dietary protein levels for
ornamental fishes depend on species, age, feeding level,
quality of diet ingredients, protein- energy ratio and diet
composition (NRC, 1993). The protein and energy
requirement of some freshwater ornamental fish species has
been studied. Tin foil barb, Barbodes altus require 41.7%
protein (Elangovan & Shim 1997), goldfish juvenile and
larvae require 29% (Lochmann & Phillips, 1994) and 53%
(Fiogbe& Kestemont 1995) respectively, redhead cichlid
Cichlasoma synspilum 40.81% (Olevera-Novoa, et al,1996),
discus Symphysodon aequifasciata 44.9-50.1% (Chong et
al, 2000), swordtail, Xiphophorus helleri 45% (Kruger et al,
2001), guppy, Poecilia reticulata 30-40% (Shim & Chua
1986) and angelfish 30% protein in their diet for best
growth (Mohanta et al, 2012). Hence the present study was
undertaken to study the effect of different feeds with
varying protein levels on the growth, survival and
reproductive performance of blackmolly.
616 Hari Om Verma et
MATERIALS AND METHODS
Dietary treatments that were evaluated consisted of Diet A
(formulated feed 35% crude protein (CP) and three
commercial feeds Diet B (Optimum 28% CP), C (Tokyo
21% CP), Diet D (Tetrabits 47% CP) were brought from
Agartala. The 35% CP formulated feed was prepared in the
laboratory from locally available feed ingredients and
calculate their proximate composition. The proximate
analysis of experimental diets was conducted according to
the standard procedure of Association of Official Analytical
Chemists (AOAC, 2005).
Fish and experimental
Experimental studies were carried out in the wet laboratory
of the College of Fisheries, Central Agricultural University,
Lembucherra, Tripura, India for a period of 105 days.
Approximately 250 black molly fry were collected from the
college cemented tanks. The fry were acclimatized and
stocked in a circular FRP tank of 500 L capacity for one
week and fed a laboratory prepared feed (30-35% protein;
2-4% fat) prior to start of feeding trial. Twenty-four glass
aquariums (12 aquarium tank for raising the stocked fry and
12 aquarium tanks for spawn rearing) of 50 L capacity
aquaria were cleaned, disinfected with 0.1 ppm potassium
permanganate (KMnO4), and filled with water. Each
aquarium used was equipped with sponge filter through
which pressurized air was bubbled to supply sufficient
oxygen to the fish and filter the water. The aquarium tanks
were divided into four treatments namely T1, T2, T3, T4
and each having with three replications. Four different feeds
namely Diet A (formulated feed with crude protein
35.02%); Diet B (Optimum 28% CP); Diet C (Tokyo 21%
CP) and Diet D (Tetrabits 47% CP) were applied. Before
the start of the experiment, 200 black molly juveniles were
gently acclimatized with aquarium water. The fish were
then counted into groups of 15 fish each, group weighed
and stocked into twelve aquarium tanks with three replicate
tanks per diet. The experimental fish were reared under
laboratory conditions for 105 days until they release their
larvae and their survival.
Before stocking of experimental fish initial mean body
weight was recorded. The fish were fed twice in a day at the
rate of 3-4% of the body weight with the experimental diets.
Subsequently, feeding rate was adjusted based on the
requirements of the fish in each of the treatments. Daily
feed intake was checked and all aquariums tanks were
cleaned by rubbing the tank. Faecal matter and leftover feed
were removed from bottom of each aquarium tank by
siphoning daily and 20% of the water volume was changed
daily. Water quality parameters were within the permissible
limit. Temperature and pH were measured three times a
week; dissolved oxygen, alkalinity, ammonia, and nitrite
were recorded every 15 days intervals according to
procedures of APHA (2005).
of growth and
Before commencing the experiment, the initial mean body
weight of experimental fish in each aquarium was
determined. At an interval of 30 days during the
experimental period, all fish in each aquarium were
collected and weight was taken. Mean body weight (g) was
calculated at 30 days interval by dividing the total weight of
experimental fish by total number of fish in each aquarium
tank. The parameters analyzed were:
The following formula were used to determine the different
Mean weight gain (g) = Mean final weight – mean initial
Specific growth rate (SGR%/day)=In Wt −In Wi
Where, Wt = mean final weight, Wi = mean initial weight
and T = total experimental days.
Brood Survival (%)= Final total numbers
Initial Total numbers ×100
Relative young ones
Total young ones production throughout
Mean wt.of female (g)
Young ones survival (%)
= Total no.of young ones survived after ′t′
Total no.of young ones produce ×100
Where ‘t’= days of experiment
T Diet A
T Diet B
T Diet C
T Diet D
Mean initial wt(g)
Mean final wt(g)
Mean wt gain(g)
Brood survival (no.)
Brood survival (%)
Relative young ones
Young ones production (no.)
Young ones survival (%)
Hari Om Verma et
Data were analyzed using SPSS v 20.0 software and one-
way analysis of variance (ANOVA). Differences were
tested with Duncan’s Multiple Comparison Test at p<0.05
RESULTS AND DISCUSSION
The present experiment was conducted with a view of
observing the effect of different feeds on the growth,
survival and reproductive performance of black molly. A
significantly greater (p< 0.05) increase in specific growth
rate (SGR) and mean weight gain (MWG) was observed in
T4 fed with diet D (Tetrabits) containing 47% crude protein
and lowest reported in treatment first fed with diet C
(Tokyo) having 21% crude protein (Table 2). This may be
due to the increase in protein utilization and digestibility
with the increase in dietary protein level up to 47%. The
decrease in MWG and SGR in black molly fed
Growth, survival and reproductive performance of live bearer black molly
Table 1: Proximate composition of experimental diets.
Dry matter (%)
Crude protein (%)
Crude fat (%)
Crude fibre (%)
Energy (Kcal/100g diet)
Values in a row with different superscript are significantly different (p<0.05).
Table 2: Growth and reproductive performance of black molly, (Poecilia sphenops) fed experimental diets.
Values in a row with different superscript are significantly different (p<0.05).
21% protein diet may be due to decrease in protein
utilization and digestibility below 35-47% protein level in
diet. Another reason may be that 21% protein diet may not
contain required protein level for growth. The present
study is in accordance with the earlier results reported by
Bahnasawy (2009) who observed that the weight gain and
specific growth rate increased significantly with increasing
dietary protein level from 17% to 30% with non-
significant increase by the diet of 35% CP when Nile
tilapia fed with 17%, 25%, 30% and 35% protein diet. The
highest brood survival rate and fry survival was recorded
in T4 fed with diet D (Tetra bits) and the lowest in T3fed
with diet C containing 21% crude protein. However, there
was significant difference (p>0.05) in brood survival
percentage between all the treatments.
Hari Om Verma et
Relative young ones and Young ones production reported
was higher in T4 and lowest in T1 and there is no
significant difference reported in all these treatment.
Present study indicate that the different dietary levels
protein influenced the growth and reproductive
performance of black molly the water quality parameters
were found within the acceptable range. Temperature and
pH of water in brood stock experimental tanks under
different treatments ranged between 22.47±0.72 to
22.85±0.66 oC and 7.17±0.01 to 7.20±0.02, respectively.
Dissolved oxygen, Carbon dioxide, Alkalinity, Hardness
and Ammonia of water in aquarium tanks under different
treatments ranged between 7.60±0.04 to 7.75±0.04,
4.85±0.25 to 5.52±0.14, 46.61±0.22 to 47.94±0.85,
80.63±0.60 to 81.82±0.93 and 0.129±0.017 to 0.210±0.010
mg L-1, respectively. The Reproductive performance study
showed that lower relative young ones and young ones
survival was observed in T3 Diet C (Table 2). It has been
reported that dietary protein and lipid levels of brood stock
diet affects the reproductive performance of fish including
ornamental fish (Sampath & Pandian 1984; Ling et al.,
Badger (2004) studied the eastern rainbowfish fed 35%
protein diet produced significantly lower numbers of eggs
than 43% and 50% protein fed fish group but no
significant difference was observed between 43% and 50%
protein diet fed fish group and Kithsiri, et al., (2010)
reported that guppy fed with diet containing 43.6% crude
protein had a significantly (p<0.05) higher absolute
fecundity, ovary weight, number of ova, mean fry
production than fish fed with other two diets containing
lesser protein content of 18.26 and 29.27% protein. The
results of the present study also agree with Chong et al.
(2004) in their study and they observed that female sword
tail fed on 40%, 50% and 60% protein diet obtained higher
relative fecundity than those fed with lower protein levels
but no significant difference. In this experiment, highest
survival rate was recorded in T4 fed with 47% CP,
followed by T1 fed with 35% CP, T2 and T3 fed with 21%
dietary protein, however, significant difference was found
between all these treatments. The lower fry survival rate in
T3 (21% protein diet) compared to other treatment may be
due to inferior.
It is can be concluded that from the results the diet-4,
which contained the recommended amount of dietary
protein and lipid levels resulted in better growth, survival
and reproductive performance of the black molly
compared to other diets. Therefore, when a feed is
formulated for black molly, the basic dietary requirements
especially protein and lipid levels should be taken into
consideration because these two components play key role
on growth, survival and reproductive performance of the
fishes. The present study suggested that the use of feeds
with insufficient nutrients could leads to poor growth,
survival and reproductive performance.
The authors are grateful to The Dean, College of Fisheries,
Central agricultural university, Lembucherra for providing
support and infrastructural facilities for carrying out this
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