Aquaculture research vol:33 issue:12 pages:969-978
In the freshwater area of Vietnam's Mekong Delta, Oreochromis niloticus (L.), Barbodes gonionotus (Bleeker) and Cyprinus carpio (L.) are often reared together in rice fields. In this study, we report the results of eight such polyculture experiments, examining variables affecting the specific growth rate and the average daily food energy consumption of individual O. niloticus . The standing biomass of O. niloticus and the wild fish biomass had a negative impact on the specific growth rate, whereas added pig manure, extra feed and inorganic fertilizer had a positive effect. The standing biomass of O. niloticus and C. carpio , and the wild fish biomass had a negative impact on the consumption of natural feed. We inferred that O. niloticus mainly lacks food in rice fields. This results in intraspecific competition. As in rice fields, C. carpio has basically the same feeding niche as O. niloticus ; we found interspecific competition between the two species. O. niloticus consumed relatively more food in the vegetative phase of the rice crop, probably because of a higher abundance of phytoplankton. To get higher growth of O. niloticus , we recommend that farmers increase nutrient inputs and stock O. niloticus according to the size of the trench adjoining the rice field and not according to the size of trench plus field as is generally done.