Application of the condition factor in the production of African sharptooth catfish Clarias gariepinus
In recent years there has been a renewed interest in the commercial culture of African Sharptooth Catfish. Its robust characteristics and its air breathing capabilities makes the African catfish a good candidate for culture in intensive recirculating systems. In light of the size variation in offspring spawned from undomesticated fish, that may eventually increase cannibalism, suitable methods for the quantification of some production performance parameters such as growth and health measurements need to be established for application in intensive catfish culture. In fish the condition factor (CF) reflects information on the physiological state of the fish in relation to its welfare. This factor is expressed as Fulton’s condition index, or the K-factor. African Sharptooth Catfish fry with average weight of 1.9g ± 0.7867 and average length of 59.375mm ±8.812 were equally allocated into ten 1000L-recirculating tanks. The fish were fed a commercial feed to apparent saturation at a frequency of 5 times per day. Sixteen fish were sampled out of each treatment. Weight (g) and length (mm) of each fish were recorded every seven days over a trial period of 175 days from which Fulton’s condition index K was calculated. Results were analysed for significant differences using one-way ANOVA and Tukey’s pair wise comparison test for the various parameters. Growth parameters (a = -5.083, b = 3.004, R2 = 99.4%) derived from the logarithmic relationship between body weight (W) and standard length (L) indicated an isometric growth through the duration of the trail. No significant differences (P>0.05) in condition factors between treatments were found at the beginning of the trail. Significant differences (P<0.05) were found at the end of the trail for weight between ponds and condition factor between treatments. No significant difference (P> 0.05) between length and treatments were found at the end of the trial. Mean condition factor was 0.856 ± 0.187. By using this information on condition factor for African catfish a K-factor calculation chart for African catfish could be calculated, to be used as a practical measurement tool to measure performance goals on catfish farms.