Pterygoplichthys spp. (Siluriformes: Loricariidae) meal is suitable for the culture of Nile tilapia Oreochromis niloticus (Cichlidae) juveniles.
We search for positive utility impact on the invasive species Pterygoplichthys spp. The optimal level of replacement of sardine meal (SM) by Pterygoplichthys spp. meal (PLM) in practical feeds for fry of Nile tilapia (Oreochromis niloticus) was evaluated. We evaluated six experimental diets: 50% PLM-50% SM, 60% PLM-40% SM, 70% PLM-30% SM, 80% PLM-20% SM, 90% PLM-10% SM and 100% PLM-0% SM. In a recirculation system, 270 sex-reversed tilapia fry were used (0.7 ± 0.1 g). Diets were administered in triplicate and the experiment lasted 56 days with sampling every 14 days. There were no statistical differences in growth. At the end of the experiment, the SGR, ADG, CF, WG, DFI, FCR and PER were determined without significant differences (P > 0.05) between treatments, but there was a tendency that could indicated higher WG and PER in the 90% PLM-10% SM treatment (93.56 ± 0.43% and 8.44 ± 1.18 g, respectively). All survival rates were higher than 90% with no significant differences. Additionally, there were no statistical differences in the chemical composition of the whole fish, while apparent digestibility coefficients of protein (81-90%) and lipids (87-93%) also showed no significant differences. We concluded that 100% PLM can replace 100% SM in feeding fry of O. niloticus without affecting their survival, growth or chemical composition or the apparent digestibility of nutrients.