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1.0.        INTRODUCTION

1.1.        Background of the Study

Fish is the primary source of protein for about 950 million people worldwide and represents an important part of the diet of many people, provide about 10% of the animal protein consumed by humans and is a valuable source of minerals and essential fatty acids (Food and Agriculture Organization, 1997). The production of fish for direct human consumption doubled between 1950 and 1970 and has stabilized since then at an average of 9.0kg to 10kg of fish per capita (FAO, 2003). The implication is that Fish consumption per person is on the increase and supply will probably be limited by factors like high cost of feed materials (Obi, Kolo and Oriere 2011). Currently there is a global increase in consumption of food fish will take place largely in the developing countries, where population is growing and higher incomes are allowing purchase of high value fisheries products. However, fish production in the developing nations where fish protein is needed to prevent malnutrition is a key element for food security. A critical area where innovative programmes are needed to increase production is in feed production (FAO, 1997).

Production of fish in homestead fish ponds have been adopted by families as a means of improving family protein intake and income (Eyo, 1995). Yet availability of high quality fish feed is one of the greatest problems that is affecting the expansion of the small scale fish industry in Nigeria. Local production of high quality fish feed using local ingredients has to be encouraged especially extruded (floating) feed to replace the present dependence on imported ones. Floating feed is very suitable for pelagic or surface feeders in the sense that the fish quickly access the feed and do not expend much energy in going to the bottom to source for food ( Orire and Ricketts., 2013). The actual machine for producing floating feed known as extruders (insta PRO 2000) is very expensive and cannot be afforded by our local farmers. Nigeria therefore is a permanent buyer of expanded floating feed at high cost from United State of America and other Western and Asian countries (Falaye, 2009). The Nigerian economic policy should not support such outrageous wastage of our scarce foreign exchange. It is therefore imperative that emphasis should be geared towards the technology of developing floating fish feeds using local non-conventional feed ingredients which are cheap, affordable and do not compromise the quality of compounded diets.

Floating feed is a management tool that farmers can use to observe how much and how actively the fish feed. Physically seeing the fish is almost a necessity before the ponds are harvested and restocked periodically without draining and the farmer have precise knowledge about the mass of fish in the pond ( Falayi, Balogun, Adeboye., 2004).

 Mellon (Collocynthis citrulus L.) is a widely cultivated and consumed oil seed crop in West Africa. Melon is a cucurbit crop that belongs to the Cucurbitaceae family with fibrous and shallow root system. It is a tendril climber or crawling annual crop mostly grown as a subsidiary crop intercropped with early maize and yam in the savannah belt of Nigeria. (Abiodun and Adeleke, 2010). They are consumed in “egusi soup”, melon ball snacks and ogiri (fermented condiment) (Odunfa, 1981). Eugene and Gloria, (2002) in their study concluded that melon seed contains 50% and 30% oil and protein, respectively. Melon seed contains a fairly high amount of unsaturated fatty acid, and linoleic acid suggesting a possible hypocholesterolic effect of lowering blood cholesterol ( Obi, Kolo and Orire., 2011). The oil extracted from the seed is for edible purpose (Ajibola et al.1990). The shell of melon is usually considered an agricultural waste. The shell is light brown in colour and light in weight like flakes hence usually floats when scattered in water. Obi, Kolo and Oriere (2011) have reported that melon shell contains crude protain value of as high as 13.83%. However, large quantities of the melon shell are discarded and burnt, which pollute the environment yet the fish industry is threatened with acute shortage of conventional feed ingredients leading to low productivity. It may be possible to utilize melon shell as non-conventional source of fish feed ingredient for aquaculture. However, there is little or no Information on the nutritional composition of melon shell and its potential as a feed ingredient for Clarias gariepinus.


Feed is a critical factor in fish production because it accounts for 50-60% of the total cost of production (Ogunlade 2007). Feed used by fish farmers to ensure good yield are the extruded feed which are capable of floating in water. These feed are expensive and can’t be afforded by all fish farmers. To reduce cost of production, farmers therefore resort to formulating their own feed. These feed produced locally do not float. Their use, result in water pollution which compromise productivity. This study therefore is being conducted to compound feed that can float, and determine its acceptability to fish using melon shell (unconventional feed ingredient) which is cheap, thereby reducing cost of production and ensure sustainable production at a high level. 


General aim is to compound a feed that float using melon shell as floating device.

1.3.1   Objectives

            The objectives of this Study are to determine the

  1. Potential of melon shell as feed ingredient to aid floatation.
  2. Optimum replacement level of maize with melon shell as energy source that will give the best growth, and survival, in Clarias gariepinus fingerlings
  3. Nutrient utilization in Clarias gariepinus fingerlings.
  4. Heamatological profile of Clarias garipenus fed the experimental diets.
  5. Carcass quality of Clarias garipenus fed the experimental diets.