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International Journal of Research in Fisheries and Aquaculture


Universal Research Publications. All rights reserved

ISSN 2277-7729
Original Article
Development of Black Soldier Fly Larvae Production Technique as an Alternate
Fish Feed
K. M. Shakil Rana1, M. A. Salam1, Shaharior Hashem1* and Md. Ariful Islam2
1Department of Aquaculture, Bangladesh Agricultural University, Mymensingh-2202, Bangladesh
2 Scientific officer, Bangladesh Fisheries Research Institute, Shrimp Research Station, Bagerhat-9300
*
Corresponding Author: shaharior@bau.edu.bd
Received 20 January 2015; accepted 26 March 2015
Abstract
Aquaculture provides more than 60% animal protein for human consumption in Bangladesh. However, adulterated and low
quality fish feed creates environmental hazards and reduces profitability of fish farming. An attempt made to overcome
these problems through protein, fat and minerals containing non pest insect, Black Soldier Fly Larvae (BSFL) rearing
technique to minimize feed cost, boost up fish production and tackle environmental hazards. The wild BSF attracted with
rotten kitchen wastes, mustard oil cake and wheat to lay eggs which then hatched and larvae emerged. The average BSFL
production was highest in rotten wheat followed by rotten vegetables and mustard oil cake, which were 185.9857.41,
133.6924.76 and 48.3814.04 g/kg wastes, respectively. Newly hatched larvae consumed voraciously the putrescent
wastes. Tilapia fry rearing trial commenced with formulated feed where fish meal replaced 0, 25, 50 and 100% with
dehydrated BSFL in hapa as T 1, T2, T3 and T4 treatments where T1 used as control. Data interpretation showed that BSFL
production fluctuated with the varying temperature and stopped at 15 0C or less. The proximate composition of live BSFL
found 62% moisture, 7% lipid, 16% protein, 3% ash, 3.2% crude fiber and 9% carbohydrate on live weight basis. Among
the four treatments T3 performed the best followed by T 2, T1 and T4 respectively. The survival rate of tilapia fry was alike
in all the treatments but fish productions were 28.160.27, 25.120.28, 21.520.32 and 21.250.20 tons/ha/90 days in T 3,
T2, T1 and T4 correspondingly. The feed conversion ratio was the least (1.70) with T 3 and the highest (2.26) with T 4.
Further research need to be carried out to develop captive breeding of BSF for sustainable supply of BSFL for fish feed.
2015 Universal Research Publications. All rights reserved
Key words: Aquaculture, alternative feed, tilapia, high protein, hapa.
1 INTRODUCTION
Like other parts of the world, aquaculture is the fastest
growing industry in Bangladesh. To support the industry
huge amount of fish feed required. However, adulterated
and low quality fish feed is the main barrier of sustainable
aqua-farming. Cultured fishes are typically fed with wildcaught fishes as raw or fish meal as a source of animal
protein (Pauly and Christensen, 1995). According to FAO
(2012), 70% of the world aquaculture production depends
on feed (Tacon and Metian, 2008). They mentioned that
world aquaculture feed industry used 3,724,000 tons of fish
meal and 825,000 tons of fish oil in 2007 which was equal
to 16.6 million tons wet weight of small pelagic forage
fishes. This massive catch of fish declined the wild stock
and influenced forage fisheries (Merino et al., 2010).
Hence, fish meal based supplemental feeding practices in
aquaculture is a threat to conservation of wild fish
population.

41

Aquaculturists relentlessly tried to replace fish


meal and fish oil with conventional plant and animal based
protein sources with varying success. They tested bean
meal, soybean meal, sunflower meal, waste products of
slaughter house, agricultural by-products, aquatic weed
Azolla, BSF pre-pupae and bacterial colony grown on
various media (Audu et al., 2010; Goda et al., 2007; Booth
and Sheppard, 1984). However, the carnivorous fish did not
respond well with vegetable based feed as they are lack of
essential amino acids and carbohydrates (Naylor et al.,
2000).
Among the rising techniques, one of the most
potential is the culture of BSF larvae as fish feed, a
technique that offers the additional benefit of organic
wastes utilization (Diener et al., 2009) and provides a
potential solution for safe manure management, both
human and animal (Yu and Chen, 2009). BSF larvae eat
slaughter house by products, metropolitan organic wastes,

International Journal of Research in Fisheries and Aquaculture 2015; 5(1): 41-47

and domestic animals manure (Myers et al., 2008) as well


as the kitchen wastes. The BSF larvae are nutritionally very
rich. On dry-matter basis BSF larvae contained 40-45%
protein, 30-35% fat, 11-15% ash, 4.8-5.1% calcium, and
0.6% phosphorous, as well as a range of amino acids and
minerals (Yu and Chen, 2009). Several authors have
successfully fed BSF larvae to different fish like rainbow
trout, catfish and tilapia and domestic animals like swine
and poultry (St-Hilaire et al., 2007a, Bondari and Sheppard,
1987 and Yu and Chen, 2009).
BSF larvae can contain high level of omega-3
fatty acids if they fed with fish offal and slaughter-house
leftovers (St-Hilaire et al., 2007b) which can enhance fish
health as well as production. The BSF larvae could be
fattened with special feedstuff to attain the specific
nutritional requirements of the target animals. Raising BSF
larvae on manure and other wastes is a value-added
management system, which creates usable and salable
animal feed which once was only wastes (Sheppard et al.,
1994) while at the same time reducing harmful pathogens
in poultry and swine manure (Zheng et al., 2013) and
controlling housefly (Musca domestica) in livestock
facilities (Bradley and Sheppard, 1984).
The BSF larvae can easily be cultivated on waste
products such as home based food wastes and animal
manure, thereby reprocessing the wastes into a useful insect
protein (Sheppard et al., 1994). The larvae are an ecofriendly wastes management scheme preventing organic
wastes to become pollutant (Warburton and Hallman,
2002). Once processed, the original waste product becomes
insect biomass and insect frass; the larvae are value added
product and the frass is much easier to manage than the
original wastes (Diener et al., 2011). Furthermore, BSFL
culture is not labour intensive. BSF larvae migrate from the
wastes pit into the collection chamber before become
pupae. BSF adults do not have active mouth parts hence do
not come into contact to human and are not a vector of
diseases (Sheppard, 1983). BSF larvae are therefore,
environmental friendly and sustainable to culture and
harvest, thereby meeting the criteria of an alternative fish
feed.
To further characterizing the feasibility of BSF
larvae as an aqua feed, a feeding trial carried out to
measure the growth of monosex tilapia (Oreochromis
niloticus) fed on three different diets of BSF larvae with a
control excluding BSF larvae. The monocsex tilapia has
been chosen for this study because the fish is hardy, easy to
rear, relatively fast growth, readily accept BSF larvae,
available locally, and has a market demand. The study
designed to provide preliminary data on the growth of
tilapia fry using unprocessed dehydrated BSF larvae, feed
prepared with varying range of BSF larvae to support
dietary requirement of tilapia.
2 MATERIALS AND METHODS
2.1 Experimental site
The experiment conducted near the Faculty of Fisheries
(FoF) and residential area of Bangladesh Agricultural
University, Mymensingh. Considering the biological
behavior of BSF a calm and quiet area selected to avoid the
disturbance and setup the larvae collection device near the

42

garbage, in the garden and even on the rooftop of four


storied building. Six cemented bins with round lids
prepared and placed in those sites. Each lid has several
holes to allow BSF to get into the bin. A bunch of
corrugated sheets of 2-3 inches long tied together and hang
over the wastes inside the bin supported by bamboo splits
for laying eggs as BSF do not lay eggs on the wastes. One
third of each bin filled with rotten vegetables; wheat and
mustard oil cake to attract BSF from the nature for laying
eggs. A ladder like structure created inside the bin to
facilitate self-harvest the pre-pupae. A pre-pupae collection
pot placed with some saw dust outside the bin. Being
attracted with the putrid odor from the rotting wastes, the
female BSF enter into the bin and lay eggs in the
corrugated sheets hanging over the wastes. The light cream
colored larvae hatched out from the eggs within 4-5 days in
optimum temperature (26-300 C) and started feeding
voraciously on the rotten wastes. After 21-28 days the
larvae turned into pre-pupae and started to leave the bin by
crawling through the ladder and self-harvested. A small
house of 158 x 57 x 123 cm3 made with wood for captive
breeding of BSF. The lower part of the house fenced with
hard board and upper part with wire mesh net and the roof
with wire mesh net and plastic sheet to prevent the house
fly and rain water to get in. At the center of the house
gradual slopes created to hold the rotten wastes for feeding
newly emerged larvae. Initially harvested pre-pupae from
the cemented bins kept in the house to become adult BSF,
mating and laying eggs.
2.2 Fish rearing with BSF larvae containing feed
Mono sex tilapia fry reared with BSF larvae containing
feed, only dehydrated BSF larvae and feed with no BSF
larvae as control. Three different types of feed prepared
with 0, 25 and 50% replacement of fish meal with boiled
and sun dried BSF larvae. The control feed prepared with
fish meal, wheat bran, rice bran, soybean meal, mustard
oilcake, molasses and vitamin-mineral premix but no
BSFL. Pearsons technique followed to prepare BSF larvae
based fish feed (Table 1). Dry pellets prepared mixing the
ingredients using an extruded pellet machine and sun dried.
The pellet feed and sun dried BSF larvae stored in
refrigerator at 40c in air tight polythene bags prior to
feeding the fish. The proximate composition of formulated
feed shows in Table 2.
2.3 Hapa setting and stocking fish fry
The fish nursing trial conducted in three replications in
hapas. Twelve hapa of 0.76 x 0.61 x 1.07 m3 prepared with
nylon net. The hapa set in two different rows tied with
bamboo poles in an experimental pond at the south-west
corner of FoF, BAU and allocated randomly for T 1, T2, T3
and T4 treatments. Before setting the hapa, pond prepared
following the standard procedure and filled with
underground water a week before prior to start the
experiment (Wahab et al., 2002). The pond water depth
maintained around 1.22 m throughout the experimental
period so that the hapas could be submerged 0.91 m under
and 0.15 m above the surface of water all the time. Tilapia
fry collected in oxygenated plastic bags from local hatchery
called Sharnalata Agro Fisheries Ltd, Fulbaria, Mymen
singh. The fry acclimatized with the pond water before

International Journal of Research in Fisheries and Aquaculture 2015; 5(1): 41-47

Table 1: The name of the ingredients and their amount in percentage used in the formulated feed
T1
T2
T3
(Control; 0% fish meal
(25% fish meal replaced
(50% fish meal replaced
Name of Ingredients
replaced with BSFL)
with BSFL)
with BSFL)
Fishmeal (%)
15
11.25
7.5
BSF larvae (%)
0
3.75
7.5
Wheat bran (%)
10
10
5
Rice bran (%)
13
11
12
Soybean meal (%)
30
32
36
Mustard oil cake (%)
30
30
30
Molasses (%)
1
1
1
Vit.-mineral premix (%)
1
1
1
Total (%)
100
100
100
Table 2: Proximate composition of formulated fish feed (% moisture basis)
Moisture
(%)

Lipid
(%)

Crude
Protein (%)

Ash (%)

Crude fiber
(%)

Carbohydrate
(%)

T1 (0% fish meal


replaced with BSFL)

8.98
(0.43)

5.60
(0.37)

17.80
(0.39)

17.93
(0.48)

7.20
(0.43)

42.49
(0.42)

T2 (25% fish meal


replaced with BSFL)

9.76
(0.57)

6.40
(0.49)

18.50
(0.42)

18.60
(0.51)

6.80
(0.45)

39.94
(0.44)

T3 (50% fish meal


replaced with BSFL)

8.81 (0.47)

6.60
(0.39)

18.50
(0.37)

18.92
(0.40)

6.86
(0.35)

40.31
(0.48)

T4 (only dehydrated
BSF larvae)

32.23
(0.73)

11.40
(0.67)

37.02
(0.62)

5.08
(0.55)

2.45
(0.69)

11.82
(0.58)

Live BSF larvae

62.00
(0.81)

7.00
(0.79)

16.00
(0.74)

3.00
(0.77)

3.20
(0.83)

9.00
(0.77)

Name of the treatments

*presumed fish meal protein percentage to be 56% but originally found 30%, hence, outcome was less than the required protein level

releasing in the hapa and then fifty fry released in each


hapa with initial length of 3.890.3 cm and weight of
0.910.2 g. At first the fry fed with 10% of their body
weight for first 2 weeks and then reduced to 8% for next
two weeks. After four weeks, the feed reduced to 5% of
their body weight and continued till harvesting. The
feeding adjusted in accordance with the standing biomass
after each sampling.
2.4 Fish Sampling and water quality measurement
Both the fish and water sampling carried out biweekly.
Total length and weight of individual fish recorded using a
wooden scale and an electronic compact balance and
amount of feed adjusted according to the fish biomass in
each hapa. Pond water quality such as temperature,
dissolved oxygen and pH measured by using a hand held
EZ-DO meter and Hanna pH checker. Pond sediment
collected in three different depth and zones and dried in lab
condition and analyzed in the Humboldt laboratory of soilscience Department, BAU.
2.5 Data analysis
Collected data loaded in the computer for statistical
analysis. ANOVA performed with the collected data.
Comparison between treatment means carried out by
Duncans New Multiple Range Test (Duncan, 1955) to test
the significance of variation between the treatment means.
Standard error (SE) of the treatment means calculated from

43

the residual mean square in the analysis of variance. All


statistical analyses carried out by MS EXCEL 2000 version
7.0 and M-stat and outcome are presented in tabular and
graphical forms.
3 RESULTS
3.1 BSF Production
The BSF larvae respond well to the rotten wheat than the
rotten vegetables and mustard oilcake. The highest amount
BSF larvae obtained from the rotten wheat (185.9857.41
g/kg waste) which was nearly 4 times higher than the BSF
larvae collected from the rotten mustard oilcake
(48.3814.04 g/kg waste). On the other hand, a moderate
amount of BSF larvae collected from the rotten vegetables
(133.6924.76 g/kg waste). The variation in larvae
production in various waste materials might be due to the
differences in putrescent odor and nutritional quality of the
waste materials. Individual length and width of the larvae
grown on different wastes were 1.830.13 and 0.440.05
cm, 1.800.11 and 0.430.05 cm and 1.740.11 and
0.410.06 cm for rotten wheat, vegetables and mustard oil
cake respectively. By contrast, the individual weight of
BSF larvae collected from the rotten wheat, vegetables and
mustard oilcake were 0.1800.02, 0.1780.013, and
0.1680.013 g respectively. Around 2.66 kg of BSF larvae
collected all together from different waste materials and
points within 3 months (Fig. 1).

International Journal of Research in Fisheries and Aquaculture 2015; 5(1): 41-47

Fig.1. Amount of BSF larvae collected from different waste materials


3.2 Water and soil quality parameters
The range and average temperature, dissolved oxygen and
pH of the pond water were 26.5-31.0 and 29.63(1.71)0C,
3.66-4.01 and 3.82 (0.11) ppm and 7.9-8.7 and 8.26
(0.23) respectively during the study period. The highest
temperature was found on 17 August, whereas the lowest
on 12 October 2013. On the other hand, the highest
dissolved oxygen was found in September and the lowest in
October. By contrast, lowest pH was found in September
and highest in August (Fig. 2). Although the dissolved
oxygen in the pond was little bit lower than the optimum
level but temperature and pH were within the suitable range
for tilapia culture.
Soil texture classification is determined by the percentage
of sand, silt, and clay. From the percentage, soils are then
classified by type according to the soil triangle. In the
present study, the sand, silt and clay percentage found in
the laboratory analysis were 17, 70 and 13% respectively,
which denoted that the pond soil was silt- loam that means
mineral soil but low in organic matter (Wudtisin, 2006).

Figure 2: Illustrated the fluctuations of pond water quality


parameters where the hapa was set
3.3 Growth performance of tilapia fry
The performance of formulated diets on the growth of
tilapia fry was significantly higher when compared with the
control diet. Initial average length and weight of tilapia fry

44

was statistically similar in all the treatments except T3 in


case of length (Table 3 and Fig. 3). At the time of harvest
significantly highest final average length and weight
observed (11.770.24 cm and 30.711.06 g) in T 3 which
was statistically dissimilar with T 1, T2 and T4. The
lowest final average length and weight (9.920.20 cm and

Figure 3: Length and weight increment of tilapia fry in


different treatments
21.690.30 g) found in T 4 after 90 days of rearing the fish
in hapa which was statistically similar to the control T 1
(Table 3). On the other hand, final average length and
weight, mean length gain, mean weight gain, % weight
gain, FCR, FCE, fish production and survival rate of
treatment T3 were significantly (P < 0-05) higher than the
other two treatments as well as control, that means up to
50% fish meal can be replaced with BSFL without
affecting the fish production. On the whole, there were no
significant differences between initial length and SGR in all
the four treatments in 90 days study periods (Table 3).
Weight of tilapia fry steadily increased in all the treatments,
inversely related to the decrease of fishmeal in the
formulated diets (Fig. 4).
The mean weight gain was significantly highest
(29.720.95 g) in T 3, that was statistically dissimilar to the
lowest value (20.250.49 g) in T4. However, the effect of
treatments T1 and T4 was statistically similar. The SGR
values were not significant among the treatments. The FCR
value (1.70.2) was significantly lowest in T3 which was

International Journal of Research in Fisheries and Aquaculture 2015; 5(1): 41-47

Table 3. Growth response and feed utilization of tilapia fry fed prepared feed containing graded level of BSF larvae.
Treatment (MeanStdv)
Parameters
Initial length (cm)
Initial wt (g)
Final length (cm)
Final wt. (g)
Mean length gain (cm)
% length gain
Mean wt. gain (g)
% wt. gain
SGR1 (%/day)
FCR2
FCE
Production (tons/ha)
Survival (%)

T1 (0% fish meal


replaced with
BSFL)
3.760.07b
0.870.02a
9.930.10c
21.210.18c
6.1730.05bc
164.22.88b
20.340.16c
2333.22 39.74b
3.5870.02a
2.250.1a
0.44500.03c
21.520.32c
94.67

T2 (25% fish meal


replaced with
BSFL)
3.890.06b
0.880.02a
10.320.09b
25.520.44b
6.430.14b
165.65.93b
24.640.45b
2802.80118.15ab
3.7870.05a
1.910.1b
0.520.02b
25.120.28b
94.00

T3 (50% fish
meal replaced
with BSFL)
4.040.08a
0.990.17a
11.770.24a
30.711.06a
7.730.25a
188.76.07a
29.720.95a
3064.13517.70a
3.7430.35a
1.70.2a
0.590.05a
28.160.27a
93.33

T4 (only
dehydrated
BSFL)
3.880.10b
0.880.10a
9.920.20c
21.690.30 c
6.020.07c
155.11.75c
20.250.49c
230656.22b
3.5570.04a
2.260.2a
0.440.04c
21.2520c
92.00

Level of
Significance

LSD

**
ns
**
**
**
**
**
*
ns
**
**
**
-

0.15
0.19
0.32
1.13
0.28
8.60
1.11
504.1
0.3368
0.02
0.02
0.51
-

CV
(%)
2.04
10.92
1.61
2.42
2.27
2.71
2.47
10.19
4.85
6.52
7.35
1.13

Values in a row having similar letter (s) or without letters do not differ significantly whereas values bearing the dissimilar letter (s) differ significantly as per DMRT. * and **
significant at 5% and 1% level of probability. ns- not significant.
1
Specific growth rate = (logeW2 - logeW1 100)/T2 - T1, where W2 = weight of fish at time T2 in days, W1 = weight of fish at time T1 in days, and loge = natural log to base e
2
Feed conversion ratio = wt dry feed fed (g)/live wt gain of fish (g)

Figure 4: Variation in mean weight (g) of tilapia fry in


various treatments
statistically dissimilar to the highest FCR value (2.260.2)
observed in T4. Moreover, significantly highest production
(28.160.27 t/ha) obtained in T3 than the rest of the
treatments. The survival rate was more than 90% in all the
treatments, however, steadily decreased with the increase
of BSF larvae in diet but the difference was not statistically
significant among the treatments.
4 DISCUSSION
BSFL were used as a substitute of fishmeal in fish feed
formulation. BSF larvae were grown on different organic
wastes namely rotten wheat, vegetables and mustard oil
cake. The average production of BSF larvae from rotten
wheat, vegetables and mustard oil cake were 185.9857.41,
133.6924.76 and 48.3814.04 g/kg waste, respectively.
This suggests that 18.6, 13.37 and 4.84 % of the rotten
wheat, vegetables and mustard oil cake, respectively were
converted into larval biomass. Burtle et. al.(2012) reported
that the feed conversion rates in BSF larvae production
could be up to 25% (dry matter basis). The variation in
larvae production from various wastes might be due to the
differences in putrescent odor and nutritional quality of the
waste materials.
The growth of tilapia fry was satisfactory and hapa
management was moderate, therefore, there was no

45

outbreak of disease throughout the experiment. All the diets


accepted by tilapia fry as there was no left over feed after
half an hour of feeding. Guo et al. (2007) observed similar
result with a mixture of animal feed ingredients for rearing
Cuneate drum (Nibea miichthoides) and poultry by-product
meal was an acceptable ingredient for partial substitute of
fishmeal in diets for Clarias gariepinus (Goda, et al.,
2007).
Significant difference observed in growth
performances in T1, T2 and T3, while T1 and T4 gave
statistically similar results, indicating that fishmeal and
BSF larvae mixture was well utilized for optimal growth of
tilapia fry might be due to the increased palatability,
availability of essential amino acids and minerals to support
the growth of fish. Comparatively poor digestibility of the
chitinous body covering of BSF larvae may be a reason of
poor growth of tilapia fry when fed only dehydrated BSF
larvae. Hence, fishmeal can be replaced up to 50% with
BSF larvae in the diets for tilapia fry. Similar result noticed
by Adewolu, et al. (2010) when 50% fishmeal replaced by
the mixture of hydrolyzed feather meal, chicken offal meal,
and maggot meal in the diets of C. gariepinus fingerlings.
Steffens (1994) and Yang et al. (2004) noted similar result
in their study where they substituted 50% fishmeal by
poultry by-product meal and fed to the rainbow trout and
prawns respectively without compromising the growth. In a
similar study, Millamena (2002) replaced 80% fishmeal
with animal by-product and meat and blood meal at 4:1
ratio without affecting the growth and survival of juvenile
grouper. All the study signifies the result of the present
outcome.
A combination of two or more animal protein
sources in fish diet can improve the growth performances
of
fish
compared
to
single
protein
source
(Phonekhampheng, 2008). This is perhaps due to the
balance of essential amino acids from various sources. This
has been proved in the present study where only dehydrated
BSF larvae and without BSF larvae meal as control gave
statistically similar results, whereas, progressive
replacement of fishmeal with dehydrated BSF larvae in
tilapia fry diets gave better results. Among the four

International Journal of Research in Fisheries and Aquaculture 2015; 5(1): 41-47

treatments 50% replacement (T 3) diet gave the best


performance.
5 CONCLUSION
This study clearly demonstrated the potential of BSF larvae
to supplement fish feed in rural Bangladesh. In this study,
larval production was initiated with BSF that are available
in the nature and rearing was initiated in natural
environment as well as in the laboratory. Household wastes
were used for BSF larvae production, suggesting that BSF
larvae can easily be cultured in the backyard under natural
condition and fed to the fish and poultry so that feed cost
can substantially be reduced and profit margin increased.
This can be a probable solution to the problem concerned
with adulterated and expensive commercial feed. Apart
from this financial benefit, kitchen wastes and animal
manure which would otherwise be a nuisance to the
environment can now be recycled into a potential source of
protein for cultured fish.
6 ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
The authors are grateful to IDRS-BFRI Project, Shrimp
Research Station, Bagerhat, Bangladesh for financial
support of this work.
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Source of support: Nil; Conflict of interest: None declared

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