Synergistic effects of mangrove leaf litter and supplemental feed on water quality, growth and survival of shrimp (Penaeus monodon, Fabricius, 1798) post larvae

Alam, Md Iftakharul; Debrot, Adolphe O.; Ahmed, Moin Uddin; Ahsan, Md Nazmul; Verdegem, M.C.J.


Shrimp based mangrove-aquaculture (silvo-aquaculture) is practiced in many countries of the world and leaf litter of different mangrove tree species is a potential nutrient source in these systems. The present study evaluated the effects of mangrove leaf litter from four mangrove species (Sonneratia apetala, S. caseolaris, Avicennia officinalis and Heritiera fomes) on the production of juvenile shrimp (Penaeus monodon) with and without supplemental feed. Fifteen-day-old post larvae (PL15) with an average weight of 0.01 g were reared in 1100 L fibre-reinforced polyethylene tanks containing 1000 L of 10 ppt saline water and a water depth of 0.9 m. Leaf litter with or without supplemental feed was applied to the tanks according to a 4 × 2 factorial design. The PLs were stocked at a density of 100 per tank and the experiment was conducted for 4 weeks without any exchange of water. Both mangrove species and feed application affected shrimp performance and water quality parameters except dissolved oxygen (DO), chemical oxygen demand (COD) and zoo-plankton concentration. The average survival rate of juvenile shrimp ranged from 86 to 94% in the treatments with both leaf litter and feed, 75–82% in the treatments with only leaf litter and 88% in the treatment with only feed. However, 100% mortality was observed in the treatment without any leaf litter or supplemental feed. Combined, leaf litter and feed resulted in 21 to 33% higher weight gain of shrimp PL than based on the combined contributions of leaf litter only or feed only, indicating synergism. Among the different mangrove species, S. apetala (23.1%) contributed the highest to total weight gain followed by A. officinalis (21.6%), S. caseolaris (21.6%) and H. fomes (10%). The lower feed conversion ratio (FCR) (0.18–0.27) in the treatments combining leaf litter and supplemental feed as compared to the feed-only treatment (0.41) indicated that leaf litter (directly or by stimulating natural food production) contributed to supplemental feeding. The growth of phytoplankton also appeared to contribute in low FCR as evidenced by a positive correlation (P < 0.001, r = 0.681⁎⁎) between phytoplankton concentration and shrimp weight gain. The synergistic effect between leaf litter and supplemental feed can help the farmer to minimize the shrimp production cost by lowering the feed input and enhancing mangrove three coverage on pond dikes as an inexpensive source of natural food.