News 835 views last update:6 Aug 2012

Organic feed makes fish more colourful

Scientists at the Central Institute of Freshwater Aqua-culture (Cifa) in India found an organic feed that "enhances" the colour and brightness of ornamental fishes.

By including maize, drumstick leaves, marigold petals and rose petals to the fish feed the colours of the fish seem to be brighter. Breeders, till now, were depended on artificial methods (such as dyeing and using fish feeds containing hormones) to fetch a better price in the market.

Carotenoids in plants
Pigments named "carotenoids" (commonly the alpha and beta carotene found in yellow and orange plants and fruits) are primary sources of colour in fish skin. These carotenoids are made by plants and utilised in animal tissue. A series of experiments conducted by Cifa's ornamental fish breeding unit on Rosy Barb by using leafy sources showed that it increased its colour to a large extent.

"Carotenoids when fed to the males make them colourful, healthier and stronger" explained Saroj Kumar Swain, a senior scientist. Omnivorous fishes can be given shrimp, prawn, insects, earthworms, and tubifex to get the same colour enhancement.

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