The performance of Nile Tilapia (Oreochromis niloticus) fingerlings at varying salinity levels
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Nearly 70 percent of the world is occupied by water but only 2.5 percent of it is fresh and the rest is saline. Only 1 percent of the fresh water is accessible to man and the rest is held in glaciers and snowfields (EPA 2014). This has led to stiff competition between aquaculture and agriculture for water following the rapid population growth. This calls for urgent alternative ways to adequately feed this population. However, aquaculture of tilapia can be done in salt water to overcome the increasing pressure. Uganda is gifted with both freshwater and saltwater bodies such as lake Katwe however, they are all not being utilized in terms of aquaculture and not much research has been done in Uganda to ensure that aquaculture can be carried in Uganda’s saltwater. Therefore, the aim of this research was to observe the impact of different saline media towards the survival rate and growth of Nile tilapia fingerlings, (O. niloticus) seeds cultured in saline media. This research was carried out in January - February 2018 at Aquaculture Research and Development Center, Kajjansi. Sample used were Nile Tilapia fingerlings with an approximate length of 3-5 cm. A completely randomized design method was used with 5 treatments and 3 replications. Different saline media for the treatments were A (0); B (5), C (10), D (15) and E (20) grams per litre. The seeds were cultivated in a plastic container with water capacity of 20 liter and density of 20 fish per container. Result showed that in water media with salinity up to 5g/l the survival rate is equal to salinity of 0g/l (control) at 81.67±2.89%. Increase in salinity of the media result in the decrease in the survival rate whereby at the saline media of 20g/l the survival rate drops until 71.67±2.89%. Similarly, growth in weight and length of tilapia fingerlings reared in saline media up to 20g/l are still experiencing good growth both in weight and length, but slowed. The best growth was obtained in 5g/l saline medium with gain in weight and length of 1.40±0.01 grams and 1.89±0.02 cm, respectively. Therefore, the results suggest that salinity has a significant effect on the growth and survival of tilapia fingerlings whereby the higher the level of salinity, the lower the growth as well as survival.