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In a comparative study using the hybrid tilapia Oreochromis mossambicus × Oreochromis aureus grown in seawater and freshwater, no significant differences in growth performance (weight gain) and biological indices (e.g., feed conversion efficiency and survival) was observed after 90 days of experimentation. A common feed was formulated to contain 40% crude protein and 8.5% crude fat. Fish meal and poultry by-product meal (50:50) were used as a source of protein in the formulation. The study was conducted using recirculation systems and organisms already adapted to seawater and freshwater with an initial weight of 25.0 ± 0.06 g and 24.70 ± 0.32 g, respectively (four replicates per treatment); at the end of the experiment their final weight was 161.80 ± 12.78 g and 167.60 ± 7.29 g, respectively. The thermal growth coefficient was 0.91 and 0.89 (seawater vs freshwater), and there were no significant differences; however, the apparent digestibility of dry matter as well as per nutrient (protein, lipid, and carbohydrate) was significantly higher for the organisms in the seawater treatment. The digestibility could be associated with greater enzymatic activity in the presence of higher ionic strength. The respirometric study indicated that the O:N ratios were similar for organisms reared in seawater and freshwater, with values of 21 and 18, respectively. This indicates that this strain of tilapia uses a mixture of proteins and lipids as energy substrates. We conclude that this strain of tilapia has the potential to adapt and thrive in a marine environment and that its production practices could be expanded.
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