Research Paper to Read : (2017) Fruit Fly Maggots as Alternative Feed to Improve Siamese Fighting Fish (Betta splendens) Fecundity, Eggs Hatchability and Fry Survivability

Source: MyJurnal

What are the key point here?
(1) Fruit fly maggots can serve as alternative diet for Betta splendens in addition to bloodworms and formulated pellets which yields result with non-significant differences of average hatchability rate of 65% and survivability rate of 69%.
(2) Commercial pellets is not a suitable diet for broodstock for breeding purpose but it's good enought for daily diet consumption.

Why this paper?
It's rare to find local and recent research paper from local university from MY on Betta splendens. Furthermore, we are curious and researching about alternative diets in addition to existing typical diets like Artemia / Brine Shrimp, Moina, Daphnia, Vinegal eel, Blood worm, Tubifex worm, Mysis shrimp, Grindal worm, Flightless fruit flies, and beef heart. Even though, fruit fly maggots were not a common food source for Betta splendens, it's a common and popular live feed sold in aquarium shops here in MY as a live feed for large ornamental fishes like Arowana.

Material and Methods
This experiment uses 9 pairs (18 fishes) of Betta splendens of 4 till 8 weeks conditioned for a month (the broodstock should be around 8 till 16 weeks old). The fishes were fed with commercial pellets (there is no mention of the nutrients values of these pellets) twice daily during that month.

Experiments were done on three types of feed in 3 replicates:
(1) Commercial pellets x 3 pairs. Control group.
(2) Bloodworms x 3 pairs. Frozen bloodworms purchase from local pet shop.
(3) Fruit fly maggots x 3 pairs. Cultured using over-rippen banana left outdoor, eggs collected and hatched in container. Then the hatched maggots were collected and kept frozen in fridge.

The breeding conditions and procedure as follows:
(1) 1 or 2 days aged water with sea Indian Almond leaves.
(2) Male Betta was released first to build bubble nest.
(3) Female Betta was added but was separated in a separate transparent container.
(4) Female Betta was released once the bubble nest was constructed.
(5) Female was extracted once mating was done.

Result
The number of eggs produced by each diet is shown below. We're quite surprised that commercial pellet yielded a higher result than Blood worms. There is no mention of nutrients content of the commercial pellet so it's quite hard to deduce why commercial pellet is better than live food. Nevertheless, the broodstock with fruit fly maggot diet produced the highest number of eggs.

Discussion
The nutrients content of both live feed as follows:
(1) Blood worms: 52.8% of protein, 9.7% of fat, 0.38% of calcium and 0.90% of phosphorus.
(2) Fruit fly maggots: 40.3% of protein, 29.4% of fat, 0.59% of calcium and 2.30% of phosphorus.

The high fat and phosphorus may contribute to the high number of eggs spawned using fruit fly maggots as diet. However, there is no details on nutrient of the commercial pellet. Therefore, we can't reproduce this experiment and deduce that commercial pellet may not be a better choice than those two live feed.

What you're going to do with the knowledge you've gained?
(1) Learn how to culture fruit fly maggots to test the suitability of it as an alternative diet for Betta splendens for breeding purpose. Similarly, try with bloodworms as well.
(2) Check if we can breed the broodstock of age of 8 weeks or 2 months. Based on our observation, we don't think Betta fishes of 8 weeks have reach sexual maturity. 12 weeks or 3 months is considered just reaching adulthood.

What are the further unsolved questions?
(1) What are the dietary needs for broodstock to ensure fecundity (the ability to mass produce offspring) or reproductive performance?
(2) What are the feeding schedule in addition to the dietary in question (1)?
(3) As we have mentioned before, quite a few Betta splendens breeders sweared by Daphnia as its primary food source from larvae till adult. Comparison of diet should have includes Daphnia and Miona as well. What will be the expected results if both these two live diets were included?

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