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Reaching the Next Level of Tilapia Farming with Proven Trace Mineral Nutrition  

5 minute read

The tilapia industry is a growth driver within the aquaculture sector, consistently innovating to enhance zootechnical performance and operational excellence. This growth hinges on advanced genetic lines, vaccines, production systems, and feed technologies. However, with challenging farming conditions and increasing disease pressure, high-performing animals may face increased nutritional demands and metabolic stress. Suboptimal diets hinder their growth potential and weaken antioxidant and immune responses, rendering them susceptible to health issues and diseases.  

In this article, we explore the often-overlooked importance of trace minerals in tilapia feeds and their profound impact on performance, health, and profitability.  

Small Details in the Feed Formula Can Reveal Significant Gains 

While protein and energy often take the spotlight in fish diets, essential nutrients like trace minerals are equally vital. These minerals play a pivotal role in fish physiology, regulating the innate immune system, digestive enzyme activity, and antioxidant responses. Maximizing the absorption of these key nutrients enhances growth and promotes robust health and resistance to stress and pathogens.  

Tilapia diets are typically comprised of plant-based proteins such as soybean, sunflower, cottonseed, and carbohydrates from wheat, rice, and corn. These ingredients, although rich in protein and energy, have low levels of essential trace minerals and reduced bioavailability due to antinutritional factors. Traditionally, inorganic trace minerals are supplemented into feeds using premixes containing salts, like sulfates and oxides. However, these inorganic minerals offer low bioavailability due to antagonistic interactions with other dietary components and limited absorption in the intestine.  

Zinpro® Performance Minerals® (ZPM) on the other hand, are complexed with amino acids, what prevents antagonism with other minerals, protects vitamins and other nutrients from oxidation, assure higher stability on storage and extrusion and facilitates its absorption in the gut. This advanced technology is essential to improve accuracy and precision of trace mineral nutrition, assuring optimum availability to animals and opportunities to reduce nutrient discharges to aquatic environments. 

Supporting Enhanced Fish Health and Wellbeing   

Accelerated growth can demand more resources and put more pressure on fish organisms, increasing stress and health risks. A recent study conducted at the University of Alexandria in Egypt in collaboration with Dr. Abdel-Fattah El-Sayed, evaluated the replacement of inorganic trace mineral premixes by metal-amino acid complexes of Zn, Se, Cu, Fe, and Mn (ZPM) in commercial feeds during a growth trial under farming conditions.  

The study delved into gut health, antioxidant and immune response parameters to assess the effect of ZPM. Replacing inorganic minerals with metal-amino acid complexes yielded several positive health outcomes shown in Figure 1.  

Raising the Performance Bar with Zinpro 

Healthier and better nourished fish are always set up for more successful development. The zootechnical performance results were remarkable favorable on improving tilapia growth and feed efficiency, as summarized in Figure 2.  

Does it Matter to Your Economic Bottom Line?  

Replacing inorganic salts with metal-amino acids complexes in tilapia diets leads to improved performance and health. Optimal replacements of 50-55% for growth and 60-65% for health status are recommended. A comprehensive economic analysis was conducted and revealed that all replacement levels provided superior margins compared to the control group, with optimum economic result for the 50% replacement in this case (Figure 3).  

Figure 3. Economic benefits associated with Zinpro® Performance Minerals® (Zn, Se, Cu, Fe and Mn) replacing 50% of inorganic mineral in tilapia commercial feeds.  

Investing in trace minerals isn’t just a choice; it’s a necessity for any tilapia producer aiming to thrive in the competitive world of aquaculture. With the right balance of trace minerals, tilapia can reach their full potential, bolster their immunity, and ultimately drive profitability. It’s a small change with proven potential to transform results of aquaculture operations.   

Let’s Elevate Tilapia Nutrition Together  

The adoption of advanced trace mineral technologies is crucial for the aquafeed industry to foster performance with more efficient and sustainable diets. To learn how you can include Zinpro® Performance Minerals® in your aquafeed, contact your Zinpro representative today.