More Good News on Aquafeeds

Black soldier fly products may serve as a great component of animal fee.  However, in many, if not most, cases, it is only a partial replacement for other animal feed ingredients, such as fish meal. Bringing black soldier fly content above certain percentage decreases performance of the animals that feed on it. It is not surprising, because relatively few vertebrates feed on a single prey species and nothing else. However, a recent study has shown that rainbow trout appears to do fine just on black soldier flies.

Bartucz, T., Csókás, E., Nagy, B., Gyurcsák, M.P., Bokor, Z., Bernáth, G., Molnár, J., Urbányi, B. and Csorbai, B., 2023. Black Soldier Fly (Hermetia illucens) Meal as Direct Replacement of Complex Fish Feed for Rainbow Trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss) and African Catfish (Clarias gariepinus). Life, 13(10), 1978. https://doi.org/10.3390/life13101978

In the experiments, defatted black soldier fly meal reared on vegetable byproducts was used in the fry rearing of two economically important fish species, African catfish and rainbow trout. Both fish species were reared in a recirculation system and 0–33–66–100% of the complex fry feed was replaced by a defatted prepupae meal of black soldier flies during a 28-day feeding experiment. African catfish was reared at 25 ± 1 °C while rainbow trout was reared at 12 ± 1 °C. The results showed that the growth of African catfish was not significantly reduced when 66% of the feed was replaced by soldier fly meal (mean weight in the control fish group at the end of the experiment was 0.4632 ± 0.2469 g, while the 66% group resulted mean weights of 0.4150 ± 0.1886 g) and the survival did not show any statistically different results (mean survival in control group was 57.48 ± 13.76% while it was 56.6 ± 7.763% in the 66% group). In the case of rainbow trout, replacing the feed entirely with insect meal did not cause a decrease in weight gain (final mean weight in the control group was measured at 1.9640 ± 0.4154 g, while in the group consuming only insect meal, it was 1.9410 ± 0.4248 g) or in survival (in the control group 98.5%, while in the group consuming only insect meal 99.5%). All these preliminary results indicate that black soldier fly meal can be used directly as a nursery feed in fish farming as a partial or total replacement of complete feeds. The results showed that black soldier fly meal could replace 66% of the complex brood feed of African catfish and up to 100% of rainbow trout feed without deterioration of production results. Our experiments have therefore opened the way for further experiments on insect meal in larval rearing.