Feeding fish with feed mixed with ground bamboo charcoal can boost growth and greatly enhance the efficiency of aquaculture, a study released over the weekend by the Fisheries Research Institute said.
The results were achieved through experiments in which fish food containing ground bamboo charcoal was used to feed tilapia, a species farmed mainly for its meat.
It was found that fish fed with ground bamboo charcoal showed significantly better results in terms of weight gain, growth and length-to-weight ratio than those on a normal diet.
The experiments also showed that using ground bamboo charcoal and bamboo vinegar simultaneously produced better results than using ground bamboo charcoal alone.
For example, feeding eels with feed containing ground wood charcoal and wood vinegar improves fish growth and the feed conversion rate and boosts the fish's immunity against diseases, the institute said.
In addition, giving ground wood charcoal and wood vinegar to scads decreases fat accumulation in the abdomen of the fish and reduces the relative ratios of body weight to liver weight, thus raising their meat content, it said.
Meanwhile, using the ingredients to raise carp helps ease the negative impact of nitrogen and phosphorus on the environment, the study found.
The institute said the strong absorptive properties of charcoal had proven effective in deodorizing and decomposing harmful chemical substances, and that bamboo charcoal works better than wood charcoal because of its uniform and compact texture.
The application of bamboo charcoal in animal husbandry has also produced impressive results, the institute said.
For instance, feeding pigs with ground bamboo charcoal can relieve gas and diarrhea and boost the animals' appetite, it said.
When used in chicken farming, it can make the meat more tender, increase egg-laying rates and reduce the stench of chicken droppings, it said.
Moreover, feeding bamboo charcoal to lambs can enhance their growth and increase their protein digestion and nitrogen deposition, it said.