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Background: Dietary protein requirements are dependent on a variety of factors and water temperature is one of the most important abiotic factors affecting protein requirement of fish. This study was, therefore, conducted to investigate effects of water temperature on dietary protein requirement of fry Heteropneustes fossilis which has high demand in most of the Asian markets. Methods: Quadruplicate groups of 30 fish per treatment (2.97 ± 0.65 cm; 5.11 ± 0.34 g) were fed seven isoenergetic −1 −1 diets (17.9 kJ g gross energy; 14.99 kJ g digestible energy) containing dietary protein levels ranging from 28 to 52% at two water temperatures (18 and 26 °C). Experimental diets were fed to apparent satiation as semi-moist cakes thrice daily at 17:00, 12:00, and 17:30 h for 12 weeks. For precise information, various growth parameters, protein deposition, hematological parameters, metabolic enzymes, and stress response were analyzed, and effects of water temperature on dietary protein requirement was recommended on the basis of response from above parameters. Results: Groups held at 26°C attained best growth, feed conversion, and protein deposition at 44% dietary protein indicating that temperature affected dietary protein requirement for optimum growth of H. fossilis fry and protein requirement seems to be satisfied with 44% dietary protein. Interestingly, interactive effects of both dietary protein levels and temperature were not found (P > 0.05). Fish reared at 18 °C had comparatively higher values for aspartate and alanine transferases than those reared at 26 °C water temperature which exhibited normal physiological value for these enzymes indicating that body metabolism was normal at this temperature. Hematological parameters also followed same pattern. Furthermore, fish reared at 26 °C water temperature exhibited more resistant to thermal stress (P < 0.05). The 95% maximum plateau of protein deposition data using second-degree polynomial regression analyses exhibited dietary protein requirement of fry H. fossilis between 40.8 and 41.8% of diet at 26 °C water temperature. The recommended range of dietary protein level and protein/digestible energy ratio for fry H. fossilis is 40.8–41.8% and −1 27.21–27.88 mg protein kJ digestible energy, respectively. Conclusions: Information developed is of high significance for optimizing growth potential by making better utilization of nutrient at 26 °C and, to develop effective management strategies for mass culture of this highly preferred fish species. Keywords: Temperature, Heteropneustes fossilis, Growth, Metabolic enzymes, Hematological parameters * Correspondence: firstname.lastname@example.org; Ssaid@jazanu.edu.sa Department of Nursing, Farasan University College, Farasan, Jazan University, Jizan, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia Full list of author information is available at the end of the article © The Author(s). 2020 Open Access This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver (http://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/zero/1.0/) applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated. Fatma and Ahmed Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences (2020) 23:1 Page 2 of 14 Introduction food fish (Mohamed and Ibrahim 2001). It has very high Protein assumes greater importance in aquacultural iron content (226 mg/100 g) and fairly high content of feeds mainly due to the fact that the level and quality of calcium compared to many other freshwater fishes (Saha protein greatly influences feed cost. Therefore, protein and Guha 1939). Being a lean fish, it is very suitable for content should be carefully adjusted in feeds, bearing in people to whom animal fats are undesirable (Rahman mind that the dietary protein in excess to that required et al. 1982). Due to high nutritive value and low fat con- for growth is only catabolized (Cowey 1979) and that tent, the stinging catfish is recommended in the diets of protein inadequacy leads to poor growth and feed ineffi- the sick and the convalescents (Alok et al. 1993). The fish ciency. Consequently, to improve the utilization of efficiently utilizes prepared feeds and is able to withstand protein for tissue synthesis rather than for energy pur- adverse environmental conditions. In addition to this, it poses, an adequate knowledge of protein requirements has high nutritional and medicinal value (Pillay 1990; Jhin- and of the effect of environmental factors on protein gran 1991;Thakur 1991). This fish is popular particularly utilization is necessary. because it can be cultivated in swampy areas and Dietary protein requirements are dependent on a var- derelict water bodies without involving costly reclam- iety of factors such as stock size, water temperature, ation. It is easily stored and transported live to con- feeding frequency, amount of non-protein dietary en- sumers. Thus, this species is ideal for wastewater ergy, and dietary protein quality (Shimeno et al. 1980). aquaculture as well (Tharakan and Joy 1996)and is As fish is an ectotherm, and water temperature is one of abundantly available in open water system of flood- the most important abiotic factors affecting growth and plains, canals, and beels. survival of the aquatic animals. All fish species are char- The effects of water temperature on growth and pro- acterized by an ideal range of temperature in which they tein requirements of fish have been well documented for show their maximum growth (Oyugi et al. 2011). Any many species (El-Sayed et al. 1996; Van Ham et al. 2003; alterations in the optimum water temperature have a Anelli et al. 2004; Chatterjee et al. 2004; Larsson and marked and direct effect on many of the key physio- Berglund 2005; Han et al. 2008; Singh et al. 2008; Singh logical processes and behavioral activities (Brett 1979; et al. 2009; Huang et al. 2016; Mishra et al. 2019). Some Jonassen et al. 2000; Sarma et al. 2010) which can also be aspects of nutrition of H. fossilis has been worked out in detected in the form of alterations in hematological param- the past mainly on determining its optimum feeding eters (Haider 1973; Steinhagen et al. 1990). Temperature practices and nutritional requirements (Niamat and Jafri beyond optimum limits of a particular species adversely 1984; Akand et al. 1991; Jhingran 1991; Anwar and Jafri affects the health of aquatic animal due to metabolic stress 1992; Firdaus 1993; Firdaus et al. 1994; Firdaus and Jafri and increases oxygen demand and susceptibility to diseases 1996; Mohamed 2001; Mohamed and Ibrahim 2001; (Wedemeyer et al. 1999). It limits the biochemical Firdaus et al. 2002; Usmani and Jafri 2002; Usmani et al. reactions, affects their metabolism and distribution, and 2003; Ahmed 2007; Siddiqui and Khan 2009; Ahmed directly influences the survival and growth at the various 2010; Khan and Abidi 2010; Khan and Abidi 2011a, stages of their life cycle. 2011b; Ahmed 2012; Farhat 2011; Farhat 2012; Khan Catfishes are the preferred candidate species for aqua- and Abidi 2012; Ahmed 2013a, 2013b; Farhat 2013a, culture owing to their consumer preference and commer- 2013b; Ahmed 2014; Farhat 2014a, 2014b, 2014c;Khan cial and medicinal value. Among those, Heteropneustes and Abidi 2014; Ahmed 2017; Farhat 2017); however, fossilis, commonly known as the stinging catfish or singhi, study on effect of water temperature on the nutritional is considered as one of the most demanded freshwater air requirements of H. fossilis under culture condition has breathing fish species in the tropical waters of the Indian not been worked out. subcontinent and Southeast Asian region (Christopher Since biochemical parameters such as serum aspartate et al. 2010). The range encompasses India, Thailand, amino transferase (AST) and alanine amino transferase Bangladesh, Pakistan, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Myanmar, (ALT) levels and the hematological parameters com- Indonesia, and Cambodia (Burgess 1989). Its primary monly measured clinically as biomarkers for health and habitat includes ponds, ditches, swamps, and marshes. It good indicator of various sources of stress, to ascertain is hardy, amenable to high stocking densities, and adapts the effect of temperature on dietary protein requirement well to hypoxic water bodies (Dehadrai et al. 1985). Due more precisely, these parameters are also considered and to the presence of accessory respiratory organs, it has got analyzed. the ability to utilize atmospheric oxygen for respiration The aim of this study was to determine the influence and, therefore, can survive for quite a few hours outside of water temperature on protein requirement and to the water which makes it an ideal species for aquaculture optimize the rearing temperature so that this fish could (Vijayakumar et al. 1998; Haniffa and Sridhar 2002). maximize its performance in terms of growth and health Heteropneustes fossilis is an important tropical freshwater in an intensive culture system. Fatma and Ahmed Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences (2020) 23:1 Page 3 of 14 Materials and methods calculated using conversion factors of 33.5, 20.9, and Experimental diets 12.6 kJ/g for fat, protein, and carbohydrate, respectively Seven casein-gelatin-based isocaloric diets (14.99 kJ/g (Halver and Hardy 2002). The diet was prepared as per digestible energy) with varying levels of dietary protein Siddiqui and Khan (2009). The final diet in the form of (28, 32, 36, 40, 44, 48, 52% protein) were prepared dough was cut into small cubes, sealed in polythene (Table 1). Diets were designated as D ,D ,D ,D , bags, and kept in refrigerator at − 20 °C till further use. 28 32 36 40 D ,D and D . Two intact protein sources, casein 44 48, 52 and gelatin, were used at 4:1 ratio. The dietary protein Experimental design and feeding trial level was increased by adjusting the fractions of casein Induced-bred fry of the stinging catfish, H. fossilis, were and gelatin in the diet. Dextrin was served as the carbo- obtained from the Ghazipur Fish Market, New Delhi, hydrate source. A combination of cod liver oil and corn India and transported to wet laboratory (Fish Rearing oil (2:5) was used as a source of lipid to provide n-3 and Laboratory, Department of Zoology, Central University n-6 fatty acids. Vitamin and mineral premixes were pre- of Kashmir, J&K), given a prophylactic dip in KMnO pared as per Halver (2002). Digestible energy (DE) was solution (1:3000) and stocked in indoor circular aqua- blue colored, plastic lined (Plastic Crafts Corp, Mumbai, Table 1 Composition of experimental diets India) fish tanks (1.22 m × 0.91 m × 0.91 m; water volume 600 L) for about 2 weeks. They were then accli- Diets mated to two different constant temperatures (18 and 26 Ingredients (g/100 g) (D )(D )(D )(D )(D )(D )(D ) 28 32 36 40 44 48 52 a °C). The desired temperatures were adjusted with the Casein 26.99 30.85 34.70 38.55 42.41 46.26 50.13 help of thermostatic water heaters (Rusun, Fish Aquar- Gelatin 6.75 7.71 8.67 9.64 10.60 11.57 12.53 ium Home, Laxhami Nagar, New Delhi, India). Prior to Dextrin 40.82 33.98 27.21 20.43 13.65 6.87 0.07 the commencement of the feeding trial, fish were accli- Corn oil 55 55555 mated to the respective water temperatures for 7 days to Cod oil 22 22222 stabilize their internal mediums and allow metabolic e,f compensation (Castille Jr and Lawrence 1981) and to en- Vitamin premix 33 33333 g sure full thermal adaptation. During this period, the fish Mineral 44 44444 were fed with a casein-gelatin based H-440 diet (Halver α-Cellulose 1.44 3.46 5.42 7.38 9.34 11.3 13.27 2002) thrice a day (0700, 1200, 1730 h) until apparent Carboxymethyl 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 satiation, at each temperature. The apparent satiety was cellulose ensured simply by visual observation and the fish were Total 100 100 100 100 100 100 100 carefully observed during feeding to ensure satiety with- Proximate analyses (%) out overfeeding. The diet was fed as long as the fish Analyzed crude protein 28.11 31.97 36.21 40.13 43.99 48.15 52.14 actively consumed it at each feeding schedule. Since feed Analyzed crude fat 6.95 7.12 7.31 7.14 6.89 7.11 7.13 allocation was done till the fish desired to feed and no feed was dispensed once the fish stopped feeding Gross energy , kJ/g 17.9 17.9 17.9 17.9 17.9 17.9 17.9 actively, there was no unconsumed feed in the culture Estimated gross 17.92 17.91 17.93 17.91 17.94 17.92 17.92 tank. A photoperiod of 12 h light/12 h dark was main- energy , kJ/g tained throughout the experimental period. Digestible energy, kJ/g 14.53 14.68 14.83 14.98 15.14 15.29 15.45 For conducting the present experiment, H. fossilis fry P/DE ratio mg/kJ 19.27 21.79 24.27 26.70 29.06 31.39 33.66 (2.97 ± 0.65 cm; 5.11 ± 0.34 g) were sorted out from the Crude protein (80 g/100 g) b above acclimated lot and stocked in quadruplet groups Crude protein (95 g/100 g) Cod liver oil from SevenSeas Ltd., Hull, UK. (n = 4 tanks per treatment) in 70-L circular polyvinyl Corn oil was obtained from Fortune, Adani Wilmar Ltd troughs (water volume 60 L). The experiment was con- Halver (2002) ducted in a thermostatic experimental setup. Through- Vitamin mixture (1 g vitamin mix +2g œ-cellulose) choline chloride 0.50; inositol 0.20; ascorbyl-2-polyphosphate 0.10; nicotinic acid 0.075; calcium out the experimental period (84 days), temperature was pantothenate 0.05; riboflavin 0.02; menadione 0.004; pyridoxine hydrochloride regularly measured three times daily with a thermometer 0.005; thiamin hydrochloride 0.005; folic acid 0.0015; biotin 0.0005; alpha- tocopheryl acetate 0.04; vitamin B 0.00001; Loba Chemie, India 12 at each feeding schedule. Fish were fed experimental Mineral mixture (g/100 g) calcium biphosphate 13.57; calcium lactate 32.69; diets in the form of semi-moist cakes in the form of ferric citrate 2.97; magnesium sulphate 13.20; potassium phosphate (dibasic) 23.98; sodium biphosphate 8.72; sodium chloride 4.35; aluminium cube (1 × 1 × 1 cm) as per the above feeding schedule. chloride.6H O 0.0154; potassium iodide 0.015; cuprous chloride 0.010; magnus Initial and weekly individual weights were recorded on a sulphate. H O 0.80; cobalt chloride. 6H O 0.1; zinc sulphate. 7H O 0.40; Loba 2 2 2 top-loading balance (Sartorius CPA- 224S 0.1 mg sensi- Chemie, India Calculated on the basis of fuel values 23, 20.19, 16.0, and 37.6 kJ/g for casein, tivity, Goettingen, Germany) after anaesthetizing with gelatin, dextrin, and fat, respectively, as estimated on Gallenkamp ballistic tricane methane sulphonate (MS-222; 20 mg/L; Fin- bomb calorimeter Estimated on Gallenkamp ballistic bomb calorimeter quel®). The feeding trial lasted for 84 days. Fish were Fatma and Ahmed Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences (2020) 23:1 Page 4 of 14 fasted on the day of weekly measurements. A KMnO replicate of the treatment) employing heparinized syringes. bath was administered after every weighing session (5 g/L To avoid blood coagulation, all mixers, pipettes, and test for 30 min) as a prophylactic measure. Fecal matter, if tubes used were rinsed with anticoagulant (3.8% solution of any, was siphoned off before and after every feeding. The sodium citrate). Erythrocyte count was determined by an culture troughs were siphoned once every day. The exper- improved Neubauer hematocytometer with Yokoyama’s iments were conducted absolutely as per the guidelines (1974) solution as the diluting medium. Blood hemoglobin for animal ethics. was determined spectroscopically (Genesis, UV) following Wong’s(1928)methodand wasexpressedingrams per Water quality parameters deciliter (Hb g/dL). Hematocrit value (Hct%) was measured Water quality parameters of the troughs were maintained by spinning the micro-wintrobe tube containing well mixed at different temperatures (18 and 26 °C). Water was sam- blood for about 5 min at 12,000g and then measuring the pled from each trough to determine water temperature, dis- packed cell volume which was expressed in percentage. solved oxygen, free carbon dioxide, total alkalinity, TAN, On the final day of the feeding trial, five fish from each nitrite, and pH based on daily measurements following the tank (n = 4x5) were anesthetized (MS-222; 20 mg/L) be- standard methods (APHA 1992). The pH was determined fore subjecting to body measurements. The fish, liver, by using digital pH meter (pH ep-HI 98107, USA). and viscera of each specimen were weighed by blotting dry on a filter paper, and total length of the fish was Stress resistance response taken. The values were recorded to calculate the hepato- At the end of experiment, eight fish were randomly sam- somatic index (HSI%), viscerosomatic index (VSI%), and pled to assess environmental stress (high temperature) condition factor (CF). trial. The fish were exposed to high temperature (33 °C) and the mortality time was recorded in seconds. Metabolic enzyme activities Blood serum was collected after centrifugation at 3000 Biochemical composition of fish and experimental diets rpm for 10 min and then stored at − 20 °C in order to Six subsamples of a pooled sample of 20 fishes were ana- analyze aspartate aminotransferase (AST) and alanine lyzed for initial body composition. At the end of the ex- aminotransferase (ALT) activities. Biochemical analysis periment, all 30 fishes from each replicate of dietary of serum AST and ALT activities were done as per Reit- treatments were pooled separately and three subsamples man and Frankel (1957). of each replicate from the pooled sample (n = 4) were analyzed for final carcass composition. Proximate com- Data analyses position of casein, gelatin, experimental diet, and initial Growth performance of the fish fed experimental diets and final body composition was estimated using stand- at different temperatures was measured as a function of ard methods (AOAC 1995) for dry matter (oven drying the weight gain by calculating following parameters: at 105 ± 1 °C for 22 h), crude protein, (nitrogen estima- Thermal growth coefficient tion using Kjeltec 8400, Hoeganas, Sweden), crude fat 0:333 0:333 ¼ final body weight −initial body weight (solvent extraction with petroleum ether B.P 40–60 °C =No:of days temperature°C 1000 for 2–4 h by using Soxlet extraction technique, FOSS Avanti automatic 2050 equipment, Sweden), and ash Feed conversion ratio ¼ dry feed fedðÞ g =wet weight gainðÞ g oven incineration at 650 °C for 2–4 h. To confirm the calculated levels of gross energy of the prepared test di- Protein deposition g=fish ¼ protein gain=protein fedðÞ g ets, each dietary sample was ignited in Gallenkamp bal- Hepatosomatic indexðÞ HSI; % listic bomb calorimeter (Gallenkamp Ballistic Bomb ¼ðÞ liver weight; g =ðÞ whole body weight; g 100; Calorimeter-CBB 330 010L, Gallenkamp, Loughbrough, UK). The analysis revealed a close agreement with the Viscerosomatic indexðÞ VSI; % calculated values of the gross energy density (Table 1). ¼ðÞ viscera weight; g =ðÞ whole body weight; g 100; Sample collection −1 3 Evaluation of the hematological parameters involved the Condition factor CF; g cm determination of the red blood cell count (RBCs × 10 ), ¼ðÞ body weight; g =ðÞ body length cm 100 −1 hemoglobin content (Hb; g dL ), and hematocrit value (Hct%). At the end of the experiment, fish were anaesthe- tized with MS-222 (20 mg/L; Finquel®) before taking the Statistical analyses blood samples. The blood samples were then collected A completely randomized design with four replicates per from the caudal vein of individual fish (nine fish from each treatment was used for assessing the optimum protein Fatma and Ahmed Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences (2020) 23:1 Page 5 of 14 −1 requirement of the fish at two different temperatures. superior response in terms of TGC, FCR, and PD g fish All growth data were subjected to two-way ANOVA as with 44% protein at 26 °C temperature. The groups reared per Snedecor and Cochran (1982) to test any differences at 18 °C showed a consistent improvement in their per- and/or the interaction between dietary protein and formance up to 40% protein in the diet. However, the −1 temperature. Differences among treatment means were values recorded for TGC, FCR, and PD g fish for the determined by Duncan’s multiple range test at a P < groups held at 18 °C were inferior compared to those held 0.05 level of significance (Duncan 1955). Relationship at 26 °C even though fed with the same level of dietary between dietary protein level and protein deposition protein. This indicates that fish held at this temperature (PD) g/fish was modeled using second-degree polyno- failed to express their maximum growth potential. mial regression analysis (Zeitoun et al. 1976). The pro- tein requirement of fry H. fossilis was determined as the Carcass quality point on the graph where the biological response was The dietary protein levels and rearing temperatures had found to be equal to 95% of the maximum response. All significant influence on carcass protein of H. fossilis fry the statistical analyses were done using Origin (version (Table 3); however, interactive effects of both were not 6.1; Origin Software, San Clemente, CA). recorded (P > 0.05). Moisture content of H. fossilis showed a positive correlation with the increase in dietary Results protein at both the temperatures (18 and 26 °C), whereas Growth performance the carcass fat content showed a negative correlation. Data on average thermal growth coefficient (TGC), feed Carcass protein tended to increase significantly (P < conversion ratio (FCR), and protein deposition (PD g/fish) 0.05) in fish fed 40 and 44% protein (diet D and D ) 40 44 of the fry Heteropneustes fossilis, after 84 days of feeding at 18 and 26 °C temperatures (P < 0.05). Moreover, are summarized in Table 2. Growth performance and feed temperature had no significant effect on carcass fat and intake were significantly affected by both dietary protein ash contents. levels (P < 0.0007) and rearing temperature (P < 0.0001). However, interactive effects of dietary protein and Metabolic enzyme activities temperature were not found (P >0.05). H. fossilis fry fed As per the results, significant differences (P < 0.05) in diets containing different levels of protein exhibited terms of ALT and AST activities were recorded among Table 2 Growth, feed conversion, and protein deposition of H. fossilis fry Temperature °C Diet (% protein) Ave in wt (g) Ave fn wt (g) TGC FCR PD g/fish FI g/fish/day Aa Af Ae Aa Ae De 18 D28 5.11 ± 0.02 22.13 ± 0.05 0.49 ± 0.03 3.57 ± 0.12 0.11 ± 0.03 0.84 ± 0.02 Aa Ae Ad Ab Ad Dd D32 5.15 ± 0.07 33.21 ± 0.02 0.68 ± 0.07 2.63 ± 0.09 0.15 ± 0.04 1.02 ± 0.05 Aa Ad Ac Ac Ac Cc D36 5.13 ± 0.05 46.45 ± 0.03 0.87 ± 0.06 1.99 ± 0.07 0.19 ± 0.03 1.14 ± 0.04 Aa Aa Aa Af Aa Aa D40 5.12 ± 0.09 59.98 ± 0.05 1.01 ± 0.02 1.61 ± 0.09 0.23 ± 0.04 1.23 ± 0.03 Aa Aa Aa Ae Ab Aa D44 5.14 ± 0.02 58.65 ± 0.02 0.99 ± 0.01 1.67 ± 0.11 0.21 ± 0.01 1.24 ± 0.05 Aa Ab Ab Ae Ac Aa D48 5.15 ± 0.01 56.64 ± 0.03 0.94 ± 0.02 1.69 ± 0.05 0.19 ± 0.03 1.21 ± 0.04 Aa Ac Ac Ad Ad Bb D52 5.13 ± 0.01 53.43 ± 0.03 0.89 ± 0.03 1.79 ± 0.13 0.16 ± 0.02 1.20 ± 0.03 Aa f Ff Aa Ae Ff 26 D28 5.15 ± 0.02 23.45 ± 0.05 0.56 ± 0.04 3.44 ± 0.02 0.12 ± 0.03 0.87 ± 0.02 Aa e Dd Ab Ad Ee D32 5.11 ± 0.07 34.34 ± 0.02 0.76 ± 0.07 2.56 ± 0.09 0.17 ± 0.04 1.04 ± 0.05 Aa d Cc Ac Ac Ee D36 5.14 ± 0.05 47.13 ± 0.03 0.94 ± 0.06 1.87 ± 0.07 0.21 ± 0.06 1.09 ± 0.04 Aa c Bb Ad Ab Cd D40 5.12 ± 0.09 56.59 ± 0.05 1.04 ± 0.02 1.62 ± 0.19 0.23 ± 0.04 1.16 ± 0.05 Aa a Aa Af Aa Aa D44 5.11 ± 0.02 69.12 ± 0.02 1.08 ± 0.01 1.48 ± 0.01 0.26 ± 0.01 1.31 ± 0.03 Aa a Bb Af Ab Ab D48 5.14 ± 0.01 67.14 ± 0.03 0.99 ± 0.02 1.49 ± 0.01 0.24 ± 0.03 1.28 ± 0.01 Aa b Cc Ae Ac Bc D52 5.12 ± 0.01 61.64 ± 0.03 0.93 ± 0.02 1.57 ± 0.01 0.21 ± 0.04 1.23 ± 0.03 P value Dietary protein NS 0.0007 0.003 0.005 NS 0.002 Temperature NS 0.0001 0.001 0.003 0.0001 0.005 Dietary protein x temp NS NS NS NS NS NS Ave in wt average initial weight, Ave fn wt average final weight, TGC thermal growth coefficient, FCR feed conversion ratio, PD protein deposition, FI feed intake, different upper case letter indicate significant differences (P < 0.05) between temperatures whereas different with superscripts indicate significant differences between dietary protein levels; NS nonsignificant (P > 0.05) Fatma and Ahmed Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences (2020) 23:1 Page 6 of 14 Table 3 Whole body carcass quality of fry Heteropneustes fossilis Temp. °C Diet (% protein) Moisture (%) Protein (%) Fat (%) Ash (%) Aa Cc Aa Aa 18 D 76.68 ± 0.02 12.15 ± 0.05 6.93 ± 0.03 3.98 ± 0.02 Aa Bb Ab Aa D 76.77 ± 0.07 13.13 ± 0.02 5.29 ± 0.07 3.95 ± 0.09 Bb Bb Ac Aa D 75.98 ± 0.05 13.68 ± 0.03 4.66 ± 0.06 3.95 ± 0.07 Bb Aa Ad Ab D 76.21 ± 0.09 14.96 ± 0.05 3.19 ± 0.02 3.88 ± 0.09 Bb Aa Ad Ab D 76.68 ± 0.02 14.97 ± 0.02 3.21 ± 0.01 3.81 ± 0.01 Cb Aa Ac Ab D 75.88 ± 0.01 14.95 ± 0.03 4.21 ± 0.02 3.80 ± 0.01 Bb Aa Ac Ab D 76.35 ± 0.01 14.89 ± 0.03 4.26 ± 0.02 3.81 ± 0.01 Aa Ee Aa Aa 26 D 76.91 ± 0.02 12.81 ± 0.05 6.88 ± 0.03 3.95 ± 0.02 Aa Dd Ab Aa D 76.11 ± 0.07 13.98 ± 0.02 6.13 ± 0.07 3.96 ± 0.09 Aa Cc Ac Aa D 76.45 ± 0.05 14.41 ± 0.03 4.98 ± 0.06 3.94 ± 0.07 Bb Bb Ae Ab D 75.69 ± 0.09 15.19 ± 0.05 3.54 ± 0.02 3.76 ± 0.09 Bb Aa Ad Ab D 75.21 ± 0.02 16.98 ± 0.02 4.16 ± 0.01 3.74 ± 0.01 Bb Aa Ad Ab D 75.11 ± 0.01 16.95 ± 0.03 4.26 ± 0.02 3.72 ± 0.01 Bb Aa Ac Ab D 75.51 ± 0.01 16.93 ± 0.03 4.89 ± 0.02 3.75 ± 0.01 P value Dietary protein 0.003 0.002 0.0001 0.004 Temperature 0.0001 0.007 NS NS Dietary protein x temp NS NS NS NS NS non-significant (P > 0.05) Different upper case superscripts indicate significant differences (P < 0.05) between temperatures, whereas different with superscripts indicate significant differences between dietary protein levels the two experimental groups reared at two different Somatic indices temperatures. The values of ALT and AST were signifi- VSI and HSI decreased with increase in dietary protein cantly (P < 0.05) higher among the groups reared at 18 levels up to 44% and increased in fish fed dietary protein °C temperature compared to those reared at 26 °C water beyond 44% at 48 (D ) and 52% protein (D ). Hepato- 48 52 temperature. Also, serum enzymes of H. fossilis seem somatic index (HSI) was found to be influenced by the not to be much affected by different protein levels in this levels of dietary protein and temperatures but no inter- study but were more affected by water temperatures action occurred, while viscerosomatic index (VSI) was (Table 4). However, the interactive effects of dietary pro- affected by only diets and not by temperatures (Table 5). tein and temperature were not found. Stress resistance response Hematological parameters Resistance rate to thermal stress increased significantly Dietary protein and temperature had significant impact (P < 0.05) among the groups reared at 26 °C water on hematological parameters (P < 0.05) with no inter- temperature than those reared at 18 °C (Table 5). The active effects of both. Fish fed diet containing 28% pro- stress resistance response remained best for the groups tein achieved the lowest hematological values at both fed with 44% dietary protein. This parameter was af- the temperatures. RBCs, Hb g/dL, and Hct% increased fected by both dietary protein levels and rearing temper- with increasing levels of dietary protein up to 44% atures; however, no interactive effects of both were (diet D ), both at 18 and 26 °C rearing temperatures noted (P > 0.23). The normal values of water quality pa- (Table 4). Thereafter, the above hematological param- rameters during the entire length of experiment are pro- eters remained almost the same in fish fed 48% (diet vided in Table 6. D ) dietary protein and the exhibited a decline with further increase in the dietary protein intake at 52% Protein requirement (diet D ). However, at 18 °C, the magnitude of re- Based on the above response parameters, second-degree sponse in above values was comparatively lower than polynomial regression analyses were performed to study that attained in fish raised at 26 °C for the same diet- the relationships between dietary protein levels and the ary protein level. protein deposition and were expressed in the form of Y Fatma and Ahmed Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences (2020) 23:1 Page 7 of 14 Table 4 Metabolic enzymes activities and hematological parameters of fry Heteropneustes fossilis Temp. °C Diet (% protein) AST (IU/L) ALT (IU/L) Hct% Hb g/dL RBCs (×10 ) Bb Aa Ee e Dd 18 D 54.77 ± 0.03 57.11 ± 0.01 21.24 ± 0.02 6.14 ± 0.02 2.67 ± 0.02 Cc Bb Dd d Cc D 53.11 ± 0.05 55.23 ± 0.02 23.97 ± 0.09 6.98 ± 0.02 2.79 ± 0.02 Dd Cc Cc c Bb D 52.21 ± 0.02 54.33 ± 0.05 27.43 ± 0.07 7.78 ± 0.02 2.81±0.02 De Cc Aa b Aa D 51.33 ± 0.04 54.11 ± 0.03 32.91 ± 0.09 8.83 ± 0.02 3.11 ± 0.02 De Cc Aa a Aa D 51.59 ± 0.01 54.21 ± 0.02 32.97 ± 0.01 9.97 ± 0.02 2.98 ± 0.02 Bb Cc Aa a Bb D 54.99 ± 0.03 54.65 ± 0.04 31.89 ± 0.01 9.94 ± 0.02 2.85 ± 0.02 Aa Bb Bb a Dd D 55.68 ± 0.02 55.98 ± 0.01 29.78 ± 0.01 9.84 ± 0.02 2.64 ± 0.02 Aa Aa Ee e Cc 26 D 53.99 ± 0.02 44.93 ± 0.02 22.23 ± 0.02 6.91 ± 0.02 2.97 ± 0.02 Ab Aa Dd d Cc D 52.65 ± 0.02 44.18 ± 0.03 25.51 ± 0.09 7.19 ± 0.02 2.99 ± 0.02 Bc Bb Cc c Bb D 51.96 ± 0.02 42.23 ± 0.05 28.64 ± 0.07 8.32 ± 0.02 3.14 ± 0.02 Bc Cc Bb b Bb D 51.14 ± 0.02 39.18 ± 0.02 32.93 ± 0.09 9.24 ± 0.02 3.23 ± 0.02 Ce Ef Aa a Aa D 49.13 ± 0.02 33.98 ± 0.04 33.92 ± 0.01 10.59 ± 0.02 3.97 ± 0.02 De De Bb a Aa D 49.88 ± 0.02 35.98 ± 0.03 32.97 ± 0.01 10.21 ± 0.02 3.75 ± 0.02 Dd Dd Bb a Aa D 50.97 ± 0.02 36.98 ± 0.01 31.91 ± 0.01 10.11 ± 0.02 3.88 ± 0.02 P value Dietary protein 0.003 0.0005 0.001 0.006 0.002 0.0001 Temperature 0.008 0.0001 0.004 0.003 NS 0.0009 Dietary protein × temp NS NS NS NS NS NS AST aspartate amino transferases, ALT alanine amino transferases, Hct hematocrit, Hb hemoglobin, RBCs red blood cells count Different upper case superscripts indicate significant differences (P < 0.05) between temperatures, whereas different with superscripts indicate significant differences between dietary protein levels; NS non-significant (P > 0.05) Table 5 Somatic indices and stress resistance response of fry Heteropneustes fossilis Temp. °C Diet (% protein) HSI (%) VSI (%) CF (%) Stress resistance response (mortality time measured in seconds) Aa a Ff Ff 18 D 3.41 ± 0.02 5.12 ± 0.05 0.94 ± 0.03 150 ± 0.03 Bb b Ee Ee D 2.33 ± 0.07 3.49 ± 0.02 1.32 ± 0.07 180 ± 0.03 Cc c Dd Dd D 1.70 ± 0.05 2.45 ± 0.03 1.49 ± 0.06 250 ± 0.03 Ff e Aa Cc D 1.44 ± 0.09 2.16 ± 0.05 1.68±0.02 360 ± 0.03 Ff e Aa Bb D 1.40 ± 0.02 2.11 ± 0.02 1.67 ± 0.01 440 ± 0.03 Ee d Ab Aa D 1.53 ± 0.01 2.30 ± 0.03 1.64 ± 0.02 580 ± 0.03 Dd d Ac Cc D 1.67 ± 0.01 2.53 ± 0.03 1.61±0.02 360 ± 0.03 Aa a Ff Ee 26 D 3.16 ± 0.02 4.97 ± 0.05 0.99 ± 0.03 280 ± 0.03 Bb b Ee Dd D 2.11 ± 0.07 3.31 ± 0.02 1.34±0.07 390 ± 0.03 Cc c Dd Cc D 1.51 ± 0.05 2.37 ± 0.03 1.55 ± 0.06 470 ± 0.03 Ee d Aa Bb D 1.30 ± 0.09 2.05 ± 0.05 1.69 ± 0.02 540 ± 0.03 Ee d Aa Aa D 1.27 ± 0.02 2.01 ± 0.02 1.70 ± 0.01 630 ± 0.03 Dd c Ab Bb D 1.41 ± 0.01 2.21 ± 0.03 1.68 ± 0.02 580 ± 0.03 Cc c Bc Dd D 1.57 ± 0.01 2.47 ± 0.03 1.64 ± 0.02 350 ± 0.03 P value Dietary protein 0.003 0.0005 0.001 0.006 Temperature 0.008 0.0001 0.001 0.003 Dietary protein x temp NS NS NS (P > 0.267) NS (P > 0.23) HSI hepatosomatic index, VSI viscerosomatic index, CF condition factor Different upper case superscripts indicate significant differences (P < 0.05) between temperatures, whereas different with superscripts indicate significant differences between dietary protein levels; NS non-significant (P > 0.05) Fatma and Ahmed Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences (2020) 23:1 Page 8 of 14 Table 6 Water quality parameters (Based on daily affecting food intake, growth, and food conversion of measurements) fish (Fry 1947; Brett 1979). Since water temperature has Parameters Temperatures (°C) potent influence on metabolic rate and energy expend- iture affecting nutrient requirement and growth per- 18 °C 26 °C formance of the poikilothermic vertebrates including Temperature (C) 20.1 ± 0.3 26.2 ± 0.1 fish (Brett 1979; Dutta 1994; Bhikajee and Gobin 1998), Dissolved oxygen (mg/L) 7.1 ± 0.2 6.7 ± 0.4 its influence on nutrient requirement and growth war- pH 7.6 ± 0.3 7.2 ± 0.2 rant thorough investigation. Free CO (mg/L) 5.7 ± 0.5 6.3 ± 0.5 Several studies have reported that the specific water Total alkalinity (mg/L) 74.9 ± 0.7 75.6 ± 0.4 temperature range showed that the faster growth and Total NH -N (mg/L) 0.02 ± 0.01 0.03 ± 0.01 low temperature causes sluggishness by retarding the digestion speeding of fish (Bailey and Alanara 2006). Nitrite (NO mg/L) – 2, Some researchers have found that the digestion rate has Mean ± SD (n = 183). Recorded thrice daily at 07:00, 12:00, and 17:30 h been increased as the temperature increases (Turker Undetectable 2009). Environmental temperature is one of the most important ecological factors which also influence the be- 2= =aX + bX + c. The value of X that corresponds to havior and physiological process of aquatic animals (Xia Y was defined as the requirement. PD g/fish data and Li 2010). 95%max (Y ) to dietary protein levels (X) was subjected to a The results showed that growth in terms of thermal 95%max second-degree polynomial regression analysis. The curve growth coefficient, feed conversion, and protein depos- attained its 95% maximum response at 40.8 and 41.8% ition of the fish attained best values with dietary protein protein of the diet (Fig. 1) at 18 °C and 26 °C water levels of 40 and 44% at 18 and 26 °C water temperatures, temperature, respectively. respectively. The fish attained its maximum growth potential in terms of TWG, FCR, protein deposition, and Discussion body protein content at 26 °C water temperature. The aim of this study is to assess the influence of water Carcass protein content exhibited best value for the temperature on dietary protein requirement, protein de- groups fed 44% dietary protein at 26 °C temperature. position, carcass quality, and hematological parameters Hematological parameters also attained their normal of fry H. fossilis. Temperature is a pervasive factor physiological range with 44% protein diet at 26 °C. Fig. 1 Second-degree polynomial regression analysis of protein deposition (PD g/fish) against varying levels of dietary protein at two temperatures Fatma and Ahmed Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences (2020) 23:1 Page 9 of 14 Inferior values for these parameters were recorded for spinefoot rabbitfish, Siganus rivulatus 40% (El-Dakar the groups held at 18 °C water temperature presumably et al. 2011) and is lower than the requirements reported due to the fact that the body metabolism occurs at a for African catfish, Clarias gariepinus 43% (Farhat 2011), slower rate if fish are held at sub-optimum or lower Mystus nemurus 42% (Khan et al. 1993), Malaysian water temperatures. Similar trend has also been reported catfish, bagrid catfish, Mystus nemurus 44% (Ng et al. by Peres and Oliva-Teles (1999) and Ozorio et al. (2006) 2001), and striped murrel, Channa striatus 55% (Kumar in various other cultivable finfish species where fish held et al. 2010). at 18 °C water temperature could not attain their max- The PD g/fish increased progressively with the in- imum growth potential even if supplied with the re- crease in dietary protein up to 40% for the groups held quired level of dietary protein. Growth performance and at 18 °C and up to 44% for the groups held at 26 °C feed intake were significantly affected by both dietary water temperatures, respectively. The PD/fish value protein levels and rearing temperature. However, inter- attained by the groups reared at 18 °C was somewhat active effects of dietary protein and temperature were lower than that attained by the groups at the same level not found. Depressed growth, lower feed intake, and of dietary protein at 26 °C. This may probably be due to protein deposition were more commonly noted for the the reason that an increase in temperature at 26 °C groups reared at 18 °C. Even the groups fed dietary pro- might have increased the activity of digestive enzymes tein at 40 to 44% could not attain their maximum accelerating digestion of the nutrients, thus resulting in growth potential and feed intake at 18 °C as attained by better growth (Shcherbina and Kazlauskene 1971) in the the groups fed same diets at 26 °C. The study clearly form of deposited protein. Hilge (1985) found that the indicates that dietary protein requirement of H. fossilis optimum temperature for best growth of European for maximizing the growth, feed conversion, and for catfish, Silurus glanis was almost within the range of 18 attaining best values for hematological parameters to 26 °C with best results noted at 27 °C. Brown et al. ranges somewhere between 40.8 and 41.8% at 26 °C (1989) reported a 40% increase in growth rate of cod water temperature. reared at 8.3 °C compared with 4.5 °C. This value was Choice of mathematical models in estimating the diet- similar to that of Otterle et al. (1994), who reported an ary level for a limiting nutrient is very important. Some increase in growth rate of about 50% with each 4 °C studies show better regression coefficients when a increase in temperature between 6 and 14 °C. Protein broken-line analysis (Y = a + bX) is used (Baker 1986), deposition in this study was found to decrease for the whereas some respond better to a second-degree polyno- groups fed dietary protein above 44% in diets D (48%) mial regression analysis (Tacon and Cowey 1985; El- and D (52%) irrespective of the water temperatures. Dakar et al. 2011). In this study, although data were fit- Proteins represent a very important source of energy in ted best for broken-line regression analysis, the p value fishes. Since teleosts have developed the capacity for of the t test for estimated coefficient was not found sig- converting amino acid to glucose (Bever et al. 1981)by nificantly different from zero for broken-line regression gluconeogenesis which is utilized for energy production analysis. Therefore, second-degree polynomial regression through TCA cycle intermediates (Kumar 1999), it is analysis which exhibited a significant p value of the t test reasonable to assume that the decline in protein depos- for the estimated coefficient has been employed for ition at higher levels of dietary protein for the groups quantifying dietary protein requirement of H. fossilis fry. fed diets D (48% protein) and D (52% protein) may 48 52 The requirements have been determined at 95% confi- probably be due to catabolism of excess protein for dence interval. Based on above analyses, 44% dietary energy purposes thus reducing its deposition for tissue protein at 26 °C water temperature appears to be building or growth. optimum for growth of H. fossilis fry and the curve did There are conflicting findings about the effect of diet- not reach a plateau until 44% dietary protein level. The ary protein levels on the efficiency of protein utilization second-degree polynomial fitting of protein deposition in the literatures. Lee et al. (2001) reported an increase values at 95% maximum response exhibited optimum in protein utilization efficiency with the increased intake dietary protein requirement of fry H. fossilis between of dietary protein by the fish, whereas Duan et al. (2001) 40.8 and 41.8% (Fig. 1) at 26 °C water temperature. This and Lee et al. (2003) did not find any significant influ- level fall in the range of the previously reported dietary ence of dietary protein on efficiency of protein protein requirements of some other catfish species such utilization. However, Kim et al. (2001), Kim and Lee as young H. fossilis 40–43% (Siddiqui and Khan 2009), (2009), and Gullu et al. (2008) pointed out a decrease in Cyprinus carpio 41.25% (Ahmed and Maqbool 2017), protein utilization with increasing dietary protein above higher than that for walking catfish, Clarias batrachus optimum level which is in agreement with the present 36% (Singh et al. 2009), spotted snake-head, Channa results. Davis and Stickney (1978) stated that fish con- punctatus 40% (Zehra and Khan 2012), and marbled vert protein more efficiently when fed dietary protein Fatma and Ahmed Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences (2020) 23:1 Page 10 of 14 level less than optimal level that yields the maximum quality of fish in terms of carcass protein content growth and feed efficiency. Steffens (1981) also reported attained its superior value for the groups fed with 44% that raising the dietary protein level improves the growth dietary protein at 26 °C temperature. Fish fed diets con- rate and food conversion but reduces the protein pro- taining 28–36% protein tended to deposit more fat than ductive value in Salmo gairdneri and Cyprinus carpio. those fed 40, 44, 48, and 52% dietary protein. In diets Similar findings were evident in this study where fish fed D ,D , and D , the carbohydrate contents increased 28 32 36 48% and more protein manifested reduction in protein at the expense of dietary protein which might have par- deposition. ticipated in de novo lipid synthesis from carbohydrate. The protein requirements or protein utilization of fish Since these diets contain an improper ratio of protein to is also influenced by dietary non-protein energy levels energy, this might have led to deposition of body fat (Dias et al. 1998; Lupatsch et al. 2001; Tibbetts et al. from dietary carbohydrates. 2005; Wang et al. 2006). Hence, it is possible to reduce Water temperature is one of the most important eco- the dietary protein level to a certain degree by increasing logical factors that significantly influence some physio- non-protein energy and directing protein to growth ra- logical process of fish such as growth, metabolism, and ther than energetic use in a number of fish species (For- blood values. As has been shown in Table 4, hematocrit ster and Hardy 2000). A protein-sparing effect is and hemoglobin concentrations were significantly (P < generally more pronounced at low protein levels rather 0.05) altered by different water temperatures, However, than high levels (Dias et al. 1998; Tibbetts et al. 2005) interactive effects of dietary protein and temperature mainly because of the preferential use of protein as an were not found. The results of this study are in line of energy source by fish at high protein levels (Tibbetts the results reported by Koeypudsa and Jongjareanjai et al. 2005). Cowey (1979) has also suggested that any (2010) for hybrid catfish. Data related to hematological change in dietary energy content changes the optimal parameters in this study indicates that to sustain normal protein requirement of the fish. Although in this study, physiological processes in the body, H. fossilis should be the diets were formulated to be isocaloric and the digest- held at 26 °C water temperature. ible energy content of the diets was not significantly dif- To study the effect of water temperature on the pro- ferent (P > 0.05) among treatments, protein deposition tein requirements of fish, Daniels and Robinson (1986) decreased slightly with the increasing protein content conducted two independent studies in which the red and thus growth appears to be affected more by dietary drum, Sciaenops ocellatus were maintained at 22–26 protein levels than by energy levels. As per NRC (1993), °C water temperature in the first and at 26–33 °C in the optimum P/DE values for fish range between 17 and the second. According to the authors, fish reared at 26 mg protein/kJ DE which in the present study, also al- lower temperature required less protein (35%) than most corresponds to diets with 44% protein (27.21– those at higher temperature (44%). It is considered 27.88 mg protein/kJ DE) at 26 °C. Therefore, in this that water temperature affects feed intake and feed study, highest protein deposition with 44% dietary pro- conversion efficiency (NRC 1993). Therefore, it is rea- tein at 26 °C may be due to balanced P/DE ratio at this sonable to assume that the suboptimal temperature in level of dietary protein. the present study might have deviated the feed intake H. fossilis fed intermediate levels of dietary protein in H. fossilis held at 18 °C and may be one of the rea- (36–44%) exhibited higher feed intake than those fed sons for reduced growth performance in groups held still higher levels of protein in the diet (48–52%). This at this temperature; even if fed with the same dietary may probably be due to the reasons that fish fed protein level. nutrient-deficient diets usually increase the feed intake Water temperature has substantial effect on fish to meet the protein or the energy needs. Since the diets metabolism. In response to decrease in water in this study were formulated to be isoenergetic, it is temperature, the enzyme activity of tissues increases plausible that the fish fed intermediate levels of dietary (Hochachka and Somero 1984). In a stressful and un- protein might have consumed more feed in order to favorable environmental condition ALT and AST activ- meet their protein requirements. ities may increase in blood serum. In the present study, Temperature affects the body composition by altering serum ALT and AST levels were affected by different feed intake (Jobling 1997) and various studies have water temperatures. Serum ALT and AST amount in shown that body protein is significantly affected by different fish fed varying levels of dietary protein at 26 temperature (Cui and Wootton 1988; Koskela et al. °C are comparatively lower and attained normal physio- 1997; Bendiksen et al. 2003; Tidwell et al. 2003). In this logical range at requirement level (44% dietary protein) study as well, in addition to dietary protein levels, than those fed at 18 °C. These results clearly indicated temperature also had significant influence on body pro- that 26 °C is the favorable water temperature for better tein and moisture contents of fry H. fossilis. The carcass growth of H. fossilis fry. Fatma and Ahmed Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences (2020) 23:1 Page 11 of 14 Survival rate in this study were not affected signifi- highly conducive work environment. The authors are also grateful to the Head, Department of Zoology, University of Kashmir, Hazratbal, Srinagar, cantly by different levels of dietary protein but was India for providing the laboratory facilities to carry out the experimental more affected by temperature as the groups held at work and to Mr. Mufti Buhran, University Chief Executive Engineer for 18 °C had significant (P < 0.05) mortality at lowest helping the construction of new Feed Technology Laboratory (Wet- Laboratory) in the Department of Zoology. Thanks are also due to Prof. Dr. level of dietary protein. On the other hand, mortality Nazni Peer Khan, Professor & Head, Department of Nutrition & Dietetics, at 26 °C water temperature was not recoded even at Periyar University, Salem, TN, India for data analyses with two-way ANOVA. the lowest level of dietary protein. The results are in Authors’ contributions line with various other finfish and shellfish studies (Li SFS has conducted the experiments, data analyses and manuscript writing et al. 2011; Sun et al. 2015; Abdelrahman et al. 2019). and IA has provided the laboratory facilities for feeding trials and sample Azaza et al. (2008) described that the survival rate of analyses. He has also contributed in revision of the final manuscript. All authors read and approved the final manuscript. Nile tilapia, Oreochromis niloticus was significantly lower when it was reared at lower and upper level of Funding its optimum water temperature. This study was not funded by any Government or Private sources. Stress resistance of the fish in different life period is Availability of data and materials affected by levels of salinity, temperature, environment, All datasets generated during and/or analyzed during the current study are and nutrition (Jalali et al. 2008; Gholami 2010). The re- available from the corresponding author on reasonable request. sults of present study showed that resistance rate to Ethics approval thermal stress significantly higher (P < 0.05) in fish fed Experimental protocols followed the guidelines of the Animal Care and Use dietary protein at 26 °C water temperature who were Committee of Central University of Kashmir, J&K, India. able to withstand temperature challenge for longer dur- Consent for publication ation (Table 5) than those fish fed at 18 °C water Not applicable. temperature which were found to be more prone to temperature challenge test and exhibited mortality in Competing interests The authors declare that they have no competing interests. comparatively less time. Based on the 95% maximum response of second- Author details degree polynomial regression analyses of PD g/fish data, Department of Nursing, Farasan University College, Farasan, Jazan University, Jizan, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Department of Zoology, University of it is recommended that fry H. fossilis could perform well Kahsmir, Hazratbal, Srinagar, Jammu and Kashmir 190006, India. if fed with dietary protein levels between 40.8 and 41.8% with a P/DE ratio of 27.21–27.88 mg protein/kJ DE at Received: 12 September 2019 Accepted: 6 January 2020 26 °C water temperature. This study also corroborates that the performance of the fish and protein requirement References was strictly governed by the rearing temperature as fish Abdelrahman HA, Abebe A, Boyd CE. Influence of variation in water temperature reared at 18 °C water temperature could not perform on survival, growth and yield of Pacific white shrimp Litopenaeus vannamei in inland ponds for low-salinity culture. Aquac Res. 2019;50(2):658–72. well in terms of growth, feed conversion, and protein de- Ahmed I. Dietary amino acid -threonine requirements of fingerling Indian position even if fed with the same level of dietary catfish, Heteropneustes fossilis (Bloch) estimated by growth and biochemical protein. parameters. Aquacult Intl. 2007;15:337–50. Ahmed I. Response to the ration levels on growth, body composition, energy, and protein maintenance requirement of the Indian catfish (Heteropneustes Conclusion fossilis-Bloch 1974). Fish Physiol Biochem. 2010;36:1133–43. The information developed in the present study could Ahmed I. Dietary amino acid -tryptophan requirement of fingerling Indian catfish, Heteropneustes fossilis (Bloch), estimated by growth and haemato- be utilized for optimizing the growth potential of this biochemical parameters. Fish Physiol Biochem. 2012;38:1195–209. fish by making better utilization of the nutrient at the 26 Ahmed I. Dietary amino acid -histidine requirement of fingerling Indian catfish, °C, the required temperature optima. The finding of the Heteropneustes fossilis (Bloch), estimated by growth and whole body protein and fat composition. J Appl Ichthyol. 2013a;29:602–9. present study would further be useful for effective man- Ahmed I. Dietary arginine requirement of fingerling Indian catfish (Heteropneustes agement strategies for the mass culture of this highly fossilis, Bloch). Aquacult Intl. 2013b;21:255–71. preferred fish species. Ahmed I. Dietary amino acid -methionine requirement of fingerling Indian catfish, Heteropneustes fossilis (Bloch-1974) estimated by growth and Abbreviations haemato-biochemical parameters. Aquacult Res. 2014;45:243–58. ALT: Alanine amino transferase; AST: Aspartate amino transferase; Ahmed I. Effects of dietary amino acid L-lysine on survival, growth and haemato- CF: Condition factor; CP: Crude protein; DE: Digestible energy; FCR: Feed biochemical parameters in Indian catfish, Heteropneustes fossilis (Bloch-1974) conversion ratio; GE: Gross energy; Hb: Hemoglobin; Hct: Hematocrit; fingerling. J Appl Ichthyol. 2017;33:1027–33. HSI: Hepatosomatic index; kJ: Kilo joule; PD: Protein deposition; RBCs: Red Ahmed I, Maqbool A. Effects of dietary protein levels on the growth, feed blood cells; TGC: Thermal growth coefficient; VSI: Viscerosomatic index utilization and haemato-biochemical parameters of freshwater fish, Cyprinus Carpio Var Specularis. Fish Aqua J. 2017;8:1–12. https://doi.org/10.4172/2150- Acknowledgments 3508.1000187. The authors are grateful to the Dean, Dr. Afaf Mohammad Babeer, Farasan Akand AM, Hasan MR, Habib MBA. 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