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Fodder-fish integration practice in Malaysia

In Malaysia, integrated farming systems have been practiced since the 1 1930s with the production of fish in paddy fields and pig-fish in ponds. Although research shows that these systems are technically feasible and economically viable, socioeconomic factors such as consumer preference, adoption by farmers, etc., need to be considered. Fodder-fish integration is one widely accepted system.

In the Third Malaysian Plan, fish culture is being promoted in a larger scope. Subsidies are given by the government for pond construction. Fish seed supply is provided as well as training and extension. This system benefits family consumption. It provides enough supply of protein needed by each family member. Moreover, it can be source of additional income.

Farm layout

Farm transect

Calendar of activities of fodder-fish integration option 1

Calendar of activities of fodder-fish integration option 2

The fodder-fish integration utilizes the most commonly used fodder species as fish feeds. These are: napier grass (Pennisetum purpureum), cassava (Manihot esculanta) and ipil-ipil (Leucaena leucocephala). These are proven to have high-diet value, high palatability and good digestibility.

Farm system


1. Weed the land.

2. Plant fodder crops.

· Napier grass and cassava are propagated by vegetative means using mature stems. Napier grass cuttings should have 3-5 nodes, 3/4 of which is buried (at about 45° angle). Cassava planting material is 25-30 cm.

· Ipil-ipil can be direct seeded or transplanted. Direct seeding is done when annual rainfall is 1200 mm. Seedlings are best transplanted (at 2 cm depth) at the start of the rainy season.

3. Management Care

· If possible, put a fence around the area.

· Do not allow grazing of animals.

· Apply fertilizer/compost every month.

4. Harvest the fodder.

· Napier: first cutting at 7 cm from the ground (to encourage vegetative growth) 6-8 weeks after planting. Then, cut regularly every 2-4 weeks, 10-15 cm from the ground.

· Cassava: first cutting 0.5 m from the ground, 8 weeks after planting then regularly after every four weeks.

· Legumes: first cutting 8-12 months after planting, then regularly after every 8-12 weeks, 0.3 meters from the ground.

5. Feed preparation

· Leaves of these fodder crops are used as feeds. However, for cassava, the tuber can also be used. The leaves are chopped in small pieces before feeding to hatchlings or fry. For big fish, the leaves are simply placed in the pond.


1. Pond Design

The pond (0.1 - 0.5 ha in size) should be established near water sources and should be free from flood or drought.

Bunds are built to separate the ponds. Bund width is between 2 - 3 m and capable of holding a water depth of 1 m.

Water is supplied through gravity flow. Screened inlet and output pipes are installed.

A feeding area within the pond is constructed (located at the side). Bamboo poles or trunks of trees can be used.

There are two types of pond:

· Nursery pond. Used for nursing 2.5 - 7.5 cm fry until the desired size is reached.

· Growout pond. Bigger than the nursery pond, it is used to raise fish up to marketable size or to grow fish for breeding.

2. Pond Preparation and System Establishment

· Drain the pond (if the pond is an old one from which the fish have been harvested). Remove silt on the pond bottom; this can be used as fertilizer.

Drain the pond

· Dry the pond bottom until the soil cracks. Plowing it first turns the soil over and facilitates drying.

Dry the pond

· Apply lime to condition the soil. Liming activates fertilizers and controls acidic soils which may harm the fish.

Apply lime to condition the soil

Quicklime is most commonly used at 200kg/ha.

· Fill the pond with water 2 weeks after liming. Water should fall from the water inlet into the pond below, so that the water mixes with oxygen from the air. Also check water condition:

Check water condition

- temperature = 22-32°C
- oxygen = 3 ppm
- pH = 6.5-3.3

· Add fertilizer to the pond to provide nutrient for fish and plankton growth. Chicken manure can be applied at the following rates:

Add fertilizer

Option 1

Nursery pond: 200 kg (first month)
Growout pond: 300 kg (first month)
300 kg (third month)
300 kg (fifth month)

Option 2

Grow out pond: 100 kg (first month)
20 kg (succeeding month)

· Stock the pond, preferably in the evening.

Stock the pond

Option 1, Grass carp is cultured in the nursery pond. After 4-6 months, the fish are transferred to the grow out pond with the big head carp and tilapia.

· Nursery pond (0.2 ha) - 500 pcs. grass carp (10 cm in size)

Grow out pond (0.3 ha)

Grass carp


Big head carp

100 (1.5 cm)


1,500 (2.5 cm)

Option 2, fish and prawn can be stocked directly to the growout pond.

Grass carp

100 (10-13 cm)

Javanese carp

300 (10-13 cm)

Freshwater giant


3,000 (1 cm)

Fish and prawn can be stocked directly

· Daily management of fish ponds.

Check the pond for leaks. Clean filters.

Check the pond for leaks

- Watch fish behavior.

Watch fish behavior

If the fish are at the pond surface, feeds are needed. If they are gasping at the surface or the prawn are in the periphery of the pond, aeration is needed. Aerate the pond by stirring the water with a tree branch.

Also, watch for predators.

- Feed the fish/prawn

Option 1: After the pond is fertilized, introduce duckweeds. Grass carp feed on duckweeds for the first month. Then, give chopped cassava leaves and napier grass. Feeding is twice a day (morning and afternoon).

Feed the fish/prawn

Upon transfer into the growout pond, feed the fish with grass and cassava leaves (200 kg/day). For tilapia, cooked maize, food left-overs and chopped cassava are given, The amount depends on the fish behavior. If the fish are still in the feeding area, more feeds are needed.

Option 2: At the start, feed the fish four times a day. Give rice bran, bread, chopped sago, cassava and napier grass.

For the fish, give feeds inside the feeding area. For the prawn, broadcast the feeds all over the pond. If there are still feeds found in the water, stop feeding.


· Monthly management of fish pond

- Check the pond walls and bottom. Remove any debris which might be a problem at harvest time, e.g., twigs, leaves, etc.

- Check the fertility and turbidity of the water by dipping the arm into the water. If the palm disappears before the water reaches the elbow, there is dense algal bloom.

- Check the fish carefully for any sign of disease.

Monthly management of fish pond

· About 3-4 partial harvests can be done using a sieve net before final harvest. For prawn, harvesting is after 6-7 months and 10-12 months for fish. Survival rate is about 70 - 90% for fish and about 30% for prawn.


· Environmentally sound.

· Prawn/fish is of high (economic) value.

· Seed is easily available.

· With polyculture, different water columns are used, minimizing competition for food among different species.

· Acceptable to consumers (as against fish grown in ponds loaded with manure or sewage)

· The fodder crop can last for 5-7 years with minimum maintenance.

· System is open to the introduction of additional components at a later stage.

· Various combinations can be used to get highest yields and incomes.


· Cannot be applied on a large-scale basis.
· Requires high-labor inputs.

Budget of fodder-fish integration.






Land clearing, burning, soil preparation,fertilizing, seeding and maintenance of 1 ha of land

300 00

Maintenance cost



Fish Seeds

Grass carp

225.00 (500 pcs)

40.00 (100 pcs)

Bighead carp

100.00 (100 pcs)


300.00 (1500 pcs)

Javanese carp


15.00 (300 pcs)



120.00 (3000 pcs)


300 00

30 00

Chicken manure






Total Expenses




Grass carp

180.00 (60 kg)

3200.00 (800 kg)

Bighead carp

510.00 (300 kg)


3240.00 (720 kg)

Javanese carp


180.00 (60 kg)



700.00 (70 kg)

Total Income






Annual Return (2 cycles/yr)


US $ 1 - M$ 2 70

Prepared by: RAIHAN Sh. Hj. AHMAD