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FFRC  Annual Report 1995


1.1 The Center.

The Freshwater Fisheries Research Center (FFRC) comes under the Fisheries Research Institute (FRI), Batu Maung, Penang. It is the only research center in the Department of Fisheries Malaysia that specifically conducts research studies on freshwater aquaculture and fisheries ecosystems. The principal ongoing research programmes of the center are FISH BREEDING & GENETICS, AQUARIUM FISH & AQUATIC PLANT PROPAGATION, FISH CULTURE & NUTRITION, FISH HEALTH (both Monitoring and Prevention), INLAND FISHERIES and AQUACULTURE ENGINEERING.

The total number of staffs in the center is 85 comprising of 11 Research Officers, 7 Research Assistants and 10 Laboratory Assistants. The remainders are either administrative or supporting staffs. The Research Officers were mainly responsible for the research activities conducted, assisted by technical supporting staffs which include Research Assistants, Laboratory Assistants and Labourers. There is also a Swedish Expert counterpart, Associate Professor Ahmed Faris working in the Fish Disease Section.

Most of the research operating fund originated from government's funding under the Intensification of Research Priority Areas (IRPA) which amounted to RM586,200.00. This includes the lake & reservoir study since no further funding was obtained from the EEC component with the termination of the 5 years' ASEAN-EEC Aquaculture Development Co-operation Programme

(AADCP), 1990 - 1994. The total Development budget for the year was RM502,150.00 and was meant for the construction of a wet laboratory for aquarium fishes & aquatic plants and upgrading of the research facilities in Tasik Kenyir. A total sum of RM1,525,670.00 was allocated for general administration including the wages of the staffs.

1.2 Research Projects

In line with the research programmes the following research projects were conducted :-

1.2.1 Fish Breedings and Aquatic Plant Propagation

Breeding studies are being conducted on indigenous carps, catfishes and other freshwater fish species including the ornamental aquarium fish. Emphasis has been given in establishing the best and economical techniques for broodstock maintainance and the mass production of good quality fry. The studies include understanding the biology, larval rearing techniques together with the respective management techniques for the selected rearing systems while emphasising the disease aspects to reduce the risk factor.

Genetic selection studies in particular on Tilapia and some ornamental fish are conducted by the Genetic Section together with the Ornamental & Aquatic Plant Breeding Section with the aim of producing high quality fry for both food fish and aquarium fishes that meets the consumers tastes.

The feed nutrition requirements either for the broodstocks, larval and nursery rearing stages were based on the data provided by the Nutrition Section of the center.

Aquarium or aquatic plants propagation has also been given emphasis by concentrating on establishing economically viable tissue culture techniques and practical planting methods.

1.2.2 Fish Culture and related aspects

Studies are being conducted to establish the most effective management techniques and assess the economic potentials of culturing the selected and successfully bred fishes in ponds, floating cages and tanks. This is carried out hand in hand with the Nutrition Section to establish the optimal management and cost effective culture of the respective species and culture systems.

1.2.3 Inland Fisheries

The study which has been initiated in 1990 has identified Kenyir Lake as one of the two waterbodies identified and to be assessed with the aim of increasing its fisheries products. Three major aspects that have been given emphasis are Ecology and Limnology, Fish Stock Assessment and Fish Biology. Since the termination of the twinning programme under the AADCP in 1994 a lot of effort has been made to analyse the data compiled. This has contributed significantly to the formulation of the guidelines for the sustainable development of fisheries in the lake. Presently the proposed guidelines has been adapted by the Trengganu state's assembly and being practiced. A team of FFRC staffs has been placed on site in Tasik Kenyir to monitor the progress and conduct other studies.

1.2.4 Fish Health - Monitoring and Prevention

Studies on existing fish diseases, in particular bacterial and parasitic disease occurences and possible treatments with emphasis on both culture and aquarium fishes were carried out. Works on vaccine production which was initiated in early 1994 in colloboration with Dr. Ahmed Faris from Sweden progressed dramatically and at the end of 1995 the team has been able to produce in the laboratory the vibrio vaccine. The vaccine was tested on Tilapia and was found to be effective.

1.2.5 Aquaculture Engineering

Studies into the aspects of nurturing the broodstocks in tanks systems instead of earthened ponds was continued. A broodstock tank system that depend on recirculated rainfed water has been designed and constructed. The design enable the system to be automatically flushed during the downpour but as soon as the storage tanks have been refilled. Studies on establishing its management techniques, its water budget and comparing its effectiveness to produce better broodstocks than in the earthened ponds are ongoing.

The section is also setting up its own Remote Sensing & GIS facilities to cater for the freshwater sector's needs. In the mean time a GIS map of potential sites for Udang galah pond culture in Melaka has been prepared with the help of the GIS team at IPP, Batu Maung, Penang.

1.3 Administrative

In line with the government's policy to upgrade the productivity of the government institutions, FFRC has been selected to establish and pioneer a cost monitoring system, Micro Accounting System (Sistem Perakaunan Mikro, SPM) which later can be applied by the other branches in the Department of Fisheries. In 1995 the centre has been able to cost account all the projects that have been implemented in that year using the procedure and computer software established. A report on the costing of the various research projects implemented in that year was produced. In the same year the center has trained the other research centers in the department in using the system and these includes National Prawn Fry Production & Research Center (NAPFRE), Pulau Sayak, Kedah; Brackishwater Aquaculture Research Center (BARC) in Gelang Patah, Johor; the Marine Fish Fry Production & Research Center (MAFFRE) in Tanjung Demong, Trengganu and Limbongan Teknologi, Klang, Selangor.

In 1995 the department has decided to shift FFRC from the present site in Batu Berendam. A study was carried out to determine the potential area. Out of the 11 sites studied in the states of Melaka, N. Sembilan, Johor, Pahang and Perak, the site Gelami Lemmi in Jelebu, Negeri Sembilan has been identified as the possible site for the new freshwater research center. Action has been taken to aquire the 300 acre site from the N. Sembilan state's government. The estimated cost of new center is RM 27 million. Once shifted, the existing activities at the center in Batu Berendam will be scaled down but will be specialising in aquarium fish and aquatic plants.



2.1 Research Activities

As denoted earlier, there are 5 main ongoing research activities conducted at FFRC. These are :-

2.1.1 Fish Breeding and Aquatic Plant Propagation

  • Temoleh (Probarbus jullieni)

  • Catfish (Mystus nemurus) and

  • Ornamental fish (in particular those from the peat water areas) and the Arowana (Scleropages formosus).

  • Aquatic plants

  • Tilapia genetics

2.1.2 Fish Culture and related aspects which encompasses studies on Limnology, disease, nutrition and live feed.

2.1.3 Inland Fisheries (Lake Fisheries and their management).

2.1.4 Fish Health

2.1.5 Aquaculture Engineering

2.2 Results

The results obtained from the above mentioned research projects are discussed below.

2.2.1 Breeding Trials of Temoleh, Catfish and Ornamental Fish

Temoleh (Probarbus julienni)

A number of the indigenous carp, Temoleh, Plate 1 spawned using two different hormones i.e. OVAPRIM and combination of Human Chorionic Gonadotrophin (H.C.G) with Crude Piscine Extracts (C.P.E). As observed in last year's trials, the drug OVAPRIM still proved effective and practicable. OVAPRIM contains an analogue of Salmon gonadotrophin releasing hormone (D-Arg6, Pro9-NEt) and domperidone - a dopamine antagonist.

It was noted that the initial stocks (about 200 pieces left after ntroduction in 1982 from the wild) have shown a decline in their spawning activity (10 out of 20 responded to induction). This can be more due to aging rather than due to feed (there was a shortage of feed in early 1995). This is because the F1 generation showed better responses to induction (8 of 10 fishes selected) even though they have experienced the same feed shortage.

Though the technique to induce spawn the Temoleh has been quite well established by the center there are still some avenues left for further research and these are:-

  • the spawning period is still seasonal i.e. governed by the onset of rainy season i.e. October to February of the year. Steps are being taken to achieve spawning throughout the year by using the F1's and F2's generations as spawners and also maintaining them in tanks.

  • to further improve the larval and nursery rearing technique in an effort to make the technique economically viable. These include finding the optimal stocking density, feeding technique and other management procedures.

  • About 1.1 million 2 inches fry of Temoleh were produced from the 18 females that have spawned successfully and they were distributed to other projects, including growout and restocking, for related studies. All of the F2's generation were stocked in ponds for future studies.

Catfish Baung (Mystus nemurus)

The catfish (Mystus nemurus) or Baung, Plate 2 spawners were successfully conditioned and cultured in concrete tanks, Plate 3 with a stocking density of 15 - 20 pieces per meter square and with male to female ratio of 1 : 1. The spawners were fed mainly with high protein (35%) 'Growbest semi-moist dough meant for the marine fish, Siakap. A major breakthrough was obtained when a hatching rate of 60% to 65% has been achieved using these spawners through induction with OVAPRIM.

Innitial trials to induce bred Haruan (Channa striatus), Plate 4 maintained in fibreglass tanks were also carried out. The HCG dosage used was 5,000 IU/kg on the females and 2,500 IU/kg on males. From the trials about 8,000 pieces of fry were produced. One of the main obstacles experienced in Haruan breeding was the high cannabalism during nursing period.

Trials using tannin as a prophylaxis treatment in the larval and nursery rearing of the Mystus have been able to increase the survival rate to 80% as compared to control which only attained 69% average survival. Nursery in the two ton fibreglass tanks has also shown to be giving better survival results (80% - 90%) than in the ponds (30%).

Research effort will be continued to improve the broodstock management technique in tanks and cages as these techniques seemed to have the advantage over the traditional technique of rearing and maintaining broodstocks in earthened ponds like easier handlings and treatment of broodstocks.

Ornamental Fish

Study on the breeding of ornamental fish had concentrated on a few selected peat or blackwater species (listed below) collected from numerous peat swamps in the neighbouring state of Johor.

Pearl Gouramy Trichogaster leeri

Chocolate Gouramy Sphaerichthys osphromenoides

Clown Rasbora Rasbora kalochroma

Six-banded Barb Puntius johorensis

Bellicose Betta Betta bellica

Giant Fighting Fish Betta waseri

Pygmy Rasbora Rasbora maculata

In 1994, effort were concentrated on collecting and conditioning these wild blackwater aquarium fishes. Studies were done to establish the method of 'domesticating' them in the aquarium environment and later breeding. Informations about every species of the fish, such as their breeding behaviour, breeding requirements, sex differentiation and feeding habits and requirements were recorded. These are necessary for establishing the breeding technique.

In 1995 studies were continued towards formulating the methods for both natural and artificial breeding of these blackwater fishes. Emphasis was given to establish the breeding method for Clown Rasbora (Rasbora kalochroma), Plate 5; Six-banded Barb (Puntius johorensis), Plate 6; Bellicose Betta (Betta bellica), Plate 7; Claret Betta (Betta coccina), Plate 8 and Pygmy Rasbora (Rasbora maculata), Plate 9.

Betta bellica was first successfully bred FFRC this year. Like most Anabantoids, the fish was bubble-nest builder. The body conformation of the males were smaller and slimmer and brightly colored. Matured females were recognizable by their swollen belly and lighter body coloration.

Spawning took place in glass aquarium measuring 75 x 45 x 45 cm 3/4 filled with water acidified to pH about 5.5 - 6.5 with sphagnum peat moss or commercially available pH reducer (phosphoric acid). A piece of driftwood was placed inside the aquarium. Part of the driftwood was suspended above the water level. Selected pair ready for breeding was put in the breeding tank. After 2 - 3 days the male fish started to build a foam under the driftwood. The size of the nest was about 10 cm diameter. When the nest was completed the male 'invited' the female underneath the bubble-nest. After some mating display, the female showed signs to produce eggs. During this time the male bent its body to embrace the female. Simultaneously the female will be stimulated to produce the eggs and the male fertilised them. The male then pick up

the fertilised eggs with its mouth and blow out into the bubble-nest. The process was repeated until all the eggs were laid. Once spawning was over, the male will drive away the female. At this time the female should be removed from the breeding tank leaving the male to guard the eggs and the youngs. The male nurse over the eggs, repairing the damaged nest and replacing the burst bubbles with new one.

Female about 10 cm in length can produce about 200 - 250 eggs every spawning. The cream-colored fertilised eggs can be easily observed among the foam. The eggs became darker as they develop. At the temperature about 270C the eggs will hatch between 24 - 30 hours. Newly-hatched fry will stay between the bubble-nest untill 3 - 4 days. Usually the fry will freely swim on 4th day. The percentage of hatching was ranged from 60% - 70%. To prevent a high mortality rate, water should not be changed at the early free-swimming stage because the fry tend to be disturbed and were very sensitive to the environmental changes especially the pH of water. Feeding with very fine live food, such as Artemia sp or Infusoria was carried out for the 4th day, followed by larger live food ie Moina sp for a further week. Within 1 month the fry will attain the size about 1.0 - 1.5 cm.

A number of F1 generation are still available and they seemed to be more domesticated and showed tolerance to aquairum environment. It is hope that with the success of producing more F1 generation, the species can easily be bred by conventional artificial propogation for large scale production.

Successful spawning of other species such as Kuhli Loach (Pangio myersi), Pygmy Rasbora (Rasbora maculata) and Claret Betta (Betta coccina) are still at initial stage. Possibly due to the lack of the necessary environmental stimulus such as the pH value of water or other breeding requirements. Rasbora kalochroma is still unable to be spawned. The species is very sensitive and are easily infected by fungus. Mortality of broodstock were observed often after handling or changing water.

Malaysian Golden Arowana (Scleropages formosus).

The Golden Arowana, Plate 10 which were obtained from a local collector in Alor Pongsu, Perak in 1995, were reared in 15' x 15' concrete tank with water depth of about 1.5'. There are only 7 pieces aged 5 years left in the rearing tank. Monthly samplings were stopped to avoid disturbing the brood fish.

During the first 5 month the fish did not show any gonadal development though the optimal conditions were provided. Effort were also given to bring the wild Arowana into natural spawning through environmental manipulation by ensuring optimal water quality where pH was maintained between 6.8 - 7.5 and temperature between 27 - 290C. A 'spawning room' was built at a corner of the concrete tank. Some driftwoods are also placed inside the spawning room. It is hoped that the condition will start off the fish to spawn. Live feed such as crickets, wild guppy and freshwater prawn, supplemented with good quality aquarium fish pelleted feed were given twice daily.

On June the 7th of 1995, one of the broodfish successfully spawned in the rearing tank. The male had already incubated the eggs inside its mouth pouch. The male that incubate the eggs can easily be recognised by its extended operculum and slightly protruding lower jaw. Eight eggs were extruded by force opening of the brooders mouth. The eggs were incubated artificially in 0.3 x 0.3 x 0.3 m glass aquarium at the temperature of 28oC. Unfortunately all the eggs burst after 6 hours. The eggs which remain inside the mouth also disappeared after checking 4 weeks later. It was suspected to be swallowed by the brooder..

Propagation of Aquatic Plants

2.2.2 Culture trials and related Aspects.

(Limnology, genetics/biotechnology, nutrition and live feed)

Culture (Nursery and Growout) Trials

The established breeding and larval rearing of Udang Galah in the recirculated system was transferred successfully to the farmer from Negeri Sembilan, Plate 13. Nursery of Udang Galah (Macrobrachium rosenbergii) post-larvae were conducted in tanks system. Results showed that the stocking density for nursery in the system was 10PL per litre of water and the optimal temperature lies between 28 and 29C. The farmer is now running the system for his own supply of Udang galah's postlarvae in his own backyard. It is hoped that the transfer of the system will encourage the other Udang galah culturists to adapt one for their own needs.

Trials culture of Temoleh (Probarbus julienni) in ponds to find out the optimal stocking density showed that 1 - 2 pieces per meter square is best. The higher density pond recorded faster growth than the less dense.


The primary objective of the Genetics Section was to improve the quality of fish through the process of genetic selection. The goals for selection of the various species of organisms were very much dependent on inherent characteristics and market demands.

Tilapia Genetics

For the Red Tilapia, Plate 14 genetic selection was carried out for colour, fast growth rate, and body conformation. For the selection of colour, three factors were of interest, mainly, percentage of progenies possessing overall red body colour, reduction of melanophores so that individuals were pure red, and intensity of the red colour. For the year 1995, the percentage of red-coloured progenies continued to be 99% for fry produced in ponds and 100% for fry produced in fibreglass tanks. However, there was an increase in the occurrence of black spots, lines and blotches for fish produced in the ponds. This was mainly due to the laxation of selection pressure for all-red breeders when restocking new ponds. For the third objective i.e. increasing the intensity of the red colour, not much was done as the market demands has changed from intensely red tilapia to whitish red fish.

The Red Tilapia strain in the FFRC continued to register a growth rate of 3 gms/day. With better management and good feed, better growth rates could be obtained. On the whole, the growth rate achieved was good enough for commercial farmers to culture these tilapias profitably.

The main point of interest for the year 1995 was actually the selection for body conformation with the aim of producing tilapias which have higher flesh weight per millimetre of standard length. Two main approaches were experimented on. Firstly, there was selection for breeders having superior body conformation, that is, smaller head, deeper body, and higher flesh weight. This was done by means of comparison with a selection index based on data points from more than 2,000 individuals. The second approach to obtain good body conformation was to cross the red tilapia with the blue tilapia (Oreochromis aureus) which is well-known for its smaller head and deeper body. Initial results indicated that the resulting fry grew very well but quite a high percentage possessed grey body colouration. These F1 have not grown to a size where they may be sampled to determine whether they had significantly smaller heads and deeper bodies.

Various stocks of tilapias are presently maintained in the FFRC. For the Red Tilapia, there are three varieties/strains, namely, the Thai Red Hybrid, the Chitralada Red from the AIT (Asian Institute of Technology, Thailand) and the Israeli Red. Four species of tilapias are available : Oreochromis mossambicus, Oreochromis niloticus, Oreochromis aureus and Tilapia zillii. The Genetics Section is also contemplating plans to include other potentially important cichlids for research.

Genetic of Guppies (Poecilia reticulata)

Genetic selection of guppies, Plate 15 was done with the objective of producing strains that are of commercial value in the Guppy trade. Stocks of guppies were obtained from the Nutrition Section of the FFRC and also from various ornamental fish shops in Malacca. In general, most guppies on sale seem to be of inferior quality and few actually meet the standards of being champion guppies. A few males of the Deep Blue Strain were carefully selected from ornamental fish shops and bred with females in the FFRC.

Strains that have emerged with some consistency were the Tuxedo Red, Plate 16; Tuxedo Neon Blue, Plate 17; Tuxedo Deep Blue, Plate 18; Rainbow, Plate 19 and Yellow Snakeskin, Plate 20. Various interesting potential characteristics such as red spots in a blue tail have been observed and efforts are being made to monitor such characteristics to determine how well they are propagated.

Genetic Selection of Marble Goby (Oxyeleotris marmoratus)

This was mainly an effort to determine whether selection for growth rate of the Marble Goby, Plate 21 could be feasible.

Research at this point however was to establish a hatchery technique for their fry production. Work done so far have indicated that individuals of about 80 to 90 gms could actually be spawned.

The main constrain in the larviculture of Marble Goby is the supply of a suitable feed for the hatchlings (a similar problem as in the marine Grouper). With a mouth diameter of merely 60 microns, hatchlings are unable to take well-established live-feeds produced in the hatchery. It was for this purpose that the zooplankton genetics research was initiated with the hope that some suitably sized species of rotifers or other organisms may be found.

A preliminary laboratory study on the growth rate of juveniles was conducted. It was found that juveniles of 30-46 mm total length and 0.21-0.85 g weight grew to a total length of 34-49 mm and weighed 0.38-1.06 g in a duration of 83 days. This gave an indication of how slow the Marble Goby grew. However, it is anticipated that when they reach a size where the diet may be changed to eating small fish instead of Daphnia, they will grow faster.

Zooplankton Genetics

Screening of cladocerans from the FFRC ponds as conducted using zooplankton samples. Early indications are that Ceriodaphnia cornuta and Diaphanosoma excisum could be successfully cultured. Large scale culture trials of these species could not be carried out owing to the shortage of a good supply of phytoplankton. Ceriodaphnia cornuta is much smaller in size then the Diaphanosoma excisum. It was also slow-moving which would render it more susceptible to predation. Various species of Alona were also noted in the cultures from time to time. However, these were not considered suitable species for fish fry except perhaps for the Marbled Goby and they are basically scrapers of algae and tend to move about close to the substrate.

Tissue Culture of Aquatic Plants

The study to establish a tissue culture technique for aquatic plants at FFRC is an extension of 1994 project. A series of experimnental trials was done on different species of plant that has commercial significance using Murashige and Skogg (MS) medium as a basal medium and incorporated with different combination of Auxin and Cytokinin hormones. To date success were attained for Echinodorous sp., Plate 22 and the Bacopa monneira. Plate 23. The explant tissue used for the propagation were the flower and the stem sections of the plant. Efforts are to be continued in 1996 towards the acquisition of tissue culture techniques of a greater variety of aquatic plants especially those of high commmercial value and of rare species.

Aquatic Plant Garden/Filter

A study was also innitiated on the use of aquatic plants garden as a natural biological filter apart from improving the scenic beauty of the site in Empangan Air Kuning, Taman Pertanian Malaysia, Plate 24. The study was aimed at maintaining the water quality of the reservoir by using a combination of suitable aquatic plants. Monthly monitoring indicated that the growth of most of plants was encouraging. Aquatic plants such as Hygrophila difformis, Trapa natans, Nymphae sp., Echinodorous sp., Alternantera sp and Namophila corymbosa sp. seem to be adaptable to the area, however subemerged plants namely Vallisneria sp, Hydrilla sp and Cabomba sp. could not survive as they were covered by the filamentous algae that were present at the site. Echhornia sp that has been proven to be an effective biological filter could not be used because of the possibility of an overblooming of the species in the lake causing water blockage at the dam.

From the water quality parameter data collected there was a general decline in NH3 and PO4 values.

Mass production of Daphnia magna

The culture trials of Daphnia magna, Plate 25 were conducted in a 2-ton fibreglass tank for the purpose of mass production of the species that is now fast becoming of interest as an alternative live-feed for fishes, in particular the freshwater species in the hatcheries. It was observed that those tanks that were placed in a partly shaded area, the production of Daphnia magna was 1.11 kg/ton/month while that placed in an open area fails to develop. The failure in the second tank was attributed to the drastic changes in the environmental factors. The pH value which was determined in an earlier trials to be the most critical parameter in culture trial seemed to fluctuate drastically in tanks which were placed in an open area. This large variation in pH value was also attributed to the amount of rainfall. The research on Daphnia culture is still ongoing.

2.2.3 Disease Research

Laboratory Production of Vaccine

Late 1994 the center has been able to produce the first fish Vibrio anguillarum vaccine in the laboratory, Plate 26. Intramuscular injection of 0.2 ml of 4 different preparation of Vibrio anguillarum bacteria and control were made on Tilapia (20-25g) for 4 consecutive weeks. Presence of antibodies were detected using precipitation technique, which were observed in all preparation. When challenged preparation 4 & 5 showed higher survival rate of 80% and 50% respectively. Thus, showing the potential effectiveness of tested Vibrio anguillarum vaccine that has been prepared in the laboratory.

In another trial, potential spawners of Red Tilapia were similarly tested. Spawners were used to find out whether maternal immunity can be transmitted through the eggs to potential fry. If this is successful it would be the first step in the department's effort to produce Specific Pathogen Free Fry (SPFF).

Immersion technique to assess its potentiality was also conducted by using preparation 4 & 5 on 50 pieces of 15- 20 grams weight red Tilapia. Both preparation showed equally high survival rate after being challenged by the Vibrio bacteria. When the antibody detection was done using the hemaaglutination technique both showed positive results.

Rapid Diagnostic Kit

The idea of having a rapid presumptive diagnosis of pathogenic freshwater/marine bacteria was brought up by the microbiological consultant, Associate Professor Dr. Ahmed Faris. His experience and expertise has help the Disease Section to improvise a new tehnique of bacterial isolation from both water and diseased fish samples. The method is applicable to both freshwater and marine bacteria.

The simplicity of the technique are:-

  • Isolating bacteria by soaking filter paper applied on media with water mixture of disease fish samples or pond water and later removed filter; compared to conventional streaking technique on agar.

  • Using selected differential media which enable only bacterial species of disease importance which include Vibrionaceae, Yellow-pigmented bacteria (Flavobacteria/Flexibacter sp.), Pseudomonas sp. and certain enteric bacteria of importance.

  • Rapid presumptive identification of bacteria within 24 to 48 hours compared to conventional technique of about 2 weeks or more.

  • Saving in operating costs, time/duration of diagnosis and energy of diagnostician.

  • Easily understood and simple to operate by interested individual including aquaculturists.

The RADIKIT, Plate 27,  it's application technique and potential advantages has won a gold medal in the Mindex/ Innotex Science Exhibition 1995 held in Petaling Jaya, Kuala Lumpur on 10-13th. July.

Fish disease monitoring

Diagnosis were conducted on both diseased fish/shellfish from ongoing research projects and farmers, Plate 28. These include diseased fish/fry of Temoleh (Probarbus jullieni), the catfish (Clarias sp., Mystus sp.), Snakehead (Channa striatus), Seabass (Lates calcarifer), Toman (Channa sp.) and some of the aquarium fishes such as guppies (Hemochromis sp.), Chocolate gouramy, Kalui, Goldfish, Koi, Angel, Oscar and others. Tiger prawn (Penaeus monodon) was mainly sent by nearby farmers. Laboratory examination revealed:-

  • Protozoan infection of Coleps sp., Ichthyopthirius multifiliis, Trichodina sp., Chilodonella sp., Epistylis sp., Vorticella sp., Ichthyobodo sp. and myxosporean (Henneguya sp.) in either gills or skin or both (almost 60-70% of case examined).

  • Monogenetic infection by either Dactylogyrus or Gyrodactylus.

  • Copepod infection by Lernaea or Argulus sp. in especially aquarium fish

  • Nearly 150 bacterial strains were isolated of which almost 50% is Vibrionaceae and the rest related pathogenic species of diseased importance, including yellow-pigmented bacteria, Pseudomonas sp. and enteric. Isolation were done either by Radikit sampling or conventional technique.

  • Vibrio spp. were mainly identified from diseased Penaeus monodon and seabass fry of Pusat Pengeluaran dan Penyelidikan Benih Ikan Laut (PPPBIL), Tanjung Demong.

  • Aeromonas sp. and related pathogenic bacteria were isolated from diseased fish/fry and water.

  • Vibrio strains isolated in December 1995 from sample of water and diseased Penaeus monodon in Tanjung Dawai, were characterized biochemically and identified mainly as Vibrio harveyi (64.7%)as well as V. anguillarum and Vibrio spp. (35.3%).

  • Chitinase and protease tests were also conducted with some strains showing chitinase positive but none in protease. Luminous positive strains were able to be detected in few of V. harveyi.

  • Virulence test trial of the Vibrio strain conducted on Tilapia, catfish and Penaeus monodon showed descending order of virulence as follows; Penaeus monodon > Tilapia > catfish (% mortality rate after 1 week observation).

  • 46 strains of Aeromonas spp. were further identified to different species of Aeromonas hydrophila (69.6%), Aeromonas caviae (8.7%) and Aeromonas sobria (21.7%) through biochemical test of Esculin, VP, Lysine decarboxylase and glucose.

Bioactive Substance in Local Plants and Leaves

In Malaysia, many local plant and leaves are used in traditional method of treatment, but mainly for diseases in human. However, some leaves have already been used by farmers in their aquaculture practise. Hence, this preliminary study is to examine the presence of potential:-

  • ' bioactive substance' that could be used in treating bacterial and parasitic infection in cultured fish.

  • Different extract preparations were used to determine the effective production of antimicrobial and immunomodulatory properties of the leaves/plant.

  • The extract were tested on the growth of Aeromonas sp., Vibrio sp. and Staphylococcus sp. and showed promising results.

2.2.4 Lake fisheries and management/cage culture

The studies in Tasik Kenyir was continued by the center after the termination of the Asean-EEC Aquaculture Development and Cooperation Programme (AADCP). To enhance the research a Research Officer with a few supporting staffs have been stationed at the site office, Plate 29.

From the fish landing data collected at fish landing sites in TNB Sultan Mahmud Power Station, Jenagor and Gawi Dam it was found that the total landing for the year was 23.7 tons and where Lampam Sungai (Puntius schwanenfeldii)formed the major 51.8% followed by Baung (Mystus nemurus) 23.4% and Toman (Channa sp.) 12.5% valued at some RM106.713.00.

Management strategies forwarded in the "Fisheries Management Plan of Tasik Kenyir" prepared by FFRC is being taken up by the state's goverment of Trengganu. In the implementation the four strategic management approaches has been taken and these are :-

  • creation of distinctive management zones i.e. the Conservation Zone, Fisheries & Recreational Zone and the Danger Zone.

  • aquaculture development

  • environmental enhancement and

  • monitoring & enforcement.

  • Additional informations will be gathered from the analysis carried out by the FFRC and if and when necessary will advise through the department any remedial actions required. The additional information gathered will be of further use in improving the development and management strategies of the fisheries and Kenyir.

Cage culture in Kenyir

The main objective of this project is to have a comprehensive study for the introduction of cage culture as a aquaculture industry in Lake Kenyir. The primary objective for the year was to further improve the cage design to facilitate the tilting of the rigid cage to accumulate the fish in a small confined volume near the surface by automation for sampling and harvesting.

Automation can be achieved by the introduction of expensive equipment such as motorized pullies or battery operated winch. However in the FFRC's design this was accomplished by the addition of styrofoam floats, Plate 30. These floats were attached to the bottom of the cage as shown in. The height to which the cage can be automatically tilted depends at which point at the bottom of the cage the floats are attached. To completely lift or tilt the cage above water level the desired floats are attached to one side at the bottom of the cage. During culture the cages are pushed down into the water and clipped to the platform. The addition of these floats have been found to have no effect on the water flow through the cages and hence growth or stocking densities in the cages.

Research on nursery cages have been successfully cmpleted in which 1/2 inch fish fry of Tilapia sp. and Mystus nemurus are reared in refined cages prior to stocking in the grow-out cages. However nursery management of hatchlings for the two species are still in the preliminary stage.

In relation to its impacts on the environment, FFRC will be giving this the utmost priority when continuing its future research projects at the site of the cage culture activities.

On the whole the cage culture component of this project has been a success in utilising the good water quality of the reservoir while retaining its authentic properties for the recreational purposes. Its application not only can increase the fish yield from the oligothriphic Kenyir but also as a tourist's attraction.

Future researches in Tasik Kenyir

Other studies including the temperature and secchi disk reading which will be complemented with remote sensing data and habitat suitability index (HSI) study to categorise rivers interm of surface area available for spawning activity are ongoing. These will be some of the research projects that will be proposed by FFRC.

2.2.5 Aquacultural engineering

One of the objective of the center is to develop viable tank system that will incorporate the sole use of rainfall as its water source. By the year end the facilities required for the setting up of broodstock tanks incorporating recirculated water system complete with the water filtering system and rainwater collecting system was sucessfully constructed, Plate 31. The system has been stocked with Baung (Mystus nemurus) and Temoleh (Probarbus jullienii) broodstocks and is presently being assessed. The system is running almost faultless and the fish maintained in the tanks are growing well after 1 year operation and just depending on the availability of rain. Presently an experiment 'Water budget estimation' is ongoing to quantify both the volume and sources of water loss in the system. It is anticipated that by the end of 1996 an economic analysis of the system and thus viability of the system can be worked out.


3.1 FFRC was involved in a number of meetings organised by KETENGAH of the State of Trengganu on the development and application of the 'Fisheries Management Plan of Tasik Kenyir' based on the report prepared by FFRC and proposed by the Department of Fisheries .

3.2 The personnel of the Disease Section of FFRC provided lectures on Freshwater Fish Disease Problems on Parasites and Bacteria and their Diagnosis to the Fisheries Assistants in NAPFRE, Pulau Sayak, Kedah from 15th - 17th November 1995.

3.3 UPM students attended Disease Diagnosis Practicals in FFRC, Batu Berendam from 3rd - 6th May 1995. One student continued a project on Determination of the initial site of infection of A. hydrophila in Tilapia.

3.4 A Laboratory Assistant, Mrs Rahmah from PPPBIL, Tg.Demong attended a short course on Basic Bacterial Diagnosis at FFRC from 12th - 17th June 1995.

3.5 Universiti Pertanian Malaysia's Farm Manager of Agriculture Pond, Mrs Azlina attended fish disease course in FFRC from 13th - 18th November 1995.




5.1 Ongoing collaborative project on laboratory tests of V.angguilarium vaccine on Tilapia and virulence tests on selected bacterial strains of Vibrio and Aeromonas in FFRC with Dr. Ahmed Faris, microbiologist, Section of Bacteriology and Epizootology, Biomedical Centre, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences.

5.2 Dr Siti Zahrah Abdullah participated in the workshop Commercialisation of R&D Results' held on 18th - 20th September 1995 at INTAN, Bukit Kiara organised together with Ministries of Science, Technology & Environment, SIRIM & Malaysian Technology Development Corporation (MTDC).

5.3 FFRC participated in the national level Mindex-Innotex Scienbition held in Kuala Lumpur and the Disease Section together with the Microbiologist Dr. Ahmed Faris won the Gold Medal for RADIKIT.

5.4 Research Officer, Mr. Mohd. Zaini Sulaiman attended Aquarium Fish Forum sponsored by 3rd Meeting of The Joint Technical Working Group (JTWC) On Fisheries Development In The Golok River Basin. NIFI. Department Of Fisheries. Thailand.

5.5 Research Officer, Mr. Mohd. Zaini Sulaiman and Mr. Chuah Hean Peng attended the First Asian-Auatralian Fish Genetics Workshop in University Malaya, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

5.6 The Head of FFRC together with 2 Research Officers i.e. Mr.Ahmad Ashhar Othman and Mr.Saberi Mawi attended and presented a paper entitled 'Recent Advances in Freshwater Fish Breedings Technology'.

5.7 Research Officers Mr Chuah Hean Peng and Mr. Ahmad Ashhar Othman attended the International Conference On Wetlands and Development at Hyatt Regency Selangor from 9th - 13th October 1995.


6.1 Suhairi Alimon., 1995. 'Penternak berjaya hasilkan benih Udang Galah melalui teknik air pusingan' for the Berita Perikanan.

6.2 Suhairi Alimon, 1995. 'Kajian awal ternakan ikan Temoleh (Probarbus jullieni) dalam kolam' for July 1996 FRI,s Research Seminar to be held in FRI, Batu Maung, Penang.

6.3 Mohamad-Zaini S., 1995. 'Teknik pengurusan dan ternakan ikan hiasan. Training notes for SMPP at Enggor, Perak.

6.4 Mohamad-Zaini S., Siti Zaharah A. and H.A.B. Omar. 1995. Pembiakan ikan Discus (Symphysodon discus). For the Risalah Perikanan Bil 62, 1995.

6.5 Hambal, H.H., Siti-Zahrah, A., Ahmad-Ashhar, O., Mohamad-Zaini, S. and Saberi, M, 1995. Recent Developments in Freshwater Fish Breeding at The Freshwater Fisheries Research Center (FFRC), Batu Berendam, Melaka'. Paper presented at the seminar "The Advance in Seed Production Technology Conference on April 12 - 13th 1995, UPM, serdang, Malaysia.

6.6 Nik-Haiha, N.Y. and Mohamad-Zaini, S. 1995. 'A brief background of ornamental plant industry in Malaysia. Paper presented at Aquarium Fish Forum, sponsored by 3rd. Meeting of the Joint Technical Working Group (JWTC) on Fisheries Development in the Golok River Basin on July 27th - 28th 1995. NIFI, DOF, Thailand.

6.7 Mohamad-Zaini, S. and H.P., Chuah. 1995. Breeding of Ornamental Fishes in Malaysia. Paper presented at First Asian-Auatralian Fish Genetics Workshop on November 15th - 16th 1995 at University Malaya, Kuala Lumpur.

6.8 Saberi, M., 1995. Induce breeding of Mystus nemurus  using OVAPRIM for the FRI's July 1996 Research Seminar at FRI, Batu Maung, Penang.

6.9 Saberi, M., 1995. 'Program Pemindahan Teknologi Pembiakan Ikan Baung Mendapat Sambutan' for the Berita Perikanan coming issue.

6.10 Saberi, M., 1995. 'Pengeluaran Benih Baung Secara Besar Besaran' for Press statement in 1995.

6.11 Siti Zahrah, A., Ahmad Faris., Rokiah, A.L., Thomas, A. Rosmawati, G., Fazilah, M. and H.P. Chuah. 'Studies on putative virulence factors Vibrio spp isolated from diseased shrimps in Tanjung Dawai, Kedah'.

6.12 Ahmed Faris.,Siti Zahrah, A., Rokiah, A.L., Thomas, A. Rosmawati, G., and H.P. Chuah. 1995. Application of Vibrio anguillarium lethal as a vaccine. Paper to be presented in FRI' Research Seminar at FRI, Batu Maung, Penang.

6.13 Jamaludin, I., 1995. Dapnia magna production in outdoor fibreglass t anks and fed with 3 fed materials. Paper to be presented in FRI,s Research Seminar, FRI, Batu Maung, Penang.

List of Plates

Temoleh, Plate 1 spawned

The catfish (Mystus nemurus) or Baung, Plate 2 spawners

Baung spawners were successfully conditioned and cultured in concrete tanks, Plate 3

Haruan (Channa striatus), Plate 4 maintained in fibreglass tanks

Clown Rasbora (Rasbora kalochroma), Plate 5;

Six-banded Barb (Puntius johorensis), Plate 6;

Bellicose Betta (Betta bellica), Plate 7;

Claret Betta (Betta coccina), Plate 8 and

Pygmy Rasbora (Rasbora maculata), Plate 9.

The Golden Arowana, Plate 10

Java Fern (Microsorium sp.), Plate 11

Cryptocoryne sp., Plate 12

Udang Galah in the recirculated system was transferred successfully to the farmer from Negeri Sembilan, Plate 13.

the Red Tilapia, Plate 14 genetic selection

Genetic selection of guppies, Plate 15

Tuxedo Red, Plate 16;

Tuxedo Neon Blue, Plate 17;

Tuxedo Deep Blue, Plate 18;

Rainbow, Plate 19 and

Yellow Snakeskin, Plate 20.

selection for growth rate of the Marble Goby, Plate 21

Echinodorous sp., Plate 22 and

the Bacopa monneira. Plate 23.

aquatic plants garden in Empangan Air Kuning, Taman Pertanian Malaysia, Plate 24.

The culture trials of Daphnia magna, Plate 25

fish Vibrio anguillarum vaccine in the laboratory, Plate 26.

The RADIKIT, Plate 27,

Diagnosis were conducted on both diseased fish/shellfish from ongoing research projects and farmers, Plate 28

the site office, Plate 29.

FFRC's cage design this was accomplished by adding styrofoam floats, Plate 30

broodstock tanks incorporating recirculated water system complete with the water filtering system and rainwater collecting system was sucessfully constructed, Plate 31.

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