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Solar lights ‘improve fish growth and feed conversion’

Tilapia in ponds using solar lights grew larger and had a better FCR. Photo: Signify.
Tilapia in ponds using solar lights grew larger and had a better FCR. Photo: Signify.

Dutch lighting giant Signify has launched new solar-powered fish-pond lights that it says increase growth and improve feed conversion ratio (FCR) in many different species, including tilapia.

The grow lights fit any pond and can illuminate for up to six hours after sunset, said the company, which markets the product under its Philips brand.

Research by the South China Agricultural University in a commercial-scale trial at a tilapia farm using 60 solar luminaires in a 7,000m² pond confirmed a 10% increase in fish growth and a 10% reduction in FCR, meaning that fish farmers need less feed per kilogram of fish, Signify said in a press release.

The fish-pond lights can illuminate for up to six hours after sunset. Image: Signify.
The fish-pond lights can illuminate for up to six hours after sunset. Image: Signify.

Water quality

The trial, carried out at a tilapia farm in Taishan, Jiangmen, Guangdong in the south of China, also found a positive effect on water quality. The trial lasted 117 days and resulted in an additional 1,770 kg of tilapia that was harvested compared to the reference ponds.

“It was very good to see that the results we obtained in the laboratory could be repeated in an actual farming situation in the south of China. This is a breakthrough in tilapia farming efficiency improvements,” said Signify’s general manager aquaculture Remco Lansbergen.

The Philips solar fish light is easy to install and only one luminaire is needed per 100-150m² of pond surface, said Signify. The luminaires, equally spaced in the pond, are attached by rope to the centre line or to each other to keep them in place. The best operation is achieved with clean solar panels and LED units

Signify said light impact on fish is complex and there are multiple elements to consider: intensity and distribution, quality of light expressed in spectral composition, and photoperiod undergoing daily and seasonal cycles.