The interaction between the fish Oreochromis mossambicus (Percifomes: Cichlidae) and aquatic insects after application of chicken, cow, and pig manure was studied in 7,000-liter plastic aquadams. Principal component analysis showed that most of the variation in water quality after application of manure was accounted for by potassium, nitrogen, dissolved oxygen, phosphate, and alkalinity. Canonical correspondence analysis showed that Gyrinidae, Elminidae, Hydrophilidae, Hydraenidae, and Athericidae were associated with high nutrient levels (nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium) characteristic of the chicken manure. However, the most abundant aquatic insects Gerridae, Notonectidae, and Culicidae were close to the centre of the ordination and not defined by any nutrient gradient. The Shannon—Wiener diversity was highest in the aquadams treated with chicken manure. The most frequently occurring aquatic insects in the diet of O. mossambicus were culicid mosquitoes in all the treatments. However, in the laboratory, Chironomidae were the most preferred because they lacked refuge. Notonectidae and Gerridae were not recorded in the diet of O. mossambicus despite their abundance. This may be because of their anti-predation strategies. Laboratory experiments showed that Notonectidae, Gyrinidae, and Gerridae fed on Chironomidae and Culicidae. This implies that aquatic predatory insects competed for food with O. mossambicus.
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Vol. 44 • No. 4