Optimization of Tilapia Feed Formulation Using Excel

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By Milthon Lujan

Screenshot of the start menu of the tilapia feed formulation tool. Source: Soudah et al. (2023).
Screenshot of the start menu of the tilapia feed formulation tool. Source: Soudah et al. (2023).

Weather events such as El Niño or international crises can affect the supply of raw materials for aquaculture feed formulation, leading to an increase in the prices of these inputs.

In this regard, fish farmers need tools that allow them to cope with the scarcity or price hikes of aquaculture feeds. Thus, the development of a local market for fish feed production protects local fish farmers from price fluctuations in the international market.


To this end, researchers from the Institut Togolais de Recherche Agronomique (ITRA), Université de Parakou (UP), and Kisii University have developed an Excel-based tool for low-cost feed formulation that meets the nutritional requirements of tilapia.

Feed Formulation

In theory, effective feed formulation involves understanding the energy and nutritional needs of fish, the energy and nutrients present in local raw materials and supplements.

Additionally, factors such as physical properties, inclusion limits, the presence of antinutritional factors and toxic elements, prices, and availability must be considered.

On the other hand, manual arithmetic formulation of low-cost and balanced rations becomes complex when specific ingredient limitations are taken into account.


To address this complexity, some feed formulation tools have been developed.

Model Construction Process

The process of developing the feed formulation model for tilapia was as follows:

Exploratory study to investigate the availability of raw materials used in fish feed production.

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Construction of a database containing nutritional information of the inventoried ingredients from the previous step.


Programming and testing tool, which was developed using Microsoft Excel’s Solver scenario formulation algorithm based on the established database.

Evaluation of the Model

“The proposed Excel model in this study for fish feed formulation and cost optimization can be considered as an available solution for Togo, as the Excel formulation makes software access easy and simplifies feed formulation,” the scientists emphasized.

Furthermore, the developed tool allows users to choose the cheapest combination of inputs that meet the nutritional needs of tilapia. For example, users can select specific raw materials for formulation according to their environment and modify certain values of the chemical composition of the raw materials.

In the medium term, the model will play an important role in implementing local-scale fish feed production, as the raw materials registered in the database are already being used by local feed manufacturers.


Overall, the feed formulation tool enables the formulation of lower-cost feeds that still meet the nutritional needs of the target animals.

On the other hand, the tool offers the necessary flexibility for users to vary the inclusion limits of all raw materials in the database and add new ones if necessary.


“The results obtained from the tool indicate that feed manufacturers with basic knowledge of Excel and the ability to analyze the proximate content of ingredients before formulation can formulate fish feeds at a relatively low cost ranging from $0.4 per kilogram (for growth and final diet) to $1.07 (for juvenile diet),” the scientists report.

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Boma Soudah
Institut Togolais de Recherche Agronomique (ITRA)/Centre International de Recherche-Développement sur l’Elevage en zone Subhumide (CIRDES),
P.O. Box: 1163, Cacavéli, Lomé, Togo
Email: bomasoudah@gmail.com


Reference (open access)
Soudah, B., Toï, N., Yao, L. et al. Optimization of feed for Nile tilapia (Oreochromis niloticus) using an Excel programming model in small-scale feed-mixing operations in Togo. Aquacult Int (2023). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10499-023-01138-z

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