The present study investigated the effects of dietary blackberry syrup on growth performance, haematological, non-specific immune and spleen gene expression responses of Nile tilapia, Oreochromis niloticus. Five experimental groups of fish with mean weights of 26.75 +/- 2.67 g were used in the study; three of them were fed with blackberry syrup incorporated diets (7.5 g kg(-1)-BBRY7.5, 15 g kg(-1)-BBRY15, 30 g kg(-1)-BBRY30), whereas an additive free basal diet served as the control. Additionally, the fifth group was an antibiotic medicated diet (0.02 g kg(-1)-ABTC), prepared with the florfenicol. Dietary blackberry syrup especially at 15 g kg(-1) significantly increased growth performance, respiratory burst activity, potential killing activity, phagocytic activity, phagocytic index, lysozyme activity, myeloperoxidase activity, total immunoglobulin levels, serum SOD activity and serum CAT activity (p < 0.05). Furthermore, dietary blackberry syrup increased the expression levels of immune [heat shock protein 70 (HSP70), interleukin 1, beta (IL-1 beta), tumor necrosis factor (TNF-alpha), interferon gamma (IFN-gamma), immunoglobulin M (IgM)] and antioxidant [glutathione peroxidase (GPx)] related genes in the spleen of fish fed with especially 15 g kg(-1) blackberry syrup (p < 0.05). At the end of the 20-day challenge period the survival rates were significantly higher in the BBRY15 and ABTC groups compared to all other treatment groups (p < 0.05). As a result, feeding Nile tilapia with a diet containing 15 g kg(-1) blackberry syrup over a period of 90 days might be adequate to improve growth performance, fish immune parameters, antioxidant status, as well as survival rate against P. shigelloides, similar to antibiotic treatment. Hence, blackberry syrup can be used as an antibiotics replacer for controlling P. shigelloides in tilapia feed.