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Effects of nitrate toxicity in the Pacific white shrimp, Litopenaeus vannamei, reared with biofloc technology (BFT)

Furtado, Plínio S., Campos, Bruno R., Serra, Fabiane P., Klosterhoff, Marta, Romano, Luis A., Wasielesky, Wilson, Jr.
Aquaculture international 2015 v.23 no.1 pp. 315-327
Litopenaeus vannamei, biofloc technology, gills, growth retardation, hepatopancreas, histopathology, mortality, rearing, salinity, shrimp, sodium nitrate, stocking rate, toxicity, water quality
In cultures of the Litopenaeus vannamei with biofloc, the concentrations of nitrate rise during the culture period, which may cause a reduction in growth and mortality of the shrimps. Therefore, the aim of this study was to determine the effect of the concentration of nitrate on the growth and survival of shrimp in systems using bioflocs. The experiment consisted of four treatments with three replicates each: The concentrations of nitrate that were tested were 75 (control), 150, 300, and 600 mg NO₃⁻-N/L. To achieve levels above 75 mg NO₃⁻-N/L, different dosages of sodium nitrate (PA) were added. For this purpose, twelve experimental units with a useful volume of 45 L were stocked with 15 juvenile L. vannamei (1.30 ± 0.31 g), corresponding to a stocking density of 333 shrimps/m³, that were reared for an experimental period of 42 days. Regarding the water quality parameters measured throughout the study, no significant differences were detected (p > 0.05). Concerning zootechnical performance, a significant difference (p < 0.05) was verified with the 75 (control) and 150 treatments presenting the best performance indexes, while the 300 and 600 treatments led to significantly poorer results (p < 0.05). The histopathological damage was observed in the gills and hepatopancreas of the shrimps exposed to concentrations ≥300 mg NO₃⁻-N/L for 42 days, and poorer zootechnical performance and lower survival were observed in the shrimps reared at concentrations ≥300 mg NO₃⁻-N/L under a salinity of 23. The results obtained in this study show that concentrations of nitrate up to 177 mg/L are acceptable for the rearing of L. vannamei in systems with bioflocs, without renewal of water, at a salinity of 23.