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Development of First-Feeding Protocols for Indoor Larviculture of Largemouth Bass (Micropterus salmoides)
- Nicholas Skudlarek, Shawn D. Coyle, James H. Tidwell
- Journal of applied aquaculture 2013 v.25 no.1 pp. 9-23
- Artemia, Micropterus salmoides, aquariums, diet, fingerlings, foods, forage, live feeds, nauplii, optimal nutrition, ponds, rearing, survival rate, trout, weather
- Largemouth bass (LMB) Micropterus salmoides fry do not accept prepared diets at first feeding. Fry are initially reared in fertilized ponds on natural live foods until large enough to be feed trained. Unpredictable weather patterns and depletion of natural forages can affect nursery pond survival. A series of experiments was conducted to investigate the use of Artemia nauplii prepared diets and optimal feeding schedules to raise LMB fry from first feeding through habituation to a commercial dry diet. In Studies 1, 2, and 3, swim-up fry were transferred to a recirculating system and stocked into either 3-L (Studies 1 and 2) or 10-L (Study 3) acrylic aquaria. Study 1 screened candidate diets to evaluate whether LMB fry could be transitioned directly to prepared diets or if they required live foods. In Study 2 the optimum duration for feeding live Artemia (1, 2, or 3 weeks) and the appropriate size of commercial diets (<200 or 200–360 μm) were evaluated. Study 3 was designed to identify the best transitional feed. Results from Study 1 indicate that fry fed Otohime-A (<200 μm) and decapsulated Artemia cysts performed better than those fed other diets tested. However, survivals were low (6%–8%) indicating a need for live feed initially. In Trial 2, fry fed live Artemia nauplii for two weeks and then transitioned to a 200–360 μm diet (Otohime-B) performed better than other diet combinations tested. In Study 3, survival was significantly higher in treatments using decapsulated Artemia cysts or Otohime-B as transitional diets between initial live Artemia feeding and trout starter. These data indicate that LMB fry can be successfully raised from first feeding to fully habituated to a commercial trout starter by feeding live Artemia nauplii for two weeks, followed by a gradual transition to either decapsulated Artemia cysts or Otohime-B for one week, then gradually transitioning to trout starter. Surviving fish were easily transitioned to commercial floating feed (Study 4). This protocol yielded survival rates of approximately 70% and may improve the reliability of LMB fingerling production by eliminating the outdoor nursery pond phase.