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Evaluation of Zooplankton in Hatchery Diets for Channel Catfish Fry

Mischke, Charles C., Wise, David J., Byars, Todd S.
North American Journal of Aquaculture 2009 v.71 no.4 pp. 312
Ictalurus punctatus, dietary supplements, fish culture, fish feeding, fish feeds, fish fry, frying, hatcheries, liveweight gain, ponds, zooplankton
The efficacy of zooplankton as a supplemental hatchery diet for fry of channel catfish Ictalurus punctatus was evaluated. When a commercial diet is used as a reference, fry fed exclusively on zooplankton—either live or dried— performed poorly in their growth rate. However, when live or dried zooplankton were fed to fry in conjunction with the commercial diet, fry weight increased 40–50% over the weight of fry fed the commercial diet alone in a 19-d feeding trial. Data from this study indicate that zooplankton may serve as a sustainable and reliable supplement during hatchery production. These data also reaffirm the importance of zooplankton as a feed source in the growth of channel catfish fry. Zooplankton are important in catfish fry culture, and when zooplankton are present with commercial diets, improved growth results. Based on results of this study, supplemental feeding of zooplankton to hatchery fry and managing fry ponds for increased zooplankton densities should increase fry growth during the nursery phase of culture.