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Establishing larval feeding regimens for the Forktail Blenny Meiacanthus atrodorsalis (Günther, 1877): effects of Artemia strain, time of prey switch and co‐feeding period

Moorhead, Jonathan A, Zeng, Chaoshu
Aquaculture research 2017 v.48 no.8 pp. 4321-4333
Artemia, Meiacanthus, Rotifera, feeding methods, feeds, hatcheries, nauplii, Great Salt Lake
This study aimed to establish feeding strategies covering the whole larval period of the forktail blenny, Meiacanthus atrodorsalis, based on the standard hatchery feeds of rotifers and Artemia. Three purposely designed experiments were conducted to determine the appropriate times and techniques to transition larvae from rotifers onto Artemia nauplii of a Great Salt Lake (GSL) strain, and a specialty AF strain, as well as subsequent transition onto enriched metanauplii of GSL Artemia. With a 3‐day co‐feeding period, larvae adapted well to a transition from rotifers to newly hatched GSL Artemia nauplii as early as 5 days posthatching (DPH), and as early as 3 DPH when fed the smaller AF Artemia nauplii. However, prolonging the rotifer‐feeding period up to 11 DPH did not negatively affect survival. Larvae fed Artemia nauplii of the AF strain showed 17–21% higher survival, 24–33% greater standard length and body depth, and 91–200% greater dry weight, after 20 days relative to those fed nauplii of the GSL strain. Meanwhile, enriched Artemia metanauplii of the GSL strain were shown to be an acceptable alternative to AF Artemia nauplii for later larvae, producing similar survival and growth when introduced from 8 DPH. Based on our findings, we recommend feeding M. atrodorsalis larvae rotifers as a first food between 0 and 2 DPH, introducing AF Artemia nauplii from 3 DPH, followed by enriched GSL Artemia metanauplii from 8 DPH onward, with a 3‐day co‐feeding period between each prey change.