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An intensive, large-scale batch culture system to produce the calanoid copepod, Acartia tonsa

Sarkisian, Brie L., Lemus, Jason T., Apeitos, Angelos, Blaylock, Reginald B., Saillant, Eric A.
Aquaculture 2019 v.501 pp. 272-278
Acartia tonsa, diet, egg production, eggs, fish culture, fish larvae, hatcheries, human resources, juveniles, live feeds, marine fish, nauplii, nutrient content
A major obstacle to the development of hatchery production for juveniles of many marine species is the difficulty in successfully feeding early larvae. Copepods contribute to the natural diet of most marine fish larvae and feature characteristics ideal for early larval feeds including small size and suitable nutrient content. However, the use of copepods as larval feeds is limited by the inability to consistently produce them in sufficient quantities to support large-scale fish culture. Here, an innovative design for an intensive, indoor batch culture system to produce the calanoid copepod Acartia tonsa (Dana 1849), a prime candidate for use as a live food item, is described. The system features integrated grow-out and egg-production units that can be operated sequentially by 2.5 full-time employees to produce a predictable daily output of nauplii for use as live feed. The system output was on average 22 million eggs d−1 (21,955,420 ± 8,709,668) with an average hatch rate of 49% (49.1 ± 14.8) over three seasons.