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Feed management and stocking density of the endangered wild zebra pleco: Implications for captive breeding

Menezes Ramos, Fabrício, Abe, Higo Andrade, Martins Cordeiro, Carlos Alberto, Barbas, Luis André Luz, Carneiro, Paulo César Falanghe, Maria, Alexandre Nizio, Fujimoto, Rodrigo Yudi
Aquaculture research 2019 v.50 no.9 pp. 2437-2443
Artemia, Cynoscion, Hypancistrus zebra, Litopenaeus vannamei, Perna perna, body weight, breeding, diet, endangered species, feeding preferences, markets, mussels, ornamental fish, rearing, shrimp, specific growth rate, stocking rate
Due to the economic potential of Hypancistrus zebra in the ornamental fish market and its current classification as an endangered species in its natural occurrence sites, the present study sought to determine a suitable feed management strategy and stocking density to allow for an adequate captivity maintenance of this fish species. Three experiments were conducted as follows: (1) feed preference (artemia Artemia sp., shrimp Litopenaeus vannamei, fish Cynoscion spp. or mussel Perna perna); (2) determination of feeding rate (5% and 10% live weight day⁻¹) and frequency (1, 2 or 3 meals. Day⁻¹); and (3) evaluation of stocking density (0.25, 0.50, 1.00 and 2.00 g/L). Zebra pleco did not present the characteristic buccal scraping behaviour on the feed, commonly seen in other Loricariids. Artemia was the preferred diet followed by fish, shrimp and mussels. The frequency of two daily meals and the feeding rate of 10% live weight day⁻¹ allowed for an improved zootechnical performance. Zebra pleco showed enhanced specific growth rate at the density of 2 g/L. Our results suggest that, to improve the zebra pleco rearing conditions, it should be maintained at a density of 2 g/L, fed two daily meals at a feeding rate of 10% live weight day⁻¹. These findings correspond to useful information for an adequate management of this species and could assist in the supply of healthy specimens to the ornamental fish market as well for the restocking of declining wild populations.