Research: Larval Culture Using Live Feeds

Pompano Larvae 

Pinfish Larvae

Members of the aquaculture industry have expressed a great desire to culture many species of high value marine food fish and hundreds of species of marine ornamentals. Currently, the bottleneck to their production is the larval stage. This stage requires very small live food organisms to be fed to the larval fish. For the past decade, larval culture methods have used rotifers and brine shrimp (Artemia sp.) for live food, but successful culture is limited to a few species. Neither of these organisms are the natural prey of marine fish and are used because they are commercially available. Additionally, their nutritional composition will not support the growth and survival of larval fish unless they are enriched with nutritional additives. The natural prey of larval marine fish is copepods. There are 24,000 species of copepods identified and they are so numerous in the oceans that they represent the greatest biomass of any organism in all of the world’s oceans, even though their size ranges from 60 to 1000 µm. There is a growing research effort worldwide to isolate and culture individual species of copepods in tanks to produce the necessary small naupliar stage to feed larval marine fish.

Copepod 

Copepod Tanks 

Rotifer


Research at the IRREC Aquaculture Demonstration Project with copepods includes isolating and evaluating new species. Researchers aim to determine if the copepods are conducive to culture in tanks. A second goal is to identify and develop optimal culture conditions for each species. Additionally, aquaculture researchers are feeding copepods to marine fish larvae. The research objective is to compare the copepods' performance to larvae fed rotifers and Artemia sp. The long-term research objective is to develop many marine fish, including ornamental, bait and food species, for commercial production. Larvae can be successfully cultured with copepods.

Wed, 22 Apr 2020 10:54:52 EDT