Live food supply is a key factor contributing to the success of larval fish rearing. However, live food densities vary greatly between fish species and management protocols across fish hatcheries. The growth, survival, food selection and consumption of yellowtail kingfish larvae were examined at different regimes of live food supply in an attempt to identify a suitable live food feeding protocol for larval rearing in marine fish. This study was divided into two feeding phases: rotifer phase from 3 to 14 DPH (phase I) and Artemia nauplii phase from 15 to 22 DPH (phase II). In phase I, four rotifer densities (1, 10, 20 and 40 mL-1) were used. In phase II, Artemia started at 0.8 nauplii mL-1 on 15 DPH, and then the density of Artemia was daily incremented by 50%, 70%, 90% and 110%, respectively, in four treatments from 15 to 22 DPH. In phase I, rotifer density significantly affected larval growth, but not survival. By 7 DPH, the number of rotifers consumed by fish larvae reached 170-260 individuals, but did not significantly differ between rotifer densities. During cofeeding, fish larvae selected against Artemia nauplii by 10 DPH, but by 14 DPH Artemia nauplii became the preferred prey item by fish larvae exposed to the 10, 20 and 40 rotifers mL-1. In phase II, both fish growth and survival were affected by Artemia densities. Fish daily consumption on Artemia by 20 DPH reached 500-600 individuals but did not significantly differ between prey densities. The result suggests that rotifer densities be offered at 20-40 mL-1 before 6 DPH and 10-20 mL-1 afterwards to support larval fish growth and survival. Likewise, Artemia is recommended at a daily increment of 90-110% of 0.8 mL-1 from 15 to 22 DPH. This study proposes a management protocol to use appropriate type and quantity of live food to feed yellowtail kingfish larvae, which could be applicable to larval culture of other similar marine fish species.
- Food consumption
- Yellowtail kingfish larvae