Forage Fish Preference and Growth Rate of Largemouth Black Bass Fingerlings Under Experimental Conditions

Experiments to determine the forage species preference of largemouth black bass fingerlings and a few larger bass are described. Data on the amount of food consumed, rate of growth and food conversion are presented. Forage minnows included were goldfish, Carassius auratus (Linnaeus), fathead, Pimephales promelas (Rafinesque) and bluegill, Lepomis macrochirus (Rafinesque). While there was' evidence of considerable individual variation in the species of forage minnow preferred, the bass in the experiments preferred fatheads more frequently than the other species, goldfish were second choice and bluegills were last. The degree of preference between bluegills and goldfish did not appear to be great for the limited number of bass included. Food conversion was best on a fathead or bluegill diet. Where four larger bass, 0.4-0.5 pound in size, were fed equal amounts of bluegills and fathead minnows, one fish showed no preference between the species, two preferred fatheads to a moderate degree while one showed a strong preference for fatheads.

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