Influence of Daphnia Density on Survival and Growth of Paddlefish Larvae at Two Temperatures

Paddlefish (Polyodon spathula) larvae were fed live cultured Daphnia at 4 densities to determine if larval survival and growth were affected by Daphnia densities at low (ambient) (15.0° ± 1.5° C) and high (21.1° ± 0.5° C) temperatures. Survival of larvae increased with increasing densities of Daphnia in both experiments. Survival was higher in the low-temperature experiment than in the high-temperature experiment. However, larval survival was also influenced by cannibalism and a deformity affecting swimming behavior. Maximum growth of larvae during the 7-day experiments was 23.2 mm in length and 88.0 mg in weight and was determined graphically at Daphnia densities ranging from 200 to 240/liter in the high-temperature experiment. Short-term intensive culture of paddlefish larvae fed live Daphnia appears to be a viable method for producing large, hardy fish for further grow-out in ponds.

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