Comparison of Feeding Regime and Diet on Compensatory Growth of Hybrid Bluegill

We conducted 2 experiments to evaluate the potential of feeding schedules designed to elicit compensatory growth and increase growth of hybrid bluegill (F1: male bluegill Lepomis macrochirus x female L. cyanellus). The first experiment evaluated a commercially prepared pellet and consisted of 3 treatments: fish fed every day and fish starved for 2 or 4 days after cessation of hyperphagia. The second experiment evaluated 2 diets, mealworms and commercial pellets, fed every day and on a 2-day starvation schedule. Growth and feed consumption in starvation treatments did not significantly exceed that of controls in either experiment. Our results contradict those of earlier studies that showed increased growth and consumption with similar feeding methods. Our results suggest that increasing growth rate using feeding schedules designed to elicit compensatory growth may not be practical when feeding an artificial pelleted diet, and feeding strategies of this type may be difficult to implement for large-scale hybrid bluegill production. However, our results suggest that hybrid bluegill do not need to be fed every day to optimize growth and that alternative feeding regimes could significantly reduce labor costs.

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