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AEI
Aquaculture Environment Interactions

    AEI prepress abstract   -  DOI: https://doi.org/10.3354/aei00338

    Oyster larvae as a potential first feed for small-mouthed ornamental larval fish

    Alexander J. Basford*, Benjamin Mos, Tomoki Mishina, Symon A. Dworjanyn

    *Corresponding author:

    ABSTRACT: Aquaculture of ornamental marine fish for the aquarium trade is a possible solution to the negative environmental impacts of wild collection. An impasse to the culture of many marine fish species is high larval mortality due to unsuitable live feeds. Common live feeds are often too large for ornamental species which often have larvae with small mouths. We tested wild oyster larvae as an alternative live feed for first-feeding Paracanthurus hepatus (blue tang). P. hepatus readily consumed oyster larvae but did not consume rotifers. Survival and growth of P. hepatus fed oyster larvae was similar to unfed controls, likely due to the oyster trochophores developing into indigestible veligers. Restricting the diet of P. hepatus to only oyster trochophores improved survival and eye development, but survival rates remained low. Oyster trochophores were conditioned in pH 4.8 seawater to compromise their aragonite shells and P. hepatus fed these had higher survival at 5 dph compared to those fed untreated trochophores and were the only fish surviving to 10 dph. The high consumption rates of oyster larvae by P. hepatus highlight the potential for bivalve larvae to be used as live feeds for first-feeding larval fish. Further research into improving the nutritional value of oyster larvae for larval fish may improve their viability as first feeds.