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Keywords:

  • temperature;
  • growth;
  • survival;
  • fish;
  • larva;
  • aquaculture

Abstract

Temperature effects vary throughout the ontogeny, but are proportionally more variable during the early life stages than in older fish. The larvae of a few species have been studied but contrasting trajectories were observed, thereby making it difficult to predict how temperature impacts on the growth, survival and size heterogeneity in a particular species. This study examined these interactions in young [0.9 mg–1 g wet mass (WM)] Pangasianodon hypophthalmus, one of the most extensively cultured tropical fish. Fish were raised at five temperatures from 23 to 33 °C in a recirculated water system, fed in excess with a high-energy feed (Artemia then a formulated feed, >50% protein), and examined at 1-day (first feeding days) or 4-day intervals (older fish). The temperature that produced the fastest growth (T°opt) was 31 °C at the start of exogenous feeding (0.9 mg); it increased to 32.7 °C at 8 mg then decreased by 0.7 °C for each 10-fold increase of WM. Size heterogeneity was lower and survival was higher (70–85% from 0.9 mg to 1 g) when the temperature was close to T°opt. Comparisons with other species suggest that the slope of the relationship between T°opt and fish size has a strong latitudinal component, and may also reflect the fish sensitivity to oxygen.