Experimental evaluation of inorganic fertilization in larval giant grouper (Epinephelus lanceolatus Bloch) production

Authors

  • Kwee Siong Tew,

    Corresponding author
    1. Institute of Marine Biodiversity & Evolutionary Biology, National Dong Hwa University, Checheng, Pingtung, Taiwan, ROC
    • Department of Biology, National Museum of Marine Biology & Aquarium, Checheng, Pingtung, Taiwan, ROC
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  • Pei-Jie Meng,

    1. Department of Biology, National Museum of Marine Biology & Aquarium, Checheng, Pingtung, Taiwan, ROC
    2. Institute of Marine Biodiversity & Evolutionary Biology, National Dong Hwa University, Checheng, Pingtung, Taiwan, ROC
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  • Hsi-Sheng Lin,

    1. Department of Aquaculture, National Pingtung University of Science and Technology, Neipu, Pingtung, Taiwan, ROC
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  • Jian-Hua Chen,

    1. Department of Aquaculture, National Pingtung University of Science and Technology, Neipu, Pingtung, Taiwan, ROC
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  • Ming-Yih Leu

    Corresponding author
    1. Institute of Marine Biodiversity & Evolutionary Biology, National Dong Hwa University, Checheng, Pingtung, Taiwan, ROC
    • Department of Biology, National Museum of Marine Biology & Aquarium, Checheng, Pingtung, Taiwan, ROC
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  • Both the authors are contributed equally.

Correspondence: KS Tew, National Museum of Marine Biology & Aquarium, No. 2, Houwan Road, Checheng, Pingtung 94450, Taiwan, ROC. E-mails: tewks@nmmba.gov.tw; myl@nmmba.gov.tw

Abstract

A major constraint in successful larviculture of groupers has been the small gape of the larvae and hence the requirement for small prey at first feeding. In this study, we examined how maintaining a phosphate concentration of 100 μg P L−1 and an inorganic nitrogen (N) level of 700 μg N L−1 via weekly fertilization with inorganic fertilizers affected phytoplankton, zooplankton and giant grouper larval survival in relation to a control group that was provided with rotifers immediately after larvae hatched. Unicellular algae, zooplankton within the size ranges of 10–50 μm and 50–100 μm and survival of giant grouper larvae were all significantly higher in the fertilized treatment compared with the control. Stomach analysis revealed that ciliates and flagellates were actively consumed by larval fish in the fertilized group, whereas few rotifers were consumed in the control. We conclude that the inorganic fertilization method provides high densities of suitable-sized prey for larval groupers at the onset of exogenous feeding before they are able to consume larger, commercially available rotifers and copepods.

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