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They are what they eat - Enhancing the nutritional value of live feeds with microalgae

They are what they eat - Enhancing the nutritional value of live feeds with microalgae

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Live feeds are often essential for larval fish. Live feeds are proven to be essential first-feed for many larval fish, essentially all those that hatch from small eggs with limited yolk reserves and often immature feeding and digestive functions. Live feeds provide larval fish with essential nutrients that are naturally ‘microencapsulated’ in bite-sized packages. They include a high proportion of easily-assimilated free amino acids and free fatty acids, as well as digestive enzymes and beneficial bacterial microfloras in the gut contents of the prey. The swimming activity of live prey also stimulates feeding responses in larval fish, a vital concern because small larvae with very limited metabolic reserves can quickly starve if they do not promptly begin feeding actively.
Live feeds are often essential for larval fish. Live feeds are proven to be essential first-feed for many larval fish, essentially all those that hatch from small eggs with limited yolk reserves and often immature feeding and digestive functions. Live feeds provide larval fish with essential nutrients that are naturally ‘microencapsulated’ in bite-sized packages. They include a high proportion of easily-assimilated free amino acids and free fatty acids, as well as digestive enzymes and beneficial bacterial microfloras in the gut contents of the prey. The swimming activity of live prey also stimulates feeding responses in larval fish, a vital concern because small larvae with very limited metabolic reserves can quickly starve if they do not promptly begin feeding actively.

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Published by: International Aquafeed magazine on May 10, 2013
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May | June 2013They are what they eat - Enhancingthe nutritional value of live feeds withmicroalgae
International Aquafeed is published six times a year by Perendale Publishers Ltd of the United Kingdom. All data is published in good faith, based on information received, and while every care is taken to prevent inaccuracies,the publishers accept no liability for any errors or omissions or for the consequences of action taken on the basis of information published.©Copyright 2013 Perendale Publishers Ltd. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced in any formor by any means without prior permission of the copyright owner. Printed by Perendale Publishers Ltd. ISSN: 1464-0058
INCORPORATINGfIsh fARmING TeChNOlOGy
 
“Today the most costly andperhaps least understood livefood are the unicellular algae”
- Dhert & Sorgeloos 1995
L
ivefeedsareoftenessentialforlarvalfish.Livefeedsareproventobeessentialfirst-feedformanylarvalfish,essentiallyallthosethathatchfromsmalleggswithlimitedyolkreservesandoftenimmaturefeedinganddigestivefunctions.Livefeedsprovidelarvalfishwithessentialnutrientsthatarenaturally‘microencapsulated’inbite-sizedpackages.Theyincludeahighproportionofeasily-assimilatedfreeaminoacidsandfreefattyacids,aswellasdigestiveenzymesandbeneficialbacterialmicroflorasinthegutcontentsoftheprey.Theswimmingactivityoflivepreyalsostimulatesfeedingresponsesinlarvalfish,avitalconcernbecausesmalllarvaewithverylimitedmetabolicreservescanquicklystarveiftheydonotpromptlybeginfeedingactively.
Thenaturallivefoodsofsuchlarvaeareofcoursemicroplankton,bothzooplanktonand(althoughoftennotappreciated)phytoplank- ton.Naturalzooplanktonassemblagesareoftenhighlydiverseandmayincludeprotozoa,rotifers,arroworms,microcrustaceanssuchascopepods,andeggsandlarvaeofnearlyeverygroupofmarineanimalsincludingsponges,coelenterates,polychaetes,variouscrusta-ceans,molluscs,echinoderms,andevenfish.Thisdiversearrayofpreyorganismssuppliesmultiplesourcesofessentialnutrients.Butitcanbeverydifficulttoobtainsufficientnaturalplanktontosupplytheneedsofahatchery,andnaturalplanktoncanintroducepredators,parasitesandpathogens.Hatchery-culturedlivefeedsarethereforetheonlypracticalandsafefeedformanylarvalfish.
Use of live feeds in aquaculture
Byfarthemostcommonly-usedlivefeedsinhatcheriesarerotifers(
Brachionus
spp.)andbrineshrimp(Artemia)(Conceiçãoetal.2010),withsomeuseofcopepodssuchasspeciesof
 Acartia
,
Calanus
,
Tisbe
,and
Parvocalanus
.Althoughcopepodsgener-allyprovidebetternutritionalvalue,theirculturepresentssomanydifficultiesthat theyarenotcommonlyusedinhatcheries(Drilletetal.2006,2011).Rotiferscanread-ilybemass-culturedathighdensitiesandcandoubletheirnumbersinaday.Rotifersaresmallerthannewly-hatchedArtemia,whichcanbetoolargeforsomelarvae.
 Artemia
aremostconvenientbecausetheirrestingeggs(cysts)canbepurchasedandhatchedwhenneeded,butnewly-hatched
 Artemia
naupliidonotbegintofeeduntilafterthefirstmolt,sotheirnutritionalvaluedependsentirelyonthenutritionalenviron-mentofthepreviouswildgenerationthatproducedtheeggs.Onestudyfoundthat thecontentoftheimportantomega-3Poly-UnsaturatedFattyAcid(PUFA)EPAin
 Artemia
cystsfromthesamesourcecanvaryasmuchas44-fold(Dhert&Sorgeloos1995).Suchvariationsmeanthatthenutri- tionalcontentofnewlyhatched
 Artemia
maybelargelyunknown,andonlyafter thefirstmoltcantheirnutritionalvaluebeimprovedbyfeeding.Itisimportanttounderstandthatnei- ther
Brachionus
rotifersnor
 Artemia
are trulymarineorganisms.Rathertheyarefoundin‘saline’habitats,whicharemostlyinlandenvironmentswithoftenextremeseasonalvariationsintemperature,salinity,andevenavailabilityofwater.Adaptation tosuchextremeconditionshasendowed thesespecieswithcharacteristicsthatareveryusefulinaquaculture,suchastoleranceofawiderangeofcultureconditions,rapidasexualreproductionbyparthenogenesis(
Brachionus
),andformationofresistantrest-ingcysts(
Brachionus
and
 Artemia
).Theyarealsorelativelyomnivorousanddonothavestringentnutritionalrequirements,andsocanbefedonlow-costfeedssuchasyeast,starch,ricebran,anddried
Spirulina
(cyano-bacteria).Itmaybenosurprisethatfeedinglarvaeonlyoneortwospeciesofhatchery-pro-ducedlivefeedsmightnotprovideadequatenutrition.Buttheunderlyingcauseofsuchnutritionalinadequacyisoftenthelowqualityofthelow-costfoodsourcesusedtopro-ducethelivefeeds.Itisthereforenecessary tochoosecarefullythefoodsourcesusedforhatchery-producedlivefeedsiftheyare toprovideadequatenutritionalsupportforlarvalfish.
They are what they eat 
Enhancing the nutritional value of live feeds with microalgae
by Eric C Henry PhD, research scientist, Reed Mariculture Inc., USA
12 | ItrtIol
AquAFeed
| May-June 2013
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