Feeding in darkness alleviates density-dependent growth of juvenile vundu catfish Heterobranchus longifilis (Clariidae)
Laboratory of Fish Demography and Aquaculture, University of Liège, 10, Chemin de la Justice B-4500 Tihange, Belgium
Accepted: 31 August 1998
Sibling juvenile vundu Heterobranchus longifilis reared at 27 ± 1 °C under 12L:12D were fed during the day, at night or over the entire 24-h cycle, for periods of 14-15 d. Nighttime feeding gave the highest growth rates, best feed conversion, lowest mortality, fewest losses due to cannibalism and least growth heterogeneity. The trends were seen in fish of all ages and weights (31−101 d and 0.3−30.0 g), but differences were significant only for the smallest fish that were reared at the lowest stocking biomass (< 3.5 g·L−1). The effects of daytime and nighttime feeding were examined in 151-d old (85 g) juveniles stocked at different biomasses (3.4 and 13.6 g·L−1). The growth of vundu was density-dependent, being impaired at low stocking density, but this was substantially mitigated under nighttime feeding. Rearing at high stocking density, feeding at night or in darkness, may act through similar mechanisms that involve changes in the level of aggressive behaviour. It is suggested that nighttime feeding in intensive catfish culture could be replaced by 24-h feeding under conditions of permanent darkness.
Key words: Feeding / growth / stocking density / meal timing / cannibalism / Siluroidei / Heterobranchus longifilis
© Elsevier, IRD, Inra, Ifremer, Cemagref, CNRS, 1998