Effect of nematode Panagrellus redivivus density on growth, survival, feed consumption and carcass composition of bighead carp Aristichthys nobilis (Richardson) larvae.
The study aimed to determine the optimum density of free-living nematodes in feeding bighead carp, Aristichthys nobilis, larvae. In the first experiment, carp stocked at 25 larvae L-1 were fed varying levels of nematodes (50, 75, 100, 125 and 150 per ml) twice a day for 21 days from the start of exogenous feeding. Final body weight was significantly higher (P<0.05) in larvae fed 125 and 150 nematodes per ml than in those fed 50 and 75 per ml, but survival was low (61.8 and 63.6%, respectively). Survival rate was highest in larvae fed 100 nematodes ml-1 (81.3%). Carcass analysis showed that larvae fed 125 and 150 nematodes ml-1 had significantly lower body protein and higher body lipid than those fed other nematode densities. Carcass ash was similar for larvae fed 50-100 nematodes ml-1 but it decreased significantly at the higher nematode densities. Carp larvae in a subsequent experiment were given 50, 75 and 100 nematodes ml-1 per feeding. Newly hatched Artemia was the control feed. Nematode consumption and growth of the larvae were determined. Larvae were sampled at intervals of 2-4 days and the nematodes in the gut were counted and measured. At each nematode density, the number of nematodes present in the gut of the larvae increased significantly with time. At each sampling day, the number of nematodes in the gut did not differ significantly among treatments (P>0.05) although it tended to increase with nematode density at day 2 and day 4 but decrease at day 7 onward. The carp larvae consumed significantly shorter nematodes on day 2 and day 4 than on the succeeding sampling days regardless of nematode density. However, the length of nematodes in the gut of the larvae did not differ significantly among the nematode densities. The final body weight of larvae increased with increasing nematode density. The body weight of larvae fed 100 nematodes ml-1 did not differ significantly from that of larvae given Artemia nauplii. Results show that bighead carp larvae should be fed 100 free-living nematodes per ml at each feeding time.