Application of a Bioenergetics Model for Hatchery Production: Largemouth Bass Fed Commercial Feeds

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Fish bioenergetics models based on natural prey items have been widely used to address research and management questions. However, few attempts have been made to evaluate and apply bioenergetics models to hatchery-reared fish receiving commercial feeds that contain substantially higher energy densities than natural prey. In this study, we evaluated a bioenergetics model for age-0 largemouth bass Micropterus salmoides reared on four commercial feeds. Largemouth bass (n ≈ 3,504) were reared for 70 d at 25°C in sixteen 833-L circular tanks connected in parallel to a recirculation system. Model performance was evaluated using error components (mean, slope, and random) derived from decomposition of the mean square error obtained from regression of observed on predicted values. Mean predicted consumption was only 8.9% lower than mean observed consumption and was similar to error rates observed for largemouth bass consuming natural prey. Model evaluation showed that the 97.5% joint confidence region included the intercept of 0 (−0.43 ± 3.65) and slope of 1 (1.08 ± 0.20), which indicates the model accurately predicted consumption. Moreover model error was similar among feeds (P = 0.98), and most error was probably attributable to sampling error (unconsumed feed), underestimated predator energy densities, or consumption-dependent error, which is common in bioenergetics models. This bioenergetics model could provide a valuable tool in hatchery production of largemouth bass. Furthermore, we believe that bioenergetics modeling could be useful in aquaculture production, particularly for species lacking historical hatchery constants or conventional growth models.

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North American Journla of Aquaculture





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Taylor & Francis