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Vol. 10 Fasc. 1 109-113 2002

Pol. Fish. of Polish Fisheries

Short communication




Jacek Wolnicki, Rafa³ Kamiñski, Leszek Myszkowski

The Stanis³aw Sakowicz Inland Fisheries Institute in Olsztyn, Poland ABSTRACT. The growth and survival of burbot Lota lota (L.) larvae reared from the first feeding on freshly hatched Artemia franciscana nauplii at 12, 15, 18, 21, and 24°C was compared in a 20-day experiment. Nauplii of the commercial strain Artemia proved to be an excellent start diet for L. lota larvae. The best fish growth was found at 21°C where they attained a final average total length of 14.4 mm and an average body weight of 37.1 mg. The highest final survival rates of 90 and 92% were recorded at 12 and 15°C, respectively. At all higher water temperatures, larval final survival rates were significantly lower, with the minimum value of 41% at 24°C. In light of these results, it is evident that either temperatures lower or higher than 21°C are outside of the optimal range for L. lota larvae as they produce relatively slow growth or poor survival or both.



Burbot Lota lota (L.), which was widely distributed and abundant in the northern regions of the world a century ago, is presently considered to be one of the most endangered freshwater fish species in many parts of Europe (Harsányi and Aschenbrenner 1992). The principle causes of this include disturbances in habitat, inhibition of spawning migrations, overfishing and the lack of stocking programs (Harsányi and Aschenbrenner 1992, Steiner et al. 1996). To restore natural burbot populations, intensive indoor techniques of stocking material production should be developed (Wolnicki et al. 1999, Wolnicki 2001). However, relatively little is still known about burbot biology in the first months of life (Ryder and Pesendorfer 1992).

The aim of this work was to assess the effect of water temperature on the growth and survival of burbot larvae under controlled conditions. Obviously, knowledge on larval temperature requirements is an essential prerequisite of optimizing live diet-based burbot larviculture.

110 J. WOLNICKI et al.

Burbot larvae, which were the pooled offspring of many wild spawners, were reared from the first feeding (day 10 post-hatch) over a period of 20 days. Larvae of an initial size of 3.61 ± 0.27 mm (average TL ± SD; N = 15) were stocked into 20-dm3 flow-through aquaria at 18 per dm3. Five constant water temperatures of 12, 15, 18, 21 and 24°C (range ± 0.5°C), all in duplicate, were employed in the experiment. The water exchange ratio in the aquaria was set at once per 1.5 h. The dissolved oxygen content in the aquaria always exceeded 65% of saturation, the pH varied between 7.5 and 8.0 and the ammonia and nitrite concentrations were maintained below 0.1 and

0.02 mg dm-3, respectively.

The larvae were fed intensively with live, freshly hatched Artemia franciscana nauplii (grade III, ARGENT Chemical Laboratories, USA). The food was delivered manually in noticeable surplus five times a day between 08.00 and 22.00. During the same period, the aquaria were artificially lit at approximately 1000 lx at the water surface. The aquaria were cleaned twice a day, but dead larvae were removed and counted immediately after they were seen. All the fish remaining in the aquaria were counted on the final day of the experiment.

The fastest larval growth, either in terms of total length or body weight, was recorded for the temperature of 21°C, whereas at 12°C the larvae grew the slowest (Table 1). When the fish of the former group attained an average TL and BW of 14.4 mm and 37.1 mg, respectively, the latter reached only 9.8 mm and 11.1 mg, respectively. No differences were observed in larval growth in TL between the temperatures of 15, 18, and 24°C or in BW between 18 and 24°C.

A final survival rate of at least 90% was observed for the burbot reared at 12 and 15°C; this figure was significantly higher than that at the other water temperatures (Table 1). The fish reared at 21°C had the second highest survival rate at 72%. Fish losses were noted throughout the experiment at all temperatures (Fig. 1). The highest losses were observed from day 10 onwards at 18°C and up to day 5 at 24°C. Although all the dead larvae were collected at temperatures of 12, 15 and 18°C, 5 and 19% of those at 21 and 24°C, respectively, were not recovered. This was most likely due to the rapid decomposition of their minuscule bodies at night at the outset of the experiment. The parasitic protozoan Chilodonella sp. appeared on day 12 at all temperatures.

Therapeutic treatments (80 ppm formaldehyde for 30 min - Antychowicz 1996) on days 12 and 15 did not noticeably contribute to a decrease in either high burbot losses at 18°C or the considerably lower ones at 21 and 24°C (Fig. 1). It should be stressed


that no cannibalism occurred at any water temperature throughout the experiment, although in this species it may appear at about 12 mm TL (Sorokin 1968).

–  –  –

Burbot early larvae are known to have a relatively large mouth opening at a relatively minuscule body size (Ghan and Sprules 1993, Steiner et al. 1996). It is also a well-known fact that feeding larval burbot exclusively with dry diets is rather useless due to the extremely poor acceptance of most formulated feeds (Kainz and Gollmann 1996, Wolnicki et al. unpublished data). However, there are also contradictory opin

–  –  –

ions on the usefulness of different live food organisms as the start diet for larvae of this species. According to either Kujawa et al. (1999) or Shiri Harzevili et al. (2000), worse results were obtained when burbot larvae were fed exclusively with Artemia nauplii in comparison to protozoan or mixed diets of microalgae and rotifers because the size of the nauplii was too large.

The current experimental results, however, provide evidence to the fact that larval burbot can be successfully reared on live nauplii of the common commercial strain of Artemia franciscana from the very onset of exogenous feeding at a wide range of water temperatures. It should be pointed out that even at 18°C, where the burbot final survival rate was only 57% (Table 1), the cumulative losses recorded on day 10 were lower than 10%, i.e. similar to those found on this day at 12 or 15°C (Fig. 1).

The results of the present study show the considerable influence of rearing temperature on burbot growth in length and weight as well as on their survival (Table 1).

As evidenced by these results, a temperature of 21°C would be closest to the optimum growth temperature (OGT) for larvae of this species. The results presented here also indicate that a temperature of 18°C or lower and particularly 24°C are out of the optimal range for larval burbot because of either relatively slow fish growth or unsatisfactory survival or both. Our experimental data concur with the results of Kujawa et al.

(1999) who observed fast growth and the high survival of burbot larvae at 20°C.

When the results of this study are compared with those obtained for considerably older burbot it can be concluded that the OGT tends to decrease distinctly as this species ages. The OGT for two-month-old burbot juveniles at 150 mg BW was 15°C (Wolnicki et al. 2001).


Antychowicz J. 1996 - Fish diseases and intoxications - SGGW, Warszawa, 359 pp. (in Polish).

Ghan D., Sprules W.G. 1993 - Diet, prey selection, and growth of larval and juvenile burbot Lota lota (L.) - J.

Fish Biol. 42: 47-64.

Harsányi A., Aschenbrenner P. 1992 - Die Rutte Lota lota (Linnaeus, 1758) - Biologie und Aufzucht - Fischer & Teichwirt 10: 372-376.

Kainz E., Gollmann H.P. 1996 - Laichgewinnung, Erbrütung und erste Aufzuchtversuche bei Aalrutten (Lota lota) - Österr. Fisch. 49: 154-160.

Kujawa R., Kucharczyk D., Mamcarz A. 1999 - The rearing methods of burbot (Lota lota L.) fry under controlled conditions - European Aquaculture Society, Special Publication 27: 135-136.

Ryder R.A., Pesendorfer J. 1992 - Food, habitat, and community interactions of young-of-the-year burbot, Lota lota L., in a Precambian Shield lake - Hydrobiologia 243/244: 211-227.


Shiri Harzevili A., De Charleroy D., Auwerx J., Van Slycken J., Dhert P., Sorgeloos P. 2000 - Larval rearing of burbot (Lota lota L.) using rotifer Brachionus calyciflorus as start food - International Symposium Freshwater Fish Conservation: Options for the Future - Algarve, Portugal, 30.10-04.11.2000, 52-53.

Sokal R.R., Rohlf J.R. 1969 - Biometry. The principles and practice of statistics in biological research - San Francisco, H.F. Freeman and Co., 776 pp.

Sorokin V.N. 1968 - Biologiya molodi nalima (Lota lota L.) - Vopr. Ikhtiol. 8: 586-591.

Steiner V., Schotzko N., Kletzl M., Kainz E. 1996 - Ein Beitrag zur wirtschaftlichen Aufzucht kleiner, sensibler Fischlarven am Beispiel der Aalrutte (Lota lota L.) - Österr. Fisch. 49: 160-172.

Wolnicki J. 2001 - Perspectives for mass production of the burbot Lota lota (L.) stocking material in light of the most recent scientific studies in Poland and abroad - Przegl¹d Rybacki 2: 35-38 (in Polish).

Wolnicki J., Kleszcz M., Kamiñski R., Korwin-Kossakowski M., Myszkowski L. 1999 - Burbot: A new species in Polish aquaculture (chosen aspects of spawning, rearing fry in ponds and controlled larvae rearing) - In: IV Krajowa Konferencja Rybackich U¿ytkowników Jezior (Ed.) A. Wo³os, IRS Olsztyn, 99-105 (in Polish).

Wolnicki J., Myszkowski L., Kamiñski R. 2001 - Influence of water temperature on growth, survival, condition and biological quality of juvenile burbot Lota lota (L.) - Arch. Pol. Fish. 9: 79-86.




Celem pracy by³o zbadanie wp³ywu temperatury wody (12, 15, 18, 21 i 24°C) na wzrost i prze¿ywalnoœæ larw miêtusa Lota lota (L.) karmionych naupliusami Artemia franciscana w kontrolowanych warunkach œrodowiskowych. Larwy o pocz¹tkowej œredniej d³ugoœci ca³kowitej 3,61 mm podchowywano od dziesi¹tego dnia po wykluciu przez 20 dni w zagêszczeniu 18 sztuk na dm3. Najlepszy ich wzrost zanotowano w 21°C, w której na zakoñczenie doœwiadczenia osi¹gnê³y œredni¹ d³ugoœæ ca³kowit¹ 14,4 mm i œredni¹ masê cia³a 37,1 mg, przy prze¿ywalnoœci 72% (tab. 1). Larwy uzyska³y najmniejsze œrednie koñcowe rozmiary w najni¿szej temperaturze 12°C (d³ugoœæ ca³kowita 9,8 mm, masa cia³a 11,1 mg), jednak przy bardzo wysokiej prze¿ywalnoœci 90%. Najwiêksze œniêcia odnotowano w najwy¿szej temperaturze, zw³aszcza w pocz¹tkowych dniach doœwiadczenia (rys. 1), wskutek czego koñcowa prze¿ywalnoœæ miêtusa osi¹gnê³a tam zaledwie 41%. Wyniki doœwiadczenia udowodni³y, ¿e œwie¿o wyklute ¿ywe naupliusy komercyjnego szczepu solowca mog¹ byæ doskona³ym pierwszym pokarmem larw miêtusa, podchowywanych w szerokim przedziale temperatury wody w warunkach kontrolowanych. W œwietle wyników naszych badañ temperatura 21°C okaza³a siê najbli¿sz¹ optymalnej dla wzrostu miêtusa w larwalnym okresie ¿ycia.


Dr Jacek Wolnicki Instytut Rybactwa Œródl¹dowego Zak³ad Rybactwa Stawowego ¯abieniec, 05-500 Piaseczno Tel./Fax: +48 22 7562044; e-mail: jawol@infish.com.pl

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