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Effects of different food restrictions on somatic and otolith growth in Nile tilapia reared under controlled conditions

Massou A.M., Panfili J., Laë R., Baroiller J.F., Mikolasek O., Fontenelle G., Le Bail P.Y.. 2002. Journal of Fish Biology, 60 : p. 1093-1104.

DOI: 10.1006/jfbi.2002.1917

Nile tilapia Oreochromis niloticus, initial age 12 days, were given an unrestricted (NR) or restricted (R) ration over 93 days which resulted in fish of very different sizes although the body condition factor (K) and the viscero-somatic index (Iv) remained almost unchanged. In a second stage (64 days) each group (NR & R) was divided into three subgroups that were subjected to 0 (NR0, R0), 15 (NR15, R15) and 30 (NR30, R30) days of food restriction, respectively. The impact of the different treatments on the somatic growth during the second stage of the experiment had an effect, with a highly significant difference between the mean±S.D. masses (MT) in the different subgroups (NR0=115.0 ± 26.6g; NRI5=94.8 ± 24.9g; NR30=56.3 ± 28g; R0=76.4 ± 20.1g; R15=72.1 ± 17.6g; R30=43.6 ± 17.2g). Similarly, K and I, decreased. Irrespective of the initial feeding condition, the width of the otolith microincrements started to decrease at the end of the first or second day of restricted feeding. In the subgroups given a restricted food ration for 30 days (NR30 and R30), this decrease reached a plateau at about day 30, which was maintained even when the restriction had ended. This slowed growth did not lead to any marked halt in microincrement formation, since there were no significant differences (ANOVA; P>0.05) in the numbers of increments counted in the various subgroups. The results show that in 153 day old fish, a period of severe food restriction, even if prolonged (15 to 30 days), had no influence on the timing of the laying down of microincrements but only affected their growth.
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