Investigations into early larval feeding practices for the tiger barb Puntigrus tetrazona

The Tiger Barb Puntigrus tetrazona is one of the highest trade volume freshwater species in the ornamental fish industry. Culture of larval Tiger Barb is largely dependent on live feeds at first feeding and throughout early life stages, leading to increased cost relative to the use of commercially produced microparticulate diets (MDs). Potential for the successful culture of Tiger Barb by using MDs from first feeding was evaluated here, with a focus on the physiological characteristics that limit digestive capacity in larval cyprinids, as well as the hypothetical benefit of including feed attractants in formulated larval feeds. Comparable growth and survival were achieved for the first 14 d of feeding with one of three MDs when compared to feeding with brine shrimp Artemia spp. Histological preparation revealed evidence for a fully functional pharyngeal jaw structure, including pharyngeal teeth and a pharyngeal pad, from 6 d posthatch, which coincided with first feeding. The masticatory function of these structures likely facilitated the breakdown and subsequent utilization of the relatively complex macronutrients that are characteristic of MDs. Inclusion of top-coated potential attractants (tryptophan, taurine, trimethylglycine betaine, or a mix of the three) with the most successful MD from the original trial failed to induce an increased feeding response, as evidenced by the observation of similar feeding incidence, total larval protein content, and tryptic enzyme activity relative to a negative control MD without added attractants. The results of this research suggest that the successful culture of larval Tiger Barb is possible with the use of commercially available MDs, potentially leading to cost savings and increased resilience of producers in the ornamental aquaculture industry.
Tiger barbs, Fishes--Larvae--Physiology, Fishes--Feeding and feeds, Ornamental fishes
Lipscomb, T. N., Durland Donahou, A. L., Yanong, R. P., Boldt, N. C., & DiMaggio, M. A. (2022). Investigations into early larval feeding practices for the tiger barb Puntigrus tetrazona. North American Journal of Aquaculture, 84(1), 53-65.