Location: Warmwater Aquaculture Research UnitTitle: Delayed feeding of channel catfish fry stocked in ponds Author
Submitted to: Journal of the World Aquaculture Society
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 3/26/2013
Publication Date: 10/23/2013
Citation: Mischke, C.C., Greenway, T.E., Griffin, M.J., Li, M.H., Wise, D.J. 2013. Delayed feeding of channel catfish fry stocked in ponds. Journal of the World Aquaculture Society. 44(5):750-755. Interpretive Summary: This study looked at the industry standards and the alternative practice of delaying feeding of fry to utilize natural pond productivity. This study showed there is no need to feed commercial diets during the first 6 weeks in the pond and that fry could utilize the zooplankton in the pond. Delaying feeding could save over $99.55/ha in feed costs.
Technical Abstract: We compared production variables between channel catfish, Ictalurus punctatus, nursery ponds fed according to industry standards, that is feeding immediately at stocking, to an alternative practice of delaying feeding for 6 wk after stocking in an effort to utilize natural pond productivity and reduce feed use. Twelve 0.04'ha ponds were fertilized and stocked with swim-up fry (4–5 d posthatch) at a rate of 10,000/pond (250,000/ha). Ponds were then randomly assigned to either the standard feeding protocol (feeding daily starting immediately at stocking) or an alternative feeding protocol (no feeding until 6 wk post-stocking). After 18 wk of production, there were no differences in water quality or zooplankton abundance between the two treatments. Fish length was not affected by treatment throughout the study, and survival and total weight harvested were similar. Total kg of feed fed was significantly reduced in the delayed feed treatment, averaging 26'kg/pond less feed fed. If proper fertilization practices are implemented, large numbers of desirable zooplankton for catfish fry culture are attained, and these zooplankton are able to sustain catfish fry stocked up to 250,000/ha. Therefore, no commercial diets are required during the first 6 wk of culture, saving over $95.55/ha in initial feed costs.