Laboratory simulation of the effects of environmental salinity on wild‐caught juveniles of European sea bass Dicentrarchus labrax and gilthead seabream Sparus aurata
Gilthead seabream Sparus aurata and European sea bass Dicentrarchus labrax, are two important species in Mediterranean aquaculture. In the wild, their juveniles occur in brackish areas such as lagoons and river deltas. Even though the juveniles seem to favour brackish environments, low salinity incurs an energy cost for osmoregulation. This paper presents the results of a series of laboratory experiments exploring the effects of salinity on growth, feeding, food conversion, survival and maintenance energy requirements of wild‐caught juveniles. The fish were kept in the laboratory, divided in groups of 20 in small tanks of 50 l each, and supplied with biologically filtered seawater of four salinity levels (8, 18, 28‰ and natural seawater) and fixed temperature (20 ± 1·4° C). The fish were fed pelleted feed throughout the experiment. Both species showed great similarity in their responses to lower salinities. Satiation time for both species increased with decreasing salinity, while maintenance requirements (required daily ration and energy) increased as with increasing salinity. Growth and feed conversion is highest for salinities around 28‰ and lower for salinities above and below. Both species share common physiological features, and intermediate salinities are optimal for their performance in nature and in captivity.
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