Effects of food density and temperature on feeding and growth of young inland silversides (Menidia beryllina)

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Food consumption and growth rates of 7–28‐day‐old Menidia beryllina were measured in response to natural ranges of temperature and prey availability. Feeding level, temperature and age all had significant effects on growth rate, although the effect of feeding level explained most of the variance. Feeding level also had a significant effect on gross growth efficiency, but temperature and age did not. Absolute growth rates (mg per day) increased dramatically with temperature, feeding level, and age. Variability in growth was greatest for fish feeding at the lowest feeding level. For a given fish weight, temperature had a positive effect on consumption rate, and maximum consumption (Cmax) of any treatment combination reached 75% body weight per day. Maximum growth rate was estimated at 24.6% body weight per day, and gross growth efficiency reached an estimated maximum of 0.375 at an ingestion rate of 25% body weight per day. Starved larvae lost on average 5.4% body weight per day and larvae required 6.4% body weight food consumption per day for maintenance. Multiple regressions of feeding level, temperature, and age/size on instantaneous growth rates indicated that increases in temperature increased maintenance requirements and required that fish consume a greater proportion of Cmax to attain maximum growth. Growth rates decreased with increases in temperature for fish eating a specific weight of food. Copyright © 1993, Wiley Blackwell. All rights reserved

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Journal of Fish Biology