After artificial reproduction of tench, larvae must be maintained indoors, and studies on rearing conditions are needed, focussing on the reduction of labour and costs. Three experiments on larvae (5th day post-hatch) were conducted for 25 days using Artemia nauplii as the sole food in order to determine basic feeding and density conditions during the first rearing period. Tench were maintained in 25 l fibreglass tanks, supplied with an artesian water flow throughout of 0.2 l min−1. Water temperature was 22.5 ± 1°C, and the photoperiod was natural. Larvae fed on a restricted amount of nauplii reached high survival rates, even with the minimum of 50 nauplii larva−1 day−1. This amount of food may be sufficient at least for the first 25 days of exogenous feeding if fast growth is not the priority, and high densities can be maintained with good survival rates (over 90% up to 160 larvae l−1 and 77% with 320 larvae l−1). When food was supplied in excess once a day, high survival rates were achieved (91–97%), without differences among the densities tested. Animals at a density of 100 l−1 reached the highest length (15.57 mm) and individual weight (46.8 mg). This growth is greater than those reported in studies feeding several times a day. It could be deduced that, while live food remains available for tench, it is not necessary to feed so frequently. Considering the relationship among the initial number of animals, final survival and growth and ration supplied, the new data reported here are useful to establish suitable stocking densities under both culture and experimental conditions.
Tinca tincaTench Larvae rearing Feeding Live food Density