The effects of a model mixture (HMMM) of seven heavy metals (Cu, Zn, Ni, Cr, Pb, Cd, Mn) on the rainbow trout Oncorhynchus mykiss at all stages of development (embryos, larvae, adults) were investigated based on the annual average concentrations of these metals in cooling waste waters discharging from Ignalina Nuclear Power Plant (Lithuania) into the Drūkšiai lake. According to mortality parameters, the most sensitive to HMMM were larvae, although no significant differences between the sensitivity of embryos and adult fish to HMMM were found. Maximal toxic effect of HMMM was observed during the hatching period. Long-term exposure to sublethal concentrations of HMMM affected embryo development, growth of larvae, their cardio-respiratory and behavioural responses, induced significant changes in morphological, morpho-physiological, physiological and haematological parameters of adult fish. Respiratory responses and growth parameters of fish were found to be the most sensitive to low concentrations of HMMM. Adult fish were capable of detecting and avoiding low, sublethal concentrations of HMMM. Heavy metals in a mixture at low concentrations were more toxic than single ones. According to the background of the damages induced by HMMM, after-effects in a fish organism, as well as in a whole population, can be predicted.
Fish, stages of developmentheavy metalsmodel mixture, heavy metalsphysiological and behavioural responsesrainbow trout Oncorhynchus mykisstoxic effects, heavy metals