Surfacing activity and food utilisation in the obligatory air-breathing fish ophiocephalus striatus as a function of body weight
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Reared in cylindrical aquaria containing different depths of water (2.5 to 70 cm) the obligatory air-breathing fish Ophiocephalus striatus, belonging to different weight classes (0.1, 0.75, 10, 20 and 41 g), was forced to swim vertically a longer or shorter distance per surfacing. Surfacing frequency was a depth-dependent, activity in individuals weighing less than 20 g in all weight classes, the frequency was nearly 2 times more in the series fed ad libitum on fish muscle, than in the one where the fish were starved. Owing to the sustained surfacing activity and the consequent fatigue, the test individuals ‘hung’ to the surface for a definite period. Neither frequency nor duration of hanging was depth-dependent. Mean hanging durations for the feeding series were 1.1, 3.8, 5.9, 7.9 and 8.8 hr/day in the 0.1, 0.75, 10, 20 and 41 g weight classes, respectively; the corresponding values for the starving series were 1.3, 15.0, 13.0, 12.7 and 12.8 hr/day. The distance swum by the feeding fish increased from 57 to 681 m/day and from 61 to 507 m/day in the 0.1 and 41 g individuals exposed to the minimum and maximum aquarium depths. Feeding rate, which was a depth-dependent activity, decreased from 280 to 113 g cal/g live fish/day with increasing weight. Rate and efficiency of conversion also decreased with increasing body weight; in larger fish conversion was dependent on volume rather than on depth of the aquarium. O2 uptake of feeding fish was about 6 times higher than the starving ones of the tested weight classes at different aquarium depths.
KeywordsSurfacing activity food conversion metabolism fed and starved series body weight
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