Evaluation of natural food for planktivorous fish in Lakes Phewa, Begnas, and Rupa in Pokhara Valley, Nepal
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Six floating 4-m3 cages stocked with 40 silver carp per cage (three cages) and 40 bighead carp per cage (three cages) were placed in each of the three subtropical Lakes Phewa, Begnas, and Rupa. The fish were cultured, without supplying artificial feed, from August 1994 to December 1995. Fish growth was positively correlated with water temperature, and a slight loss in weight occurred in January when water temperature fell below 16°C in all the lakes. Fish growth was better in Lake Phewa than in Lakes Begnas and Rupa, where food might not have been sufficient or of a quality to sustain fish growth. The fish fed on mostly indigestible phytoplankton, Microcystis aeruginosa in Lake Begnas and on Tabellaria fenestrata and Microcystis aeruginosa in Lake Rupa, which can lead to poor fish growth. The maximum growth rate of silver carp (5.8 g day−1) and bighead carp (4.7 g day−1) occurred in Lake Phewa when Ceratium hirundinella and Peridinium spp. were abundant from August through October. The food particles found in the gut were mostly similar in silver and bighead carp, though Cladocerans (Bosmina longirostris) were observed sparsely in the gut contents of bighead carp only.
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