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Effects of early weaning strategies on growth, survival and digestive enzyme activities in cobia (Rachycentron canadum L.) larvae

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The effects of weaning strategies of cobia (Rachycentron canadum L.) larvae to commercial microdiets, either from rotifers or from Artemia, on growth, survival and enzymatic digestive capacity, were investigated. In the first experiment, cobia larvae were weaned from rotifers by co-feeding with a microdiet (Otohime) from 8, 13 or 20 days post-hatching (dph). The larvae in the control treatment were fed rotifers (2–12 dph), Artemia nauplii from 7 dph, and co-fed with the microdiet from 20 dph. In the second experiment, the larvae were weaned from Artemia, which was fed to the larvae from 7 dph, by co-feeding with a microdiet (NRD) from 8, 13 or 18 dph. The larvae in control treatment were fed rotifers, then Artemia to the end of the experiment (28 dph). Weaning of cobia larvae onto a microdiet directly from rotifers significantly reduced growth, survival and digestive capacity of the larvae and did not lead to larval acceptance of the microdiet, compared to those weaned from Artemia in the first experiment. Early weaning of cobia larvae onto NRD microdiet (on 8 or 13 dph) from Artemia in the second experiment also reduced growth, survival rate and gut maturation index, compared to those fed live feed. With available microdiets, weaning of cobia larvae could start from Artemia at around 18 dph in order to obtain comparable growth, survival and gut maturation to larvae fed live feed.

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Artemia franciscana


Alkaline phosphatase


Arachidonic acid


Brush border membrane


Docosahexaenoic acid


Days post-hatch


Great Salt Lake Artemia


Eicosapentaenoic acid


Highly unsaturated fatty acids


Live feed


Leucine aminopeptidase


Leucine-alanine peptidase




Standard length


Research Institute for Aquaculture No.1


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We sincerely thank the project “Building Advanced Research, Education and Extension Capacity for RIA-1” (Project No. SRV0033) co-funded by Norwegian and Vietnamese Governments for financial support to this study. The authors also thank the Quota Scheme at Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) for Nguyen Quang Huy’s PhD scholarship. We thank T. Bardal and at Department of Biology (NTNU) for excellent technical guidance with enzyme analyses, and colleagues at Research Institute for Aquaculture No.1 (RIA1) in Cua Lo for enthusiastic participation in the experiments of this study. The experiments were conducted under the Norwegian “Animal Protection Law”.

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Correspondence to Huy Quang Nguyen.

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Nguyen, H.Q., Reinertsen, H., Wold, PA. et al. Effects of early weaning strategies on growth, survival and digestive enzyme activities in cobia (Rachycentron canadum L.) larvae. Aquacult Int 19, 63–78 (2011).

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