Developing Methods For Harvesting Rosy Red Fathead Minnow Eggs

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Coastal Sciences, Gulf Coast Research Laboratory


We evaluated the effectiveness of different types of spawning substrates in retaining the eggs of rosy red fathead minnow Pimephales prontelas, the potential substrate preference of the fish, and the effectiveness of different concentrations of sodium sulfite for detaching eggs from substrates without affecting egg survival. Egg adherence was determined by placing replicate sections of four types of conveyor belt material of varying roughness into a pool stocked with fathead minnow. A screened tray was suspended below each substrate to catch the eggs that did not adhere. Substrate preference was evaluated by following a similar protocol, but only three males were stocked (equal to the number of replicates of each substrate). To test the efficacy of sodium sulfite in removing eggs, substrates with eggs were placed in 0.0, 1.5, and 3.0% solutions and uniformly agitated. The effect of exposure time and egg age was tested by exposing eggs to a 1.5% solution of sodium sulfite for 0 (control), 5, 10, 15, 20, 25, and 30 min. The two rougher substrates retained a significantly greater percentage of eggs than the two smoother ones (72-77% versus 34-39%). Nest locations near the water inlet and air stones were preferred regardless of substrate type. The 1.5% sodium sulfite solution was as effective as the 3.0% solution in removing eggs from substrates. There were no significant differences in hatching rate or percentage of atypical fry resulting from exposure of eggs to 1.5% sodium sulfite for up to 30 min. An egg harvesting system consisting of placing a rough or textured substrate in well-aerated locations and subsequent egg removal with sodium sulfite appears to be feasible, although economic questions remain.

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North American Journal of Aquaculture





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