Characterization of an Experimental Indoor Larval Production System for Red Snapper

Document Type


Publication Date



Coastal Sciences, Gulf Coast Research Laboratory


Over the past several years, we have developed an experimental-scale rearing system for larval red snapper Lutjanus campechanus that combines extensive outdoor production of live-feed zooplankton with intensive larval fish rearing. The salient features of the system are (1) use of size-graded copepods as live feed; (2) culture in clear water; (3) three-phase water management consisting of an initial static water phase followed by a volume-doubling phase in which water is gradually added and, finally, a recirculation-biofiltration phase; (4) a lowered salinity of 25 g/L water; and (5) an indoor location at constant temperature under artificial light. A total of 19,835 juvenile red snapper were produced from 12 larval rearing tanks in three separate batches with an overall survival of 16.5%. Survival varied from 1% to 31% in individual larval rearing tanks. Water quality variables (oxygen, temperature, salinity, total and un-ionized ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, pH, and alkalinity) were not significantly correlated with larval fish survival. A mean number of 5.36 copepods/mL was added daily to larval tanks during the culture period, with a range of 0.57-23.48 copepods/mL. There was no correlation between mean feed rates and survival in individual tanks. The mean residual copepods per milliliter averaged 2.24, with a range of from 0 to 15.86. There was a significant negative correlation between residual copepod density and survival.

Publication Title

North American Journal of Aquaculture





First Page


Last Page


Find in your library