Rotifer enrichment in marine hatcheries

Rotifers by itself do not possess high nutritional value.  However, because of their appropriate sizes to the small larvae such as those of marine fish, rotifers have been successfully used in marine hatcheries after been adequately enriched to meet the nutritional demands of target larvae for proper neural development. Brachionus plicatilis is a common rotifer in marine hatcheries.

Enriching rotifers is done by feeding the rotifers on the food which is required by fish larvae. In other words, the rotifers act as carriers to convey the nutrients from its sources and pass it to the end users (fish larvae). The types of enrichments although vary, it should meet the requirements of fish larvae. Also, the production economics and environmental concerns related to the enrichments should be considered.

The marine microalgae are widely used for enriching rotifers in marine hatchery. Their wide use is based on their richness in essential nutrients such as essential fatty acids, carbohydrates, sterols, protein and vitamins. Moreover, the use of microalgae such as “Nannochloropsis” does not lead to pollution (fouling) in the culture system as compared to the use of powders and emulsions. The nutritional merit of enriched rotifers will depend on the feed they have ingested. This meets the say that tells “rotifers are what they eat”.

Rotifers can be also enriched by feeding on a variety of small micron feeds. In such case, the resulting rotifer will have the nutritional profile of those feeds. It is believed that the last 6-12 hours of rotifer feeding will significantly determine the value of the rotifers.

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