Intraspecific growth variation among rainbow trout and brook trout: Impact of initial body weight and feeding level

Richard Skøtt Rasmussen, T. Ostenfeld

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This study describes growth variation within groups of salmonids and the relation to initial fish weights and feeding levels. PIT-tagged rainbow trout (RT) and brook trout (BT) of start weight 120–170 g were reared in separate tanks for 9 weeks. Both species were fed each day either a high ration close to satiation (H) or half of this ration (L). Four experimental groups (RT-H, RT-L, BT-H, BT-L) were studied with regard to their propensity to increase weight in accord with their initial weight. The slope of the regression line between initial weights (g) and weight increases for individuals in each tank in each period was applied as indicator for this propensity (termed “slope”). All calculated slopes in the experiment were positive which indicates the general ability of weighty fish to gain more weight than smaller individuals. The average slope during all 9 weeks was 2–4 times higher for RT-L (5.91) than for all other groups (RT-H: 1.50, P <0.01; BT-H: 1.76, P <0.01 and BT-L: 2.88, P <0.05), indicating the particular propensity of large RT to gain weight when feed was restricted. Overall, ration level had large impact on slopes (H: 1.63, L: 4.39, P <0.01), while this was not the case for species (RT: 3.71, BT: 2.32, P > 0.05). The magnitude of slopes decreased over time (weeks 0–3:4.27, weeks 3–6:3.02 and weeks 6–9:1.74, P <0.05). The observed differences in weight gains between experimental groups were reflected in differences in coefficients of variations (CVs) for body growth. RT had larger body weight (BW) CVs compared to BT (0.257 vs. 0.206, P <0.01) indicating more uneven feed share among RT than among BT in general. RT-L had significantly higher BW CVs than all other groups (0.300 vs. 0.184–0.229, P <0.01). The observed differences in weight gains enhance size variations in terms of higher CVs, and this may have implications for feeding tactics in aquaculture where large size variations in groups may be disadvantageous to fish farmers.
Original languageEnglish
JournalAquaculture International
Issue number5
Pages (from-to)933-941
Publication statusPublished - 2010


  • Rearing
  • Coefficient of variation
  • Condition factor
  • Size variation


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