Review of Sunshine Bass Fingerling Culture in Tanks
Year-round production is a top priority of hybrid striped bass producers.
Most Morone culturists produce sunshine bass (white bass (♀)
X striped bass (♂)) that have very tiny fry and require rotifers
as their first food. Almost 100% of the fingerlings are produced in ponds where
high survival rates depend on fry being stocked at the right time - before
rotifer concentrations peak and before copepods appear. Pond culture drawbacks
include the inability to monitor growth and survival and seasonal limitations
due to weather. Tank culture overcomes these problems and is necessary for
year-round production. Little tank fingerling production has occurred because
costs are higher than for pond culture. Supplying live food is a major expense.
Sunshine bass larvae are stocked at 4-5 days post hatch (dph) and are fed enriched
cultured rotifers. The rotifers require microalgae. Within a few days the fry
are weaned to cultured Artemia nauplii. Culture of the larger palmetto bass
and striped bass starts with feeding Artemia nauplii. By about 15 dph, weaning
to an artificial diet begins and is completed by 26 dph. Grading at that time
reduces cannibalism. Live food culture is risky, and requires time, space,
costs and expertise. Recent innovations may alleviate some of these problems.
High density (up to 16,000 /ml) rotifer production methods are being developed.
These systems require constant feeding, oxygen, pH and ammonia control, suspended
particle removal, and proper harvesting. Fatty acid enriched algae pastes can
replace cultured algae. Ammonia and pH problems can be controlled with products
like Chloram-X® and auto-sensing pH controllers. Water is conserved by
utilizing recirculation systems for rotifer and fingerling production. Use
of commercially available decapsulated brine shrimp eggs further reduces time
and physical risk. Increased demand for fingerlings during the winter and reduced
culture costs will increase tank fingerling production.