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The acute toxicity and sublethal effects of nitrite on growth and feed utilization of European eel, Anguilla anguilla (L.)
Kamstra, A.; Span, J.A.; Van Weerd, J.H. (1996). The acute toxicity and sublethal effects of nitrite on growth and feed utilization of European eel, Anguilla anguilla (L.). Aquac. Res. 27: 903-911
In: Aquaculture Research. Blackwell: Oxford. ISSN 1355-557X, more
Peer reviewed article  

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Keywords
    Feeding; Growth; Nitrites; Toxicity; Anguilla anguilla (Linnaeus, 1758) [WoRMS]; Marine; Brackish water; Fresh water

Authors  Top 
  • Kamstra, A.
  • Span, J.A.
  • Van Weerd, J.H.

Abstract
    Eels cultured in recirculation systems are regularly confronted with high concentrations of nitrite, a well-known toxicant for fish. In this study, the acute toxicity of nitrite to European eel, Anguilla anguilla (L.), was assessed by determination of a 96-h LC50. The 96-h LC50 measured for eels was 143.7 ± 2.3 gm-3 NO2-N (mean SD), which is high compared with the LC50 for other fish species.The sublethal effects of nitrite on growth and feed utilization were evaluated in a feeding trial lasting 77 days, divided into an acclimation period and two experimental periods. Eels of 24 g on average were divided over 20 aquaria, connected to five separate recirculation systems. In each system, the desired nitrite concentration level was maintained by water suppletion and continuous addition of NaNO2. Fish were continuously exposed to levels of 0, 1, 5, 10 or 20 g m-3 NO2-N. Half of the experimental groups were fed ad libitum to study effects on feed intake, while the other half were fed a restricted ration to study effects on feed utilization. At the start and end of each experimental period, nitrite in the blood plasma, haemoglobin and methaemoglobin were measured. Fish weight and body composition were used to calculate specific growth rate and conversion efficiencies.In the range of concentrations studied, no significant effect of nitrite on maximum growth rate or feed utilization could be demonstrated. At the start of the experiment, low concentrations of nitrite were detected in the blood plasma, which suggests an ability of the eel to adapt to environmental nitrite. Nitrite, in the range normally encountered in intensive eel farms (max. 15 g m-3 NO2-N), can therefore be considered a factor of little significance.

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