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Latin american journal of aquatic research

On-line version ISSN 0718-560X

Lat. Am. J. Aquat. Res. vol.42 no.3 Valparaíso July 2014

 

Research Article

 

Effect of addition of Navicula sp. on plankton composition and postlarvae growth of Litopenaeus vannamei reared in culture tanks with zero water exchange

Efecto de la adición de Navicula sp. sobre la composición del plancton y el crecimiento de postlarvas de Litopenaeus vannamei criadas en estanques de cultivo sin recambio de agua

 

Yllana Ferreira-Marinho1, Luis Otavio-Brito2, Clarissa Vilela Figueiredo da Silva1 Itala Gabriela Sobral dos Santos1 & Alfredo Olivera-Gàlvez1

1 Laboratório de Maricultura Sustentável, Departamento de Pesca e Aquicultura Universidade Federal Rural de Pernambuco, Rua Dom Manoel de Medeiros s/n Dois Irmãos, Recife, PE, Brazil.
2
Departamento de Assistência Técnica e Extensão Rural, Instituto Agronômico de Pernambuco Av. General San Martín 1371, Bongi, Recife, PE, Brazil.
Corresponding author: Yllana Ferreira-Marinho (yllanamar@gmail.com)


ABSTRACT. The aim of this study was to evaluate the effect of the addition of Navicula sp. on plankton composition and postlarvae growth of Litopenaeus vannamei reared in culture tanks with zero water exchange systems. Four treatments were considered: zero water exchange (ZWE); ZWE with the addition of feed (ZWE-F); ZWE with the addition of Navicula sp. (ZWE-N) and ZWE with the addition of feed and Navicula sp. (ZWE-FN), all in triplicate. Shrimp of 17.7 ± 0.02 mg were stocked at a density of 2500 shrimp m-3 and microalgae added on the 1st, 5th and 15th day at a density of 5x104 cell mL-1. The shrimp were fed a commercial feed composed by 42% crude protein four times a day except in the ZWE treatment. For data analysis we used Cochran, Shapiro-Wilk, ANOVA, Tukey and Student-t tests (P < 0.05). The most frequent genera were: Anabaena, Arcella, Asplanchma, Bosmina, Brachionus, Cylindrotheca, Daphnia, Fragilaria, Hemiaulus, Keratella, Orthoseira, Oscillatoria, Phymatodocis, Rhabdonema, Skeletonema, Sckizothrix and Ulothrix. Significant differences between treatments were observed for TAN, NO2-N, alkalinity, final weight, weight gain, final biomass, biomass gain, feed conversion ratio, specific growth rate and survival. The ZWE-FN treatment showed better production parameters, indicating the benefits of the addition of Navicula sp. as a natural food source for L. vannamei postlarvae in zero water exchange systems.

Keywords: Litopenaeus vannamei, Navicula, phytoplankton, zooplankton, cyanobacteria, aquaculture.


RESUMEN. El objetivo de este estudio fue evaluar el efecto de la adición de Navicula sp. en la composición del plancton y el crecimiento de postlarvas de Litopenaeus vannamei en estanques de cultivo sin recambio de agua. Se realizaron cuatro tratamientos: sin recambio de agua (ZWE); ZWE con adición de ración alimenticia (ZWE-F); ZWE más la adición de la diatomea Navicula sp. (ZWE-N) y ZWE con adición de la ración alimenticia y adicionalmente Navicula sp. (ZWE-FN), todos ellos con tres repeticiones. Los camarones de 17,7 ± 0,02 mg fueron sembrados a una densidad de 2500 camarones m-3, las microalgas fueron adicionadas el 1°, 5° y 15° día de cultivo a una densidad de 5x104 cel mL-1. Los camarones se alimentaron con una ración comercial con 42% de proteína cruda, cuatro veces al día. Para los análisis estadísticos se utilizaron las pruebas de Cochran, Shapiro Wilk, ANOVA, Tukey y t de Student (P < 0,05). Los géneros más frecuentes fueron: Anabaena, Arcella, Asplanchma, Bosmina, Brachionus, Cylindrotheca, Daphnia, Fragilaria, Hemiaulus, Keratella, Orthoseira, Oscillatoria, Phymatodocis, Rhabdonema, Skeletonema, Sckizothrix and Ulothrix. Se encontraron diferencias significativas entre los tratamientos para TAN, NO2-N, alcalinidad, peso final, ganancia de peso, biomasa final, ganancia de biomasa, índice de conversión, tasa de crecimiento específico y supervivencia. El tratamiento ZWE-FN mostró los mejores parámetros de producción, resaltando los beneficios de la adición de Navicula sp. como fuente de alimento natural para las postlarvas L. vannamei.

Palabras clave: Litopenaeus vannamei, Navicula, fitoplancton, zooplancton, cyanobacteria, acuicultura.


 

INTRODUCTION

Large quantities of formulated feed with high animal protein content can cause eutrophication in aquaculture systems, increasing the nutrient load in effluents (Tacon et al., 2002). Their use increases production costs (Audelo-Naranjo et al., 2012) and can result in an insufficient supply of some essential nutrients (Crab et al., 2007), thus becoming a limiting factor in intensive systems. To minimize or reduce this nutrient deficiency, organic and inorganic fertilizers can be added to the cultivation systems to promote growth of the microbial community, which is a food source (Brito et al., 2009a, 2009b; Asaduzzaman et al., 2010; Lara-Anguiano et al., 2013). Shrimp can feed on natural biota such as phytoplankton, zooplankton and bacteria present in culture systems (Otoshi et al., 2011). This biota can supply some of the shrimps' nutritional needs (Martínez-Cordova & Enríquez-Ocaña, 2007), and improve the activity of digestive enzymes (Xu et al., 2012).

In intensive farming systems with Pacific white shrimp (Litopenaeus vannamei), microalgae (through photosynthesis) and the other constituents of the microbial community can play an important role in recycling nutrients (Audelo-Naranjo et al., 2012; Sánchez et al., 2012) decreasing the anoxic zones in ponds and alleviating the nutrient load in wastewater (Martínez-Porchas et al., 2010), while providing a nutrition source for shrimp in semi-intensive (Otoshi et al., 2011) and intensive systems (Sánchez et al., 2012).

Depending on the species and culture conditions, benthic diatoms contain an average of 32 to 38% crude protein (Gordon et al., 2006). However, Khatoon et al. (2009) found that Navicula sp., grown in a Conway culture medium contains 494 g of crude protein, 259 g of lipids and 111 g of carbohydrates per kilogram of dry matter, and the profile of polyunsaturated fatty acids includes 82 g of EPA and 22 g of DHA for each kilogram of total fatty acids. Despite the importance of diatoms, little attention has been paid to them in zero water exchange systems, mainly due to the reduced availability of light and the predominance of heterotrophic bacteria.

In zero or minimal exchange systems, the main forms of nitrogen removal are photosynthetic and heterotrophic bacterial activities (Cohen et al., 2005; Becerra-Dorame et al., 2011). For this reason, in zero or minimal water exchange, it is necessary to know the components of the natural community and understand the role of each one in the entire ecosystem (Avnimelech, 2009; Crab et al., 2012).

In this respect, the aim of this study was to evaluate the effect of the addition of the benthic diatom Navicula sp. on the plankton composition and postlarvae growth of Litopenaeus vannamei, reared in culture tanks in zero water exchange.

MATERIALS AND METHODS

Experimental conditions

An indoor trial was conducted for 20 days at the Sustainable Mariculture Laboratory (LAMARSU) of the Fisheries and Aquaculture Department (DEPAq) of the Rural Federal University at Pernambuco (UFRPE), Recife, Brazil (08°01'00.16"S, 034°56'57.74"W). The experimental design was completely randomized with four treatments: zero water exchange (ZWE); ZWE with the addition of feed (ZWE-F); ZWE with the addition of Navicula sp. (ZWE-N) and ZWE with the addition of feed and Navicula sp. (ZWE-FN), all in triplicate.

Five days prior to stocking shrimp, water from a matrix tank (TAN 0.12 mg L-1, NO2-N 2.26 mg L-1, alkalinity 100 mg CaCO3 L-1 and settleable solids 27 mL L-1) was mixed and equally distributed to fill twelve black-plastic tanks (50x35x23 cm) up to approximately 50% of the volume, completed with 50% sea water (with a salinity of 35 g L-1, filtered and treated with a chlorine solution of 10 mg L-1, then dechlorinated and aerated for 48 h).

Aeration was supplied with three airstones from a 2-HP blower. There was no water exchange during the experimental period, but dechlorinated freshwater was added to compensate for evaporation. The light intensity was kept at ~1000 lux using a fluorescent lamp with a 12-h light/dark photoperiod.

Shrimp stocking, feeding, and addition of organic carbon

Specific pathogen-free postlarvae (17.7 ± 0.02 mg) of L. vannamei were obtained from a commercial laboratory (Potiporã, Barra de Sirinhaém, PE, Brazil) and stocked at a density of 2500 shrimp m-3. The postlarvae were fed four times a day (at 08:00, 11:00, 14:00 and 17:00 h), with a commercial shrimp feed with 42% crude protein (Aquavita Premiun, Guaraves, Paraíba, Brazil) based on Van Wyk table (1999), and adjusted daily according to estimated shrimp consumption, mortality rate and leftover feed. Molasses (40% organic carbon) were added once a day to establish a 12:1 C:N ratio in the experimental units throughout the culture period, assuming that 50% of the amount of feed is organic carbon and 1 kg of the 42% crude protein feed with 6.25%-N has 67.2 g of nitrogen, there is a need for 306.4 g organic carbon, or 766.1 g of molasses (Samocha et al., 2007; Avnimelech, 2009).

Shrimp performance parameters

Shrimp weight was monitored at the end of the experiment, when biomass gain, specific growth rate (SGR), mean final weight, weekly growth, feed conversion ratio (FCR), survival and yield were determined based on the following equations: Biomass gain (g) = final biomass (g) - initial biomass (g); SGR (% day-1) = 100 x [ln final weight (g) - ln initial weight (g)]/time (days); Final weight (g) = final biomass (g)/survival; Weekly growth (g week-1) = biomass gain (g)/times (weeks) of culture; FCR = feed supplied (dry weight)/biomass gain; Survival (%) = (number of individuals at the end of the evaluation period/initial number of individuals stocked) x 100; Yield (kg m-3 ) = final biomass (kg)/volume of experimental unit (m3).

Diatom addition

The benthic diatoms (Navicula sp.) were obtained from LAMARSU-DEPAq-UFRPE and cultured in a Conway medium (Walne, 1966) containing FeCl3.6H2O 1.30 g L-1; MnCl2.4H2O 0.36 g L-1; H3BO3 33.6 g L-1; EDTA 45.0 g L-1; NaH2PO4.2H2O 20.0 g L-1; NaNO3 100.0 g L-1; ZnCl2 1.1 g L-1; CoCl2.6H2O 1.0 g L-1; (NH4)6MO7O24.4H2O 0.45 g L-1; CuSO4.5H2O 1.0 g L-1; Na2SiO3.5H2O 2.0 g L-1; vitamins B12 0.1 g L-1 and B1 1.0 g L-1, which was used in a 1.0 mL L-1 solution, maintained in water with 30 g L-1 salinity, pH 7.9, temperature 25 ± 1°C and the light intensity was kept at ~2000 lux using a fluorescent lamp with a 12-h light/dark photoperiod. Diatoms were added on 1st, 5th, 10th and 15th days of cultivation in the (ZWE-N) and (ZWE-FN) tanks at a concentration of 5x104 mL-1, corresponding to an addition of approximately 400 mL of microalgae to the tanks.

Water quality monitoring

Dissolved oxygen and temperature were monitored with a DO meter (YSI model 55, Yellow Springs, Ohio, USA), twice a day (08.00 and 16.00 h). Salinity (YSI 30 model 30/50, Yellow Springs, Ohio, USA), pH (pH meter YSI model 100, Yellow Springs, Ohio, USA), total ammonia nitrogen (TAN), nitrite-nitrogen (NO2-N) and alkalinity (CaCO3) were monitored every five days using a spectrophotometer (ALFAKIT-AT10P, Brazil) and a compact alkalinity kit (ALFAKIT, Brazil), respectively.

Phytoplankton, Zooplankton and Cyanobacteria monitoring

Vertical water sampling was performed at the start and end of the experiment using plastic bottles of 500 mL for phytoplankton, zooplankton and cyanobacteria collection. The water was filtered through a cylindrical-conical net (mesh: 15 μιη for phytoplankton and cyanobacteria, 50 μιη for zooplankton) to 10 mL, to obtain a 50-fold concentration. The phytoplankton, zooplankton and cyanobacteria were fixed with formalin (4%), buffered with borax (1%) and stored in 10-mL plastic recipients. A Sedgewick-Rafter chamber and stereomicroscope with magnification of 800x were used for identification and quantification of the phytoplankton, zooplankton and cyanobacteria samples, respectively (Pereira-Neto et al., 2008).

The phytoplankton and cyanobacteria were identified following Hoek et al. (1995) and Stanford (1999), and concentrations were estimated following Pereira-Neto et al. (2008) and expressed as cells mL1. The zooplankton was identified following Bradford-Grieve et al. (1999) and concentrations were estimated following APHA (2005) and expressed as ind mL-1.

Statistical analysis

A parametric one-way ANOVA was used to analyze production parameters, after confirming homocedasticity (Cochran P < 0.05) and normality (Shapiro-Wilk P < 0.05). The Student's t-test (P < 0.05) was used in the analysis of FCR. Water quality parameters, phytoplankton, zooplankton and cyanobacteria density were analyzed by performing repeated measures ANOVA. Data analyses were performed using ASSISTAT Version 7.7 (Assistat Analytical Software, Campina Grande, Paraiba, Brazil).

RESULTS

The mean values of dissolved oxygen, temperature, pH and salinity determined in the four treatments were not significantly different (P > 0.05) (Table 1). However, significant differences (P < 0.05) were detected for TAN, NO2-N and alkalinity (Table 1).

Table 1. Water quality parameters during the culture (20 days) of Litopenaeus vannamei postlarvae reared in zero water exchange, with and without the addition of feed and/or diatoms. 1The data correspond to the mean ± standard deviation. Mean values in same row with different superscript differ significantly (P < 0.05). Results from repeated measures ANOVA and Tukey test; Zero water exchange (ZWE); ZWE with the addition of feed (ZWE-F); ZWE with the addition of Navicula sp. (ZWE-N) and ZWE with the addition of feed and Navicula sp. (ZWE-FN); dissolved oxygen (DO), total ammonia nitrogen (TAN) and nitrite-nitrogen (NO2-N).
 

The phytoplankton population was composed of 35 genera at the start of the experiment and 28 genera at the end. The most frequent genera were Fragilaria, Orthoseira, Rhabdonema and Skeletonema at the start and Cylindrotheca, Hemiaulus, Skeletonema, Phymatodocis and Ulothrix at the end (Table 2). The zoo-plankton population was composed of seven genera at the start and 13 at the end. The most frequent genera were Daphnia and Brachionus at the start, and Arcella, Bosmina, Daphnia, Asplanchma, Brachionus and Keratella at the end (Table 3). The cyanobacteria were composed of 13 genera at the start and 11 at the end. The most frequent genera were Anabaena, Oscillatoria and Sckizothrix at the start and at the end (Table 4). However, no significant differences (P > 0.05) were detected for phytoplankton, zooplankton and cyano-bacteria density.

Table 2. Phytoplankton composition during the culture (20 days) of Litopenaeus vannamei postlarvae reared in zero water exchange, with and without the addition of feed and/or diatoms. 1The data correspond to the mean. Mean values in same row with different superscript differ significantly (P < 0.05). Results from repeated measures ANOVA; Zero water exchange (ZWE); ZWE with the addition of feed (ZWE-F); ZWE with the addition of Navicula sp. (ZWE-N) and ZWE with the addition of feed and Navicula sp. (ZWE-FN).
 

Table 3. Zooplankton composition during the culture (20 days) of Litopenaeus vannamei postlarvae reared in zero water exchange, with and without the addition of feed and/or diatoms. 1The data correspond to the mean. Mean values in same row with different superscript differ significantly (P < 0.05). Results from repeated measures ANOVA; Zero water exchange (ZWE); ZWE with the addition of feed (ZWE-F); ZWE with the addition of Navicula sp. (ZWE-N) and ZWE with the addition of feed and Navicula sp. (ZWE-FN).
 

Table 4. Cyanobacteria composition during the culture (20 days) of Litopenaeus vannamei postlarvae reared in zero water exchange, with and without the addition of feed and/or diatoms. 1The data correspond to the mean. Mean values in same row with different superscript differ significantly (P < 0.05). Results from repeated measures ANOVA; Zero water exchange (ZWE); ZWE with the addition of feed (ZWE-F); ZWE with the addition of Navicula sp. (ZWE-N) and ZWE with the addition of feed and Navicula sp. (ZWE-FN).
 

The shrimp survival rates were all above 87% during the 20-day experimental period in ZWE-FN and ZWE-F. However in ZWE and ZWE-N the survival rates were below 50%. The shrimp FCR in ZWE-FN was significantly lower (P < 0.05) than the ZWE-F. Shrimp performance parameters (final weight, final biomass, weight gain, biomass gain and SGR in the ZWE-FN were significantly higher (P < 0.05) than in the other treatments (Table 5).

Table 5. Shrimp production parameters during the culture (20 days) of Litopenaeus vannamei postlarvae reared in zero water exchange, with and without feed and/or diatoms. 1The data correspond to the mean of three replicates ± standard deviation. Mean values in same row with different superscript differ significantly (P < 0.05). Results from one-way ANOVA, Tukey test and Student's t-test. Zero water exchange (ZWE); ZWE with the addition of feed (ZWE-F); ZWE with the addition of Navicula sp. (ZWE-N) and ZWE with the addition of feed and Navicula sp. (ZWE-FN); SGR (% day1) = 100 x [ln final weight (g) - ln initial weight (g)] / time, and FCR: amount of feed consumed / biomass.
 

DISCUSSION

The water quality parameters of dissolved oxygen, pH, salinity and TAN were within the ranges suggested by Van Wyk & Scarpa (1999) for marine shrimp. However, temperature and NO2-N for all treatments and alkalinity, with the exception of ZWE-FN, were different than that recommended. The water temperature was lower in all treatments, yet presented no influence on growth and feed consumption, because growth and FCA rates were good.

The NO2-N levels found in this study did not cause great problems when salinity was between 20-35 g L-1 (Wasielesky et al., 2006) However, Cohen et al. (2005), studying a zero water exchange system, observed an exponential increase in NO2-N levels during the growth period, causing shrimp mortality. The ZWE-FN had the highest concentration of TAN among the treatments. A zero water exchange system can have sudden changes of TAN and NO2-N and accumulate NO3-N, due to variations in the microbial biomass during the culture period (Cohen et al., 2005), even with a higher C:N ratio (15-20:1) (Gao et al., 2012).

Khatoon et al. (2009) observed higher TAN and NO2-N concentrations in the control than in the groups treated with the addition of diatoms during the culture of Penaeus monodon. Sanchez et al. (2012) observed significant differences in concentrations of NO2-N in tanks with and without the addition of diatoms in cultivation of L. vannamei. However, Godoy et al. (2012), when comparing tanks receiving bioflocs, tanks with addition of diatoms and mixed tanks (bioflocs and diatoms), noted significant differences in water quality variables. The diatoms can probably absorb part of the nutrients provided in autotrophic microbial-based-systems, but in heterotrophic microbial-based-systems the accumulation of particles reduces the penetration of light, which in turn likely reduces the nutrient absorption rates of the diatoms. Castillo-Soriano et al. (2013) showed that hetero-trophic and nitrifying bacteria are the main factors responsible for the transformation of TAN and NO2-N in heterotrophic microbial-based-systems.

Levels of CaCO3 less than or equal to 100 mg L-1 and pH under 7 for long periods can affect the performance of shrimp in zero water exchange systems (Furtado et al., 2011). The alkalinity levels in the ZWE-FN was at the recommended level, which probably contributed to the better growth of shrimp. The higher alkalinity may be related to phytoplankton production since microalgae take in CO2 from the water column during photosynthesis, leading to CO2 + H2O = HCO3-+ H+, thus making more bicarbonate ions available in the water column (Van Wyk & Scarpa, 1999; Becerra-Dórame et al., 2011).

Cyanobacteria were the most abundant organisms, followed by Heterokontophyta and Chlorophyta. However, Microcystis and Merismopedia (Cyano-bacteria) were not observed in the ZWE-N and ZWE-FN treatments, at the end of the experiment. The data in the literature on the quantity and composition of phytoplankton in shrimp farming systems are extremely variable. Maia et al. (2011, 2013), studying intensive culture systems in Brazil, reported densities above 400,000 cells mL-1. These amounts may vary according to the fertilization regime and environmental conditions (temperature and salinity), which can favor undesirable blooms of Pyrrophyta and Cyanobacteria (Campos et al., 2007). Ray et al. (2010) and Becerra-Dórame et al. (2012) found a predominance of cyanobacteria in relation to other plankton groups, in zero water exchange systems. The prevalence of cyanobacteria in shrimp culture is probably related to the accumulation of phosphorus and eutrophication of the culture environment, as documented by Emerenciano et al. (2011), who found an increase in the concentration of phosphorous in systems with zero water exchange.

In zero water exchange systems, zooplankton can be part of the microbial aggregate (Ray et al., 2010), however, factors such as the addition of feed and Navicula sp. appear not to influence the development of zooplankton, because its composition was very similar in all treatments. The higher Rotifera density observed, in comparison with other zooplankton groups, is probably related to the adaptation of these organisms to higher levels of nutrients and solids. Casé et al. (2008) found a higher rotifer density with increased availability of organic matter in shrimp ponds. Similar results were reported in zero water exchange systems by Anand et al. (2013) and Campos et al. (2009). Other zooplankton groups, such as Copepoda, Cladocera and Protozoa were found in biofloc systems (Anand et al., 2013; Emerenciano et al., 2013).

Shrimp prefer diatoms over other microalgae groups (Jú et al., 2008, 2009). Even in intensive culture systems, the microbial community may play an important role in nutrient cycling (Sánchez et al., 2012) providing important nutritional compounds, such as essential amino acids and highly unsaturated fatty acids that are essential to shrimp survival and growth (Jú et al., 2008, 2009; Khatoo et al, 2009). Increased natural productivity can cause a positive productive response in the shrimp postlarvae (Becerra-Dórame et al., 2011). According to Porchas-Cornejo et al. (2012) shrimp in the enhanced ponds consumed 68% natural foods and 32% formulated feed, while shrimp in unenhanced ponds consumed 42% natural foods and 58% formulated feed.

Our results illustrate the beneficial effects of a bacterial and Navicula sp. consortium on growth of shrimp postlarvae in a zero water exchange system. Similar results indicating the beneficial effects of diatoms were observed by Moss & Pruder (1995) with the use of pennate and centric diatoms, which improved growth of L. vannamei in intensive systems; Otoshi et al. (2011) with higher growth percentages (22-390%) in tanks with high concentrations of diatoms, especially of the genera Navicula sp. in a semi-intensive system and Khatoon et al. (2009) which found a significantly higher growth rate of P. monodon (postlarvae) shrimp reared in tanks containing substrate coated with Amphora, Navicula and Cymbella. The final weights (242-348 mg) at 20 days were higher than those found by Becerra-Dórame et al. (2011), in autotrophic (72 mg) and heterotrophic (93 mg) microbial-based-systems at 28 days, and Kim et al. (2014) in heterotrophic (132 mg) microbial-based-systems at 14 days with L. vannamei postlarvae, this demonstrates high natural productivity in the experimental tanks in our study. The SGR (14.9% day-1) in ZWE-FN were significantly higher as compared to Becerra-Dórame et al. (2011) in autotrophic (5.6% day-1) and heterotrophic (6.2% day-1) microbial-based-systems. This is similar to that observed by Banerjee et al. (2010), who found a significantly higher SGR (~15% day-1) for shrimp P. monodon (postlarvae) reared with additional Bacillus pumilus and periphytic microalgae.

The survival rate was highest in ZWE-F (87%) and ZWE-FN (96%) indicating that shrimp of this species need commercial feed for their survival and growth. Becerra-Dórame et al. (2011) (76%) and Kim et al. (2014) (91.5%) found higher survival rates in heterotrophic microbial-based-systems. Khatoon et al. (2009) found that the use of diatoms increased the survival rate and growth of postlarvae, because the biochemical composition of the shrimp raised in tanks with substrates coated with mixed diatoms had significantly higher protein, lipids, PUFA, and EPA and DHA content than those reared in control tanks.

The lower FCR (0.99) in ZEW-FN showed that Navicula sp. are a significant food source for postlarvae shrimp. Sánchez et al. (2012) reported that microalgae present in the culture system significantly improved weight gain and FCR of shrimp, thus potentially reducing the feed cost associated with shrimp production. Lower FCR in a zero water exchange system was also observed by Silva et al. (2009) (0.81.2), Becerra-Dórame et al. (2011) (0.65-0.69) and Becerra-Dórame et al. (2012) (0.54-0.61).

According to Otoshi et al. (2011) and Kent et al. (2011), L. vannamei has a good ability to utilize the microbial community present in aquaculture systems as a food source. Xu et al. (2012) showed that the accumulation of microorganisms in the form of flocs substantially contributes to nourishment of the shrimp. However, the availability of these microbial aggregates alone is not enough for the satisfactory growth of shrimp. Similar results were observed by Emerenciano et al. (2007, 2011).

In intensive systems a beneficial microbial community should be developed and sustained (Ray et al., 2010). But it is difficult to maintain high densities of diatoms in bioflocs systems, because of competition with bacteria for nutrients, reduction in light and higher levels of suspended matter (Godoy et al., 2012). The addition of Navicula sp. appears to boost the postlarval growth of L. vannamei in zero water exchange systems. Nevertheless, the data obtained in the ZWE-F and ZWE-FN treatments showed that even with plentiful natural food, shrimp of this species need commercial feed for their survival and growth, but the presence of benthic diatoms appears to increase the efficiency of the use of the commercial feed in systems with zero water exchange, because the FCR was significantly lower in the ZWE-FN than in the ZWE-F treatment.

Thus, the addition of the benthic diatom Navicula sp. increased the growth of postlarvae L. vannamei and improved the FCR in a zero water exchange system. These diatoms provide a significant natural food source for shrimp in their early stage. However, further studies related to the density and frequency of adding Navicula sp., or other diatoms are needed to improve control over cyanobacteria and increase the shrimp growth rate in zero water exchange systems.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

The authors are grateful for the financial support provided by the Conselho Nacional de Desenvolvimento Científico e Tecnológico (CNPq), Coordenação de Aperfeiçoamento de Pessoal de Nível Superior (CAPES) and Financiadora de Estudos e Projetos (FINEP). Thanks are also to anonymous referees for their valuable suggestions. Alfredo Olivera is a CNPq research fellow.

 

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Received: 15 February 2013; Accepted: 24 April 2014.

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