Evaluating the Feasibility of Rearing Juvenile Freshwater Mussels in a Flow-Through Pond System at White Sulphur Springs National Fish Hatchery

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Virginia Tech

A flow-through pond at White Sulphur Springs National Fish Hatchery was evaluated as culture environment for juvenile freshwater mussels of Villosa iris and Lampsilis fasciola. Survival did not differ significantly (p = 0.1910) over 93 d for V. iris cultured with silt (mean 49.8% ± SD 14.5) and without (mean 32.9% ± SD 11.7). Survival differed significantly (p <0.0001) between juveniles of V. iris (mean 49.8% ± SD 14.5 at age 93 d) and L. fasciola (mean 6.3% ± SD 4.5 at age 86 d). This may indicate that the pond failed to meet requirements of L. fasciola, or may have resulted from microhabitat variables. Growth did not differ significantly between species (p = 0.1315). Villosa iris reached a mean length of 1.81 mm ± SD 0.67, and L. fasciola 1.78 mm ± SD 0.78. Water quality parameters remained within suitable ranges, and planktonic algal densities were between 2850 - 6892 cells/mL. Survival of V. iris and growth of both species compares favorably to previous culture attempts.

Juveniles of V. iris and L. fasciola were exposed to ammonium chloride solutions for 96 h in static renewal conditions at 12°C and 20°C. Calculating LC50 values with the Trimmed Spearman-Karber method, juveniles of L. fasciola (mean 96 h LC50 of 0.26 mg/L NH3-N) were significantly more tolerant of unionized ammonia than juveniles of V. iris (mean 96 h LC50 of 0.11 mg/L NH3-N). The only organisms with reported LC50 values lower than those seen for V. iris juveniles were Ceriodaphnia dubia and Hyella azteca.

hatchery, freshwater mussel culture, ammonia toxicity