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Fish, like all other animals, including humans, go through different developmental stages in their lives.

With each life stage, various body parts (anatomy) and life functions (physiology, immunology) develop, requiring specific nutrients. The diet should meet these nutrient requirements to ensure healthy development and high survival throughout the fish’s life. Therefore, it is essential to build a solid foundation by providing high-quality hatchery feeds to achieve sustainable aquaculture success.

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Alltech Coppens has enhanced its effort in continuing to produce a tailored range of optimal starter feeds for the most delicate early life stages. Extensive studies at the Alltech Coppens Aqua Centre have revealed the essentials for a weaning diet, which will significantly minimise deformations in sensitive fish species. This allows fish farmers to wean fish larvae with confidence, knowing that the vast majority will fully develop into healthy fry without any abnormalities.

By delivering nutrients that can be handled easily by the maturing digestive tract of freshwater larvae, we can offer hatcheries more security when weaning freshwater larvae from Artemia onto a dry diet. Deformities can be scaled back to a minimum with a better growth rate, thereby resulting in less-frequent grading. The end results are healthy larvae and fry, more revenue, better efficiency and less work.

The next generation of starter feeds

The starter feeds range is formulated and designed to meet the nutritional requirements during every stage of the hatchery cycle. These diets acknowledge the immature and delicate stages of fish in the best possible manner to support healthy development, fast growth and high survival rates. This feeding line includes TOP, ADVANCE, ESSENCE and START PREMIUM.

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The main barriers for the fish defence system are the skin, gills and the gastrointestinal tract. In order for these external physical barriers to function correctly, they must be supported internally. Alltech Coppens’ starter feeds include Aquate™ in the formulation, a premix developed by Alltech that aims to enhance healthy development, feed efficiency and boost natural defence mechanisms in aquaculture species. Aquate contains yeast-based products such as Bioplex®, Bio-Mos® and Actigen®, which will bring major benefits to the starter feeds.

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Full support

Biomos and Actigen are able to support the intestinal microflora, gut morphology, immune system and nutrient uptake for optimal performance and welfare. In addition, these products are competent in significantly increasing the length, structure and density of the microvilli in the gut. This inclusion level will beneficially improve the digestive system and nutrient absorption and utilisation.

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First line defence

On top of these, Bio-Mos and Actigen help to significantly increase the thickness of the mucus layer, which is the first line of defence against external skin pathogens like parasites. Based on experience, our customers encounter superior protection, resulting in better performance.

Bioplex® organic minerals offer high bioavailability, meeting nutritional requirements with less product compared to inorganic minerals. This means that fewer minerals are excreted through faeces into the environment. Recent research from the Alltech Coppens Aqua Centre has compared the Aquate premix including Bioplex organic minerals to a standard inorganic trace mineral premix on astaxanthin stability.

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Bioplex® is proven to protect valuable minerals against oxidation while storing.

For instance, it helps to retain an appropriate level of astaxanthin at 100% for 1.5 months, maintaining a 20% higher survival rate compared to inorganic materials. Ultimately, Aquate has been specially formulated to meet the specific requirements of each aquatic species, with its inclusion in feeds encouraging healthier and more robust fish. Optimal results are seen on farms using Aquate throughout the entire life of the fish, continually meeting their nutritional needs.