Comparison of growth, survival and body composition of muskellunge and tiger muskellunge fed four commercial diets

Feed is one of the largest annual costs in fish production. Various commercial feeds are used for muskellunge (Esox masquinongy ) and tiger muskellunge (E. masquinongy × E. lucius ), but no data are available that compare growth and survival of these two fishes on these diets. Growth and survival were evaluated over 8 weeks for both muskellunge (initial mean total length, 172 mm) and tiger muskellunge (187 mm) fed four commercially available feeds: Biodiet Grower, Biodry 1000, Abernathy S8‐2 (84), and W‐16. Across all diets, tiger muskellunge grew more than 1.5 times as fast as muskellunge. Both muskellunge and tiger muskellunge grew faster on three diets developed for coldwater species (Biodiet, Biodry, and Abernathy), than on the one developed for coolwater species (W‐16). Muskellunge also grew faster when fed Biodiet or Biodry than when fed Abernathy. Differences in growth may be related to dietary protein levels. Body composition was affected by diet; percent fat was highest for both species fed Biodry, and protein levels were higher for tiger muskellunge fed Biodiet or Abernathy. Survival was high and was not affected by diet type for either species. Based on growth rates, body composition, and feed cost, we recommend Biodiet or Biodry as a diet for muskellunge and Biodry or Abernathy for tiger muskellunge.