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Braz J Med Biol Res. 2004 Apr;37(4):479-83. Epub 2004 Mar 23.

Environmental color affects Nile tilapia reproduction.

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Centro de Pesquisa em Bem-Estar Animal-RECAW, Laboratório de Fisiologia e Comportamento Animal, Departamento de Fisiologia, Instituto de Biociências, Universidade Estadual Paulista, Botucatu, SP, Brazil.


We investigated the effects of environmental color on the reproductive behavior of Nile tilapia, Oreochromis niloticus. Two environmental colors were tested by covering the aquarium (60 x 60 x 40 cm) with white (12 groups) or blue (13 groups) cellophane and observing reproductive behavior in groups of 2 males (10.27 +/- 0.45 cm) and 3 females (10.78 +/- 0.45 cm) each. After assignment to the respective environmental color (similar luminosity = 100 to 120 Lux), the animals were observed until reproduction (identified by eggs in the female's mouth) or up to 10 days after the first nest building. Photoperiod was from 6:00 h to 18:00 h every day. Food was offered in excess once a day and water quality was similar among aquaria. Daily observations were made at 8:00, 11:00, 14:00 and 17:00 h regarding: a) latency to the first nest, b) number of nests, c) gravel weight removed (the male excavates the nest in the bottom of the aquarium), d) nest area, and e) mouthbrooding incubation (indication of reproduction). The proportion of reproducing fish was significantly higher (6 of 13) in the group exposed to the blue color compared the group exposed to the white color (1 of 12; Goodman's test of proportions). Moreover, males under blue light removed significantly larger masses of gravel (blue = 310.70 +/- 343.50 g > white = 130.38 +/- 102.70 g; P = 0.01) and constructed wider nests (blue = 207.93 +/- 207.80 cm(2) > white = 97.68 +/- 70.64 cm(2); P = 0.03) than the control (white). The other parameters did not differ significantly between light conditions. We concluded that reproduction in the presence of blue light was more frequent and intense than in the presence of white light.

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