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Vet Clin North Am Exot Anim Pract. 2009 May;12(2):361-72, xi. doi: 10.1016/j.cvex.2009.01.005.

Nutrition, feeding, and behavior of fish.

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Institute for Marine Biosciences, National Research Council of Canada, 1411 Oxford Street, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada B3H 3Z1.


Nutrition and feeding influence growth, reproduction, and health of fish and their response to physiologic and environmental stressors and pathogens. The basics of fish metabolism are similar to those of warm-blooded animals in that they involve food intake, digestion, absorption, and transport of nutrients to the various tissues. Fish, however, being the most primitive form of vertebrates, possess some distinguishing features which will be discussed. Unlike warm-blooded animals, which are homoeothermic, fish are poikilothermic, so their body temperature and metabolic rate depends on the water temperature and this has practical implications for the nutrition, feeding and health of fish. Several behavioral responses have been linked to methods of feeding, feeding habits, frequency of feeding, mechanisms of food detection, and food preferences. Fish are also unique among vertebrates in their ability to absorb minerals not only from their diets but also from water through their gills and skin.

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