Inﬂuence of colored light on growth rate of juveniles of ﬁsh
Department of Biology, Mordovian State University, Bolshevistskaya str. 68, 430000, Saransk, Russia
(Phone: +7-8342-322637 Fax: +7-8342-324554; E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org)
Accepted: January 24, 2005
Key words: colored light, growth rate, juveniles of ﬁsh
The main aim of our experiments was to study the inﬂuence of colored light on juveniles of Carassius
carassius, Perccottus glenii and Poecilia reticulata. The species of ﬁsh used for studies diﬀer in their biotopes
and feeding behavior. The results of experiments demonstrated that diﬀerent species of ﬁsh can have
diﬀerent response to light quality. Thus crucian carp developed better by green light, rotan-by blue and
green, guppy - by blue light. By red light the growth rate in all species decreased. The response in diﬀerent
species of ﬁsh to the light environment appears to be governed by changes in energy metabolism and
Spectral composition is a main characteristic of
light. In water light rays of diﬀerent wavelength
pass to diﬀerent depths depending on light
absorption and diﬀusion as well as on avail-
ability of admixtures and small organisms in a
water body. Most species of ﬁsh have
well-developed color sight, and are therefore
very sensi tive to colored light . For instant, the
survival rate of haddock larvae (Mellanogram-
mus aegleﬁnus L.) is higher with blu e and green
light (Downing 2002). The growth rate of silver
carp larvae (Hypophthalmichthys molitrix Val.)
and young carp (Cyprinus carpio L.) increased
with green light (Radenko and Alimov 1991;
Ruchin et al. 2002). Gaignon and co-workers
(Gaignon et al. 1993) revealed a negative eﬀect
of yellow light on Na
-ATPase activity in
Atlantic salmon Salmo salar L. However, no
diﬀerence was detected in the growth rate of
Altantic salmon and haddock treated with col-
ored light (Stefansson, Hansen, 1989; Downing,
Materials and methods
During this study juveniles of three ﬁsh species were
maintained under diﬀerent light conditions in 20 1
aquariums with water temperature (21±1°C), aer-
ation (oxygen content 7.0–7.5 mg/l) and ﬂowage
(2 l/h). We studied species with biological and eco-
logical diﬀerences: (i) Crucian carps (Carassius
carassius L) living in benthonic layers of lentic
ponds, and mainly feeding on benthonic organism
(Olygochaeta, Chinomedae larvae etc.); (ii) rotans
(Perccottus glenii Dybowsky) living in middl e layers
of lentic ponds among thickets of water vegetation,
feeding omnivorously mainly on planktonic
organisms (Anostraca, Copepoda, Phyllopoda) and
periﬁton (Gas-tropoda, Hemiptera, Coleoptera lar-
vae), as well as any other moving objects, juveniles
and amphibian larvae (Baklanov 2001); (iii) guppies
(Poecilia reticulata Peters) living in upper layers
of water bodies and eat feeding on organisms
(Insecta) which fall in the water and plankton
In our in vivo experiments we used juveniles
of crucian carp and rotan with an initial weight of
Fish Physiology and Biochemistry (2004) 30: 175–178 Ó Springer 2005
0.7–3 g and 0.065–1.0 g, respectively. They were
caught in a bottomo land pond. Guppy fry with an
initial weigh t of 12–50 mg were obtained from one
female ﬁsh for each series of experiments. In all cases
ﬁsh were acclimated to laboratory conditions for
15 days. We used luminescent lamps LB (Lisma
Ltd., Russia), and their spectrum was taken as the
control. During the experiment we scattered light
with the help of standard glass (Figure 1). In the
ﬁgure one can see that 80–85% of the light falls in a
narrow zone of spectrum; this zone is a symbol for
glass. Light intensity measured on water surface
after the passing of light through color ﬁlter was
100 lx in all modes. In our experiments light fell at a
vertical angle. In this case only 2% of light reﬂects
independently of wave length (Yavorsky and Detlaﬀ
1981). After passing into water depths light was
absorbed and diﬀused, resulting in the reduction of
light intensity depending on spectral structure.
Taking into account reﬂection, absorption and
scattering, light intensity on the bottoms of experi-
mental aquariums was: under control lamp
(lamp LB) ) 63.2 lx; by red light ) 66.8 lx; by
yellow ) 64.0 lx; by green ) 62.7 lx; by blue
) 58.3 lx. Due to the small depths of the aquariums
the decrease of light intensity was insigniﬁcant and
therefore we can claim that diﬀerences in the data we
obtained may be explained by spectral structure but
not by light intensity.
To study the eﬀect of colored light on juveniles,
15–20 ﬁshes were taken arbitrarily from four initial
groups. Every initial group included 150–200 ﬁshes
of identical weight. Chosen ﬁsh were placed into
special aquariums. We carried out concurrent
experiments in two aquariums. In every set
experiments were replicated four times for ﬁsh
from four initial groups. At the beginning and at
the end of the experiment ﬁshes were weighted to
within of 1 mg. Fish were fed with live feed
(Tubifex tubifex, Olygochaeta: Annelida) before
saturation 3 times daily.
Speciﬁc growth rates (SGR) in weight were
then calculated (Ricker 1979). Data were analyzed
by one-way ANOVA and t-test (P < 0.05). Data
are expressed as mean (SE) (Lakin 1990).
Results and discussion
During the study in the aquarium no death was
registered. It was revealed that the optimum mode
for cultivating juveniles of species is the shortwave
light mode (blue and/or green light). The response
of ﬁsh species to colored light was diﬀerent
(Figure 2). For instant, with green light the growth
rate in crucian carp increased 42% compared to
the control group (P < 0.05). The growth rate was
slightly lower with yellow light. No pronounced
diﬀerence in growth was noticed with green and
yellow light, while with red light the growth rate
decreased 33 % compared to the control group.
As with crucian carp the maximal growth rate
in rotan occurred in both green and blue light
(Figure 2). On average, growth rate exceeded the
control by 21–23% with red and yellow light the
growth rate decreased 9% and 21% respectively,
and therefore is the eﬀect of yellow light is more
negative. Blue spectral rays were optimum for the
cultivation of guppies, but with red light their
growth rate decreased 10%. There was no pro-
nounced diﬀerence in the growth rate of guppies
with green and blue light.
Thus the results of our studies demonstrate that
there are diﬀerences in response to diﬀerent colored
zones in diﬀerent species of ﬁsh. Some species such
as carp, crucian carp and silver carp grow well with
blue and green light (Radenko and Alimov 1991;
Ruchin et al. 2002 our data), the growth rate of
other species (guppy, whiteﬁsh) increases with blue
light (Radenko and Terent’ev 1998, our data), the
third (rotan) grow equally well with both green and
blue light. In spite of biological and ecological
diﬀerences, the study species have an almost iden-
tical response to colored light: i.e., they grow better
with blue-green light. However, there-are some
Figure 1. Light passing ratio of white luminescent lamp (LW-40)
and light ﬁlters, which were used for experiments.
exceptions. For instance, the growth rate in some
species (Atlantic salmon, haddock) is independent
of light wavelength (Stefanson and Hansen 1998;
What is the mechanism by which colored light
eﬀects growth rate? The main role in this process is
played by the eyes and pineal organ, because only
they can detect colors (Levin and McNicol 1982;
Ekstrom and Meissl 1997). For instance, crucian
carps are able to detect colors at an early stage of
development. However, it is more diﬃcult to dis-
tinguish blue and green colors than green and red,
i.e. if colors are more contrasting their detection is
more eﬀective. Some authors (Rajaserkharan and
Chowdiah 1972; Reddy and Kote 1975) reported
that adult gambusias Gambusia aﬃnis (Baird et
Gir.) eat mosquito larvae because they are golden
against a red and black background. In our
experiments it was noticed that carp juveniles eat
food more actively with green light than with red.
Proceeding from these facts the increase in growth
rate of some species may be explained by their
ability to detect colored feed and therefore their
However, the daily ratio of other ﬁsh is inde-
pendent of monochromatic light (Ruchin 2004). So
the results of our study may be explained by changes
in energy metabolism, hormone disproportionation
or by other biochemical an d physiological changes.
Detailed studies on inﬂuence of colored light are
lacking and at present we only have a hypothesis.
For instance, a negative eﬀect of yellow light on
ATPases activity in Atlantic has been revealed
(Gaigon et al. 1993). In experiments with nile tilapia
it has been shown that after stress plasma cortisol
level was lower in ﬁsh treated with blue light than
that seen in ﬁsh treated with normal light (Volpatto
and Barreto 2001), i.e. blue light plays the role of an
antistress agent. As little work has been carried out
on the inﬂuence of spectrum on physiological
parameters of ﬁsh, we cannot draw any speciﬁc
conclusions and further studies in the given area are
This work was supported by the Grants from the
President of Russia (grant MK-1066.2003.04).
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Figure 2. Average growth rate in juveniles under diﬀerent wavelengths of incident light. * are marked authenticity of diﬀerences at
P < 0.05. Bars represent standard error (±SE) as means.
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