A recirculating double-pond system at White Sulphur Springs National Fish Hatchery in West Virginia, U.S.A., was evaluated for suitability for culturing juvenile freshwater mussels. Newly metamorphosed juveniles of Villosa iris and Lampsilis fasciola were placed in the system, and their growth and survival were evaluated for 94 days. Throughout the study, parameters of water quality remained within ranges suitable for mussel survival. Planktonic algal densities in the pond system ranged from 2850 to 6892 cells/ml. Thirty-seven algal taxa were identified, primarily green algae (Chlorophyta), diatoms (Bacillariophyceae), and blue-green algae (Cyanoprokaryota). Over the culture period, juveniles of L. fasciola experienced significantly lower (p < 0.001) survival (6.3% ?? 4.5) than those of V. iris (49.8% ?? 14.5). The very low survival rate of L. fasciola may indicate a failure of the flow-through pond environment to meet its habitat requirements or that variable microhabitat conditions within culture containers existed. Growth did not differ significantly between the species (p = 0.13). Survival of V. iris and growth of both species were similar to previous trials to culture juvenile mussels. Survival rates as high as 66.4% at 93 days for V. iris suggest that juveniles of some riverine species can be successfully cultured in a recirculating pond environment.
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Evaluation of a recirculating pond system for rearing juvenile freshwater mussels at White Sulphur Springs National Fish Hatchery, West Virginia, U.S.A.