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    Rights: The University of Waikato
    Published 29 November 2007 Referencing Hub media

    Keeping baby mussels growing healthily requires a special kind of aquaculture chef.


    Ellie Watts (Cawthron Institute) Gourmet algae - it’s a mix of two or three really particular species of algae. Some of them have little tails and they swim, flagellate algae. Some of them don’t have any tails, they have little spines. But they are pretty much three really particular species that are fantastic species for baby food for the young mussels.

    You can’t feed them too little and you can’t feed them too much. So at the moment we’re monitoring exactly the amount that they can eat and the species that they prefer. You almost have to start manipulating, like you can give them one particular diet for the first five days and then you almost have to wean them onto another diet and they get very fussy. So we’re looking at different diet mixes as they grow.

    In the continuous culture next door, in our algae room, we have got very, very monitored conditions. We have just regular florescent lights on twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. The whole room is kept at a really constant temperature and we have, it’s not completely bacteria-free. There are some good bacteria that grow with the algae.

    We have these big long hanging bags and it’s a continuous system in that we have a body of algae in there and it’s always fed really clean seawater and nutrients. All the water that goes in there keeps the algae tumbling and growing. There’s water coming out and it all collects into a bin at the end of the day. Within twenty-four hours we can hold about 250 litres of good gourmet algae out of a whole row of continuous culture.