Most species in aquaculture are new to cultivation and so behave like wild animals. They are products of evolution, with adaptations to specific habitat conditions. In the wild, food is not available uniformly throughout the day or the year, or in space, and rarely exceeds the fishes needs. Competition is energetically expensive, reducing growth efficiency. Consequently, feeding activity patterns have evolved, implying internal appetite rhythms, which optimise food intake under these various constraints. Salmonids can adapt quickly to short term variation in food availability, but show seasonal genetically determined anorexia. Rational feeding regimes in culture should take all such features into account. When appetite is high naturally, food should be presented so that it is economically indefensible - where every individual can eat, and where fighting does not pay. At periods of anorexia it will be prudent to offer no food. Manufacturers' feed tables are usually regimes devised to meet the bioenergetic needs of fishes, as they are understood in a physico-chemical sense. While useful first approximations, they do not take into account these evolutionary features of the fishes, and can lead to waste. Methods of presentation are described which allow the fish to determine when food shall be available, and in ways which, by diminishing the advantages of social dominance, ensure relatively even opportunities to feed for all individuals in the population. Allowing the fish to set the time-table reduces the likelihood of waste.

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