Macronutrient self-selection through demand-feeders in rainbow trout

Physiol Behav. 1999 Mar;66(1):45-51. doi: 10.1016/s0031-9384(98)00313-8.


The objective of this research was to test the ability of rainbow trout to feed on, and select from, three "pure" macronutrient diets formulated to contain only one macronutrient (protein, fat, and carbohydrate). The three diets were offered to fish in three different self-feeders, the fish having to choose from them in order to compose a nutritionally balanced diet. A total of 12 trout (115 g initial body weight) were held individually in 57 liter tanks at a constant 14 degrees C. The results demonstrated that the trout were capable of composing their own complete diet, with a higher preference for protein than fat and carbohydrate. Food intake was regulated to balance energy intake and maintain steady growth. Trout showed a strict diurnal feeding rhythm, which free run under constant light with an endogenous period ranging from 18.2 to 27.7 h. These results provide the first insight into macronutrient self-selection in trout and valuable information on their feeding preferences, which may be taken into consideration when investigating fish nutrition, feeding regulation, and the design of adequate diets.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Circadian Rhythm
  • Diet
  • Dietary Carbohydrates
  • Dietary Fats
  • Dietary Proteins
  • Eating / physiology
  • Food Preferences / physiology*
  • Oncorhynchus mykiss / physiology*


  • Dietary Carbohydrates
  • Dietary Fats
  • Dietary Proteins