Vertical distribution of caged estuarine fish in thermal effluent subject to gas supersaturation.
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Tarpon (Megalops atlantica), pinfish (Lagodon rhomboides), Atlantic croaker (Micropogon undulatus), spot (Leiostomus xanthurus), black drum (Pogonias cromis), and striped mullet (Mugil cephalus) were stocked by species in cylindrical cages extending from the surface to the bottom of the discharge canal of a steam-electric power plant in order to (1) determine if correlations exist between gas saturation levels, temperature, conductivity, dissolved oxygen, pH, turbidity, intraspecific behavioral interactions and the depth distribution of these fish; and (2) compare survival of fishes in these cages with that in surface cages with special emphasis on gas saturation. Trends in the distribution data showed that (1) tarpon and black drum reacted to temperature; (2) Atlantic croaker reacted to conductivity; and (3) striped mullet reacted to %-oxygen saturation. Differences in %- survival between fish held in deep versus surface cages showed that fish in deep cages lived while fish in surface cages died during supersaturated conditions; thus the deep cages are more suitable than surface cages for fish culture in thermal effluents.