We evaluated RNA/DNA ratio as an index of physiological condition during larval development of a hybrid between the fishes Colossoma macropomum (cachama) and Piaractus brachypomus (morocoto). The samples were obtained by induced reproductive technology and the eggs were maintained in acrylic conical incubator with a continuous waterflow. Embryonic development, from egg fertilization to cell division and hatch out, took 12 hours 20 minutes at 29.5ºC, dissolved oxygen contents of 6.0 ppm and pH 7.5. Nucleic acids quantification was determined by fluorometry with ethidium bromide and Hoechst 33258 dyes. We observed significant changes of RNA/DNA ratios during all stages of the embryonic larval development. Therefore, RNA/DNA relation is an useful technique to evaluate physiological condition in short period and could be utilized as nutritional condition and/or instantaneous growth for routine check to verify the health status in early life of cultivated species.
Keywords: Larval fish condition, RNA-DNA ratio, physiological index