A test system was evaluated for assessing chronic toxicity of waterborne chemicals with early life stage mussels. To determine if the test system could result in ≥80% survival in a control (unexposed) group, fat mucket mussels (Lampsilis siliquoidea Barnes, 1823) and plain pocketbook mussels (L. cardium Rafinesque, 1820) 1 day post transformation were stocked into test chambers (250 mL beakers, water volume, 200 mL, 21 °C, 40 mussels of 1 species per chamber) within a test system constructed for conducting chronic, continuous exposure, flow-through toxicity tests. The test system contained 60 chambers containing silica sand, 30 chambers with L. siliquoidea, and 30 with L. cardium. Each chamber in the continuous feeding system received 1 of 6 food types prepared with concentrated algal products. After 28 days, mussels were harvested from chambers to assess survival and growth. For L. siliquoidea, mean survival ranged from 34 to 80% and mean shell length ranged from 464 to 643 µm. For L. cardium, mean survival ranged from 12 to 66% and mean shell length ranged from 437 to 612 µm. The maximum mean growth rate for L. siliquoidea was 12.7 µm/d and for L. cardium was 11.8 µm/d. When offered a continuous diet of Nannochloropsis, Tetraselmis, and Chlorella for 28 days in the test system, the survival of 1 day post transformation L. siliquoidea was 80%. The test system can be easily enhanced with a pumping system continuously delivering test chemical to the test system's flow stream allowing for chronic toxicity tests with 1 day post transformation mussels.
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Vol. 29 • No. 1/2