1. Groups of trout fry of the same parentage were grown in environments where the following factors were controlled: temperature, amount and intensity of illumination, rate of water flow, aeration and chemical composition of the water, amount of living space and quality of food supply. They were allowed to eat as much as they would, and individual weights were recorded during the first 8 months after the beginning of feeding.
2. There was soon an increase in the range of individual weight in each group of fry, and thereafter the larger fry grew faster than smaller ones. When the larger fry were removed, the smaller ones grew at an increased specific rate, and when larger fry were added, the smaller ones grew more slowly. It is suggested that a ‘size hierarchy’ was established within each group, and an individual's specific growth rate depended on its position in the order of decreasing weight.
3. There was an optimum degree of crowding for maximum productivity. Compared with the fry in this group, the specific growth rates of individuals in larger, more crowded groups depended on the number of fish of larger size, while in smaller, less crowded groups, individuals grew at rates depending on the proportion of fish which were larger and smaller.
4. Alevin weight had little effect on the specific growth rates of fry.
5. There were differences between the growth histories of fry derived from alevins of the same weight and descended from the same father but different mothers (all of the same stock, age and size).
6. The specific growth rates decreased as the fry grew older, but there was no correlation between body weight and specific growth rate, except for the size hierarchy effect within each group. This effect had a greater influence on the size of individual fry than had either alevin weight or heredity.