To raise shrimp in aquaponics, you need to factor in certain aspects that contribute to their growth. The water quality you allow the shrimp to live in is of utmost priority, as well as the type of fish you decide to mix with it. In this article, I will briefly discuss what considerations you should take into account as you choose to incorporate these beloved crustaceans into your aquaponics setups.
Why raise shrimps for aquaponics?
Because shrimp and prawns are among the most popular types of seafood, they are one of the most famous dishes in the culinary world. While you may purchase frozen shrimp from the grocery, nothing beats fresh shrimp harvested from your aquaponics system.
The shrimp and prawns only take four to six months to reach market size on average. Most people feel that raising these crustaceans in a home aquaponics system can provide meat that tastes and looks better than commercially farmed crabs.
There are numerous alternatives for caring for shrimp and prawns in aquaponics systems. You may set them in the fish tank or under the floating rafts. Shrimp can feed on leftovers and organic debris that fall at the bottom of your tank, so either approach doesn't take much effort from the aquaponics grower.
What is the difference between shrimps and prawns?
There is no agreed definition for prawns and shrimp in fishing, farming, and culinary contexts. Still, they are technically separate because they come from different branches of the crustacean family tree.
Prawns and shrimp both have a thin exoskeleton, and their bodies are separated into three sections: the head, thorax, and abdomen.
The fundamental anatomical distinction between prawns and shrimp is the shape of their bodies.
The thorax of shrimp overlaps the head and abdomen. In prawns, however, each segment overlaps the one below it. The head and thorax overlap and the stomach overlaps the thorax.
Shrimp and prawns can be found in bodies of water worldwide.
Shrimp are found in warm and cold water, from the tropics to the poles. They are also abundant in fresh or saltwater, depending on the species.
Prawns live in both fresh and saltwater. However, unlike shrimp, most kinds live in freshwater. The majority of prawn species prefer warmer water.
What species of shrimp are available for aquaponics?
You can add a variety of shrimp types to your aquaponics water tanks, especially those whose freshwater is their natural habitat. They come in various bright and gorgeous colors that are enjoyable to look at. The following are some of the varieties to think about:
- Red Cherry Shrimp are easy to care for because they are low-maintenance and self-sufficient invertebrates. Red Cherry Shrimp are resilient and adaptable to various water conditions as long as the water in the aquaponics fish tank remains constant.
- The name "ghost shrimp" comes from the fact that they are mostly clear in color. They have evolved this distinct morphological feature as a means of evading predators. On the other hand, Ghost shrimp can make your life a little easier.
These shrimp are prominent scavengers who will sweep up any uneaten food while reducing algae levels. Their cleaning prowess will ensure that the tank remains spotless. They do this all day and are constantly active and busy.
- The Snowball Shrimp was developed from wild Neocaridina cf. in Germany. Snowball Shrimp are almost as hardy and breed almost as swiftly as Cherry Shrimp.
Other shrimp types come in even more unusual pigment, making them an excellent addition to your fish tank if aesthetics are important to you. The blue tiger shrimp, panda shrimp, green babaulti, and blue bolt shrimp are among them.
Can shrimps live with other fish?
Growing tilapia and shrimps together is a practical approach to producing a secondary crop. Because tilapia and prawns belong to different feeding niches, they can coexist without competing for food, allowing for a larger harvest without increasing feed consumption. Cultivating multiple species in the same growing unit can help achieve a better balance among the microbial communities, reducing the risk of poor water quality.
Aside from tilapia, here are other fish that you can partner with shrimp in your aquaponics setup:
What are the factors to consider in growing shrimp in aquaponics?
- Tank size - It is suggested that no more than five shrimp per gallon of water be used. Shrimp are susceptible organisms who dislike change, so a larger tank is preferable. If you're planning to breed, a minimum 10-gallon tank will suffice; however, entire colonies need to have a minimum 20-gallon tank.
- Stocking density - The stocking density for shrimp varies across their growing stage. (Bulleted) Post larval to 45 days: Up to 40 animals per square foot; Post larval to 60 days: Up to 20 animals per square foot; From day 60 to day 90: No more than two animals per square foot; After day 90: One animal per one and a half square feet.
- Water temperature - The ideal aquarium temperature for Red Cherry Shrimp is between 77 and 81 degrees Fahrenheit (25 and 27 degrees Celsius). The rate of growth and reproduction will be accelerated as the temperature rises. On the other hand, higher temperatures reduce dissolved oxygen, necessitating reducing the stocking. Red Cherry Shrimp will tolerate temperatures up to 86°F (30°C), but the water must be aerated at this temperature, and the tank cannot be overstocked. Red Cherry Shrimp can withstand temperatures below 77°F, but they are less likely to breed and are more susceptible to sickness.
- pH range - Red Cherry Shrimp should have a slightly acidic pH of 6.2 –7 .3. This range will produce the best results in terms of health, color, and egg hatching rates. If your tap water has a higher pH (7.5+), a commercial substrate is recommended. The pH will lower, and the Red Cherry Shrimp will have a soft, dark substrate to work with. You may also put a small bag of peat into the filter to lower the pH. However, this may color the water.
- Dissolved oxygen - The ideal quantity of dissolved oxygen for shrimp to grow healthy and quickly equals or is higher than five ppm.
- Feeding - Shrimps eat other small crustaceans, finfish, mollusks, and other slow-moving benthic creatures in their natural habitat. They use their pereiopods to grab food, take it to their buccal cavity and eat carefully. They are omnivores, but they will cannibalize if food is scarce or poor quality. Shrimps are also scavengers, eating any decomposing materials they may find in the environment. In an aquaponics setup, shrimp eat scraps, fish and snail feces, withering plants, dead algae particles, germs, and other contaminants. It may be sufficient to add dried leaves, spinach leaves, and some natural food to their diet.
What are the pros and cons of growing shrimp in aquaponics?
- Edible: Shrimp and prawns are two species of seafood eaten worldwide, which explains why they are among the most preferred dishes for seafood lovers.
- Income-generating: This advantage stems from the first one because your farmed shrimp can be sold to those who use it as their food.
- Easy to raise: Shrimps do not require much effort to grow. This is especially true in feeding these aquatic organisms. They are bottom feeders, which means whatever fish leftovers are there in the fish tank, the shrimp can benefit from them.
- Minimal bioload: Many growers agree that shrimp produce minimal bioload that their wastes could not sustain the nutrients needed by the plants. To compensate for this, shrimps are mixed with tilapia.
- Susceptible to diseases: Viruses can infect shrimp and prawns at any point in their lives, resulting in death or impaired growth. Infections caused by fungi mainly affect the larval stage. However, bacterial infections can occur if the crustaceans are exposed to poor environments.
How to harvest shrimp in aquaponics?
The standard method of harvesting shrimp in any aquaponic system is by dip netting. When you are about to collect your shrimp yield remember to put back into your fish tanks shrimps that are yet to reach their harvest size.
The use of shrimp in aquaponics is a great idea. They can supply you with various edible freshwater shrimps and help you clean your system with a bit of care and attention.
Some drawbacks are to be aware of, but they can be managed, and risks minimized, making shrimp aquaponics a feasible and appealing selection.