In another thread I brought up the possibility of using freshwater shrimp in an aquaponic system. Rather than hijack that thread further I thought a new thread might be in order.
The main reason I thought about shrimp is they are tasty. These are the same shrimp bought in stores. Pawn is probably a more proper term.
I spoke with Craig Upstrom at Aquaculture of Texas
. Very nice gentleman and willing to help. Craig grows young and sells them to commercial growers mostly but is willing to sell to backyard growers. Here are the data points as I understand them so far.
- Minimum order: $50 for 1000 30 day old shrimp.
- One box costs about $80 for FedEx. A box can hold up to 5000 shrimp.
- Ideal water temperature is 76-88F. Same as tilapia.
- They eat a pellet food and also the waste from other fish like tilapia.
- Grow in freshwater, same as tilapia.
- Shrimp are territorial so levels of netting is placed in the tank allowing for space.
- They like a hard water which fits Phoenix. Our salt level would be OK too.
In a perfect world 1000 shrimp would grow to 100lbs of shrimp in 4 months. These are 10 shrimp to the pound type size. But that's the best case. 4/lb shrimp sell for $8/lb by growers when picked up at the pond.
Most commercial growers use ponds. So the bottom surface determines how many shrimp can survive. They kill each other if too close. Some growers add netting to provide more surface.
Craig told me a story of a lady back east who grew 200lbs of shrimp in a tank 8'x12' and 18" deep, about 1,000 gals. Craig was really surprised and impressed by this. He thinks the trick might be high water flow saying the shrimp had to hang on and therefore couldn't really fight.
I need to figure out how many shrimp per square foot is possible but it seems no system would be too small.
Craig also has the idea for regional nurseries. 30 day old shrimp can be grown in a small tank at 75-82F for 45-60 days (not sure if that is total age or from the 30 days). These can then be sold to other growers to finish for an additional 60-90 days. The price he suggests is 10 cents per shrimp for this age so still not too expensive. Because of the smaller tank it can be heated if needed. Here in Phoenix that would allow for 2 crops per year if starting with 60-90 day olds. Maybe 3 crops if solar water heating was used which isn't hard to do.
Craig did say shrimp in an aquaponic system is best with fish because shrimp don't produce enough waste for the plants because they can't be grown in the same high density as fish. But the shrimp were good at using waste and breaking down waste from the fish, uneaten food, etc.. They can also be grown under floating beds.
Harvest seems easy and straight forward. In mud ponds they move the shrimp into a fresh clean water tank for 30 minutes to remove the taste of mud and algae. Not sure if that would be needed in an aquaponic system. Then they go into an ice water tank where apparently they die very fast, on contact they say. Seems humane. There to the pan or freezer.
All in all seems pretty simple.
Has anyone heard of using shrimp in an aquaponic system? I couldn't really find much in a search.
Are others interested in growing shrimp?