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Culturing Shrimp

By Rob Toonen. Posted to Reefkeepers emailing list, Tuesday 31st August 1999.

Next, I have been currently culturing the shrimp in 10 gallon tanks, but lots of ten gallons tend to take up too much room. Rob, do you think that scarlets will do okay in wholesaler cubes? These are usually 5" square boxes with flow through. Would I need to darken the sides? I might be able to make the bxes 10 x 5 x 5 inches. Is that better. What I do know is that I need way more breeding stock in order to keep trying.

So the only confirmed report of successful rearing of these shrimp so far is from the Waikiki aquarium, and there are at least 3 different versions of "how they did it" floating around. I asked them while I was getting a tour of the facility and was told one story, Luis was told something different, and a third person (I can't remember who anymore) called and "spoke to the woman who raised them" and got yet another different protocol. I'm not sure which is the accurate one. I can't remember if I included that info in the exchange with Luis, but the story I got was that they were using 1000G flow-through systems with natural seawater, and the larvae were fed heavily on Tetraselmis and rotifers, switching to enriched Artemia at around 6 weeks (time of settlement). Who knows what physical and/or chemical cues were present or pumped through the system? Fortunately, Lysmata is one of the species that spawn regularly within the tank, and we get many attempts at "getting it right."

The one thing that is consistent among all the versions of this story is that Waikiki used enormous flow through tanks on natural seawater (at least that is consistent between versions) and had some shrimp survive to metamorphose in their tanks. There are certainly other reports of success with L. ambio floating around, but in each case it was claimed that it was a trade secret by an aquaculture facility that was gearing up to sell the animals commercially -- of course, I'm still waiting to see any of those captive raised cleaners for sale...

What really really comes to mind is how Martin Moe succeded in breeding the Orchid Dotty back. He had success by utulizing ocean phytoplankton. while I do live near the ocean, the challenging part is that the ocean is cold water, the phytoplankton and zooplankton I capture may not live in the 80 degree environment that I expose them to.

That's the same thing with Waikiki -- they had success with natural seawater on a flow-through. They did feed the larvae, but everyone suspected that they were getting food from the natural seawater as well.

During the incubation process, there are far less eggs on a scarlet versus a peppermint. They appear to have a green growth on them that seems to indicate some kind of food source. Though this is consumed, I am hesitant to say that it is a food source. Perhaps it is just their internals adjusting to a motile life?? who knows.

No, the green stuff is yolk platelets that are absorbed during the larval phases that take place while the eggs and early stages of the larvae remain attached to the parent. After mating, the "female" carries the brood on "her" pleiopods (L. amboinensis is now known to be hermaphroditic, despite my earlier skepticism ) for about two weeks (although the time varies by individual, temperature, feeding and water condition). During that time the eggs develop through the prezoeal stages to the early stage of zoea 1, and are then released. After release the larvae progress through 6 molts (7 total stages) to a post-larva at which point they should settle and metamorphose into the adult shrimp. This is supposed to occur around day 42 or so (according to the folks at Waikiki). Just to make things more complicated, virtually every species with planktonic larvae studied to date have shown a dramatic ability to delay metamorphosis and prolong the pelagic period in the absence of appropriate settlement cues. In some species, the delay can extend the planktonic period by 10 times or more! With some species, settlement increases with age, and the larvae become "less picky" but with most species assayed so far, if you don't give them the right cue, they just keep waiting for it....

The nutritional problem faced by Luis and others with Lysmata is serious, but there have been some advances along that front -- you might want to go to the library at USC and pick up "Preliminary observations on the reproductive biology of ornamental cleaner prawns Stenopus hispidus, Lysmata amboinensis and Lysmata debelius", D. J. Fletcher, I. Kotter, M. Wunsch & I. Yasir, Int. Zoo Yb. (1995) 34 73-77, The Zoological Society of London. To quote from that article, "The free-living nematode Panagrellus redivivus was also fed successfully during the early developmental stages of Lysmata larval growth. Once again improved growth and survival of the larvae was achieved through lipid and astaxanthin (Carophyll Pink) enrichment of the nematodes prior to feeding to the larvae." There is a bunch of good info in that article for you!

They cerainly are smaller than peppermints when born, as a matter of fact, they are closer to half size of a peppermint shrimp when born. I am very lucky to scarlets live 7 days. They are usually all gone in less than that. Gone Gone.

That's not a good sign -- even Luis' larvae were lasting longer than that -- are you feeding them phyto and rotifers? Or are you trying to use the same technique as with the peppermints and feed them bbs, which they cannot handle? Have you been looking at the larvae as they go? Are their guts filling with the phytoplankton? They should be. From what I can gather from the folks at Waikiki, they basically treated the culture as if it were a rotifer tank, added plenty of phytoplankton and pretended that the larvae weren't there. The larvae ate primarily phytoplankton but probably a lot of rotifers as well. The enrichment of the food seems to be especially important for L. amboinensis, and both HUFA and astaxanthin can be gut loaded into rotifers prior to feeding to the larvae -- supplementing the diet with high quality phytoplankton is certain to help as well.

I have been using nanchloropsis as a water conditioner, but for this next hatch, I will switch to tetraselymis phytoplankton. Keep your fingers crossed.

Try a mixture of 11 Nanno and Iso mixed at 21 with Tetra. That should give you the best nutritional profile, and also the antibiotic properties of the Tetra. Tetra by itself is a relatively poor food item, and is unlikely to support long-term growth (which is why I'm reasonably confident that the shrimp at Waikiki were getting something else through the natural seawater). It wouldn't hurt to include a diatom such as Phaeodactylum in that mix, either, if you can get it.

Are you on The Breeders Registry emailing list? Guy on there is bit of a breeding machine with larvae of fish and shrimp on the go constantly. If I remember correctly he is currently having some difficultly with the Lysmata shrimps. There is even an exchange he had on the list in the #reefs Article Library,

Thanks for posting that DBW! One thing that I need to correct in that exchange was my indication of the toxicity of artificial salt to larvae being attributed to EDTA -- that should be Tris-EDTA (it is unclear which portion of the compound is the culprit and it is more likely to be the Tris than the EDTA itself).

I hope you have more luck Edward!

Created by liquid
Last modified 2006-11-24 22:38