Shrimp is one of the most consumed seafood in the world because of its nutritious and tasty attributes. You can start raising shrimps in your yard to serve on your table or sell your yields. It’s not easy, but learning the basics and step-by-step process on how to start shrimp farming in your backyard will keep your pond productive.
The important things to consider when starting shrimp farming include the soil, water quality, source of juvenile shrimp, and feed type. You need to disinfect everything, watch out for signs of diseases and predation problems, keep proper alkalinity level, impose nursery phase, and more.
To start shrimp farming in your backyard, begin with the preparation of the pond. Then, boost its biosecurity to avoid diseases, buy juvenile shrimp, and provide them with feed and probiotics. Also, examine their health condition, take shrimp samples using the baby bucket sampling technique, observe shrimp molting, and finally, it’s ready to harvest.
In this article, we’ll tackle the 12 steps to start shrimp farming in your backyard, factors to consider, the four stages of a shrimp’s development, and effective tips for beginners.
12 Steps to Start Shrimp Farming in Your Backyard
Shrimp farming is a profitable business, and the demand keeps growing globally. Also, technology in raising shrimp is already mature. But some beginners may benefit from some ideas to learn. Read on and analyze the methods and tricks on how to start shrimp farming in your backyard.
Step 1: Prepare your shrimp farm
Shrimp farms must not be prone to flooding and be located far from areas that use pesticides. Your shrimp farm should be 2 to 5 feet deep and have a 1 to 5 acres surface area. Hire skimmers, aerators, and filters to keep a suitable water quality. Also, fertilizing the pond will provide plenty of natural food for the shrimp through algae. Finally, it should maintain a temperature of at least 70°F and a 6.5 to 9.5 pH.
Step 2: Boost biosecurity
Biosecurity prevents diseases in farms and outbreaks in nearby places. Thus, not only does it help the farmer, but also the entire community by intercepting pathogen entry to the farm.
Make sure you have implemented the following biosecurity measures to your farm:
- Use a pond liner for easier water control since the water doesn’t directly interact with the soil.
- Secure the farm with fences to avoid wild animals, like crabs, that carry pathogens.
- All visitors must disinfect and observe cleanliness when entering your farm.
- Keep feed and probiotics in the ideal storage room to maintain cleanliness and avoid organisms that carry diseases.
- Ensure available labs in the area for the assessment of water quality and checking for diseases.
Step 3: Add aerators
Aerators keep the water oxygenated, and when you feed shrimp, you should add oxygen. A rotating wheel is the most common procedure of aeration, yet a water fountain is also helpful. You can choose either of these two depending on which one is more convenient for you.
Step 4: Purchase juvenile shrimps
Buy juvenile shrimps from a hatchery and know their type. Hatching is the most crucial part of shrimp farming and requires ample knowledge of shrimp biology and water quality maintenance.
Step 5: Adjust shrimp habitat
Delicately transfer the shrimps to their new habitat. Gradually change the water they carried in with water from the grow-out pond.
Step 6: Feed your shrimps
Feed your shrimps twice a day once they reach at least 5 grams. You can offer various pelleted foods or commercial foods during nightfall since they are nocturnal. But, smaller shrimps already gain sufficient food from tiny organisms in the pond.
Step 7: Provide probiotics
Provide probiotics at the start of the cycle to help the juvenile shrimps adjust to their new habitat and improve water quality. Also, offer probiotics during difficult moments for shrimp, such as during water exchange or partial harvest. Good bacteria help the shrimps’ gut health and maintain an optimal habitat.
Step 8: Examine shrimp health
You must check the postlarvae from your hatcheries regularly. The shrimps’ health should also be examined at least once a week after stocking. Doing so maintains the best shrimp growth and allows you to observe probable signs of diseases.
You should inspect whether or not:
- The shrimps are swimming;
- Their guts are full;
- The gill is white or greyish;
- There are breaks on their bodies.
Step 9: Do shrimp sample
Sampling allows the farmers to learn about the shrimp’s growth and come up with an efficient feeding method. It’s recommended to take shrimp samples every 5 to 7 days, using nets suitable to the shrimp’s current size.
Step 10: Apply baby bucket sampling technique
A baby bucket is a tiny bucket with holes on the side, covered with a net, and used to estimate the survival rate of postlarvae. To get samples, fill the tiny bucket with 100 postlarvae and leave it on the pond for 24 hours.
After 24 hours, count the postlarvae to get estimated initial details on survival rate and population. The results of the rough calculation will serve as the basis for the appropriate feeding method.
Step 11: Observe shrimp molting
During molting, shrimps need attention. It’s the time when they grow bigger. Learn their molting phase by taking samples regularly in order to prepare the proper habitat with ample micro and macronutrients and avoid molting difficulties and mortalities.
Step 12: Time to harvest
Learn the exact time and method in harvesting. Organic farm-grown shrimp is perfect to offer for your family, neighbors, and visitors. It’s also a great idea to market them for profit since it’s in top demand and highly-priced nowadays. You can either deal with nearby restaurants and businesses or market them online.
What to Consider When Starting a Shrimp Farming
If you want to start raising shrimps in your backyard, you must keep certain things in mind, among which are the location, soil, water quality, source of juvenile shrimp, and feed type. Once done with these, you must decide the variety of shrimp feed with high quality to ensure their healthy growth.
Shrimp farms should be located far from farmlands and mangrove forests. They should not be near each other because it lessens the access to fresh water, so keep at least a 20m distance. Besides, unproductive agricultural fields near the tail end of river systems can be made as shrimp farming sites, as long as you have permission from the government.
The soil’s quality is one of the most significant things you should consider, along with the pH, metal content, type, and absorptive level. You must avoid soil lower than 5 pH (acidic) and with a higher concentration of heavy metal.
Instead, a pH 7-8 is the best soil for shrimp farming. Your soil should contain 1.5 – 2.5 % of organic carbon, with less than 5% of calcium carbonate, 50-75 of free nitrogen, and 4-6 mg of free phosphorus.
- Water quality
Another important factor to consider when starting shrimp farming in your backyard is the accessibility to quality water, considering the pH level of water. The water must not be acidic. The silt content results in many saltation issues in the water, like an increase of sedimentation at the base layer of the pond and clogs of the nets filter.
The salinity imbalance in the water affects shrimp production. A constant salinity during usual weather is perfect for shrimp farming.
- Nitrogen compounds
Nitrites at a concentration of 1.8 ppm cause hatchery problems and high levels of un-ionized ammonia; over .1 ppm in the pond is harmful. Some study shows that a concentration of un-ionized ammonia as low as .26 ppm at pH of 6.83 kills 50% of a shrimp’s population within 144 hours. Thus, you must avoid concentrations of .1 or higher ppm un-ionized ammonia.
A higher pH causes mortality by direct and indirect pH toxicity since a higher rate of the total ammonia in the water stays in a toxic, un-ionized form. High pH rates commonly occur in water with a total alkalinity of 50 or less ppm and when dense algae bloom exists.
To prevent problems on high pH, you should lessen the number of algae in the pond by regularly removing 12” top of surface water. Organic matter will do, like corn grain or rice bran. Spread over the surface area of a pond. This method must be done with careful monitoring of oxygen level, which will lessen due to decay methods.
- Source of juvenile shrimps
You should know the type of shrimp you wanted to raise and where to get them. You can look for hatcheries in your nearby region or local shrimp farms that will help you start shrimp farming in your backyard.
- Feed type
Successful farming must consider complementary feeding. Relying on the natural products of the pond results in low shrimp production. Application of feeds from the start of the rearing period increases the availability of natural food and lessens the transparency of the water where the growth of weeds reduces.
Aside from being something nice to look at and listen to, your backyard pond can also be home to numerous living creatures. If you have enough space, you can definitely get a few fishes to live in your pond. Among the numerous fishes that you can keep, which species should you choose? Here are 12 amazing fish you can keep in your backyard pond.
How Long Does It Take to Grow Shrimps?
Edible farmed shrimps’ growth from juveniles to a marketable size takes three to six months. There are generally four stages of development after shrimps’ eggs hatch—the nauplius, protozoa, mysis, and postlarvae stage.
The duration of the nauplius stage depends on the species of shrimp. In the second phase, they show differences in physical appearance and the division of shrimps’ bodies develops more. They continue to elongate in the mysis stage, where their swimming limbs are fully functional. At the final stage, they can already reach their maximum length and weight.
Here are all four stages of a shrimp’s development in more detail.
- Nauplius stage
During the nauplius stage, rudimentary appendages (antennae and mandible) develop, and the posterior part divides and gets thin. The spine, carapace, and digestive tract also grow, a set of setae and articulations appear, and the mouth’s tissues begin to develop into teeth. Finally, the body of the shrimp starts to become bigger and longer.
This stage depends on a shrimp’s species. When a penaeus kerathurus, known as tiger or stripe shrimp, has six naupliar stages, the brine shrimp only has four.
- Protozoa stage
During this stage, shrimps continue to develop physically. Their abdomen and thorax lengthen, and spiny rostrum and eyes develop in stalks on the head. Walking limbs (pereiopods) and swimming body parts grow as well, and the divisions on the body of the shrimp enhance more, along with added spines.
- Mysis stage
During this stage, almost all swimming limbs (pleopods) and the organism’s pereiopods are functional. Meanwhile, swimming tail appendages (telson) become visible and the torso continues to lengthen.
Postlarvae is the final stage for shrimps. They need the right nutrition, a suitable water environment, and proper oxygen levels in this stage. A female tiger shrimp can reach a maximum length of 8.85”, while males can lengthen to a maximum of 7.08”. The normal length of the same species ranges from 5 to 6.5” in females and 4.33 to 5.51” in males.
Beginner Tips for Shrimp Farming
This activity already demonstrated the step-by-step process to start shrimp farming in your backyard, important factors to consider beforehand, and the stages of edible shrimps before they are fully grown and reach the marketable size. Now, let’s analyze and master the effective tricks to attain bountiful harvest and disease-free shrimp raising, even if you’re a beginner.
To attain a productive harvest, you should disinfect all areas of your backyard, drain water from ponds, watch out for signs of diseases, and immediately treat predation and health problems. Also, observe feed efficiency, keep proper alkalinity level, and impose a nursery phase.
Find out more below.
- Disinfect everything
Disinfection is an essential tip to attain a disease-free habitat for your shrimps. Before stocking your farm, it’s important to disinfect all the areas of your backyard, including the pond itself, all equipment, and the water. Doing so is vital to secure the pond, which should be away from pathogens to minimize the risks of diseases.
- Drain water from ponds
It’s recommended to drain the pond by gravity. Construct a ‘monk’ or sluice gate outlet structure, which allows you to control water depth and drainage speed. Also, avoid the loss of stock and control the water level during seine operations and water circulation.
- Observe feed efficiency
You’ll not see the value of feed by its cost. You must observe the efficiency of feed by knowing the weight of your shrimps by using a certain type of feed. Doing so will simply help you choose the best feed for your shrimps.
- Identify the quality of your juvenile shrimps
You must identify the quality of your juvenile shrimps to determine the success or failure of your shrimp farm. The exact way to determine your shrimps’ health condition is to get them at different water levels and look for any abnormalities, dead shrimps, or poor vitality. If any of the above cases occur, it means that the juvenile shrimp in the pond suffers from an illness, which will cause the failure of your shrimp farm.
- Be ready for predation problems
When dealing with shrimp farming, be prepared for any predation problems. Predation is caused by other aquatic species, birds, snakes, and humans. In fact, two of the main reasons for a failed shrimp farm are due to human predation and operator error. Outside fences, dogs, lights, and watchmen can help in that.
- Manage diseases and other problems
It’s essential to pay proper attention to potential diseases and other problems. Indeed, shrimps’ diseases are known to occur when the quality of the water in their ponds is poor. Other potential problems include nutritional deficiencies, fouling, or parasites, for instance.
- Watch signs of problems
Be careful with signs of problems! If you observe sudden mortalities, you must learn the cause. Shrimps covered with algae or that show signs of a lack of molted indicate that the cultural conditions are poor. The failure of a farm’s management results in diseases and low-quality water. But, external factors, like water pollution caused by pesticides and herbicides, are harmful as well.
- Maintain right alkalinity level
It’s recommended to maintain the alkalinity level between 120-150 ppm. You can do so by applying bicarbonate or carbonate compounds like NaHCO3, KHCO3, Na2CO3, and more.
It’s ideal to apply treatment regularly before alkalinity increases and to apply it at night or in the early morning, since bicarbonate compounds react to carbon dioxide, which is more available at night due to the respiration of all organisms.
- Impose nursery phase
Postlarvae from hatcheries must be stocked in small nursery ponds or tanks, with a density of at least 2000 postlarvae/ m2, for 30 days. A small pond/tank means that you need fewer probiotics, and it’s more effective than larger grow-out ponds, which lessen the mortalities and costs.
Learning how to start shrimp farming in your backyard requires preparation, considering that you’re dealing with edibles and raising them in your yard. Yes, it requires a lot of effort and various factors, but taking note of all the ideas we provided above will allow you to start shrimp farming with high yields. You can raise shrimp for profit by making use of your small-scale pond or tanks, knowing that shrimps are a very profitable business and are in top demand.