27 Feb 2019
Aquamimicry and Synbiotics in Shrimp Farming – Are They the Future?
Written by Zach Stein

What We’re Hearing

We’ve been hearing a lot in our travels about the new water management practices of aquamimicry or synbiotics in shrimp farming.

We had some questions ourselves, so in this post, we will explore what they both are, how they are reportedly helping shrimp farmers, and what their future may hold.

What are Aquamimicry and Synbiotics?

They aren’t all that different from each other. Basically in each, it is the use of some kind of fermented grain such as rice or bran that is mixed with probiotics and used to keep a much higher than usual amount of copepods in the water.

Their goal is to simulate the conditions that shrimp exist in the wild in estuary conditions so that shrimp can be best protected from the pathogens that can easily build up in intensive shrimp ponds.

They arose out of some experimentations farmers did in Thailand in the 1990’s when diseases were having a major impact. Some farmers started using fermented rice bran in their ponds to stimulate and feed certain microbiologies.

They had impressive results and the method started to spread and improve. The use of a chain or rope on the bottom of the pond to agitate the soil or bottom sludge and integrate the rice bran and pro biotics into them.

This showed great results as the natural bacteria and microbiology successfully fought off pathogens from taking root.

The Impacts on Shrimp Farming

Both from online sources and some farms we’ve talked to directly, aquamimicry and synbiotics seem to work well for outdoor shrimp aquaculture.

They are much easier to operate than the other latest water management system – biofloc – and generally have led to improvements in yields and growth rates

Even more significantly, some of the farmers we’ve talked to have seen less evidence of pathogens in their farms.

Future of Aquamimicry and Synbiotics

Even though both processes are much better established than they were in the 1990’s, they are still in their infancy.

I would argue an interesting analogy to Aquamimicy and Synbiotics in shrimp farming is Biofloc. Biofloc rose in popularity in the 2000’s and has had some notable successes but also notable failures.

The difficulty in biofloc systems that many who tried it ran into was keeping the carbon and nitrogen truly balanced in the system. It required a degree of experience and expertise that is above some farmers’ abilities.

The main advantage of using a biofloc system is the ability to have the floc take care of the sludge on the bottom of the pond – an area that can be a source of pathogens and pose increased risk to the animals. Instead of filtering out the sludge, the floc process it along with the shrimp, making it benign.

Perhaps Aquamimicry and Synbiotics can achieve similar results in outdoor ponds but offer farms more room for error. If so, this will be major for the industry and can have a significant impact on the amount of chemicals and antibiotics used today.

Conclusion

Aquamimicry and Synbiotics hold great promise and they seem like they are overall living up to the hype around the world.

We may have a new standard of raising shrimp in outdoor ponds in 5 years on our hands.