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Aquamimicry: a new paradigm in aquaculture

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Aquamimicry: a new paradigm in aquaculture


Keywords: aquamimicry, aquaparadigm, aquatainment, prebiotics, probiotics, synbiotics, symbiosis, synergistic, biofloc, copefloc, ecofloc, biofilter, biofilm, biocolloid, benthos.


In the past, shrimp farming industry in some Asian countries have suffered from environmental issues and collapsed almost all in virtually & practically and no ways found to sustainable ever in the 1990s. Recently there has been a new technology of shrimp farming that mimics the aquatic natural inhabitation of shrimps, called aquamimicry which is believed to effectively provide a sustainable revival to the shrimp farming industry. This new technology has been researched and field-tested by the Thai Organic Shrimp Group lead by its key advocator, Mr. Veerasun Prayotamornkul. The group has succeeded in producing pathogen free shrimp through innovative farming practices using fermented rice bran, wheat bran and soya. Being impressed by this new technology and seeing its potential not only for Thailand but also for countries in Asia, designated, offered and supported by AIT (Asian Institute of Technology).(1)(3)

Aquamimicry is the intersection of aquatic biology and aquaculture technology (synbiotics) synergistically in mimicking nature of aquatic ecosystems to create living organisms for the well being development of aquatic animals.(2)(6)


No one teaches farming like aquamimicry alliance: "Give a bowl of shrimps to a man and you will feed him a day. Teach him to grow his owns shrimps, the aquamimicry way and you will save his livelihood." The new aquaculture paradigm shift has begun. There is accelerating advancement in the field of systems biology by creating copefloc and/or ecofloc bioengineering or aquaculture by combining microbial activity with natural feed source in a coordinated fashion to create living organisms to rebalance our environment for green and sustainable aquaculture.(2)

Aquaculture technology has been met with success worldwide by balancing natural plankton. The prevalence of numerous diseases, that affect the shrimp and prawn aquaculture, has promoted the development of various health management strategies. Some include greater bio-security and sourcing of specific pathogen free animals, and in more extreme cases, using chemicals and antibiotics. In fact, in traditional pond systems, the continual build-up of sediments and subsequent deterioration of water quality are known to encourage the growth of many pathogens including Vibrios. Promoting microalgae growth can help to maintain water quality, but this can sometimes be hard to manage, and these systems are prone to pH and dissolved oxygen fluctuations that can stress the animals.(3-5)

Biofloc technology also has been met with success around the world and this technology was introduced to tackle some of above issues. This is accomplished by the addition of extra carbon to the water, leading to the conversion of potentially harmful organic matter and sludge into consumable biomass. But its operating costs can be significantly higher to maintain the process in constant suspension. A potentially more balanced approach between using both microalgae and biofloc in aquaculture is known as aquamimicry.(3-5)


Processing: Aquamimicry is strives to simulate natural conditions by creating zooplankton faunae (mainly copepods) as supplemental nutrition to the cultured shrimp and beneficial bacteria to maintain water quality. This is done by fermenting a carbon source, such as rice or wheat bran with Bacillus sp. (as probiotics) and releasing their nutrients. This method is in some ways similar to biofloc technology, but there are some key differences. Firstly, the amount of added carbon is reduced and not strictly reliant on ratios to nitrogen input. Secondly, rather than encouraging and suspending high amounts of bioflocs, sediments are removed in more intensive systems to be reused by other animals. Ideally, the water mimics the appearance and composition of natural estuarine water that includes microalgae and zooplankton. The rice bran provides nutrition for the zooplankton and bacteria (as a prebiotics) to create synbiotics, which are dietary supplements or ingredients that synergistically combine prebiotics and probiotics.(3-5)

Preparing: The pond is filled up to a depth of 80-100 cm using a boifilter bag (200-300 μm) with probiotics (Bacillus sp.) added, and the pond is chain-dragged for seven days. Gentle dragging is done to enhance soil mixing with the probiotics and to minimize the development of biofilms that could potentially be toxic to the shrimp. To eliminate any small fish or eggs, tea-seed cake (at 20 ppm) is applied along with fermented rice or wheat bran (without husk) at 50-100 ppm. More additions result in more copepod blooms, which should happen within two weeks. In the meantime, full aeration is necessary for proper mixing, to reduce tea-seed cake levels, and to mix the nutrients and probiotics in the pond.(3-5)

Sourcing & Stocking: A complex carbon source, such as rice or wheat bran (without husk), is mixed with water (1:5-10 ratio) and probiotics under aeration for 24 hours. If the bran is finely powdered, the entire mixture is added slowly to the pond. If crumbled, the upper milk or juice is added to the pond and the bran solids are fed to fish in the biofilter pond. The pH of the incubation water should be 6-7 and adjusted if necessary. Once the shrimp are stocked, which can be at densities of 30-100 animals/square meter, the amount of fermented bran to be added is dependent on both the system and the turbidity level. As a general guideline, 2-4 ppm is used for intensive systems. The ideal turbidity (using a secchi disk) should be around 30-40 cm. If found higher, less bran should be added and vice versa. During the grow-out period, additional probiotics should be added each month to help maintain water quality and to promote the formation of biocolloids (flocs composed of detritus, zooplankton, bacteria etc). Following 15 days after pond stocking with shrimp, slowly dragging chains or ropes on the pond bottom (but not over the central drain) is encouraged to minimize the formation of biofilms. There is a need to remove excessive sediments (e.g., through a central drain) to a sedimentation pond two hours after each feeding. Regardless of the system type, the pH is reportedly stable throughout.(3-5)

Culturing & Sedimenting: The sedimentation pond should be deeper (up to 4 m in the center and 2 m on the edges) than the grow-out pond to allow sediment accumulation. In it, bottom-dwelling fish species – such as catfish or milkfish, depending on the water salinity – should be stocked at low densities. Their feeding on and stirring up the detritus help clean the pond system and the fish can provide food for farm workers. The sediments from the grow-out pond encourage the production of worms and other benthic invertebrates (benthos) that the fish can consume. Meanwhile, if ropes or lines are present, these are frequently and strongly colonized by horse mussels. Not only do these help by further filtering the pond water and removing suspended solids, but can later be crushed and fed to the shrimp during production. After the sedimentation pond, the water overflows to another pond to increase the retention time and act as a biofilter. Fish like tilapia can be added at low densities. From here, water overflows back to the grow-out pond with little nitrogenous waste. Every three years, the sedimentation should be cleaned. Currently the ratio of these ponds is 1:1 (treatment to grow-out ponds), which obviously requires relatively large areas of land in relation to production.(3-5)

Harvesting & Reusing: After harvesting the shrimps or prawns, the pond bottom reportedly have no smells, black soils or accumulated sediments, and the pond will therefore often ready to be prepared for the next production cycle by the addition of fermented bran and probiotics, as mentioned earlier.(3-5)


Through this new paradigm of aquaculture technology i.e aquaparadigm, when such a balance is met, pH and dissolved oxygen fluctuations are minimized, and so there is no need of antibiotics or chemicals those would be health hazards and occupy resistance for human being. The successive result of this approach includes decreasing the feed conversion ratio, minimizing water exchanges and eliminating disease. A variety of factors are believed to contribute, such as a better overall nutrition of the animal, reducing stress associated with fluctuating water quality, and minimizing environmental conditions favorable to pathogens. Farmers have stated that the shrimp have a deeper red color when cooked, which could be from the consumption of additional pigments from the natural food produced in the pond. Although there is no information available yet, the omega-3 fatty acid content of the shrimp would likely be enhanced and would provide additional health benefits. This is of particular relevance, as the aquaculture industry is increasingly relying on land-produced aqua feed ingredients that can lead to lower levels of omega-3 fatty acids in the final products. But it is to be proven reportedly better-quality shrimp or prawn can be produced at lower cost and in a more sustainable manner.(1-6)


Two major drawbacks to the aquamimicry approach include the potential difficulty of applying this concept to indoor conditions, as well as the use of relatively large treatment ponds. Within indoor raceway systems, the adoption of this concept reportedly gave better results when compared to a biofloc-based system. However, it became necessary to discharge excessive sediments, which were not reused again. To deal with the issue of large treatment ponds, currently there are efforts being made to reduce this ratio with the grow-out ponds, but on more extensive systems no treatment ponds are necessary. As with any new aquaculture technology, farmers interested and entertainment (i.e aquatainment) in this new protocol should first perform trial runs to determine whether this can be successfully applied to their particular circumstances. Because, the concept of aquamimicry is rapidly spreading throughout the world. Some interpretation of the concept will undoubtedly become a new standard in shrimp farming and benefit future generations in the industry.(3-5)


Aquamimicry is thus a new paradigm or aquaparadigm to sustainable and environmental friendly shrimp farming of pathogen free species with no health hazards but life saving as symbiosis in process. Aquamimicry is latest technology in indoor, a intensive or super-intensive shrimp farming under greenhouse condition alike. Aquamimicry is the intersection of aquatic biology and aquaculture technology (synbiotics) synergistically in mimicking nature of aquatic ecosystems to create living organisms for the well being development of aquatic animals.(2)(6)


This is to be expressed highly acknowledgement very much softly to Thai Organic Shrimp Group, Asian Institute of Technology, Global Aquaculture Alliance, Aquamimicry Aquaculture Alliance, Kasetsart University, Institution of Aquaculture Singapore, Editorial Board of Research Gate, and Venture Farms Pte Ltd.(1-6)








Topics: Aquamimicry Prebiotics Probiotics Synbiotics Bioflocs

Aquamimicry: a new paradigm in aquaculture

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