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Tilapia and Shrimp Polyculture

Tilapia and Shrimp Polyculture

Shrimp and tilapia aquaculture individually have proven to be very profitable in the last couple of decades, the prime reason being increasing demand all the time. So from the demand perspective, these businesses are immune to downside risks. However, being a biological produce there is always a risk, howsoever minimal of climatic, bacterial or viral factors affecting production.

Current shrimp farming practices are based on use of large and shallow ponds, with very low water circulation per day and no aeration, to raise a single shrimp crop. Shrimps dwell and crawl on the bottom of the ponds. As a result, the water volume remains largely unoccupied.

It is here that tilapia can be introduced and integrated into shrimp aquaculture. Tilapia can be introduced into the shrimp aquaculture system in two ways:

Shrimp and Tilapia simultaneous polyculture

Tilapia can be raised simultaneously with shrimp in the same pond. Each variety occupies a different teritorial niche within the same pond. Tilapia grows in the upper part of water while shrimps dwell at the bottom of the pond. The relationship between shrimp and tilapia is not competitive on feed and territory, but symbiotic. Tilapia feed on phytoplankton and zooplankton while shrimps on the bottom substrate. It is seen that introducing tilapia in shrimp ponds enhances shrimp growth.

Tilapia assists shrimp production by improving and stabilizing the water quality, cleaning the pond bottom and by having a probiotic type effect in the pond environment. Tilapia can reduce excessive phytoplankton biomass in later stages of pond culture and recycle nutrients effectively.

Shrimp and Tilapia polyculture by crop rotation

Shrimp and tilapia crop rotation can be practiced with an objective to minimise the possibility of viral epidemic in case of shrimp monoculture, thereby greatly eliminating risk of loss in production. In case of tilapia, they are largely resistant to viral epidemics.
Thus risk to business may be reduced while increasingly the chances of consistently higher production.