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Shrimp Farming in the Philippines: How to Grow Hipon

For those looking to get into aquaculture in the Philippines, shrimp farming (pag-aalaga ng hipon) is an ideal choice for making a profit. Not only is it an enjoyable and rewarding experience, but it can also create a lucrative business in the future. In this article, we’ll go through the step-by-step process of cultivating Pacific white shrimp (Penaeus vannamei) in your backyard—from building a tank to harvesting your crops. Read on to discover the exciting world of shrimp farming!

Introduction to Shrimp Farming

Shrimp farming is raising shrimp in ponds or other controlled environments. The main goal is to produce large numbers of healthy shrimp for human consumption.

There are many different methods of shrimp farming, but the most common method is raising shrimp in ponds. Ponds are usually lined with plastic or concrete to prevent the shrimp from escaping and to make them easier to clean. Shrimp are typically farmed in freshwater ponds, but some farmers also use saltwater ponds.

shrimp-farming
Shrimp harvesting

Shrimp are fed a diet of pellets, algae, and other tiny organisms. They can also be given supplements like vitamins and minerals. The water in the pond must be kept clean and at the right temperature for the shrimp to stay healthy.

Shrimp farming is a relatively new industry, but it has snowballed in recent years. In 2010, the global production of farmed shrimp was 4.6 million tons. This number is expected to grow in the coming years as demand for shrimp increases around the world.

Ideal Shrimp Species to Farm in the Philippines

Penaeus vannamei or the Pacific white shrimp (Litopenaeus vannamei), is native to the tropical East Pacific from the Gulf of California, Mexico, to northern Peru. It is now the most widely cultured shrimp in the world. It is currently raised in at least 27 countries, with significant production operations occurring in the US, Mexico, Central America, tropical South America, China, India, Southeast Asia, and the Philippines.

What You Need to Get Started

If you’re interested in cultivating shrimp in your backyard, you’ll need a few things to get started. First, you’ll need a pond or other water feature at least 18 inches deep and can hold at least 100 gallons of water. You’ll also need an aeration system to keep the water oxygenated and a filtration system to remove waste and keep the water clean.

In terms of shrimp, you’ll need to purchase juvenile shrimp from a reputable source. They should be acclimated to the temperature of your pond before being introduced. Once they’re in the pond, you’ll need to provide them with plenty of food – commercially available shrimp pellets or live foods like worms or brine shrimp.

With proper care and feeding, your shrimp should start to mature and reproduce within 6-12 months. Once they reach maturity, you can begin harvesting them for your consumption – fresh shrimp is always best!

Building a Shrimp Pond or Tank

In the Philippines, which has a tropical climate, you can easily grow shrimp in your backyard. You only need a pond or tank, some basic supplies, and a little patience. Here’s a step-by-step guide to getting started:

  1. Choose the right location for your pond or tank. Shrimp need plenty of oxygen to survive, so ensure your chosen spot has plenty of airflow.
  2. Set up your pond or tank according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
  3. Fill it with seawater and add a dechlorinating agent to remove harmful chemicals. Penaeus vannamei can’t live in freshwater, although brackish water with high salinity can work.
  4. Install a filter system to keep the water clean and aerated.
  5. Introduce your shrimp to their new home by slowly acclimating them to the temperature and pH of the water.
  6. Feed your shrimp a high-quality diet explicitly designed for them. Pellets or flakes are fine, but live foods like brine shrimp or bloodworms will help them thrive even more.
  7. Keep an eye on your shrimp and ensure they’re staying healthy by regularly testing the water quality and checking for signs of disease or stress (clamped fins, lethargy, etc.).

Feeding and Maintaining the Shrimp

Assuming you have already built your shrimp farm and set up the necessary infrastructure, it is time to start thinking about what to feed your shrimp and how to maintain them.

The first thing to consider is what type of shrimp you will be culturing. There are two main types of shrimp: Pacific white shrimp (Litopenaeus vannamei) and giant tiger prawn (Penaeus monodon). Each species has different dietary requirements, and this guide is specific to each species. We have a separate article for giant tiger prawn farming here.

Pacific white shrimp are omnivorous and eat various things, including algae, small crustaceans, and detritus. Giant tiger shrimp, on the other hand, are carnivorous and prefer a diet of fishmeal, squid, and other high-protein foods.

Once you know what type of shrimp you are dealing with, you can look at commercially available feeds. There are many different brands and formulations, so it is important to research to find the right one for your needs.

In addition to commercial feeds, you can supplement your shrimp’s diet with fruits and vegetables. Shrimp are particularly fond of cucumbers, carrots, and zucchini. You can also occasionally offer them small pieces of cooked meat or fish as a treat.

Regular water quality testing is essential for maintaining your shrimp population. You should test for ammonia, nitrites, nitrates, pH levels, and dissolved oxygen.

Shrimp Farming Potential Issues and Solutions

If you’re thinking about cultivating shrimp in your backyard, there are a few potential issues you should be aware of.

First, shrimp are very sensitive to changes in water temperature and quality. This means that if your local seawater supply is not clean and stable, it could pose a risk to your shrimp. Additionally, shrimp need a lot of space to thrive, so they may not do well if you don’t have a large enough pond or tank.

Finally, shrimp can be susceptible to predators like fish, birds, and even other shrimp. If you’re concerned about any of these issues, solutions are available. For example, you can purchase special filters and aerators for your pond or tank to help maintain water quality. You can also build predator-proof enclosures around your pond or add plants and rocks that provide hiding places for the shrimp. By doing some research and being prepared for potential problems, you can successfully cultivate shrimp in your backyard.

Harvesting and Selling Your Shrimp

Once your shrimp are big enough to harvest, you can start selling them! Here’s a step-by-step guide to harvesting and selling your shrimp:

  • Start by harvesting the shrimp in the morning, when they are most active. Use a net to scoop them out of the pond or tank.
  • After washing the shrimp with seawater to remove debris or waste, DO NOT wash them with fresh water. They will spoil fast!
  • Place the shrimp in a cooler filled with ice to keep them fresh.
  • You can take the shrimp to your local farmers market or seafood market or sell them online through a website or marketplace.
  • When pricing your shrimp, remember to account for the cost of food, supplies, and labor involved in raising them. Retail shrimp prices in the Philippines can range from P400 to P700, depending on the size, availability, and location.

With careful planning and hard work, you can successfully harvest and sell your backyard shrimp!

Frequently Asked Questions Related to Shrimp Farming

How long does shrimp take to farm?

In tropical climates where most farmed shrimp is produced, it takes approximately three to six months to raise market-sized shrimp, with many farmers growing two to three crops yearly.

Are shrimp easy to farm?

Shrimp farming isn’t easy – but getting the basics right can keep your ponds productive and disease-free. Shrimp farming requires hundreds of activities daily.

How is shrimp farming done?

In the traditional farming system, the ponds are stocked with fry either collected from the wild or concentrated through tidal water entering the ponds. Shrimp production is inconsistent and varies yearly due to the dependence on the seasonal supply of fry from the wild.

Is a shrimp farm profitable?

Despite higher costs, the high prices make shrimp farming highly profitable and conducive to supply growth. Even if prices slightly cool in early 2022, shrimp farming will remain highly profitable.

At what age are shrimp harvested?

Shrimp grow quickly, nearly doubling in size in 8 months. Pacific white shrimp can be harvested within 5 to 7 months.

How much does it cost to start a shrimp farm in the Philippines?

The cost of starting a shrimp farm in the Philippines depends on the size and type of shrimp farm you want to start. For a small indoor farm, you could expect to spend around PHP 10,000 (USD 200). This would cover the cost of tanks, filtration, aeration, and lighting.

How much water does a shrimp farm need?

10 small shrimp per gallon of water is recommended. However, if someone is new to shrimp farming, they should farm only 5 shrimp per gallon of water. Many experienced farmers house more than 100 shrimp per 100 gallons of water.

Do shrimp multiply quickly?

Six to 20 hours after mating, the female produces many eggs, which she carries under her abdomen. The quantity of eggs depends on the species and the individual. After developing, the eggs are released. These eggs hatch into larvae, which are moved downriver toward the estuaries and the sea.

What do you feed shrimp farms?

They said farm-raised shrimp are increasingly fed a diet made of soybean meal or plant-based products. However, those feeds can be less attractive and palatable than ones that include animal meals.

What is the maximum lifespan of a shrimp?

Pacific white shrimp can live up to 2 years in captivity and the wild.

How long does it take for Pacific White Shrimp to grow?

It takes five months for the Pacific white shrimp to reach market size.

Is Pacific White Shrimp sustainable?

The present study assessed the sustainability of P. vannamei shrimp farming by developing and employing a set of multidimensional indicators, specifying that the production system is sustainable.

Conclusion

Cultivating shrimp in your backyard is an exciting and rewarding experience. With some research, the right tools, and dedication to the process, you can quickly grow your shrimp for fun or as a business opportunity. You’ll be able to enjoy fresh, healthy seafood without having to go out and buy it from a store. With this step-by-step guide, I’m sure you feel confident enough to start cultivating your homemade shrimp!

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