About The Project

Backyard Shrimping: Sustainable Home Aquaculture

Freshwater shrimp production has been encouraged by UNESCO to reduce pressure on salt-water fisheries. The current model for freshwater shrimp farming involves labor-intensive practices that require large land areas. Our project is the continuation of a two-year effort to develop a successful model for tank-based shrimp production that can be used in both rural and urban settings. The land and water use for our model is minimal compared to traditional methods, as our model uses solar power, occupies less than 150 square feet, and uses less than 400 cubic feet of water. The reduced power and labor requirements allow increased profitability. We have trouble- shooted the changes from traditional methods to tank-based cultivation and are asking for a grant to implement a model urban shrimp farm with documentation that will be distributed for other urban and rural farmers use. Access to the all-natural protein produced in our model will improve the quality of life /health of the farmers that use it.

Our Operation

We are working in conjunction to James Tuckness, owner of Wilson's Creek Farm. WCF covers 41 acres of urban farmland in and just outside of Springfield, MO. James has planted blueberries and should begin a "pick-your- own" retail operation in two years. we researched other uses for his land and discovered raising fresh-water prawns (M. Rosenbergii). After extensive conversations and a visit to Aquaculture of Texas, the premier supplier of shrimp juveniles for grow-out. Craig Upstrom has raised these shrimp for over 25 years and has successfully raised them in permanent tanks. We have modified his design to use temporary tanks to allow a smaller footprint that is suitable for backyard/urban farming as a stand alone effort or part of an aquaponics system. Dr. Hood is a retired chemistry professor (PhD Purdue) and his undergraduate degree is in environmental chemistry.Our two-year research effort has required us to use his knowledge of aquatic biomes in a science-based farming effort.

Our intent is to use what we have learned to streamline the aquaculture model we have developed from Mr. Upstrom's original experiments to provide an economical algorithm for individual urban farmers. The design uses minimal water and power compared to traditional pond-based shrimp farming. The power is solar-generated to eliminate dependence on fossil fuels. The materials are predominantly post consumer. The surface area available to the shrimp is greater than the "footprint" of the tank because of internal racks of substrates (mesh-covered frames). A 12' x 30" pool with substrates has nearly 500 sq ft of surface area for the shrimp to grow without pressure from their aggressive peers. 500 shrimp can easily be grown in such an enclosure with the average net yield (from Mr. Upstrom's efforts) are greater than 90%. With 1 sq ft available for each shrimp, the final grow-out weight should be between 3 and 4 ounces, so we project a yield of 115 pounds of shrimp per pool. This represents a gross retail value of approximately $2000 per pool.

The Freshwater Shrimp Production System

This is what our backyard shrimping system ("farm") looks like. We are using two steel-framed pools that are connected to a 35-gallon biofilter. The pools are covered with solar covers to prevent debris falling into the pools. In the illustration, one pool is shown without the cover to show the submerged substrate. Water from each of the pools is pumped into the biofilter by a 12 water pump that came with the pools (in the shed "E"). The water purified water from the biofilter is allowed to drop from pipes attached to the biofilter to enhance aeration of the water. The shed also contains a 950 gallon/hour 35W aquarium water pump that provides enhanced oxygenation of each pool. The system is powered by a 350W solar power system. The shed is used to house the pumps, store water stesting materials, and the shrimp feed.

SHrimping System

Project Objectives