Small recirculation hatcheries

In many parts of the world, postlarval M. rosenbergii are predominantly produced in very small 'backyard' hatcheries, particularly in Asia. These systems involve cheap and simple structures, use existing farm infrastructure, and are operated using either family labour or cheap labour. In Brazil, backyard hatcheries using recirculation systems have been proposed as a solution that would allow small grow-out farmers to become independent of large commercial hatcheries (Mallasen & Valenti 1996). Backyard hatcheries close to Indian farmers' living quarters were reported to be capable of producing 500 000 PL/yr at a cost of US$ 7.14 to 9.52/1000 by Rao (1996).

Valenti et al. (1998) described a backyard recirculation hatchery in detail. This system was developed in Brazil mainly for installation in small grow-out farms. It is basically composed of two 1000 L asbestos or fibreglass tanks connected to a 250 L horizontal biofilter. The larvae hatch in polypropylene boxes or 30 to 50 L buckets. Artemia hatch in 20 L plastic bottles reused from discarded materials. Two heaters, a simple scale and a 0.5 HP blower are the only new equipment to be bought. A freezer, refrigerator, stove and blender are usually already available on the farm. Rearing tanks and the biofilter can be filled with natural or artificial brackishwater. There are no spawning tanks and ovigerous females are obtained directly from grow-out ponds. This system can be set up in a 15 m2 area with an investment of US$4000. Production capacity can reach up to 100 000 PL/month at an operational cost of approximately US$ 400 per cycle.

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