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Is 100% Artemia Replacement with Zeigler’s “Synthetic” Artemia Possible?


Zeigler Bros., a supplier of shrimp growout and hatchery feeds (along with other aquatic feeds, pet feeds, research services and feed mill design), has formulated a synthetic Artemia product that provides the same nutrients as live Artemia!  The product—“EZ Artemia—also offers an enhanced nutrient profile, consistent quality, stable supply, biosecurity, and it acts as a delivery mechanism for immunostimulants, enzymes and other beneficial compounds.


In this report, which originally appeared in the May/June 2017 issue of Aquaculture Asia Pacific magazine, Zeigler personnel discuss some of the field trials with “EZ Artemia.”  Shrimp News recommends that you get a copy of the original article in Aquaculture Asia to view all tables, charts, pictures and detailed research results.



Early Trials: Experimental results indicate that regardless of the format of the supporting diets (liquid versus dry) and the type of production tanks (flat versus parabolic), excellent results were achieved in hatchery trials using no Artemia in the feeding protocols.  These tests were carried out at a hatchery that eliminated Artemia and adopted a protocol that exclusively used synthetic Artemia.  Survivals increased, water quality improved and hatchery productivity increased, leading to decreased production costs and higher profitability.


Trials in Latin American: Between 2014 and 2016, Zeigler carried out several additional tests at various commercial hatcheries in five Latin America countries, where it evaluated its 100% Artemia replacement diets and standard diets. Survival and animal weight at PL-4 were comparable or better with the 100% Artemia replacement diets.  At these hatcheries, management protocols were developed that enabled the complete replacement of Artemia.  Benefits reported include reduced Vibrio counts and improved biosecurity, which enhanced production consistency and efficiencies.  The trials were conducted with synthetic Artemia at stocking densities ranging from 85 to 300 nauplii/liter.  The growth of the shrimp and larval development rates were similar to those obtained in normal cultures fed with Artemia ranging from 0.7 milligrams in 10 days for PL-4, up to 5.5 mg for PL-13 in 20 days of culture.


One of the strategies employed by the most successful hatcheries with Artemia replacement involved the splitting of daily rations into larger numbers of feedings.  The traditional feeding of live Artemia 2, 4 or 6 times a day was replaced by managers who fed dry and liquid manufactured feeds of all kinds up to 12 times a day, providing the developing larvae with access to fresh feeds on a frequent, semi-continuous basis.


An additional application for synthetic Artemia beyond its use in the first and second phases of larval culture is its use during the transport of postlarvae from hatcheries to nursery systems or growout ponds.  Synthetic Artemia reduces cannibalism during acclimation prior to stocking in growout ponds.


In plastic bags, tanks or tubs, water quality is one of the primary concerns of producers, especially when transporting postlarvae over long distances.  The stability of synthetic Artemia offers an effective and economical option for reducing handling stress and cannibalism while maintaining water quality.


Trials in India: Over the past 12 months, a series of 100% Artemia replacement trials were run at six shrimp hatcheries in Andhra Pradesh, India.  At the hatchery with the best culture conditions, performance results for tanks where Artemia was replaced equaled or exceeded the results achieved for the Artemia fed tanks in survival and postlarval quality.


At the Blue Star Marine Hatchery in Ramatheertham, Nellore, India, Zeigler conducted a controlled trial to prove that its synthetic Artemia was cost effective and could replace hatched Artemia and improve postlarvae quality and survival.  The control treatment included several shrimp larval feeds and a probiotic.  The experimental treatments included the same feeds and probiotic as in the control group, plus synthetic Artemia product.  Postlarvae fed with synthetic Artemia scored 100% survivals in stress tests, and microscopic observations of the animals showed high ratios of fat globules and muscle with gut ratios of 4:1.


Other Benefits of Artemia Replacement: Many shrimp hatcheries experience unusual mortalities during larviculture, likely due to bacterial and other pathogens.  These mortalities typically involve an increase in the concentrations of Vibrio spp. (V. parahaemolyticus, V. vulnificus, V. alginolyticus) in the culture tank that affect various shrimp larval stages.  Recently, virulent strains have emerged causing gross symptoms that include a reduction in appetite, progressive atrophy of the hepatopancreas and a reduction in overall activity.  A small percentage (2-4%) of the population in a tank is initially affected, with exponential contagion of the rest and total mortalities in 12-14 hours.


To address the question of whether postlarvae produced with synthetic Artemia have the same quality as those produced with live Artemia, tests were conducted comparing pond results at a Latin American shrimp farm using postlarvae produced with hatched Artemia cysts and with synthetic Artemia.  Two hatcheries produced 6 million postlarvae for the test: 3 million postlarvae with a larviculture protocol using synthetic Artemia and 3 million postlarvae following the larviculture protocol using Artemia hatched from cysts.  The postlarvae were kept in nursery tanks for 7-12 days prior to stocking into the growout ponds.  A total of 72 hectares of ponds were stocked at a large shrimp farm with animals from the nursery tanks: seven ponds (36 ha) of the area were stocked with the postlarvae produced with synthetic Artemia and six ponds (36 ha) with the postlarvae produced with live Artemia from cysts.  Results of the test showed equal pond performance from postlarvae produced using artificial Artemia versus postlarvae fed hatched Artemia.


Conclusions: Complete replacement of Artemia is possible; thanks to the availability of a complete, artificial Artemia replacement that has a consistent nutritional profile.  Synthetic Artemia is pathogen free and has no biosecurity issues.  The product has constant availability and quality, with no storage or hatch-out concerns.  Synthetic Artemia can be used for delivery of higher levels of nutrients, immunostimulants, enzymes and probiotics to enhance digestion and improve water quality and animal health.


Shrimp larvae do not need Artemia!  Artemia does not exist in their natural habitats.  The key is to replace the nutrients in live Artemia with synthetic analogs.  Years ago, many shrimp producers assessed the quality of aqua feeds solely on the fishmeal and crude protein content percentage in the feeds.  Today, shrimp feeds are utilizing nutritional strategies aimed at meeting amino acid, fatty acid, micronutrient and other specific nutrient requirements.


Can all hatcheries replace 100% of the Artemia cysts they use?  No, it depends on the particular hatchery, its Infrastructure, resources and technical personnel capabilities.  An initial goal of 50% replacement level could certainly be achieved by most shrimp hatcheries, and increasingly higher levels of replacement can be achieved with experience and training.  Synthetic Artemia is important tool for hatchery managers to reduce their dependence on a limited resource.





Bangladesh: Grace Tone Limited (Phone +880-2-885-7165, Email shahid.grace@agni.com).


China: Best Care Bio-Tech Co., Ltd. (Phone +86-4008-882-883, Email mxx_best@hotmail.com).


India: Priyanka Enterprises (Phone +91-99-4964-0666, Email priyankanlr2000@yahoo.co.in).


Indonesia: PT Radiance (Phone +62-21-634-7788, Email shrimpfeed@pt-radiance.com).


Malaysia: Lantas Resources, Sdn, Bhd (Phone +60-17-247-3640, Email wtx9406@yahoo.com).


Philippines: Feedmix Specialists, Inc., II (Phone +63-2-636-1627, Webpage www.feedmix.com).


Vietnam: Vinhthinh Biostadt JSC (Phone +848-3754-2464, Webpage www.vinhthinhbiostadt.com).



Zeigler Bros. Headquarters


Information: Zeigler Bros., Inc., 400 Gardners Station Road, Gardners, Pennsylvania 17324, USA (Phone 1-717-677-6181, 1-800-841-6800, Fax 1-717-677-6826, Email info@zeiglerfeed.com, Webpage http://www.zeiglerfeed.com).


Source: AQUA Culture AsiaPacific (Editor/Publisher, Zuridah Merican, email zuridah@aquaasiapac.com).  Zeigler Personnel: Craig Browdy (Director of Research and Development), Peter Van Wyk (R&D Technical Director), Chris Stock (Sales Manager, Eastern Hemisphere, chris.stock@zeiglerfeed.com), M.S. Diego Flores (Technical Representative - Hatchery Feeds - Western Hemisphere) and Murthy Chennamsetti (Technical Representative Hatchery and Nursery Feeds).  Part 2—Is 100% Replacement of Artemia Possible?  Volume 13, Number 3, Page 18, May/June 2017.

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