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Aquaponic Spotlight: Prawn Harvest

February 23, 2016

Solar Innovations, Inc. harvested freshwater shrimp from its greenhouse aquaponic system this week. The shrimp, also known as prawn, are just over five months old. Solar harvested the larger prawn, which measure about 4 inches, while the smaller ones will remain in the aquaponic tank for a few more weeks until they grow larger.

To harvest the shrimp, the greenhouse experts used a net to remove them from the tank and placed them in fresh water to help clean their gills and remove any food and debris particles on them. By flushing their bodies, the shrimp become better tasting. The prawn were then transferred into a container of ice water and immediately placed in the freezer to help seal in the fresh flavor.

An aquaponic system creates a mutually beneficial relationship between plants and aquatic life. Solar implemented its design for the aquaponic system using tilapia and shrimp in one of the three onsite greenhouses in October 2015.  The team has learned a great deal about caring for aquatic life and how the plants and animals thrive off one another in the last five months. When raising prawn in a tank, it is important to keep an abstract base at the bottom, which allows the smaller shrimp to hide from the larger ones – natural selection may occur, since shrimp are carnivorous. Incorporating a netting system near the bottom can also help prevent the larger shrimp from preying on the smaller ones. Maintain the correct temperature plays an important role in the growth of the prawn. Solar keep its tanks between 65 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit, and there is always an air supply provided by air pumps and a filter.

Solar Innovations, Inc.  will be harvesting the remainder of our shrimp and the tilapia in the coming weeks. Once all have been harvested, the greenhouse experts will check the pH, ammonia, and other compound levels in the tank to ensure the system is a stable environment for the next group of inhabitants. Solar will then restart the aquaponic life cycle for the second time.  The greenhouse experts will need to purchase more shrimp, but since they are hosting both male and female tilapia, they plan to allow several to breed, and then they will be able to repopulate the tilapia.