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FEATURE

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Left: The Crystal Red Shrimp (CRS) Right: Other varieties available in the aquarium market

by Huang, Chang-Wen, National Taiwan Ocean University, Department of Aquaculture

n modern times, as people lead a busy and fasttempo life and face heavy pressure, they are eager to have a high quality of life and relax by interacting with the natural world; hence, the demand for recreation and healing products is growing. As estimated by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the total value driven by global ornamental aquatic animals, ancillary water quality equipment, and other such industries is projected to reach 15 billion USD. In addition, the retail market of ornamental fish, aquatic invertebrates, aquatic plants, and other ornamental aquatic organisms is estimated at about 6 billion USD each year. The production and trade flow of such ornamental aquatic organisms are closely associated with the development direction of the industry, and have become products with development potential and competitive advantage. At present, more than 100 countries have developed similar related industries, which have become star industries. The related value chains of the ornamental aquarium industry include, from upstream to downstream, breeding farms, interface equipment, sales channels, and cultural media, which focus on breeding animals and plants. The various ornamental aquatic organisms are ever changing and have amazing appearance and characteristics, as well as glorious colors. In recent years, raising ornamental aquatic organisms has become one of the activities for people to relieve anxiety and life stress. People are especially enamored with ornamental shrimps, which can create wonderful life in a small space. In spite of the sluggish ornamental aquarium market, the sales of ornamental shrimps can increase, and gradually stimulate the Otaku Economy, which will facilitate alleviating physical and mental pressure and Lohas aesthetics.

From rags to riches

It is appropriate to use the phrase “rags to riches” to describe the presence and evolution of ornamental shrimps in the past two decades. The shrimps are collected from the wild, look ordinary, are priced at tael, and used as feed. However, after long-term continuous innovation and improvement, the original species of bee shrimps and Neocaridina Denticulate have acquired a new look and show a wide array of colors. They are dreamlike highend products, and considered as works of art. Coupled with their subtle colors and special lines, their worth can double, thus, they can create a staggering output value. In addition to increasing the beauty of aquarium landscaping, shrimps can also command

residual fees, remove algae from the water, and contribute to the ecological stability of an aquarium; therefore, they meet the global trend of small aquariums, and have been welcomed by aquarium enthusiasts in developed countries. To date, they remain the key targets of popular aquarium pets, which are highly sought-after in the aquarium industry both at home and abroad.

New Aristocracy of the Shrimp Market

How much money can a small ornamental shrimp command? The prices range from tens of thousands of NTD to several hundred thousand NTD; for example, the crystal red shrimp (referred to as CRS), which has become popular around the globe. CRS evolved from the bee shrimp, and is Atyidae, Caridina, and Neocaridina. It can be kept at weak acid soft water, with a pH value ranging from 6.0 to 7.2, an aquarium temperature of 23-25°C, and can be raised with other freshwater ornamental shrimps. In addition to red, CRSs can be black, while other types, such as the Crystal Red Bee Shrimp “Mosura” and Crystal Black Bee Shrimp “Mosura”, Black King Kong, Red Wine Shrimp, Panda Shrimp, Gold Shrimp, and other creative strains have widely varied colors. The colored shrimps improved from Neocaridina Denticulate are Atyidae and small ornamental Neocaridina shrimps, which can be kept in weak acid soft water, with the pH value ranging from 6.0 to 7.2 and water temperature environment at 23-25°C. The colored shrimps that are commonly seen in the market include more than 20 varieties, such as Fire Shrimp, Ultra Fire Shrimp, Rili Shrimp, Blue Valet, Chocolate, Bloody Mary, Sunkist, Snow Ball, and Snow White. Different strains continue to increase, and based on color, can be divided into red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, black, white, and other color shrimps. The varieties of rili shrimp are the most eye-catching among colored shrimps, which have bright red heads and tails and a transparent body that looks like stained glass, and was the start of the trend of the present current global aquarium market. According to the statistics released by the Taiwan Ornamental Fish Association (TOFA), each year since 2010, more than 18 million ornamental shrimps have been exported from Taiwan; meaning six out of every 10 ornamental shrimps in the world came from Taiwan. Therefore, Taiwan has become the world’s leading exporter of crystal red shrimps, and earns billions of dollars through exports. Furthermore, the export of crystal red shrimps drives other related aquarium products, and plays the role that “small potatoes make great contributions”. In addition

30 | March 2017 - International Aquafeed

MAR 2017 - International Aquafeed magazine