What is the best technology for raising vannamei shrimp: Biofloc or aquamimicry?

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By Milthon Lujan

The search for an efficient and sustainable shrimp culture has led to advances in production systems. While high-density approaches like Biofloc Technology (BFT) have increased productivity, concerns about biosecurity and cost have prompted the exploration of alternative solutions.

Aquamimicry is a technology that is emerging as a turning point in shrimp aquaculture. While studies confirm the potential of aquamimicry to improve water quality and shrimp health, comparisons with Biofloc Technology in terms of productivity remain scarce.

This study, conducted by researchers from the Institute of Oceanography at the Federal University of Rio Grande, aimed to bridge this knowledge gap by comparing two systems in lined ponds: aquamimicry and Biofloc, focusing on water quality and the zootechnical performance of Litopenaeus vannamei shrimp.

Beyond Biofloc: the appeal of aquamimicry

The dependence of Biofloc Technology on intricate microbial aggregates and high aeration costs limits its accessibility. Aquamimicry, on the other hand, draws inspiration from nature and aims to replicate a balanced estuarine ecosystem within ponds. This “ecosystem in a pond” approach offers several advantages:

  • Improved water quality: The system encourages the proliferation of beneficial bacteria and phytoplankton, naturally filtering and enhancing water conditions.
  • Shrimp health improvement: Zooplankton populations provide complementary food and contribute to water quality, enhancing shrimp health and immunity.
  • Cost-effective: Lower population densities and simpler management requirements translate to reduced operational costs.
  • Sustainability: By mimicking natural ecosystems, aquamimicry promotes environmental responsibility and biodiversity.

Differences between Aquamimicry and Biofloc

The main difference between aquamimicry and Biofloc is the management of the C:N ratio. While this ratio is crucial for Biofloc Technology, it is not a focus in aquamimicry.

Another difference is that aquamimicry relies on large excavated ponds and low stocking densities, while the Biofloc system allows for high densities in smaller ponds.

Aquamimicry vs. Biofloc

For 120 days, Litopenaeus vannamei shrimp were cultured in lined ponds, with aquamimicry and Biofloc technology systems deployed at a moderate density of 60 shrimp per square meter.

Water quality parameters in both cultivation systems remained within optimal ranges in both treatments, demonstrating that both systems are efficient in nutrient management and pond health.

Although they were closely matched in most parameters, shrimp raised in the aquamimicry technology had higher final weight, averaging 11.73 grams compared to Biofloc’s 11.48 grams.

However, Biofloc technology outperformed aquamimicry in survival rates, with 63.3% versus 53.3%. In terms of overall productivity, Biofloc system’s 4.08 tons per hectare surpassed aquamimicry’s 3.56 tons.


This study reveals that aquamimicry is a promising rival to BFT, offering comparable shrimp growth and potentially lower environmental impact. While BFT retains its advantage in productivity and survival, the impressive performance of aquamimicry, especially in final weight, opens doors to further optimization.

“The present study demonstrates that ponds with aquamimicry technology exhibit the same overall performance as ponds with Biofloc technology,” conclude the researchers.

The study paves the way for exciting advancements. Researchers aim to refine the aquamimicry system to achieve higher population densities, which could push its productivity beyond the reach of BFT while maintaining its environmental advantages.

This rivalry is far from over, and the future of sustainable shrimp farming looks brighter than ever, with both technologies pushing each other towards greater efficiency and harmony with nature.

The study has been funded by Conselho Nacional de Desenvolvimento Científico e Tecnológico.

Gerardo Foes
Universidade Federal do Rio Grande , Instituto de Oceanografia, Laboratório de Carcinocultura – Rio Grande (RS), Brazil.
Email: geraldofoes@gmail.com

Reference (open access)
Catalani, K., Wasielesky, W., Zuñiga, R., de Souza, M. S., & Foes, G. (2023). Comparison between biofloc technology system and aquamimicry in the cultivation of Litopenaeus vannamei in lined ponds in Southern Brazil. Boletim do Instituto de Pesca, 49.