Vietnam is an amazing country with a very strong aquaculture industry. I spent 10 days in this country from Ho Chi Minh to Hanoi and visited a basa farm, prawn farm and oyster farm. I also found the local market very interesting, most species are displayed alive. It is sad to see the fish suffering in such conditions but there is a very good reason for that. Very few shops and markets are equipped with a fridge so the most efficient way to keep the flesh fresh is to keep the fish alive.
Basa and Tilapia
I saw several very interesting species adapted to Aquaponics. The first ones are basa (Pangasius) and tilapia. Those fish are simply growing everywhere in this country. As explained several times those fish are growing extremely fast and are able to breed very easily. The flesh is nice and they handle very high density and poor water quality.
Freshwater prawns (Macrobrachium rosenbergiiis) also called crayfish are widely grown over the country. They are amazing animals and can be grown in Aquaponics, why not introducing a few into the tank of a raft / Deep Water Culture (DWC) system! They can reach a very descent size of several hundred grams. Just make sure they don’t eat the roots of the veges though J.
I also had the opportunity to ride a bicycle around the salt water prawn farms. Black tigers prawns are grown in multiple ponds sometimes equipped with aerators to allow the oxygen concentration to remain at a comfortable limit for the prawns. This type of Aquaculture in shallow ponds is very typical to prawn farming.
Sneakhead fish (Channa spp) is an amazing type of fish, it can be grown in multiple styles of tanks. They can resist to extreme water conditions. This fish can breath air and survive up to 4 days without water. This is a fast growing fish offering an amazing flesh.
Also called elephant ear fish in Vietnam, the giant gourami (Osphronemus goramy) is a very appreciated fish. It’s often served grilled. This fish can also survive in very low oxygen concentration. It can be fed with vegetables and is easy to grow. It would be an excellent candidate for aquaponics.
I visited a pearl oyster farm were several species of oysters were present. At this stage saltwater aquaponics is not very developed yet even if multispecific systems integrating fish farm, crustaceans, mollusc (such as oysters and mussels), seaweed are coming to life in several countries around the planet.
Grouper are grown in sea cages. The fish can reach impressive sizes but in aquaculture they are rarely grown over 6kg. This salt water species is currently not grown in Aquaponics.
Arowana and Saratoga
Those 2 species of fish are very similar. They present a long body with a wide mouth able to eat very large preys. They are actually redoubtable predators. They can be kept in Aquaponics. Those fish are designed to feed from the surface and any animal falling into the tank able to fit in their mouth will be seen as a prey!
Arapaima are huge fish, the general shape is close to the shape of the Arowana but the head is longer and flatter. I had the opportunity to see some huge ones of 1.2m + there. It’s an impressive fish that can also be kept in large Aquaponics tanks.
During this Vietnamese trip I had the opportunity to visit a very nice Aquaponics setup and I we will talk about it next week so stay tunedJ.