Reed Mariculture has produced its Instant Algae product line of long-shelf-life microalgae concentrates for more than 20 years, providing to hatcheries the microalgae that are essential for their operations.

Instant Algae concentrates are used in commercial and research hatcheries in more than 80 countries around the world for fish, shrimp, and shellfish larviculture, as well as in public aquariums and hobbyist reef tanks.

Microalgae are essential for hatchery operations

Microalgae are required for creating greenwater for finfish larviculture, and they are the natural and most effective food for culture of rotifers and copepods, essential first-feeds for larval fish.

Microalgae are also first-feeds for many crustaceans and are the irreplaceable feed throughout the life cycles of bivalves. A supply of Instant Algae at the hatchery eliminates the need for on-site microalgae production, which can consume up to one-third of hatchery budgets and requires specialised labour and constant management, always with the risk of culture failures that can jeopardise the success of the entire hatchery.

Instant Algae concentrates can also supplement on-site microalgae production to cover seasonal or unexpected peaks in demand, or interruptions of on-site production.

What are Instant Algae concentrates?

Instant Algae products are formulated from pure, highly concentrated, phototrophically grown marine microalgae. The algae are mass-cultured at Reed Mariculture"s inland facility in a recirculating synthetic seawater system. No pathogen vectors such as finfish or shellfish are allowed at this facility, and no pathogens have ever been detected by regular product testing.

The algal cells in Instant Algae are non-viable but intact, retaining all their nutritional value. Instant Algae concentrates provide all the advantages of live algae without the large investment of infrastructure, time, and skilled labor required to grow algae.

Thanks to Instant Algae, there is now no need to worry about the threat to hatchery phytoplankton culture crashes. Instant Algae concentrates have long shelf-lives so they are always available when you need them—no worries about planning schedules of phytoplankton production to coincide with your zooplankton or larvae production schedule.

Instant Algae concentrates are very easy to use because they disperse instantly in water. The concentrate can be pumped directly into your zooplankton culture system, or simply add concentrate to a bucket of water, stir, then add to your zooplankton culture system or greenwater tank manually.

Instant Algae: Not just "algae"

Instant Algae concentrates are feeds: Highly concentrated liquids that are ready-to-use. They are ideal for automated feeding by dosing pump. This convenience contrasts with dry feeds, which must be subjected to carefully controlled high-energy blending before they can be used. It can be difficult to fully disperse dry feeds, and particles that remain clumped can be too large to be ingested by bivalves and zooplankton, resulting in inefficient feeding and fouling of culture tanks. Dry feeds are also susceptible to leaching of water-soluble nutrients when they are re-hydrated.

Choosing the right algae

The Instant Algae product line offers the range of algae most highly prized for use in aquaculture. Each strain provides particular benefits, depending on such characteristics as nutritional content, cell size, palatability, and digestibility:

Nannochloropsis—Provides high EPA, ARA, and cholesterol. Although it lacks DHA, so it cannot impart to rotifers the full nutritional value required by many larvae, it is a nearly ideal feed for mass-production of rotifers. Its small size (1.5-2 µm) and robust cell wall also enable it to persist in suspension for use as "greenwater" to provides beneficial turbidity and prevent depletion of the energy reserves of rotifers in larval tanks.

Tetraselmis—Provides high EPA and cholesterol. Tetraselmis is very unusual among microalgae in containing significant taurine (ca. 10% of amino acids). Its relatively large cell size (10-12 µm) makes Tetraselmis an efficient feed for late larval and post-larval bivalves.

Isochrysis "T-Iso" (Tisochrysis)—Provides no EPA but very high DHA, making it one of the most widely-used algae in aquaculture. Used as a component of bivalve larviculture and zooplankton grow-out diets, as well as supplemental DHA-enrichment protocols for rotifers and Artemia.

Pavlova—Provides a balanced EPA : DHA ratio and a variety of sterols, some of which have been shown to stimulate setting of bivalve larvae. Can be difficult for hatcheries to produce reliably.

Thalassiosira weissflogii—Provides both EPA and DHA (many diatoms lack DHA), and so is one of the most widely used diatoms in aquaculture. Particularly valuable for shrimp larviculture because the large cell size (long dimension up to 15+ µm) facilitates extension of the algae feeding period until the end of the PL stage.

Thalassiosira pseudonana—Similar to T. weissflogii, provides EPA and DHA, but its smaller cell size (long dimension 6-10 µm) is more suitable for earlier larval stages of shrimp and bivalves.

Different Instant Algae products are optimized for a variety of different applications. Some single-species products are suitable for use alone for certain specialised purposes, but in general a combination of species provides more balanced nutrition. Users can combine products to create their own custom mixes, or they may prefer to use our combination products to provide optimal nutrition for bivalves (Shellfish Diet) or zooplankton (RotiGrow Plus, RotiGrow OneStep, and N-Rich products).

by Eric C. Henry, PhD, Research Scientist, Reed Mariculture Inc.

Reed Mariculture'S PROFILE

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