It is getting to be that time of year: FFA coming to indy. We would love to show your students around a shrimp farm. If looking for a tour or something to do with your FFA Students, check us out. We offer one hour tours of a shrimp farm in Indiana. The tours are entertaining and educational at the same time. The cost is $5 per person. They do need to be scheduled and they are done on the hour every hour. Space does fill up fast so if interested contact us and we can get. you on the calendar.
Reach us at 765.299.9313
A shrimp farm in Indiana? Who would have "thunk" it?
RDM Aquaculture was started on July 13, 2010 when we received our first batch of post larval (PLs) from a hatchery in Florida. We started with (6)one horse pump system, using 18 foot swimming pools. These were our production tanks, and two nursery tanks.
In 2013 we designed our own system by getting rid of the One hp pumps and using air only. We use what we call a volcanoe system. In 2015 we were awareded the Indiana Innovation Award for our system that we desinged. It was the simplicity of the system that made it so unique. We run on air being pushed from the outside into our tanks using a 1 hp regenerative blower. This keeps all of the solids in suspension and off the bottom of the tank where the shrimp tend to hang out. Since those days we now have 19 production tanks, 7 intermediate tanks and 8 - 10 nursery tanks.
When we started we thought there were hundreds of these farms across the US, we did not know that we were the 3rd privately owned in the country. The two privately owned farms that preceeded us were started in Maryland (which has now moved to another state) and the other was also in Indiana!
What make us so unique is that we used a RAS (Recirculating Aquaculture System) using a heterotrophic bacteria based water or ZEAH (Zero Exchange Aerobic Heterotrophic System) or bio flock. It basically means we reuse our water for over 11 years. We have built a bacteria system that maintains the water quality for the shrimp, by converting ammonia to nitrite and nitrite to nitrate. In essences we are duplicating the ocean to the best of our ability indoors.
We use air only as a way to keep our water in total suspension. The water has to be kept moving or it will cause water quality issues. Running on air we have less maintaince to equipment as you would have with a pumps and filters.
We are not shrimp farmers but "Guardians of Water" and maintain the water in order to get the large survival rates for our shrimp. We feel that if we take care of the water, the water will take care of the shrimp. Our water is actually as close to their true natural environment; the natural environment without the toxins and pollutants that are in the ocean at this time. In order to maintain these higher survival rates, we run 9 tests everyday on the shrimp and the water so they can be “happy shrimp” and grow for us! Our system is pretty basic, and it works! The hardest part is being patient and allowing that bacteria to grow to maintain the shirmp, but this is why we are diligent about testing!
We have been able to maintain the bacteria for 11 years. Each year it gets better with age and each year our survival rates go up! We do over 90% survival rate in our nursery and intermediate tanks and we range from 70% - 90% in our production side.
Using NO antibiotics or hormones are what we are most proud of. We are getting large survival rates and yet only let nature do her thing, we just try to maintain their enviorment. We do not work against the water . We have found that most shrimp have not read any of the shrimp books out there and they're do their own thing.
I am always asked if I would do this again. Yes I would. I love every aspect of aquaculture. I like that we are diversifying by experminting in raising oysters and will be raising crawfish again in 2023. Getting ready to start an aquaponics system using the crawfish and tilapia. Hopefully soon we can have our own hatchery for shrimp. Have a goal to make Indiana the shrimp capital of the world.
Darryl and Karlanea are the husband/wife duo that run RDM Aquauculture. Darryl, as the "Guru of the Water," has a degree in Agriculture and Animal Science from Purdue University. Starting by raising hogs then looking into tilapia, he got into researching and then raising shrimp for over 10 years. He is very dedicated to improving the shrimp industry. Darryl is continuously researching and looking for a better way to raise shrimp in the heterotrophic system!
Karlanea is the VP of Operations. She has over 10years of experience in the RAS and heterotrophic systems. With the 90% survival rates, Karlanea is in charge of not only making the shrimp happy, but helping make you into a succesful shrimp farmer!