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Are You Using Polychaetes?


Francisco Javier Tobías Jiménez ( Listers, I’m very interested in communicating with those of you who are using polychaetes as an ingredient in your broodstock diets.  I would also like to know if any of you are using polychaetes in your growout feeds to obtain healthier and tastier shrimp.


Dallas Weaver ( Francisco, what’s in polychaetes that make them such a great broodstock feed?


Mauricio Emerenciano ( Francisco and Listers: Keep in mind that polychaetes are a whole lot more expensive than some of the other fresh broodstock feeds, like mussels and squid, but they are the highest in long-chain-polyunsaturated-fatty acids (LC-PUFA n-3) content.


Francisco Javier Tobías Jiménez ( Mauricio, I agree with you: The high price of polychaetes limits their use.


We are developing rearing systems for marine worms (polychaetes).  I want to know how many of you would be interested in a marine-worm rearing system?


Dallas, to answer your questions about what’s in polychaetes that make them such a great broodstock feed, it seems to be the highly unsaturated fatty acids (HUFAs) and the polyunsaturated fatty acids(PUFAs), but other substances, possibly sterols and hormones, also seem to contribute to their positive effect.


Nelson Gerundo ( Francisco, cultured polychaete worms from biosecure facilities (SPF) are sold all over the world at $80/Kg.


Importing frozen polychaetes from countries with no history of any devastating shrimp diseases (WSD, AHPND, EHP, IMNV, YHD, GAV, SMV, MoV and chronic Vibriosis) is expensive, but convenient and safe.


Have you setup any polychaete production systems in Southeast Asia?  If so can you give us the name and contact details of the hatchery owners so that we can inquire about your system?  Does anyone on the list have experience with Francisco’s polychaete rearing system?


For a long time, Delta Farms in the Netherlands has been producing thousands of kilograms of SPF polychaetes.  It harvests monthly and sells the worms around the world in frozen, vacuum packs.  Delta Farms’ polychaetes are guaranteed specific pathogen free for WSSV, IHHNV, YHV, TSV, IMNV, PvNV, AHPND, EHP and NHP-B and are regularly checked for disease by the Aquaculture Pathology Laboratory at the University of Arizona.


Do I have actual field experience using polychaetes?  Yes!  Feeding giant tiger shrimp broodstock.


Daniel Gruenberg ( A more biosecure and easier to manage option than polychaetes is the new moist pellet extruded feed from Prochaete that is made from farmed polychaetes in the United Kingdom.


Since the EHP and EMS epidemics, I don’t use any fresh or frozen foods except California Loligo (squid).  It’s frozen on the fishing boat and later defrosted and extruded with live, fresh, farmed polychaetes into semi-moist pellets.  We buy it from CPAC Animal Health in Thailand.


Nelson Gerundo ( Wild, captive, Philippine, giant tiger broodstock are accustomed to eating natural food.  In order of preference, when a buffet of the following feeds is offered simultaneously, tiger shrimp prefer:


1. frozen adult Artemia biomass

2. frozen polychaetes

3. frozen squid

4. frozen clams

5. frozen beef liver

6. frozen beef heart

7. a semi-moist, commercial, broodstock, maturation diet


Eric Muylder (, Francisco, I disagree with your statement about HUFAs being responsible for “polychaete effect” in shrimp maturation.  For sure polychaetes are a very good source of HUFAs, but if the effect of polychaetes were due to HUFAs only, then cooked or dried polychaetes would work, and they don’t.  If the “polychaete effect” is something destroyed by heating, it’s more likely to be a protein, or a reproductive hormone, like methyl farnesoate or vitellogenin, or a combination of several other substances.


Eamonn O'Brien (, Product Manager, Skretting Marine Hatchery Feeds): For sure polychaetes have made a positive impact over the years, but they have also introduced a wealth of problems, like biosecurity.  There is also a huge seasonal difference in the nutritional makeup of these animals, and although we use the generic term “polychaetes”, we’re dealing with dozens of species and sources of marine worms.  So the proposition that there is something special within the worms is plausible, but it is unlikely to always be true.


Typically within a maturation unit, we see various combinations of feeds: worms, mussels, oysters, Artemia biomass, chicken livers and squid, fed at rates of 20-30% of biomass a day, often resulting in chronic mortality and poor water quality.


Two years ago Skretting developed a new maturation feed for broodstock called “Vitalis 2.5”.  It’s currently in use at commercial hatcheries.  We managed to reduce the fresh feed component in “Vitalis 2.5” down to 5% squid biomass (by weight/per day).  There has been no negative effect.  On the contrary, we see improved water quality, reduced mortality, same or better fecundity/fertilization, and the broodstock happily consume the pellets even in the presence of fresh feeds.  My point is not to make a sales pitch; it’s merely to point out that with a consistent, well-formulated feed, nutrient inputs such as polychaetes can be replaced.


Daniel Gruenberg ( Eamonn, I totally agree with you.  I have been advocating for a good quality broodstock diets for a long time because the standard feeding program for maturation normally has a lot of risks.


I didn’t know that Skretting even made a maturation diet.  Is it registered in Thailand?


Previously I have used EZ Mate from Zeigler, but added my own ingredients to improve it.  It’s a lot of work to form the pellets properly.


I have tried Prochaete with good luck with just squid and pellets same as you mentioned.  Does Skretting’s maturation feed contain polychaete meal?


Any information you can share with us would be very much appreciated.


This sector needs more competition to give farmers more choices for biosecure maturation diets.


Eamonn O'Brien ( Daniel, we are rolling out “Vitalis 2.5” in the markets where we are currently active: the United States, all of Latin America, Vietnam, Indonesia and India.  Thailand and China will follow soon.  We don’t use any polychaetes in our diet, which is based on a blend of different marine proteins, algae and our proprietary blend of health-supporting ingredients. The diet is produced at our hatchery diet specialization unit in France using low-temperature extrusion.


Billy Setio ( Nelson, you said that beef liver and beef heart were used in broodstock diets for P. monodon.  Can they also be fed to P. vannamei?


Nelson Gerundo ( Billy, experiment with a little bit of beef liver or beef heart to see if your P. vannamei like it.  If they don’t like it, just remove it from the tank.  Adult brine shrimp, polychaetes, squid, clams and a commercial broodstock formulated diet should be more than enough for P. vannamei.


The appetite of the broodstock is influenced by their environment—temperature, lighting, tank color, water quality, water flow, tank cleanliness and noise.


Bert Meijering (, I would like to add that Prochaete purchases its polychaetes from Delta Farms and Topsy Baits.


Sources: 1. The Shrimp List (a mailing list for shrimp farmers).  Subject: Are You Using Polychaetes?  April 19 to 22, 2017.  2. Bob Rosenberry, Shrimp News International, April 27, 2017.

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