Vol.4, No.10, 563-569 (2013) Agricultural Sciences
The research progress on food organism culture and
technology utilization in crab seed production in
ponds in China
Jibing Qi1,2, Xiaolian Gu2*, Lingbo Ma2, Zhenguo Qiao2, Kai Chen2
1Institute of Aquaculture and Life, Shanghai Ocean University, Shanghai, China
2East China Sea Fishery Research Institute, Chinese Academy of Fishery Science, Shanghai, China;
*Corresponding Author: guxl@mail.eastfishery.ac.cn, xlgu_1972@hotmai.com
Received 23 April 2013; revised 24 May 2013; accepted 25 June 2013
Copyright © 2013 Jibing Qi et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which
permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Eriocheirsinensis, Portunus trituberculatus and
Scylla paramamosain are important commercial
culture crab species in China. Traditional factory
breeding of crabs depends on Artemia nauplius.
The rising price of Artemia cysts has led to the
decline of the economic benefit of the crab
breeding factory. Factory crab breeding has been
gradually replaced by pond breeding in recent
years. E. sinensis and P. trituberculatus have
been bred mainly in ponds. Meanwhile, S. para-
mamosain is still mainly bred in factories be-
cause of the crudeness of pond breeding. The
research progress on food organism utilization
in the three species of commercially bred crabs
was reviewed in this p aper . In the workshop seeds
production, rotifer and Artemia nauplii were ne-
cessary in the early stages from zoea I to zoea II
in the three crab species. Adult artemia, minced
fish and shellfish were fed to the larvae in the
later zoea stages from zoea III to Megalopa . The
rising of the price of artemia eggs made people
find other feed organism to replace artemia. Co-
pepods have been used in crab seeds production
in pond from zoea III stage to replace artemia in
recent years, which has reduced the cost of
seeds production.
Keywords: Food Organisms; Crab Seeds; Ponds
Eriocheirsinensis, Portunus trituberculatus and Scylla
paramamosain are the most commonly cultured crabs in
China. According to the fishery statistics of China [1], cul-
ture area and annual output of three kinds of crabs in the
whole country in 2009 were E. sinensis 466,700 hm2 and
574,200 t, P. trituberculatus 31,800 hm2 and 91,100 t and
S. paramamosain 30,700 hm2 and 115,900 t. The total
culture area and output were 529,200 hm2 and 781,200 t,
respectively. Crab culture has become one of the pillar
industries in China’s aquaculture industry.
The progress of aquaculture is based on offspring seed.
In China, the production technology research on crabs’
seed culture dates from the earlier stages of 1970s. Bu-
shao Xu and Naigang Zhao were the first to conduct re-
search on the seawater factory breeding of E. sinensis;
subsequently, they pioneered the artificial breeding of E.
sinensis [2,3]. By the end of the 1990s, E. sinensis fac-
tory breeding technology became mature and megalopa
output per unit water body reached 0.1 kg/m3 to 0.2
kg/m3, and even more than 1 kg/m3 [2]. Afterwards, fac-
tory-breeding technology was widely used in P. trituber-
culatus and S. paramamosain cultures. This promoted
the rapid development of Chinese crab culture.
Since the 21st century, with the development of breed-
ing technology of E. sinensis and P. trituberculatus in
ponds, production capacity has constantly improved and
offspring seed production has increased year by year. In
2009, megalopa (M) output of E. sinensis and P. tritu-
berculatus in the whole country reached approximately
78,7521 kg [1] and 8000 kg (800 million to 1 billion in-
dividuals), respectively [4].
In factory seed production, larval rearing of crabs needs
more controlled conditions, such as air supply, water sup-
ply, heat supply, and light control; thus, the cost of in-
Copyright © 2013 SciRes. OPEN A CCESS
J. B. Qi et al. / Agricultural Sciences 4 (2013) 563-569
frastructure of the workshop and crab seed production is
higher. In comparison, seed culture in ponds is low cost.
Prior to breeding, cultureponds need to be cleaned and
disinfected strictly; subsequently, they need to be ferti-
lized and inoculated with unicellular algae. In the process
of larval rearing, food organisms, such as rotifers and
copepods, are necessary at different larval stages. Seed
production cost is lower in ponds and has advantages in
terms of popularization and promotion [5]. A seed pro-
duction factory with 1000-m3 water body workshop costs
more than 300,000 RMB, while a pond farm with 6700-
m2 pond costs less than 70,000 RMB [5]. Seed pro-
duction in ponds has become a main method of seed
production of E. sinensis and P. trituberculatus, in China.
The ratio between pondseed outputs and total outputs
(including factory seeds, pond seeds and seeds captured
from the sea) of E. sinensis and P. trituberculatus in
China are over 95% and 70%, respectively [4]. However,
S. paramamosain seed production in ponds still needs
further research. S. paramamosain seeds are still mainly
produced in workshop, with an output less than 100 mil-
lion individuals each year in China. S. paramamosain
seeds mainly rely on natural seedlings in the sea [4].
3.1. Food Organisms in Zoea and Megalopa
Stage of Three Crab Species
The quality and quantity of food is the key of the crab
larval culture. The research of food used in crab breeding
began in the 1990s. Under experimental conditions,
Zhaoshu Zeng et al. (1992) only used rotifer or Artemia
nauplii to feed S. paramamosain larvae, studying the
metamorphosis rate and survival rate of Zoea (Z1) to
Zoea (Z5), in order to determine which food items are
suitable at zoea stages [6]. The results showed that du-
ring Z1 stage, the survival rate of the larvae, which were
only fed with Artemia nauplii, significantly declined.
This result could indicate that Artemia nauplii were too
large to be caught by the larvae of S. paramamosain at
the Z1 stage [6]. From the stages Z4 to Z5, if larvae were
only fed with rotifer, only few larvae could become me-
galopa and their survival rate would be very low. They
also found that when rotifer density exceeds 10 ind/ml,
Z1 could molt and develop into Z2. Additionally, the sur-
vival rate of larvae increased along with rotifer density
increasing from 20 ind/ml to 60 ind/ml [6]. Therefore,
during Z1 and Z2 stage, S. paramamosain in factory
breeding were fed with rotifer at appropriate density
from 20 ind/ml to 30 ind/ml considering the dissolved
oxygen and water quality. Z3 was the important tran-
sitional phase of food organisms changing from rotifer to
Artemia nauplii. The larvae of Z3 were fed with Artemia
nauplii and rotifer. From Z4 to M, larvae were mainly fed
with Artemia nauplii. The aforementioned food items
were regarded as appropriate for larvae rearing in the
factory [6]. Food items of E. sinensis, S. paramamosain,
and P. trituberculatus have been studied by many resear-
chers; subsequently, their findings have been applied to
industry standards or local standards for the production
of the three species crabs in China (Table 1) [7-9].
3.2. Difference in food Organism Demands
of Zoea Stages of Three Crab Species
Under the experimental conditions, Mengzhong Gong
(1998) compared the metamorphosis and survival rate of
S. paramamosain and P. trituberculatus fed with dif-
ferent types of food, including 3 species of unicellular
algae (Nannochloris oculata, Chaetoceros muelleri and
Dicrateria inornata), three zooplanktons (rotifer, Arte-
mia nauplii and copepods), and artificial food substitutes
(soybean milk, egg yolk, shrimp mince and prawn larvae)
[10]. He found that thelarvae of S. paramamosain could
only finish metamorphosis from Z1 to Z2 stages, as all
larvae perished after nine days. Meanwhile, 3% of P. tri-
tuberculatus larvae could develop to the megalopa stage
when fed with mixed food substitutes (mix of soybean
milk, egg yolk, shrimp mince and prawn larvae) [10].
The survival rates of S. paramamosain and P. tritub ercu-
latus from Z1 to M were 32% and 51%, respectively, fed
on the mix of rotifer and Artemia nauplii. The survival
rates of the larvae of the two crabs were evidently lower
when fed with rotifer or Artemia nauplii separately [10].
The survival rates of S. paramamosain and P. trituber-
culatusfrom Z1 to M were 54% and 63%, respectively,
when larvae were fed with algae, rotifer, Artemia nauplii
and copepods by turns according to the stages. Research
also showed that when larvae of two crabs in Z1 were fed
with unicellular algae (Nannochloris oculata, Chaetoce-
ros muelleri and Dicrateria inornata), 1% larvae of P.
trituberculatus developed to megalopa, while larvae of S.
paramamosain all died during the first 10 days.
In the three species of crabs, the larvae of E. sinensis
were the easiest to rear. Larvae of Z1 and Z2 in E. si-
nensis could be cultured with unicellular algae, a certain
amount of egg yolk andbeer yeast (Saccharomyces cere-
visiae). Meanwhile, larvae of Z3 are fed with Artem ia
nauplii, freezing copepods, cladocerans or artificial food
E. sinensis was the first crab species bred in ponds.
Several research reports were available about the keys to
breeding technology in ponds, such as composition and
Copyright © 2013 SciRes. OPEN A CCESS
J. B. Qi et al. / Agricultural Sciences 4 (2013) 563-569
Copyright © 2013 SciRes. OPEN A CCESS
Table 1. Food items in stages of zoea and megalopa in E. sinensis, P. trituberculatus and S. paramamosain in factory breeding.
Eriocheirsinensis Portunus trituberculatus Scylla paramamosain
Z1 Rotifer**, unicellular algaeEgg yolk,
Spirulina powder, Clamworm larvae Unicellular algae, rotifer Unicellular algae, rotifer
Z2 Rotifer**, unicellular algae,
Artemia nauplii
Unicellular algae, rotifer,
Artemia nauplii
Rotifer**, unicellular algae,
Artemia nauplii
Z3 Rotifer, Artemia nauplii**,
Egg yolk, Spirulina powder
Artemia nauplii**,
Artifical compound feed
Artemia nauplii, Shrimp flakes,
Spirulina powder
Z4 Artemia nauplii** Copepods, Clamworm larvae,
Minced fish, Egg custard, Artifical compound feed
Artemia nauplii**,
Artifical compound feed
Artemia nauplii**, Shrimp flakes,
Spirulina powder
Z5 Artemia nauplii**, Clamworm larvae, Minced fish,
Egg custard, Artifical compound feed,
* Artemia nauplii**, Shrimp flakes,
Spirulina powder
M Artemia nauplii (or adult), Copepods,
Cladoceran Artifical compound feed
Artemia nauplii (or adult), Copepods,
Cladoceran Artifical compound feed
Artemia nauplii**,
Minced shellfish
Note: *: there are only 4 zoea stages in P. tritubercu latus, **: it means that larvae take them as main food.
function of the food organisms, suitable density, and pre-
dation ability of the larvae in different stages [13,14].
Organisms in the ponds of crab seed production are
made up of plankton and benthos. The plankton commu-
nity is important in crab breeding because they comprise
the food organisms of crab larvae. Research on the clu-
ster, swimming and phototaxis of ecological habitat of
food organisms, including rotifer, copepods and unicel-
lular algae, and the relation between plankton and crabs
zoea, are helpful to maintain the balance between food
organisms and crab larvae in breeding ponds, which can
be done through fertilizing, adding seawater, inoculating
rotifer and supplementing copepods [13].
4.1. Phytoplankton in the Ponds of Crab
In ponds of crab breeding, the ideal phytoplankton is
made up of different unicellular algae, such as marine
chlorella, golden algae, Phaeodactylum triconutum and
Nitzschia closterium. Marine chlorellais the best food for
rotifer, whilegolden algae and diatoms can be eaten di-
rectly by the crab larvae in earlier stages. These algae
can offer necessary nutrition to crab larvae directly or in-
directly, especially highly unsaturated fatty acids of EPA
(20:5n3) and DHA (22:6n3), which are necessary for
crab larvae growth and development. Therefore, suitable
unicellular algae density in ponds of crab breeding plays
an important role for the high survival rate of early lar-
vae. Furthermore, photosynthesis of algae can increase
dissolved oxygen and absorb nitrogen and phosphorus in
the water to maintain stability of the ecosystems in ponds
Algae of culture ponds presents diversity and varied
trends, which are caused by many factors, such as light,
temperature, nutrient salt and the quantity and kinds of
zooplankton. In earlier stages of culture, ponds with
fresh water have high abundance of algae, and the main
algae are diatoms without flagellum. In the middle and
later periods, with increasing amount of organic matter,
flagellum algae that like organic matter become domi-
nant species and other algae decrease [13,16].
Qing Liu (2000) studied phytoplankton in ponds of
culture rotifer and found that with on-going culture, the
phytoplankton biomass decreased, biodiversity increased,
small phytoplankton species decreased, and large phyto-
plankton species increased [17].
Algae community composition in ponds is often af-
fected by pond clearing and disinfecting drugs. Changfa
Liu (1998) studied the effect of bleaching powder on
cleaning ponds and water quality of shrimp ponds, and
subsequently proposed that the density of 30 mg/L blea-
ching powder could basically kill most plankton and bac-
teria, could oxidize dead organisms and reducing subs-
tances, and had little influence on nutrient salt [18].
Xiaodong Li (2007) discovered that dominant algae in
the earlier breeding stage were small algae, which had fast
reproductive speed and shorter generation time. In this
stage, low quantity of nitrogen and phosphorus, which
lower water temperature, were helpful to the growth and
reproduction of unicellular algae, such as chlorella, di-
atoms and golden algae. Meanwhile, high quantities of
nitrogen and phosphorus led to chlorococoum to become
dominant. The use of fertilizers with very low quantity
ratio of nitrogen and phosphorus, or with only phosphate
applied, led to an increasein the number of nitrogen-fix-
ing blue green algae [13].
Applying organic fertilizer directly to breeding ponds
brought about difficulty in regulation and control of uni-
cellular algae because organic fertilizer contained much
bacteria and organic detritus. Consequently, zooplankton
started to reproduce antecedent to phytoplankton, such
that it was easy to lead to zooplankton’s excessively ra-
pid growth, and a great quantity of phytoplankton were
eaten by filter-feeding zooplankton. Subsequently, even
if inorganic fertilizer was added again, phytoplankton
had difficulty in reproducing again. Inoculating unicel-
J. B. Qi et al. / Agricultural Sciences 4 (2013) 563-569
lular algae in ponds before breeding, such as marine
chlorella, was helpful to maintain the dominant position
of unicellular phytoplankton, and prolonged its expo-
nential growth phase. Dominant chlorella could promote
the reproduction of rotifer in earlier stages of breeding
and prevent water to be polluted by dinoflagellates in the
later stage. Inoculation density or feeding density of roti-
fer should be reasonably controlled in earlier stages of
breeding in ponds, which is important to maintain a bet-
ter phytoplankton community environment.
4.2. Rotifers in the Ponds of Crab Breeding
Rotifers are universally acknowledged as high quality
initial feedfor seed culture in fish, shrimps and crabs.
They have some characteristics, such as small individual
size, slow swimming speed, rapid reproduction through
the use of bioticorganisms (algae, bacteria, etc.), that make
them a good food organism for the growth and deve-
lopment of crab larvae in the earlier stages. Culturing
rotifers in earthen ponds in the southern coast of China
has entered the stage of commercialization, which can
supply enough rotifers stably all year-round for seed pro-
duction in marine fishes, shrimps and crabs.
At present, the main rotifers used in marine seed
culture in China are Brachionus plicatillis and B. roun-
difurrnis. Studies show that suitable culture temperatures
for Brachionus Plicatillis and B. roundifurrnis are 21˚C
to 25˚C and 30˚C, respectively, and their individual sizes
are 150 μm to 200 μm and 80 μm to 120 μm, res-
pectively [19]. Thus, they are named as large rotifer and
small rotifer in early articles, respectively. In the pro-
duction of crab seed, large rotifer is usually used in
breeding of E. sinensis and P. trituberculatus in the north
coast of China, while small rotifer is mainly used in
breeding of S. paramamosain in the south coast of China.
In ponds of crab breeding, especially S. paramamosain
breeding, small rotifer is often used as initial feed before
the Z3 in early larvae stage. If rotifer density is too low in
pond, the survival rate of crab larvae in earlier stage will
decline for lack of enough initial feed. On the contrary,
in the later stages, if rotifer density is too high in pond,
rotifers will massively reproduce because individuals of
rotifersare too small to be effectively caught and fed on
by the larvae of Z4 and the later stage [6]. Thus, it is very
important to control rotifer density reasonably.
Yonghan Li (1985) found that the number of rotifers
increased in logistic curve in the rotifer culture pond.
The rising period maintained from three days to five days
when the density rotifer was at 10 ind/ml and it main-
tained for about ten days when the density of rotifers was
only at 1 ind/ml [20]. For this reason, it is hard to ma-
nagementwater quality if a large number of rotifers are
leftin ponds after the stage of Z4 in S. paramamosain
breeding in ponds. However, large rotifer is used as ini-
tial feed in breeding of E. sinensis and P. trituberculatus,
and their zoea larvae can become megal o p a even if ro-
tifers are used alone as food [21,22].
Qingjing Zhang (2001) determinedthat that the opti-
mum density of large rotifer is 3 ind/ml to 5 ind/ml in the
stage of Z1 and Z2, and 10 ind/ml to 20 ind/ml during the
period from Z3 to Z5. He also found that higher rotifer
density is not better—long-term densities of rotifer over
20 ind/ml bring about negative effects on the growth of
crab larvae [23].
XiaoDong Li (2007) cultured crab seeds of E.sinensis
in 30-m25 m × 6 m × 1 mexperimental enclosures
which were placed in 1500-m2 marine culture ponds. In
the whole process of culture, Artemia nauplii was not
used, but the enclosures were fertilized and chlorella and
rotifers were inoculated without the addition of other
food organisms. Subsequently, Li found that the opti-
mum inoculation density ofchlorella and rotifer in the
nursery pond of E. sinensiswere 50 × 104 ind/ml and 2
ind/ml, respectively [13]. The maximum output of me-
galopa was 1021 gin a single experimental enclosure,
which meant that the output per unit water body was 34
g/m3 megalopa [13].
Xueshi Zhang (2011) reported the results of seed pro-
duction test of E. sinensis under the condition of oxygen
supply at the bottom of nursery pond. Rotifer was the
single species of animal food that was fed to crab larvae
during the whole period from Z1 to M [21]. Seawater in
the pond was fertilized 3 days before breeding. Larvae
mainly depended on the organisms that came from fer-
tilization. A small amount of yeast was supplemented in
the first two days at the beginning of Z1 stage. Starting
the third day, hatching larvae were fed with rotifers until
the megalopa stage. Total output of megalopa was 466.8
kg in six nursery ponds with a total area of 7223 m2 (1.8
m water deep), which meant an average output of 35.9
g/m3 [21].
Hanyou Liu (2008) used large rotifer as the biological
food in Portunus trituberculatus breeding in ponds, and
the inoculation density of rotifer was 1.8 ind/ml. The
supply of rotifer was according to the food intake by
larvae [24]. We succeeded in culturing the seeds of S.
paramamosain in ponds using small rotifer as initial food
at the density of 2 ind/ml to 4 ind/ml before Z3 stage in
the Hainan Province in 2012 (unpublished).
4.3. Utilization of Copepods to
Replace Artemia Nauplii in the Ponds of
Crabs Breeding
In factory crab breeding in China, Artemia nauplii is
the main biological food after the stage of Z3. Most crab
seed production factories use Artemia nauplii as biolo-
gical food during the period from Z3 to Z4. With the in-
creasing price of Artemia cysts in the international mar-
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J. B. Qi et al. / Agricultural Sciences 4 (2013) 563-569 567
ket after 2000, the cost in Artemia cysts accounts for the
increasing proportion of seed production total cost, even
up to 67%, which has a strong impact on the economic
benefits of crab larvae production factories [12]. The
search for food sourcesable to replace Artemia nauplii,
has become the focus of the seedproduction industry in
the recent years.Crab breeding in ponds aimed at using
copepods to replace expensive Artemia nauplii, which
was the main food after Z3 stage. It has achieved some
results through research and practice by many reseachers;
and these research results promote technological deve-
lopment of crab breeding in ponds.
Copepods are a good replacement for Artemia nauplii.
Copepods are an important part of the zooplankton com-
munity in marine culture ponds. They are rich in nutri-
tion, and reproduce rapidly in optimal temperature con-
ditions.Theyare among the best biological foods in seed
production of marine fishes and freshwater fishes.
However, copepods swim fast such thatthey are dif-
ficult to be caught and fed on by larvae in the earlier
stages. Moreover, carnivorous copepods actively attack,
catch and feed on other food organisms; thus, they are
eliminated as harmful organism before Z3 stage in the
crab larvae culture [13,25]. ShuGuo Li (2001) took the
lead in developing production seeds of E. sinensis, which
did not use Artemia nauplii in ponds. He used yeast pow-
der, egg yolk, algae powder and small amount of rotifers
as food at stages of Z1 and Z2. Rotifers were fed mainly
at the stage of Z3. Copepods, cladocerans and minced
fish, beside rotifers, were fed from Z4 to Z5. Adult Ar-
temia were fed at the stage of M. Megalopa output rea-
ched 750 g/m3 per unit of water body and breeding cost
decreased by 40% [12]. This method of crab breeding
still had some problems, such as water quality being dif-
ficult to control and high risk of incidence rate, because
of the highdensity of larvae and food organisms, and the
abundance of water exchange.
QingJing Zhang (2007) studied the effects of two do-
minant species of copepods Eurytemor affinis and Sino-
calanus tenellus on the survival rate of crab larvae in
nursery pond of E. sinensis in Liao river delta region of
Panjin Liaoning Province. The results showed that two
species of copepodsdecreased the survival rate of Z1 lar-
vae of the crab when the density of two species of co-
pepods was over 500 ind/L in the ponds [14].
Qingjing Zhang (2007) found that Z3 of E. sinensis
could catch and feed on copepod nauplii, and the pre-
dation quantity increased with increasing nauplii density.
The Z5 and M of E. sinensis could feed on adult cope-
pods. However, he found that Z5 and M of E. sinensis
had obvious differences in predation rate of the two spe-
cies of copepods. The predation rates of Z5 to Eurytemor
affinis and Sinocalanus tenellus were 57.2% to 63.3%
and only 3.3% to 8.3%, respectively, while predation
rates of M to Eurytemor affinis and Sinocalanus tenel-
lus were 71.1% to 87.5% and 9.2% to 8.3%, respectively.
The two species of copepods had similar movement ve-
locities; the difference in predation rates might be con-
nected with their mode of movement [14].
Kai Chen (2010) compared the effects of Artemia nau-
plii and copepod influence on growth and development
of S. Paramamosian from Z4 to M. The study showed
that survival rates of larvae fed with copepods were
95.72% and 89.66% during the stage from Z4 to Z5 and
Z5 to M, respectively, which increased 1.07%, and 6.09%
respectively, in comparison with the survival rate of the
larvae fed with Artemia nauplii [26].
We studied the feeding habit of S. paramamosain zo-
eas in different stages. We found that the combination of
rotifers and copepods could replace traditional food com-
bination of rotifers and Artemia nauplii in seed pro-
duction of S. paramamosain. We carried out an experi-
ment involving S. paramamosain breeding in ponds in
Wenchang of Hainan Province in 2012. Rotifers were fed
during stage of Z1 and Z2, as well as during the earlier
stage of Z3. Juvenile copepods, which were filtered
through 80-screen mesh,were added in the later stage of
Z3. In stage of Z4, small size copepods were cast into
nursery ponds alone. Finally, adult copepods were fed in
the stage of Z5 at density 4000 ind/L to 5000 ind/L. Me-
galopa output was 200,000 in a 500-m2 pond, the sur-
vival rate from Z1 to M was 13%, and breeding cost de-
creased by 32% (unpublished).
5.1. Breeding and Culture of Adults in the
Same Pond
Since seed production of crabs in China broke through
scale manufacture technology in the end of the 20th cen-
tury, the modes of seed production have undergone fac-
tory breeding and pond breeding phases. In factory bree-
ding, algae, egg yolk, algae powder, Artemia nauplii and
frozencladocerans are usually used as food, and plenty of
water needs to be exchanged to maintain water quality.
Factory breeding method has advantages of high output
per unit water body and being less affected by weather
change. It has disadvantages of high production cost and
the seeds being susceptible to diseases. Factory breeding
has been replaced gradually by pond breeding in E. si-
nensis and Portunus tri t u berculatus in recent years.
S. paramamo sain seeds are produced in factory at pre-
sent because the technique of pond breeding for this spe-
cies is still immature and needs to be studied further. We
have made progress in the pond breeding for S. para-
mamosain seeds in 2012 (unpublished). We believe that
Copyright © 2013 SciRes. OPEN A CCESS
J. B. Qi et al. / Agricultural Sciences 4 (2013) 563-569
S. paramamo sain seeds will be produced in ponds in the
future, with the improving breeding technique in ponds.
The process of pond breeding often includes cleaning the
bottom, disinfection, fertilization and inoculation of
algae and rotifers. In terms of the actual production, two
modes of pond crab breeding are mainly used: breeding
and culturing adults in same pond and commercial breed-
The mode of breeding and culturing adult crabs in the
same pond has a characteristic of breeding in low density.
Disinfection treatment and fertilization operation in
ponds and seawater during the period of breeding are the
same as general pond breeding. The differences are as
follows: First, in the earlier stage of breeding, lower
water level leaves space for the regulation and control of
water quality. Second, seawater in ponds is disinfected
and then, tea seed cakes are used with mass concen-
tration at 8 kg/667 m2 to make the seawater rich and kill
harmful organisms. Third, larvae stocking density is
within 10,000 ind/m3. Fourth, the water transparency is
maintained at 35 cm to 40 cm with topdressing. Yeast
and soya-bean milk are poured into ponds during Z1 and
Z2 stages, and rotifers and copepods are not supplemen-
ted during all zoea stages. Actual breeding and culture
showed that the above mode could avoid the threat of
culture ponds being polluted effectively because of breed-
ing in low density and the little amount of food. The
output of commodity crabs of P. trituberculatus was usu-
ally about 60 kg/667 m2 and white shrimp output is 200
kg/667 m2, which were the mix species cultured in Jiang-
su province in China.
5.2. Commercial Breeding
The commercial breeding mode of production has been
widely used in seed and adults culture in S. parama-
mosa. Existing research and production results showed
that the larvae of E. sinensis could develop from Z1 to M
if they feed on large rotifer [13]. It is supposed that the
food coefficient for the feeding of crab larvae on roti-
fers is 4 [13]. Under the assumption that the target me-
galopa output in this mode of pond breeding is 10 kg/667
m2, a 40-kg rotifer output is needed in the 667-m2 nur-
sery pond within the 20-day seed production cycle. It is
difficult to culture 40 kg of rotifers if the food supply
solely depends on the natural productivity of the water
body alone through fertilization and algae and rotifer
inoculation, without rotifer supplement [13]. Additional-
ly, in the process of breeding, the equilibrium relation-
ship among algae, rotifers and crab larvae in water body
is affected not only by abiotic factors, such as light and
temperature, but also by biological factors, such as food
chain relationship between the involved organisms. Thus,
it is hard to maintain the equilibrium relationship be-
tween the organisms under condition of high productivity
in breeding ponds. So, a mass of rotifers and Artemia
nauplii has to be used in commercial breeding. Rotifer
culture in ponds is quite developed in China at present
such that it can sufficiently provide rotifers for the seed
production industry.
Algae, yeast, Artemia nauplii, copepods, and clado-
cerans almost meet the needs of crab seed production in
factory or in pond in E. sinensis, P. trituberculatus and S.
paramamosain. For some crabs, however, for example,
Charybdis feriatus, these food organisms still cannot
achieve a beneficial effect. In this regard, further studies
should be conducted to search for more suitable bio-
logical food and to examine the use of micro granule
diets with comprehensive nutrition in crab culture.
This work was financially supported by Central Public Welfare Sci-
entific Research Institutes’ special funding for basic research project
(NO.2011M10); and the Shanghai Committee of Science and Technol-
ogy, China (No. DZ1909303).
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