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Visayas State University

Department of Agricultural Engineering
Baybay City, Philippines
Phone: +63 53 335 2624 Fax: +63 53 335 2601
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------AEng 175 AQUACULTURE ENGINEERING
Name: Jerome James Gideon E. Calipon
Kevin Vilbar
Professor: Manolo B. Loreto

Date Given: June 14, 2013

Date Submitted: June 21, 2013

Laboratory Exercise No. 1

Crab is a short, flat body that is nearly circular (Fig. 1) and dwells in land, oceans
or in fresh water. Generally covered with a thick exoskeleton and armed with a single
pair of claws. True crabs belong to the infraorder Brachyura, which typically have a
very short projecting tail, or where the reduced abdomen is entirely hidden under the

Figure 1: The back and abdominal view of a Chinese Mitten Crab

In Philippines and perhaps elsewhere, crabs are rarely stocked in fish ponds but
usually they enter of their own settlement. They may even be discouraged as possible
predators on small fish and shrimp and because they may tunnel in the banks, but
generally they are accepted and harvested along with the fish and shrimp crop. The
production of crabs especially the swimming crabs, Scylla serrata, from brackish water
ponds in Taiwan in 1966 was 168,102 kg (Bardach, J.E., Similarly, other ponds
like tilapia and milkfish ponds produce an average of 200 crabs/(ha)(year).
Description and Life Cycle:
The growth stages and development of the crabs consist of a series of larval,
juvenile, and adult see figure 2. These changes are most remarkable when the animal

sheds its rigid exoskeleton or molts allowing growth and changes in body shape. A new
shell is formed underneath the old exoskeleton ahead of molting which then loosens
and is cast off. The new shell is originally soft, but it expands and hardens in a few
hours. The stage between molts is called intermolt.

Figure 2.The Description and Life Cycle of a Crabs (

Description of Production Cycle:
Basic technology has been developed for the commercial seed production
of swamp crabs. Females with mature gonads are obtained from the wild or from
ponds, disinfected and optionally eyestalk-ablated. They are maintained in tanks
provided with sand bottoms and shelters. A combination of two or more natural
food items, such as fish, marine worms (polychaetes), shellfish and squid is fed at
5-10 percent of biomass or on an ad libitum basis. Existing shrimp hatcheries
could shift to rearing swamp and mud crabs after slight modification of their
facilities. The performance of hatchery-reared crabs is comparable with those of
the wild, given suitable pond conditions.
Rearing tanks
Healthy well-grown adult crabs from crab pens or open water bodies
(lakes/reservoirs) are selected as broodstock in October and restocked for
intensive rearing to ensure good gonad development; male and female crabs are
stocked in different ponds. Male and female brooder crabs are transferred at a

female:male ratio of 2 3:1 to mating tanks filled with saline water (733) in the
following spring (late Februaryearly March). Male crabs are removed after
mating is completed (usually after two weeks). Gravid females are reared for
about one month under intensive care before the eggs hatch.
Ongrowing ponds
The most commonly adopted systems for ongrowing are semi-intensive
culture in ponds and net-pens and extensive culture in paddy fields and small
Semi-intensive culture in ponds. Ponds used for ongrowing river crabs are
usually 0.150.35 ha and 1.52 m deep. Aquatic weeds are planted in shallow
areas of the ponds to provide shelter for moulting crabs and plastic sheet fencing
is used to prevent crab escape. 510 g crabs are stocked at 22 50037 500/m,
usually in early spring.
Semi-intensive culture in net-pens. Pen culture of crabs is commonly
practiced in shallow lakes and reservoirs. The bottom part of the pens is buried
into the bottom soil, while the upper edge is about 0.8 m above the water surface
and is extended inwards by a horizontal net. Crab pens are normally 220 ha and
are normally stocked at the same time those in ponds.
Extensive culture in paddy fields. Rearing crabs in paddy fields is another
common practice; it is an ecologically friendly approach, being integrated agroaquaculture and of benefit to both crabs and rice. The modification of paddy
fields for crab ongrowing is the same as in seed production. Due to the short
culture period, much lower stocking densities are used (720 g crabs at 6 0009
000/ha); this results in a relatively large product size.
Extensive culture in lakes and reservoirs. This form of culture can achieve
very high economic benefits. The major criteria in selecting suitable water bodies
include selecting a size that is manageable (from the point of view of controlling
fishing activities and to prevent escapes of cultured crabs), abundant aquatic
weeds and benthic animals, and relatively shallow water.
Nursery systems that can be used for swamp and mud crabs sourced either
from the wild or from hatcheries include net cages in ponds, net-lined ponds and
ponds with net fences lining the dikes. The pond area ranges from 200 to 800 m 2.
The net cages (1 mm mesh size) with at least 20 m2 bottom surface areas are set
in ponds. Crabs of less than 1.0 cm are grown to 1.5-2.0 cm CW in net cages at
20-50/m2 (Phase 1). Some farmers prefer larger crabs, so they ongrow them to
3.0-4.0 cm CW in ponds lined with nets or net fences lining the dikes at 510/m2 (Phase 2). The culture period is 3-4 weeks in each phase, depending on the
desired size for stocking in ponds. Stocking density can be increased if the culture
period is less than 4 weeks. Phases 1 and 2 may be carried out separately or
sequentially using the same pond compartment but with reduced stocking density
for Phase 2. A survival rate of 50-70 percent and 70-83 percent can be obtained in
Phases 1 and 2, respectively. A minimum of 6 runs can be conducted per year.
Packing and Transport
Smaller crabs moulted frequently, they are best transported in oxygenated
plastic bags containing 2 litres of cool seawater at a density of 1 000 crablets for
0.4-0.6 cm CW, 500-750 crablets for 0.7-1.0 cm, and 250-500 crablets for 1.1-1.5
cm for a maximum of 8 h. Crablets of 1.5-2.0 cm CW may be transported in a

box measuring 45L x 35W x 10H cm with wet cloth or sand at a density of 500700 for maximum of 6 h.

Ovigerous crab
Maturation tank
(females only)

Adult crab

Ongrowing ponds males
and females

Larval rearing tanks

Crab instar rearing pond lined with

nets or fenced with nets on dikes

Figure 3: Production Cycle of a Crabs Scylla serrata

Environmental Raquirements:
Water Temperature
Water temperature requirements vary and are considered important, but no
optimal range is reported. When air temperatures drop below 50F (10C), adult
crabs leave shallow, inshore waters and seek deeper areas where they bury
themselves and remain in a state of torpor throughout the winter. Crab growth is
regulated by water temperature. Growth occurs when water temperatures are
above 59F (15C). Water temperature above 91F (33C) is lethal. Crabs are
susceptible to sudden drops in temperature.
Water Salinity
Salinity is important, but requirements vary by life stage. Generally
optimum is 3-15 parts per thousand.
Water pH
Tolerance range is pH 6-8. Less than 6 are lethal.
Food Requirements:
Blue crabs are classified as general scavengers, bottom carnivores, detritivores,
and omnivores. At various stages in the life cycle, blue crabs serve as both prey and as
consumers of plankton, benthic macroinvertebrates, fish, plants, mollusks, crustaceans
(including other blue crabs), and organic debris. Food is located by a combination of
chemoreception (chemical sense) and taction (touch).

Adult Food
Adult crabs prefer mollusks such as oysters and hard clams as their primary
food sources. The crab uses the tips of its front-most walking legs to probe the
bottom for buried bivalves and to manipulate them after they are located. Some
other common food items include dead and live fish, crabs (including other blue
crabs), shrimp, benthic macroinvertebrates, organic debris, and aquatic plants and
associated fauna such as roots, shoots and leaves of sea lettuce, eelgrass, ditch
grass, and salt marsh grass. It will also prey on oyster spat, newly set oysters and
clams, or young oysters and quahogs if other food is unavailable.
Juvenile Food
Juvenile crabs feed mostly on benthic macroinvertebrates, small fish, dead
organisms, aquatic vegetation and associated fauna.
Larval Food
Zoeae are phytoplanktivorous and readily consume algae, phytoplankton
and zooplankton. Megalope are considered general scavengers, bottom
carnivores, detritivores, and omnivores. Megalope are more omnivorous than
zoeae and prey upon fish larvae, small shellfish, and aquatic plants.
Aquaculture Production Practices:
Shelley, C., and Lovatelli, A. There are four species of mud crab, Scylla
serrata, S. tranquebarica, S. paramamosain and S. olivacea that are the focus of both
commercial fisheries and aquaculture production throughout their distribution. They are
among the most valuable crab species in the world, with the bulk of their commercial
production sent live to market. This is the first FAO aquaculture manual on this genus,
covering everything from its basic biology and aquaculture production, through to stock
packaging and being ready to go to market.
Information on mud crab biology, hatchery and nursery technology, grow-out
systems, disease control, processing and packaging has been collated in this manual to
provide a holistic approach to mud crab aquaculture production. Compared with other
types of aquaculture, mud crab culture still has a large number of variants, including:
the use of seedstock collected from the wild, as well as produced from a hatchery;
farming systems that range from very extensive to intensive, monoculture to
polyculture; and farm sites that vary from mangrove forests to well-constructed
aquaculture ponds or fattening cages. As such, there is no one way to farm mud crabs,
but techniques, technologies and principles have been developed that can be adapted to
meet the specific needs of farmers and governments wishing to develop mud crab
aquaculture businesses.
Each of the four species of Scylla has subtly different biology, which equates to
variations in optimal aquaculture production techniques. Where known and
documented, variants have been identified, where not, farmers, researchers and
extension officers alike may have to adapt results from other species to their mud crab
species of choice and local climatic variables. Compared with many other species that
are the subject of industrial scale aquaculture, mud crabs can still be considered to be at
an early stage of development, as the use of formulated feeds for them is still in its
infancy and little work has yet been undertaken to improve stock performance through
breeding programmes.
Economic Analysis of the Practices:

Ferdoushi, Z. and Xiang-Guo, Z. 2010. The present study was conducted in two
different locations; Paikgachha and Koyra two sub-districts under the Khulna district,
from February to April 2009 during dry season by using a structured and pre-tested
interview schedule in order to assess their current practice with its profitability analysis.
A total of 50 households from Paikgachha and Koyra (25 from each) were randomly
selected. Data were analyzed using descriptive statistics, and cost return analysis. The
average pond size was about 0.070.04 hectare. Comparative higher stocking density
4879.01 (kg ha-1) was found in Paikgachha region than Koyra (4063.2 kg ha-1). The
result from cost and return analysis revealed that average gross revenue was about
1128602.73 (BDT ha-1crop-1) in two area. Higher revenue was recorded in Paikgachha
region (1319712.08 BDT ha-1crop-1) followed by Koyra (937493.38 BDT ha-1crop-1).
From the study the net margin of crab fattening were about 642119.60 (BDT ha-1crop1) in Paikgachha and 448209.30 (BDT ha-1crop-1)in Koyra with average production
cost ratio were about 1.95 and 1.93 respectively. From the result, the average
production cost ratio (1.94) from two area revealed that there is a great potentiality in
the south west part of Bangladesh for mud crab fattening. However, the highest seed
cost (which constituted about 74.18% of the total cost) and lack of proper knowledge
about mud crab fattening were also reported in those studied areas.
Bardach, J.E., J.H. Ryther, and W.O. McLarney. The Farming and Husbandry of
Freshwater and Marine Organisms. United States of Ameica 1972. pp 668.
Shelley, C., and A. Lovatelli. Mud crab aquaculture A practical manual
FAO Fisheries and Aquaculture Technical Paper. No. 567. Rome, FAO.
2011. 78p. Pdf

Ferdoushi, Z., and Z. Xiang-Guo 2010. Economic analysis of traditional mud crab
(Scylla sp.) fattening in Bangladesh. marine.res.aqua. 1(1):5-13. pdf