Star of the Month
No reactive Be Proactive - The Shrimp Story
Single Minded Focus to convert Shrimp hobby into an international business , to represent India in so many international forums and be a judge in international competition in Shrimp keeping makes Mr.Abhisek Mallick an exciting hobbyist turned entrepreneur here in India. At aquafishcare , we are happy to conduct this interview with Mr.Abhisek Mallick (Founder - Blue Vale Lifetech LLP), who has successfully put India on the International Map of ever growing Aquarium shrimp business. Here he is in talks with the Founder of www.aquafishcare.com - Mr.Sunil Dcosta.
1) You have started as an hobbyist in Shrimps ? why did you choose Shrimps?Give us your journey into the Shrimps? and how long you have been into the business ?
Abhisek - Yes, I had started as an Shrimp hobbyist around 2008, the reason for choosing shrimps was their vivid coloration, potential of cross breeding, and also I always have fascination towards smaller animals which are challenging to keep hence shrimps. Along with shrimps we do dwarf crayfishes.
In the initial days shrimp keeping was trial and error, we learned a lot by interacting with hobbyists around the globe through shrimp forums, like using softer water (RO) plus ADA soil for caridina species. Nowadays with the invention of minerals, vitamins etc its very easy for a newcomer to go straight into caridina. We learnt it the hard way.
We have started shrimps business from 2015 when Shrimpytrade was formed, and around 2017 we formed Teraa. Business is going well and we are expecting support from our existing customers and also new customers to grow more.
2. You are also an importer of shrimps into India? How do you think the market in India is for shrimp keeping? Is it matured Market? Do you think India is a potiential market for shrimp keeping as an hobbyist?
Abhisek - Actually we are an exporter of ornamental shrimps from India. Sellers from Thailand, Dubai, Oman, Turkey and many other middle east countries buy shrimps from us. Also hobbyists from other countries also buy their breeding stock from us.
We generally get our breeding stocks from one of the top names like Skyfish, Michael Nadal etc.
Indian market is highly price sensitive and doesn't want to invest into higher end shrimps. Before starting only hobbyists have a mindset - all will die. This kind of pessimistic attitude is hampering them along with the hobby. Nowadays with all the literature available, products available shrimp keeping is very easy.
India is not a matured market, only neocaridina and in caridina crystals do good here. We hope India becomes a good market for shrimp keeping. 90-94% of our premium shrimps get exported. Our shrimps are priced cheapest among all the other South East and European countries because of the volume we produce.
3. What are the challenges you have faced in raising the shrimps? and how did you overcome it?
Abhisek - Proper information is the only challenge we have faced and overcome it by continuous learning/experimenting, speaking with other countries hobbyists. Even a failure also teaches us a lot
4. What kind of Shrimps do you have? let us know about its maintenance part of it? any special soil , substrate , filteration? Tank size ?
Abhisek - We have around 80 types of shrimps.
Maintenance depends upon species. All of our shrimp tanks go through the same maintenance of weekly water change 20% along with Indian Almond Leaves, varied diet, bacteria topup during every water change.
For caridina shrimps we only trust ADA Amazonia, we have tried other soils for caridina tanks with not so good outcome.
For neocaridina shrimps laterite does fine
All our tanks have double sponge filters with very high aeration. And standard tank size is 18*18*12, for some neocaridina we have 48*12*12 tanks.
5. What type of feed is required for raising shrimp? Do you also breed? I heard the shrimps require chillers? is it true? what type of temperature do they really require?
Abhisek - Shrimps need a varied diet. Baby Shrimps require powder food and also a mix of vegetable and insect protein is required for shrimps to provide balance to their nutrition. We have our own line of feed under Teraa which gets made in Germany which is used in our units .
Shrimps, require lower temperature, for caridina below 25c and neocaridina below 28 degree celsius would be fine.
6.Coming to the Species of Shrimps? Is it ok to mix caridina and neo caridina shrimps in a tank? which is your favourite shrimp and why?
Abhisek - For a hobbyist mixing shrimps is fine, but do remember it's all biology. The species which breeds faster will soon take over the one breeding slow.
Favourite shrimp - Tiger Shrimps like Orange Eye Blue Tiger, Royal Blue Tiger, Black Tiger BT0, Super Tiger
7. Planted or non-planted for shrimps? Please throw some light on the Tank mates for Shrimps?
Abhisek - Shrimp do good in planted tanks. Even during our expedition we have seen shrimps are found under a lot of vegetation or inside leaf litter. These are primarily scavengers so would do with vegetation around.
There are no shrimp/shrimplet safe of fishes. If it fits their (fish) mouth they will eat as simple as that.
8. What do you want to tell a hobbyist who wants to make a mark into shrimp keeping?
Abhisek - Sometimes you need to take a plunge, rather than sitting on the river bank and contemplating. If person A has failed doesn't mean you will also fail. Keep your basics right and this is a very rewarding hobby. Do remember there is no reactive/treatment in shrimps, only proactive.
9. Finally in fish keeping there are various competition ? is there any competition in India or abroad? And have you taken part in any of these? Is there any new variety that you have created from your business? Also do you export? if yes which country? Any tie-ups ?
Abhisek - Yes there are many shrimp competitions across the globe like in the USA, Taiwan, China, Germany, Poland etc.
There are 1-2 competitions taken place in India and have judged them but the quality of shrimps produced by Indian hobbyists is not upto the mark and I have been thoroughly disappointed by the qualities. Folks need to do a lot of work on their shrimps.
Yes, I have been the only Indian till date who has invited and judged shrimp world cup 2020 in Germany along with 19 other judges. It is the world's biggest shrimp competition. Along with shrimp world cup has judged other global competitions like vivarium, polish shrimp competition. Also been a guest speaker on Poland Aquarium show where presented a paper on Indian Shrimps.
Yes I know nowadays I personally work only on cross breeding - have many varieties created like hollow eye, fancy tiger lower grade, yellow orange eye etc. These are for my own learning and fun.
Taiwan Bee KingKong
Pure red line
Red German Pinto
Shrimp Friendly Soil
Collected from the mineral-rich foothills of Mount Aso Volcano in Japan, Fluval Stratum makes an ideal alternative substrate for planted aquariums and those featuring shrimp.
Helps support neutral to slightly acidic pH - ideal for most plants, tropical fish and shrimp normally kept in planted aquariums
Provides newborn shrimp with a refuge from predators until they are large enough to emerge
Neo cardina Shrimp
Aquarium Shrimp Hobby
Shrimp hobby india