Unlocking Microalgae Management in Shrimp Aquaculture

An Important Feed Source for the Aquaculture Industry

Microalgae are at the basis of all aquatic food chains, including those of the aquaculture industry. They are used as a feed product in many farming systems, including several growth stages of crustaceans, bivalve mollusks and fish species. They also provide an indirect feed source by serving as feed for zooplankton such as rotifers, Artemia and copepods, which are subsequently used as live feeds for the reared animals. But even without external dosing, they naturally occur as a part of the phytoplankton of any pond, and are an important bacterial control method (so-called “green water” farming).

Algal species with high aquaculture relevance included in the KYTOS toolbox: Chaetoceros1, Tetraselmis2, Isochrysis3, Thalassiosira4, filamentous cyanobacteria5 and other cyanobacteria5 (cells shown at different scales).

Impact of Microalgae on Farm/Hatchery Management

To properly manage algae populations and to accurately predict the risk of an outbreak of toxin-producing algae, it is essential that farmers have insights in the algae health situation in the water and gut of the animals.

Microalgae can cause positive effects during the cultivation:
  • Production of oxygen;
  • Limiting eutrophication;
  • Metabolizing nitrogenous waste products
  • Production of bioactive compounds that control the bacterial community.
Microalgae can cause negative effects during the cultivation:
  • Ideal algae growth conditions can cause rapid algae blooms and crashes;
  • Algae species composition during blooms can change rapidly over time (often seen by farmers as different pond colors);
  • Blue green algae (cyanobacteria) may produce toxins which are lethal to the shrimp.

Through these actions they control the bacterial community and this has been shown to lower disease incidence and to increase the stability of microbial system. However, some microalgae, often referred to as blue-green algae (cyanobacteria), produce toxins which can harm the cultivated organisms. In addition to toxicity problems, some species of blue-green algae can produce odorous compounds which can cause off-flavors of the cultivated organisms.

Where Can KYTOS Help?

Our standard service offering already includes exact quantification of algal abundances. We are happy to announce that over the last 6 months, our KYTOS toolbox has been further expanded with several algae-specific algorithms to empower farmers to make more informed management decisions.

Trophic index

The new KYTOS trophic index helps farmers to quantify the balance between heterotrophs (heterotrophic bacteria) and autotrophs (microalgae) in their system. This allows farmers to evaluate whether their intended management is effective (e.g. whether green water systems are dominated by autotrophs), to compare the autotroph/heterotroph balance across ponds, and to detect blooms/crashes at an early stage. See below for a commercial shrimp grow-out case on how we can use this indicator to examine our algae management performance:

  1. Two ponds on the same farm can have drastically different farming regimes (heterotroph / autotroph)
  2. These regimes are unknown to the farmer!
  3. The unstable pond experiences frequent blooms and crashes during the grow-out
  4. These blooms/crashes are often unknown to the farmer!
  5. Stable ponds go through a mixotrophic/autotrophic phase during the first 30 days
Two examples of different dynamics in trophic state of open air shrimp ponds on the same farm. Left: Unstable pond; note the frequent algae blooms and crashes throughout the cultivation. Right: Stable pond with much less abrupt changes in trophic state after the first 30 days. Legend for the index is shown on the right.
Taxonomic classification

The KYTOS toolbox has now also been updated with precise algorithms to detect and quantify the abundance of some of the most important microalgae in the aquaculture industry, including several cyanobacteria, Tetraselmis, Isochrysis, Chaetoceros and Thalassiosira. Many algal species have positive effects on the cultivation performance, while others can have disastrous effects. Therefore it is essential that farmers have insights into which algae are present in their system. For our Mediterranean enthusiasts, our algorithms will soon be expanded to include Chlorella and Nannochloropsis.

So how good are our algorithms today? See for yourself:

Microalgae population KytoFlow prediction accuracy (%)
Filamentous cyanobacteria 99.3
Other cyanobacteria 99.1
Tetraselmis 95.6
Isochrysis 97.1
Chaetoceros 96.5
Thalassiosira 98.7

Putting this into practice, we can accurately identify and forecast the blooms of these important algae groups. Some key observations from one of our commercial trials:

  1. Algae blooms and crashes of both harmful and beneficial algae happen frequently during a cultivation (~every 10 days)
  2. Did you notice the sudden loss of the important Thalassiosira diatom population? This happened during early farm management, and resulted in the complete loss of this population during the cultivation
  3. Chaetoceros appears to be the most robust diatom in the ponds
  4. Filamentous cyanobacteria make up only a small part of all the cyanobacteria, but can be the most harmful to the shrimp!
Algae identification in Shrimp grow-out pond rearing systems, both in terms of taxonomic identity and risk (beneficial/harmful).
Commercial service

Are you intrigued by our trophic index and algae identification algorithms? Looking for something else? Contact us now

1 Li Y, Boonprakob A, Gaonkar CC, Kooistra WHCF, Lange CB, Hernaândez-Becerril D, Chen Z, Moestrup Ø, Lundholm N. 2017. Diversity in the globally distributed diatom genus chaetoceros (bacillariophyceae): Three new species from warm-Temperate waters. PLoS One 12:1–38.
2 Dutertre M, Barillé L, Haure J, Cognie B. 2007. Functional responses associated with pallial organ variations in the Pacific oyster Crassostrea gigas (Thunberg, 1793). J Exp Mar Bio Ecol 352:139–151.
3 Liu Q, Pang T, Li L, Liu J, Lin W. 2014. Isochrysis sp. IOAC724S, a newly isolated, lipid-enriched, marine microalga for lipid production, and optimized cultivation conditions. Biomass and Bioenergy 60:32–40.
4 Egas C, Henríquez-Castillo C, Delherbe N, Molina E, Dos Santos AL, Lavin P, De La Iglesia R, Vaulot D, Trefault N. 2017. Short timescale dynamics of phytoplankton in Fildes Bay, Antarctica. Antarct Sci 29:217–228.
5 Ughy B, Nagy CI, Kós PB. 2015. Biomedical potential of cyanobacteria and algae. Acta Biol Szeged 59:203–224.

Another happy customer for our PondScreen program!

🔥 PondScreen program 🔥

Our second-tier service program that expands your toolset to include algae, bacterial and fungal identification markers!

🧪 Biosecure sampling using KytoVials
🏠 Logistics arranged for you
🕒 Timely results
☁️ Digital reporting workflow (mobile/web)
💖 Microbial health tools
📈 Algae, fungal and bacterial identification markers
🙋 Local team to educate and support you

Why not join other farmers that are optimizing their microbiome management? 👉

#management #farming #hatchery #shrimp #startup #technology #aquaculture #digital#team

Mohsina joins KYTOS as a UGent intern!

Please tell us something more about your background (education, interests, …)?

In my country farmers are not always able to spend a lot of money in analysing various parameters to make culture more sustainable as a result they suffer with financial loss in long run. Sometimes the technologies are not available there as well. Providing affordable techniques and spreading appropriate knowledge related to the culture system would be the most useful thing to them to flourish this sector sustainably. This gap I want to fill up by collaborating and by enriching my own knowledge and experience gradually.

I have completed my bachelor from ‘Faculty of Fisheries’ at Bangladesh Agriculture University and from the same University I have completed my master’s degree in mid of 2019. For my thesis there I have worked with the bacterial diseases of two popular farmed fish in my country. While working I got to know the vast impact of microbiome in the culture system more practically. Health management of aquatic organism was a field of interest to mine which make me apply for another master’s degree ‘Health Management in Aquaculture’ where I have been selected as Erasmus Mundus awardee of 2022-2023 cohort.

Why did an internship at KYTOS appeal to you?

As a part of my curriculum in AquaH I was supposed to look for an internship in my second semester. I wanted to make a connection between the focus of my current degree and my previous work with microbiome. At this point, KYTOS is the best suited to my desire as it works with different aspect of microbiome in the aquatic environment to ensure the better health of the aquatic organism.

What are you looking to learn from the internship?

I would like to learn the application of different technologies in the aquaculture field to control or stimulate the microbial community present in the culture system. 

KYTOS enters the Year of the Cat

Now that Tết has passed and the Year of the Cat is upon us, farmers and hatcheries in Vietnam are ready to resume their activities!

KYTOS is your local partner to help you make informed microbiome management decisions. Our service programs offer you:

🧪 Biosecure sampling using KytoVials
🏠 Local hub for rapid sample processing
☁️ Digital reporting workflow (mobile/web)
🕒 Timely results
📈 Service programs fit for any farm and hatchery
🙋 Local support team to educate and train our clients

Join us in our mission to make microbiome management 📈 Smarter, 🏠 Easier, and 🧪 Accessible.

👉 If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact (Vietnam), (general inquiries).

#management #farming #hatchery #shrimp #startup #technology #aquaculture

KYTOS services advertised in ThuySan Vietnam

KYTOS is proud to make microbiome management services more accessible to the Vietnamese market!

👉 Check out our article on page 66 of the latest magazine Thuysan Vietnam magazine ( for more information.

Our innovative KYTOS technology helps you make informed microbiome management decisions during every step of the farming process. Join us on our mission to make microbiome management smarter, easier, and more accessible.

KYTOS tự hào cung cấp dịch vụ cho thị trường Việt Nam!

👉 Hãy xem bài viết của chúng tôi trên trang 66 của tạp chí Thuysan Vietnam ( mới nhất để biết thêm thông tin.

Công nghệ KYTOS sẽ giúp bạn đưa ra quyết định sáng suốt về việc quản lý hệ vi sinh trong từng bước của quy trình nuôi.

Hãy tham gia cùng chúng tôi trong sứ mệnh giúp việc quản lý hệ vi sinh trở nên thông minh hơn, dễ dàng hơn và dễ tiếp cận hơn.

#management #farming #technology #hatchery

KYTOS 2022 in review

2022 has been an important and fruitful year for KYTOS.

Looking back, here are some of our highlights of the past year:

🧪 59,425 samples were processed via our microbiome management platform

🧪 Configured two data factories for high-throughput processing of customer samples

✨ Established a strategic partnership with I&V Bio to bring KYTOS technology closer to the shrimp industry

🧑 Customers in > 10 countries and projects for > 10 aquaculture species

🧑Expanded our team across two countries with 5 talented people

☁️Launched our digital tools (KytoApp) to both mobile & browser

📈 Expanded our toolset with new indicators for Oomycetes, Bacteria and Algae populations

📈Launched the collaborative Seatru initiative with Aqua Pharma Group to provide welfare below water for the Shrimp industry

📈 Developed several precision management applications for key accounts (probiotics, biofilter performance, …)

We can’t wait to see what’s in store for 2023, stay tuned for some exciting product launches in the near future. Together, we will make microbiome management smarter, accessible, and more effective.

Thank you!

Cảm ơn!

KYTOS at WAS20 Tradeshow in Singapore!

Team KYTOS and team WorldFish were happy to have participated at the World Aquaculture Singapore Trade show and the Aqua Expo trade show in Thailand. Excited to have received so much interest in our Kytos Microbiome Management service. We would like to thank our visitors for their interest and great feedback and hope to accompany them in the near future.

Tradeshow participation

Scientific participation

Ngan and Jonabel also gave an excellent presentation on their Worldfish internships!