The effect of dietary protein level and natural food management on the production parameters of blue and white shrimp, as well as on water quality, was evaluated in a microcosms system (plastic pools simulating aquaculture ponds). Two experimental trials were carried out in the facilities of DICTUS, University of Sonora, Northwest México. Treatment with low protein diet (LP) consisted of a low protein input (diet with 250 g kg-1 crude protein) through the culture period; treatment with high protein diet (HP) consisted of a high protein input (diet with 400 g kg-1 crude protein) through the trial, and finally treatment VP consisted of an adjustment of protein input (diets with 250, 350 or 400 g kg-1 crude protein), depending on the abundance of biota (zooplankton and benthos) in the system. Each species responded differently to the treatments. For blue shrimp, low protein input resulted in the lowest final body weight (12.9 ± 0.6 g) and biomass (696.0 g pool-1). Survival and feed conversion ratio were similar in the three treatments. For white shrimp, the best growth, biomass and food conversion ratio were obtained in the low protein input treatment. Water quality parameters such as nitrate, ammonia and organic matter during the two trials, were better for LP and VP treatments. White shrimp seems to have lower protein requirements than blue shrimp. For the blue shrimp culture, adjusting protein input according to natural food abundance (zooplankton and benthos) in the system, seems to be advantageous because of the possibility of getting a production similar to that obtained with a high protein input through the farming period, but at lower feed cost, and with a lower environmental impact. It is concluded that a high protein input through the whole farming period is not the best feeding strategy for any of the two species.
- Blue shrimp (Litopenaeus vannamei)
- Dietary protein level
- Shrimp feeding
- White shrimp (Litopenaeus vannamei)