Pioneers: C-SKY's Crystal Bee Shrimp Empire／C-SKY專業領軍 打造水晶蝦帝國
Pioneers: C-SKY's Crystal Bee Shrimp Empire
◎English translation: Peng Hsin-yi
Crystal bee shrimps are delicate freshwater creatures discovered by German scientists around 20 years ago. Following years of selective breeding and cultivation, Japanese scientists were able to produce varieties with more attractive appearances. These pet shrimps were introduced in Taiwan a little over ten years ago, and today a Taiwanese company, C-SKY, is the industry leader. C-SKY has taken the lead globally in terms of export quantity, financial value of exports, number of crystal bee shrimps produced, and total company turnover.
C-SKY cultivates more than 20 different varieties of caridina, the genus of shrimps to which crystal bee shrimps belong, and their output is about 100,000 shrimps per month. The company's farm in Kaohsiung has over a thousand 200-liter tanks. Most of these tanks are for the company's most popular breed, the red-and-white striped caridina. Given the scale of their operations, it is no exaggeration to call the company an "Empire of Caridina."
The most significant difference between a caridina farm and other types of aquaculture is that very strict temperature control is vital for the former. Rooms must stay in the 20-25 degrees Celsius (68-77 degrees Fahrenheit) range throughout the year, and the water must be kept mildly acidic at pH6-6.5.
According to C-SKY Sales Manager Lin Kun-fong, the company has been able to expand internationally because it hit its stride when demand in Japan and Europe was high. In the past, whenever an international buyer had a big order, the buyer would usually have to contact four or five amateur breeders so as to get the quantity required. Even then, they would often receive shrimps varying in size and quality. That is not the case with C-SKY, where precise quality-control measures are in place to ensure the purity of the breed and the size of each shrimp, and to guarantee steady and timely deliveries. What is more, C-SKY has invested a lot in the cultivation process. For example, the company has its own feed formula, and the soil at the bottom of each aquarium tank has a particular composition. It is no wonder the company frequently wins competitions in Japan and Europe.
Over the years, C-SKY has established stable sales channels. The company is in constant communication with dealers so as to obtain sales information and hear about client requests. The company has done a lot to reduce the death rate of caridina being delivered, and Mr. Lin says that if an issue occurs, C-SKY always tries their best to find out what happened and identify a way which can prevent a recurrence. Each type of caridina at C-SKY is taken care of by a specialized team, and the company strives to maintain the trust of clients and dealers.
The hardest part of the production process is picking out shrimps of a specific size from the enormous tanks, especially when there is a big order. In order to keep as many shrimps alive as possible, the company aims to ship within a day. Mr. Lin says picking out 100 shrimps may not seem difficult, but to gather 10,000 is an immense challenge, especially when the number delivered must never be less than the number ordered. This part of the work is repetitive and boring. Only those who see the profession as a hobby rather than a mere job can really last.
Caridina are popular in Japan and Europe because many aquarium owners enjoy watching these colorful shrimps swimming and looking for food. If you are interested in having a few caridina for pets, please pay attention to the temperature and quality of the water. Once you have these two factors under control, you too can enjoy the charm of these darlings.