Raising Freshwater Prawn can be fun and rewarding for yourself and your family. I hope this page will help guide you into a right direction.
I know there are lots of excitements, eagerness and high expectation for all first timers. So please don't expect your first try to be 100% successful. We all make mistakes even if we read tons of information and get advise from experienced hobbyist.
Here's some information that will get you a little educated and help get you going.
Freshwater prawns, like all crustaceans have a hard outer skeleton or shell that must be shed regularly in order for growth to occur. The process of shedding the shell is called "molting," and weight and size increases occur principally soon after each molt. Because of these periodic molts, growth occurs in distinct increments, rather than continuously.
Tropical freshwater prawns will survive water temperatures between 57° F and 105° F, with the optimum temperature range being 78° F to 82° F. While freshwater prawns live as long as three years, you can begin to harvest large prawns as early as six months of age.
Maintain water temperature of 78° F to 82° F.
Keep ammonia (<2.0ppm),
Nitrite (<0.05) and
Nitrate (<40ppm) as low as possible.
PH 7.0 to 8.5,
Total water hardness min. 40ppm max. 250ppm.
Dissolved Oxygen (ppm) 5.0 - 7.0
Water quality parameters for Prawns are similar to those for warm-water fish species, like Bluegill & Channel Catfish.
Alkalinity, dissolved oxygen, ammonia, pH and nitrite values are particularly
important to monitor.
As the Prawns grow, they shed this outside covering and develop a new & larger one. For their exoskeletons to grow at normal rates, prawns need sufficient calcium. So you'll need water with alkalinity level above 50 milligrams per liter. You can also supplements the calcium needed by feeding them food that contain Calcium.
In order for Freshwater Prawns to survive and thrive, they need lots of oxygen/air. So keeping the water aerated and moving is very important. Additional aeration will provide the necessary oxygen and circulate the water so that it is uniform throughout the container/tank/pond.
Ammonia, pH and nitrites
A buildup of ammonia (waste products) can occur during the growing season, especially when feeding is at its highest levels. Growth and survival will be affected by this. Ammonia toxicity is directly affected by the pH and temperature of the water. So make sure not to over feed.
Acclimating Prawns: Please see my other page on Acclimating Prawns
Post Larvae to 30 Days: Up to 40 animals per square foot.
From 30 Days to 60 Days: Up to 20 animals per square foot.
From 60 Days to 90 Days: No more than 2 animals per square foot.
After 90 Days: 1 – 2½ square feet per animal (depending on harvest size of your Prawns). Do Not Over Stock
There are questions on how much to feed your Prawns so I will try to clear this up. Prawns will eat more if your water temperature is between 80-84 degrees F and will grow faster. But this will increase the waste they will produce and increase the Ammonia in the water. So water management will need to be increase or you will start losing Prawns.
Here is a basic feed guideline. Feeding rate based on percent of body weight per day.
Post Larvae -- 2% daily (feed with high protein, 40-50%)
Juvenile Prawns under 2" -- 7% daily (feed with high protein, 40%-50%)
Prawns over 2" -- 5% daily (feed with 35% protein)
Use a high protein sinking feed such as Shrimp Grower, Trout Feed, Catfish Feed or Cichlid Feed. Feed at least twice a day, morning and evening. If feed accumulates on the bottom of tank after 30 minutes of feeding, reduce the amount of feed. DO NOT OVER FEED.
Monitor your feeding to see how much your Prawns will consumed in 15-30 minutes. This will help determine their daily needs.
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