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The Necessity of Regional Nurseries for the Success of Freshwater Prawn Farming (Requires PowerPoint)

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Freshwater Prawns In Your Aquaponics System

Freshwater prawns will make a unique addition and increase the efficiency of your aquaponics system. Prawns are hardy, easy to grow and a highly valued product.

Freshwater prawns consume detritus, thereby helping to break down and convert organic matter into material that can be used by plants. They also eat snails and can be used to control or eliminate them in aquatic systems. Tropical freshwater prawns will survive water temperatures between 57° F and 105° F, with the optimum temperature range being 78° F to 88° F. While freshwater prawns live as long as three years, you can begin to harvest large prawns as early as six months of age.

Growing Freshwater Prawns

Juvenile prawns can be incorporated into the grow-out system of your choice, and will take approximately four months to mature to harvest size in your aquaponics system. As these juvenile prawns grow, their requirements for space also increase (large prawns weighing 2oz. will have a body length of seven inches, and will require one to two square feet of space). Juvenile prawns can be purchased from Aquaculture of Texas, Inc. The price of juvenile prawns is $75.00 per 400 animals. Shipping is $95.00 via UPS Next Day Air, plus $12.50 for the shipping container. The cost of shipping less than 200 miles via UPS drops to $12.50 for next day delivery.

To defray or even eliminate the high costs of shipping, the regional nursery concept developed by Aquaculture of Texas, Inc. for commercial prawn farming can be adapted to supply regional aquaponics operations and their customers on a year-round basis.

For this reason, we encourage aquaponics professionals to set up a small, independent nursery that can be used to supply their own needs as well as the needs of other aquaponics operations in their region. Small 100 to 500 gallon inexpensive systems can be used to nurse 2,000-10,000 post larvae prawn to a juvenile size using aquarium filters, heaters and air pumps. So as not to exceed the recommended density of 20 animals per square foot, a simple substrate made of PVC pipe and multiple layers of bird netting is placed in the tank to provide sufficient habitable surface area.

Becoming a regional nursery also presents income opportunities for owners of aquaponics systems. Post larval prawns are less expensive than juvenile prawns, and can be shipped at a much lower unit cost. Because a large number of animals can be nursed in systems as small as 100 gallons, your nursery can inexpensively produce and distribute juvenile prawns within your area. If you are interested in developing a regional nursery to supply other aquaponics professionals, Aquaculture of Texas, Inc. is willing to assist you in doing so.

Pictures of an independent nursery system that can be used to support aquaponics can be seen here at the Sea Lavender Farm website:

Purchase your juvenile shrimp from Aquaculture of Texas, Inc. or purchase them locally to save money on shipping costs. Below is a list of businesses where you can purchase shrimp for your aquaponics system:

Business NameContact Information
Rusty Uhland,
Live Aquaponics
Live Aquaponics
Located in St. Augustine, Florida

Craig Upstrom, President
Aquaculture of Texas, Inc., Since 1986
4141 E. IH-20 Serv. Rd. N.
Weatherford, Texas 76087

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