How to Grow HUGE Freshwater Prawns

Prawn is the common name for a large or jumbo freshwater shrimp, also known as Macrobrachium Rosenbergii, Giant River Prawn, Giant Freshwater Prawn, Malaysian Prawn, Freshwater Scampi and Cherabin. Prawns are a coveted addition to aquaponics systems because they eat organic waste, including dead roots, flies and anything else that has sunk to the bottom of the tank to decay.

Sadly, as much as Americans love to eat shrimp, many commercial shrimp farms depend on staggering amounts of antibiotics, fungicides, algaecides and pesticides that pollute the water and other marine life. Here at Live Aquaponics, we offer hormone-free, disease-free and GMO-free live Prawn. Since shrimp is a seafood favorite in America, adding live Freshwater Prawns to your system lets you know exactly what is in the food you are eating.

Freshwater Prawns in Aquaponics
Since Prawns are hardy and easy to grow, they will make a unique addition to your aquaponics system, increasing its efficiency along the way.

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 five months of age.

Freshwater Prawns are a tropical animal, and as such, they require warm water to survive. A correctly engineered, constructed and well-managed pond will result in a predictable harvest of about 1,000 to 1,200 pounds per acre of a large, highly valuable 10 count/pound whole shrimp.

Prawn Housing
Prawn housing doesn’t have to be costly; in fact, you can make it yourself. In this picture, the Prawn housing is a rectangular box made of PVC pipe with horizontal layers of plastic bird netting (.25 mesh, 2" - 3" between layers).

Growing Freshwater Prawns
Juvenile Prawns can be incorporated into the grow-out system of your choice. It will take them 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 2 ounces will have a body length of about 7 inches, and they will require 1 to two square feet of space.

Stocking Densities

  • Post larval to day 45: Up to 40 animals per square foot
  • Post larval to day 60: Up to 20 animals per square foot
  • From day 60 to day 90: No more than 2 animals per square foot
  • After day 90: One to two and one-half square feet per animal

Food and Water Quality
If feed accumulates on the bottom of the tank, reduce the amount of feed. If there is no feed on the bottom of the tank, increase the amount of feed. DO NOT OVER FEED.

  • It’s important to maintain the water temperature between 78˚ and 84 ˚ F.
  • Keep ammonia (<2.0 ppm), nitrite (<0.05) and nitrate (<40 ppm) as low as possible.
  • Keep the pH between 7.0 and 8.5 and total water hardness at a minimum of 40 ppm and a maximum of 250 ppm.

To learn more, visit the Freshwater Prawns page on this website. Live Aquaponics also sells a high-protein prawn food perfect for raising Freshwater Prawns. If you have any questions about raising Prawns, feel free to contact us.  We love to talk with our customers.