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Effects of Stocking Density on Nursery Production and Economics of the Freshwater Prawn, Macrobrachium rosenbergii

Coyle, Shawn, Dasgupta, Siddhartha, Tidwell, James H., Vanarnum, Aaron, Bright, Leigh Anne
Journal of applied aquaculture 2003 v.14 no.1-2 pp. 137-148
Macrobrachium rosenbergii, body weight, diet, freshwater, heat pumps, juveniles, postlarvae, production economics, shrimp, stocking rate, surface area, tanks, temperate zones, temperature, trout, water quality
In temperate regions, post-larvae freshwater prawn, Macrobrachium rosenbergii, are grown to more advanced sizes in tanks prior to pond stocking. This intermediate stage of culture is referred to as the nursery period. Little research has been conducted on different management practices on juvenile prawn growth and survival during this 30-60 day period. Survival during the nursery stage has been highly variable and may be related to the cannibalistic behavior of juvenile freshwater prawn when cultured at high densities in the nursery. The objective of this study was to evaluate the effect of stocking density, relative to the provision of artificial substrate (number of prawns/m2 of substrate), on growth, survival, and economic variables for freshwater prawn juveniles during nursery production. Post-larvae (0.01%0.00 g, n = 300) were stocked into nine 1900 L tanks, each provided with 20.5 m2 of artificial substrate in the form of horizontal layers of black plastic mesh (10 mm) spaced 5 cm apart. Tanks were randomly assigned one of three prawn densities (215, 430, or 860 post-larvae/m2 of substrate), which equated to 2.3,4.6 and 9.2 prawn/L, respectively. Juvenile prawn were fed a commercial trout diet (42% protein) at a percentage of body weight according to a feed rate table. Water quality was maintained using a flow rate of 8 L/min in each tank from a reservoir pond. Temperature was maintained at approximately 28°C using heat pumps. After 56 days there was no significant difference (P >0.05) in average weight of juvenile prawn stocked at the three densities (0 = 0.58%0.12 g, n = 9). Survival was significantly lower (P <0.05) for prawn stocked at 860 m2 (62%) than in those stocked at 430/m2 (78%) and 215/m2 (94%), which were not statistically different (P >0.05). Even with reduced survival, the highest stocking density produced the greatest number of nursed juveniles based on both tank volume (5.5/l) and surface area (530/m2), at the lowest average cost.