Culture environment for black tiger prawns
Black tiger prawns can grow quickly under a wide range of salinities. Maximum growth rates occur in 15-20 parts per thousand (ppt) salinity - seawater is normally 35ppt. Prawns can survive in zero salinity (freshwater) for short periods.
Because black tiger prawns are a tropical species, their best growth rates occur when water temperatures are 25-30oC. Feeding stops at around 20oC and death will occur around 14-15oC.
This temperature range limits production to one crop during summer in areas south of Mackay and two crops between Cardwell and Cooktown, provided good management, controlled stocking rates and selective harvesting are in place.
Ponds are stocked with post-larvae at rates varying from 25-40 per square metre. The higher the stocking densities, the slower the growth rates. With water temperatures above 24oC prawns should reach 30-35g each in 120-150 days.
Prawns are normally grown in purpose-built earthen ponds next to the estuarine parts of river systems. Most ponds are about 1ha in size and have a gently sloping bottom to allow for drain harvesting of the prawns and full draining for a dry-out period between crops. Pond depths vary from 1.5-2.0m.
- Find out how to get started in aquaculture.
- You will need to discuss technical and licensing aspects of any proposed aquaculture venture with staff from Fisheries Queensland and the Department of Environment and Science before proceeding with site selection, design and, where applicable, land purchase.
- The Australian Prawn Farmers Association is a key contact for new farmers, investors and businesses looking to get involved in Queensland prawn farming.
- Find out how to prevent, identify and manage disease in aquaculture farms.
- Download the Australian prawn farming manual for more information about prawn farming.
- Download the latest report to farmers for aquaculture industry statistics and production data.