Culture environment for kuruma prawns

Pond systems

Kuruma prawns are grown in purpose-built earthen ponds adjacent to good supplies of seawater. Ponds are about 0.8–1.5ha in size and are 1.5–2m deep. Ponds should have gently sloping bottoms that allow for complete drainage and drying out of the pond floor.

Steep pond sides (1:2 slope) will prevent benthic algal growth and minimise wading bird predation. Pond walls tend to be lined to prevent excessive soil particles eroding and settling on pond bottoms. Kuruma prawns also require that the pond floor be covered with 10–15cm of sand to allow for their natural burrowing habit.

Water quality

Good water quality conditions are essential to maximise survival and growth rates.

High aeration is vital to keep the sandy bottom well oxygenated and suitable for burrowing. Dissolved oxygen levels must be maintained at greater than 4 parts per million. Both paddlewheel and propeller aspirators are used.

Ammonia levels of 0.2mg per litre will affect growth and are lethal at 1.5mg per litre. Avoiding overstocking and excessive feeding can control ammonia levels.

Maximum growth rates are achieved in 25–35 parts per thousand salinity. Kuruma prawns do not tolerate low salinity and a sudden drop will result in mortality.

Water temperature

Temperatures for optimum production range between 25oC and 30oC and feeding will stop at 15oC. These temperature requirements limit production to one crop during the summer months in areas south of Mackay.

Excessively high water temperatures also affect production and cause problems when harvesting. The kuruma prawn does not culture well in tropical areas.

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