Ruben Manik, writing in Formulated Feeds for Freshwater Prawn: The so-called giant freshwater prawn, Macrobrachium rosenbergii, is widely distributed in the Indo-Pacific region, ranging from Australia to New Guinea to Indus River delta. This species has emerged in the last few years as one of the aquatic animals having a very high potential for aquaculture.
This is based on a number of advantages of this species over many other crustaceans. It adapts to a relatively wide range of temperature from a minimum of 15 to a maximum of 35°C. This species has a relatively short larval life. It is also a fast growing species. Fast growing individuals reach market size in about 7–8 months, and the meat is of high quality in terms of tests and texture.
Food is normally the largest single item in the running expenditure of a prawn hatchery or prawn farm. If prawns are held in artificial confinement where natural food are absent or limited, an external food source should be added. For example, the external food of freshwater prawn larvae that are held in tanks may consist of live food (nauplii of brine shrimp) or artificial food (fish egg, fish flesh, formulated feeds, etc.)
The production of freshwater prawn stocked in pond depends on the ability of the environment to produce natural food. Various factors such as soil and water fertility, water temperature and intensity of solar radiation affect the production level of natural food in the pond. However, for maximum rate of performance, the supplemental feeding programme is supposed to be important. Hence, the knowledge of nutrient requirements, the preparation of suitable feeds from the local available ingredients, feeding techniques, and the cost effectiveness of prepared feeds is of paramount importance to commercial success.
The FOA have published a free report from November 1986 (available online) on the Optimum Dietary Protein Requirement for Macrobrachium rosenbergii Juveniles, by Jocelyn L. Antiporda, a Research Associate from the Southeast Asian Fisheries Development Center (SEAFDEC – AQD), (Binangonan Research Station, Binangonan, Rizal Philippines 3106).
Abstract: The dietary protein requirement of M. rosenbergii juveniles was determined in growth trials performed in indoor aquaria using rations based on fish meal and shrimp meal as the main sources of protein. Five protein levels from 20 – 40% at 5% interval were tested to assess the best growth. Mean body weights and lengths of 4 replicate treatments were subjected to analyses of variance in determining differences between protein levels. Results showed no significant differences in all variables considered. Under this laboratory feeding experiment, the prawns attained weights of 0.95 g (994% gain), 0.94 g (921% gain), 1.3 g (1417% gain), 0.95 g (996% gain) and 1.17 g (1263% gain) for 20%, 25%, 30%, 35% and 49% crude protein levels, respectively in 89 day-culture period.
|weight||crude protein level|
|0.95 g (994% gain)||20%|
|0.94 g (921% gain)||25%|
|1.3 g (1417% gain)||30%|
|0.95 g (996% gain)||35%|
|1.17 g (1263% gain)||49%|
From the introduction:
One of the major factors limiting the economic success in any commercial culture of a species is the food requirement. Shang and Fujimura (1977) estimated feed cost to account for about 13 – 27% of the total annual cost of production. Protein, being an important dietary constituent among animals, directly influence the formulation of diets and consequently affect the cost of production. Accumulated knowledge on the nutrient requirements of the prawn is limited and the lack of standard techniques among researches resulted to wide variations of findings thereby making direct comparisons difficult. Most of the available data relating prawn growth and dietary protein levels have been reviewed by Forster (1976), New (1976) and Wickens (1976). Data on the nutritional requirements of M. rosenbergii are scarce. Several workers have tried to develop artificial diets capable of sustaining good growth using a variety of foodstuffs (Kanazawa, et al., 1970; Cowey and Forster, 1971; Deshimaru and Shegino, 1972; Sick et al., 1972; Andrews et al., 1972; Forster, 1972; Balazs et al., 1973). Studies by Weidenbach (1982) confirmed that prawns ingest commercial pellets when available and that prawns also utilize available vegetation regardless of the presence of commercial pellets. Among the foodstuffs used, flesh of molluscs and crustaceans were found the most acceptable, producing the best growth especially among the marine prawns (Deshimaru and Shegino, 1972; Forster and Beard, 1973). Deshimaru and Shegino (1972) stated that marine prawn growth correlates with the amount of crude protein in the diet and that diets having crude protein above 60% showed high feed efficiency as a rule.