Friday, November 04, 2011

The Last Macrobrachium

 Regular Pure Floridians may remember my Macrobrachium rosenbergii aquaculture project with my kids at my old school.
The students and I built a simple small scale recirculating aquaculture system and grew giant prawns from tiny post-larvae tots to hulking examples of prawnliness.

The system worked great, the shrimp grew well, and losses were minimal.
The only heavy losses were totally due to misjudgement on my part ... underestimating raccoon cleverness and procrastination.
Both of those errors in judgement (again, mine, not the kids) happened in the "in between" time known as summer.
The prawns all came home to spend the summer with me when school shut down. They moved in to my old tilapia tank to spend the summer and await the next school year.

While raccoon predation was not an issue in the classroom, it was a challenge in an outdoor setting.
I covered the tank with old fencing and stopped that issue, but not before losing some prawns to the bandits.

The worst loss of prawns was simply due to waiting one week too long to move them back to class a year ago. A cold snap SNAPPED the last weekend before I planned to transport them back to school.
It was a sad, massive kill.

A few weeks ago, I went out to check on the final survivor (after a cold snap... arrrrgh) and he was on his side, at the bottom, immobile.

Dang!
I did it again.

I dipped him up and ... he twitched!

A quick plunge into an aquarium with fresh 72 degree well water and he revived just fine, thank you maam.
Call me "Lucky".

So Lucky is now living in my new classroom, amazing everyone who sees him and triggering interest in doing the whole thing over again here at Cedar Key School.

What?

Oh ... Lucky says to tell you he's molted since these photos were taken and has a new unbroken rostrum and bright blue claws.

Pride in appearance.
It's a shrimp thang.

15 comments:

Dani said...

They're cute little buggers.

threecollie said...

Lucky indeed and pretty too!

Lisa at Greenbow said...

How long can shrimp live in captivity?? that is if someone takes good care of them?.. This one almost looks like a lobster it is so big.

Doug Taron said...

This would make for a great talk at the Invertebrates in Conservation and Education conference.

Thunder Dave said...

Looking forward to seeing Lucky!

lisa said...

Lucky is a sure fitting name!

Floridacracker said...

Dani,
I love your ability to see "cute" in so many critters.
I see it too.


3C,
He's a big hit in the classroom. Definitely lucky as he is now safe from the plate!


Lisa at G,
Good question!
I don't know how long one of these guys can live. I guess we will find out.


Doug,
Hmmm, never heard of it. Sounds like a neat convention.

Dave,
Way to make things happen!


Lisa,
True that!

Dani said...

John wants to know where he can purchase the prawns. He's thinking of doing a set up in the backyard.

Caroline said...

My kiddos (12 9th grade boys) would LOVE Lucky, they all want to take care of Jose the Betta and a tank full of guppies. If I didn't keep the fish food in my desk drawer out of sight they would be obese and explode. They'd think he was da Bomb!

Floridacracker said...

Dani,
I get mine from Aquaculture of Texas.
You might also try Miami Aqua-Culture too.
You are far enough south that you could grow tilapia without a permit. I am one county north of the permit needed line.
Just a thought.


Caroline,
LOL! I think even the smallest critter in an aquarium has great educational value.

robin andrea said...

You know the cutest critters!

Woodduck said...

Great for you. However I'm concerned about the huge tiger shrimp that are being caught wild off NC's coast. I've heard that some probably escaped from the Cape Fear River drainage from ponds inshore, after hurricanes.

Floridacracker said...

Woodduck,
Different critter. That one is a concern here too.
This prawn is so cold sensitive and noninvasive that even here in Florida, no permit is required.


Robin,
Cute has a broad definition, right?
LOL!

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