Giant Freshwater Prawn (Macrobrachium spinipes), Tank-Bred!
PLEASE NOTE: This species will prey upon other small invertebrates and fish that inhabit the same areas of the aquarium. This species should not be kept with dwarf shrimp, most snails, and slow-moving or bottom-dwelling fish. It is an opportunistic omnivore and it will eat anything that it can catch.
The Giant Freshwater Prawn is an attractively-marked speciese that grows to an impressive size, especially for a freshwater invertebrate!
The Giant Freshwater Prawn (Macrobrachium spinipes) is a large Macrobrachium species that is very uncommon in the aquarium hobby. While Macrobrachium species are not considered true prawns, the "prawn" name is widely used due to their many similarities to true prawns. They are not quite shrimp, but not quite crayfish, yet they have many similarities to both. This species has noticeably long claws, and males have even longer claws than females. This particular species is amphidromous, meaning that it spends the early larval stages of its life in brackish or saltwater, then migrates to freshwater for its adult life.
Giant Freshwater Prawn is considerably more aggressive and territorial than freshwater shrimp. It is more comparable in personality to most crayfish. Adult males are territorial with other males and should not be kept together in a small tank. Males are reportedly much less aggressive toward females, and a pair can sometimes be kept together with caution in a tank of considerable size as long as ample cover is provided. The Giant Freshwater Prawn will do some digging and excavating in in its habitat, so delicate plants should be avoided. However, this omnivore can possibly be kept with more durable, well-established plants such as Anubias, Cryptocoryne, and Java Fern...although there is no guarantee that it will not damage or destroy them. This species is somewhat adaptable regarding water parameters, but it will not do well in soft or excessively warm water. Like crayfish, will sometimes prey on fish and other invertebrates that inhabit the same areas of the water column. It can sometimes be kept successfully with agile fish that inhabit other areas of the tank, but it is a very effective hunter and can cause major damage or even death to its tankmates, especially in a relatively small aquarium.
The Giant Freshwater Prawn is an opportunistic omnivore. It is not a picky eater, and it should be offered a varied diet of dry, frozen, and live foods that contain both animal and vegetable matter. It will spend most of its time foraging around its chosen territory at the bottom of the aquarium.
Our B-Grade option for this species is simply for specimens that are missing a claw or multiple legs. This is completely normal for a crustacean and the missing appendage(s) will grow back within 1-2 molts.
What We Like About This Prawn:
- Very rare in the aquarium hobby
- Impressive adult size
- Unique appearance
- Excellent scavenger
RECOMMENDED TANK PARAMETERS:
- Temperature: 68 – 82.4° F (20 - 28° C)
- pH: 7.0 – 8.0
- KH: 3 - 15 dKH
- Minimum tank size: 40+ gallons per specimen
- Diet: Omnivorous. Requires a varied diet of animal and plant matter. Most dry, frozen, and live foods will be accepted, as will most vegetable matter
- Social behavior: Can be aggressive/territorial with its own kind as well as other animals. Prawns will typically eat whatever they can catch, but since they are slow-moving, they are not often able to harm fast-moving fish that inhabit other areas of the aquarium.
- Origin: Northern Australia
- Average adult size: 17.7 inches (45 cm) including claws
- Average purchase size: 1 - 2 inches (2.5 – 5 cm)