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Thread: Breeding Eastern River Prawn - Macrobrachium tolmerum

  1. #1

    Default Breeding Eastern River Prawn - Macrobrachium tolmerum

    Sorry the question near the end of this 1st post in bold, if you don't like reading a heap just skip to that please, I usually suck at summarising getting out what I mean but try to keep it short for reply posts usually.

    Been wanting to set up some Macrobrachium to breed for eating for ages and been running some tanks with prey breeding for Macrobrachium Bullatum for about 2 years but hadn't bought and set up any of the M.bullatum yet (got a few things to set up and buy for the 1500L bin and 5ftx2ft pond).
    I decided on that species due to full life cycle in fresh water, hardy and broad temp and water type tolerances, don't need the strong brackish water for the larval stage.

    Today I decided to just go and try to catch a larger freshwater species from nearby a friend had kept well for ages without needing the brackish water stage for the larvae instead of buying some M.bullatum as I wanted a larger species but not M.rosenbergii.

    After getting some info off some locals on if they were in the creek we were at (got told there were plenty and how to find them), I went about finding some and caught a adult male and berried girl (if I was unsure on population size it would have been juvies instead of mating age ones let alone a berried one).

    I ID'd them as Macrobrachium tolmerum which were thankfully easier to tell apart from the others, the male is a dominent male having lots of bits of red and a reddish orange section where the big claws meet the body.
    I am currently looking into the larval development part and the info I'm finding seems to be similar to most of the other Macrobrachium in the larval stage needing strong brackish water and they take about 38 days to develop.

    Has anyone kept Eastern River prawn - M. tolmerum and had the larval stage go fine in fresh water please?

    A fast response please so as I can release them if allowed while the eggs are still fine (the creek was freshwater that they were in)?
    I don't have worms etc in the cherry shrimp tank they are quarantined in to check if they have worms before moving them in the the 4ft, the one they are in has been clear of worms and planaria for a few months but not sure if there is stuff the cherries could pass on.

  2. #2


    Keep them and try it in freshwater. Maybe even make up some brackish water using half marine salt and half freshwater and divide the young into 2 containers (1 fresh and 1 brackish). You might be the first to rear them in freshwater. If it fails just wait a month for the next batch and try again.

    I don't recommend releasing fish back into the wild if they have been in an aquarium that has had introduced species in it, and that includes plants from pet shops. Disease organisms can remain in tanks for months or even years and may not affect the macros straight away. But if you release the macros back into the wild, you can potentially introduce diseases into the natural environment.

    This is a problem down south in Albany WA. There is a lake at the top of the Goodga River and it has about 7 or 8 species of introduced aquarium fish in it. The native Galaxias truttaceus in the lake are developing diseases that are not native to Australia and subsequently the Galaxias are being wiped out by diseases they have no immunity to.

    If the macros are in a new tank that has never had any introduced species or fish or plants from other people's aquariums, then they should be fine. But if the tank has had cherry shrimp or anything else from a pet shop, then do not release them back into the wild.

  3. #3


    Thanks, yeah I thought that would be the case for releasing a wild caught back, I won't release them in that case.
    Just hope they don't hatch while she is still in the cherry tank, going to treat with no planaria today as I spotted a worm after
    cleaning the tanks yesterday.

    That's why I put them in the little cherry tank instead of the big 4ft, as it would be easier to see if they have any worms and less meds needed
    for treatment if they have any that start showing up in the tank.

    About to send the pics to my phone so as I can edit them as I don't have a editing program on the laptop, will load them soon.
    Last edited by critter guy; 26-03-19 at 10:00 AM.

  4. #4


    The pics, you can't quite see them all in these pics but the male has six spots along his body the same was the female. The eggs are pretty small, I reckon she is carrying about 300 of them.
    Male side on by grentes, on Flickr

    In this pic you can see the orange section of the big claws where it connects with the body that dominent males of this species have
    Male side on 2 by grentes, on Flickr

    Zoom in on this pic and you can make out a pair of hairy inner feeding arm things which was another identifying feature.
    P3240005 by grentes, on Flickr

    The female next to a adult or close to adult cherry shrimp for scale
    Female with Cherry shrimp to show size by grentes, on Flickr

    Female side on by grentes, on Flickr

    Showing back markings
    Female showing back markings by grentes, on Flickr

    And paler shot that shows off the eggs better, there are hundreds.
    P3240036 by grentes, on Flickr
    Last edited by critter guy; 26-03-19 at 01:48 PM.

  5. #5


    Ok, at some point late last week the eggs have hatched or been ditched, I think hatched as she didn't ditch them through all the stress of being caught and then transferred to the tank and pics taken.
    A day later after noticing she had no more eggs she then had a fresh bunch of eggs, so there is very little time between clutches.

    So I'm hoping to start seeing the bubs soon once they reach the visible stage of growth, I will update with pics of them if they do.

    I am ready to change the substrate in the 4ft tank from the pebbles to the pool sand I have prepped and have ordered Dwarf Hair grass seeds to
    grow in it as hiding space for the baby prawns and fish.
    Last edited by critter guy; 01-04-19 at 01:23 PM.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2013


    Didnt know you can grow hair grass from seeds! Perhaps check the low flow areas of the tank with a light to visualise larvae.

  7. #7


    I ordered the food for them last night as well as the seeds. I am about to order some root tabs to aid in growing the seeds, though have been told the seeds are usually duds and to go a live plant, see how they go.

    Here is the food I ended up going with for the adults, I went it due to the much lower fat amount than other sinking pellets so it won't cloud up the tank, plus it's price worked out better.
    I'm hoping the garlic and aniseed in them will also improve the prawns flavour as I've heard that yabbies and freshwater prawn aren't as tasty as their salt water counterparts.

    For the bubs they have smaller 0.5mm-1mm ones that I will go, these smaller ones have a few things added to aid in good and fast growth including calcium, Choline Chloride and Lecithin
    Last edited by critter guy; 01-04-19 at 09:23 PM.

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