Raising Red Claw freshwater crayfish for
a few years now, Michael Robinson has said this is an excellent aquacuture species.
His production facility near Elkton, in north Florida, started with only 50 juvenile
red claws, is now the largest commercial producer of red claw freshwater lobsters
in Florida ...almost doubling in size every year. He's putting up another greenhouse
(photo below) this spring. "About the only problem with these critters is that every
once in awhile one will get the urge to go walkabout." As most Red Claw farmers
will agree, tank culture is the most efficient way to raise red claw, and walkabout
is easily solved by having the water inlets above the water line and having nothing
going over the side of the tank. The water level stays six inches below the edge of
the tank, and the overflow drain has a good screen on it.
Here is a young red claw breeder, full of eggs (berried).
Stick-Fins produces breeders with around 700-800 eggs per breeder, and gets about
an 85% survival rate with these eggs. The eggs can be left on the female until they detach naturally,
or the eggs can be removed and put in an incubator tank. This process is covered in the book: Red Claw! Raising the giant Australian Crayfish .
The berried females are usually put in a separate tank. After the eggs hatch and
detach, the young crayfish want to hang on to something, and eat. Steady, 2-3 times
daily feeding will produce much larger and healthier juveniles than those born in the
wild or even in a relatively uncontrolled pond environment. This is the really important
growth time, and just keeping the environment warm and clean during this time will make
a huge positive difference in the final adult weight of the Red Claw.
Here is an example of the juveniles available from this farm.
A little extra care at the stage from hatchling to 1"-3" in length, pays huge
dividends. This involves having about 750 juveniles per tank, and having some kind
of mesh for them to hang on to, thereby suspending them all through the water column.
Some farms use plastic mesh such as onion bags for this; Michael will try water hyacinth
this year; that will provide a natural mesh and food as well. The young red claw are
territorial at this stage and only want to hang on to their little space and eat and
grow. Feed needs to be spread evenly throughout this tank so the little ones don't have
to go far for food. A unique method used by some red claw farmers is brine shrimp eggs,
hatched, harvested, and frozen into ice cubes. These will float around in the juvenile
tank, melt, and spread this perfect food throughout the tank.
As you can see above, Michael used an inexpensive but very efficient method
for his Red Claw production.
8 foot diameter by 18 inch wading pools
(from Wal-Mart, appx. $10.00 ea., off season), reinforced with 18" sections of
aluminum soffit, for the tanks. A simple screened overflow drain and overhead water
inlets comprise the plumbing. The water is sprayed into the tank, which gives more
than enough aeration. Solar heating and occasional water heating keeps the water
temperature at the ideal 80 degrees F. Each tank holds 750 juveniles or 500 adults.
At 4 to 6 adults per pound, and selling for $8.50 to $10.00 per pound, it is easy to
see an excellent return on each tank employed. A greenhouse may not be necessary,
something better insulated that can be heated may be needed in a colder climate for
the winter months
AUSTRALIAN RED CLAW PRICES from Stick-Fins
PLEASE E-MAIL FOR NEW PRICES!
Shipping charges will be determined from customers zip code. This
shipping charge is determined from FedEx web site. Live shipments are shipped
priority express overnight. We ship on Tuesday of each week for delivery on
Wednesday, unless prior arrangements have been made. Payment for shipment must be
received prior to shipment. We do not ship to Post Office Boxes.
Business Hours of Operation and Contact Information:
We are open from 8:00 AM EST to 5:00 PM EST Monday through Friday.
Contact via phone between 1:00 PM and 2:30 PM Monday through Friday. Closed
on weekends. Email contact email@example.com. Email usually checked daily
between 3:30 AM and 6:00 AM EST. Due to overwhelming demand, "Farm Tours" are
no longer available.
STICK-FINS FISH FARM
C/O: MICHAEL ROBINSON
3800 CR-13 SOUTH
ELKTON, FL. 32033
Note: Telephone hours are restricted 1:00 PM - 2:30 PM, EST Mon - Fri
E-MAIL: Stick-Fins Fish Farm