Aquaculture International

, Volume 23, Issue 4, pp 997–1012 | Cite as

Growth performance of Noble Crayfish Astacus astacus in recirculating aquaculture systems

  • Uli B. Seemann
  • Kai Lorkowski
  • Matthew J. Slater
  • Friedrich Buchholz
  • Bela H. Buck


There is growing interest in using recirculating aquaculture systems (RAS) to raise noble crayfish Astacus astacus a valuable and once plentiful food species in Europe, now a highly endangered species. The growth and survival of A. astacus was compared in growth trials in RAS and open-pond systems (OPS) over a period of 2 months. Energy and lipid content of available diets and crayfish tissue were also determined. Growth of A. astacus during summer was significantly (p < 0.01, one sample t test) higher in OPS (SGR 1.23) than in RAS even at the highest feeding ration provided at 5 % bw/d−1 (RAS HI SGR 0.78 ± 0.06). OPS crayfish also had significantly (p < 0.01 OPS vs. all RAS treatments; Pairwise Wilcoxon) higher lipid content (8.51 %) than RAS crayfish (RAS HI 5.73 %, RAS MED 6.93 %, RAS LOW 5.92 %). Survival rates in RAS were, however, 100 % compared with previous observations in OPS of approx. 70 %. While results showed OPS growth exceeds than that in RAS in the short term, RAS survival rates and annualized growth performance may outweigh this disadvantage, particularly if optimal artificial diets for RAS holding are provided. Feed and crayfish analysis indicated that culturing A. astacus in RAS require a diet protein content exceeding 30 % and lipid content of <13 %, indicating that the carp diet supplied was not optimal. RAS culture allows this valuable species to be cultured in controlled, disease-free enclosed systems—resulting in high-value food products as well as high-quality seedlings for restocking purpose.


Astacus astacus Crayfish feed Feed ratio Lipid content Pond system 



Surface of filter body [m2/m3] 600 m2/m3 (Spieck et al. 2007)


Amount of affiliated nitrogen (80 %; van Wyk 1999)


Ammonia nitrogen amount of excretion (75 %, van Wyk 1999)


Max. feed intake per day [g]


Amount of nitrogen in the protein (16 %; van Wyk 1999)


Nitrification rate of filter body [gN/m2 d]


Open-pond systems


Amount of protein in the feed (25 %, CYPRININ K2)


Recirculating aquaculture systems


Treatment of 5 %


Treatment of 3 %


Treatment of 4 %


Total amount of imported nitrogen [gN/d]


Volume of biofilter [m3]



We would like to thank the reviewers for their time and thorough reviews which we believe have significantly improved the manuscript. The study was supported by Grants from the Deutsche Bundesstiftung Umwelt Germany (AZ 28879).


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Uli B. Seemann
    • 1
    • 3
  • Kai Lorkowski
    • 2
    • 3
  • Matthew J. Slater
    • 1
    • 3
  • Friedrich Buchholz
    • 3
  • Bela H. Buck
    • 2
    • 3
  1. 1.Institute for Marine Resources GmbHBremerhavenGermany
  2. 2.University of Applied Sciences BremerhavenBremerhavenGermany
  3. 3.Alfred Wegener Institute Helmholtz Center for Polar and Marine ResearchBremerhavenGermany

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