Most crawfish producers don't check oxygen levels of their water, but that step can help improve production, according to an LSU AgCenter aquaculture expert.

“If you're in the crawfish business, you really ought to be checking it on a regular basis,” Robert Romaire told producers at Hamburg, La., meeting. The meeting was one of several conducted by the LSU AgCenter throughout the crawfish-growing region.

Romaire said oxygen levels tend to increase during colder months, but the levels are low after a pond is flooded in the fall and when temperatures begin to increase in late spring.

Low oxygen can lead to stressed crawfish, exposing them to diseases and slow growth. Kits to test water for oxygen cost less than $50.

Greg Lutz, LSU AgCenter aquaculture specialist, said allowing water to spill over screens as it flows into a pond should oxygenate water pumped from the ground. Good oxygen levels will take care of the bad effects of high levels of iron and hydrogen sulfide, he said.