The optimum temperature for holding lobster and crab is between 8 and 12 degrees centigrade (and we would recommend 10 degrees centigrade). Langoustine are best held at 8 degrees centigrade. If you are holding langoustine and lobster or crab together (which is possible in our Lobster Pod system) then hold them at 8 degrees centigrade.
Our team includes Keith who has a PhD in Marine Biology and Laura who has a Masters Degree in Freshwater and Marine Biology. They have done a lot of research to find the optimum temperature for shellfish. We operated systems at 4, 8, 12 and 16 degrees to see what effect this had on the shellfish.
Although some fishermen and vivier operators believe that 4 or 5 degrees is the ideal temperature we discovered that at this low temperature the animals’ metabolism is too slow and they can’t purge themselves of any waste and recover from capture stress. They do not re-immerse in water as well once held at this temperature and the quality is reduced.
At 16 degrees centigrade the animals became very active and hungry and this weaker animals were more likely to be damaged.
Shellfish held at 8 and 12 degrees performed best. The metabolism was lowered enough to make them calm but they still purged any waste and recovered from capture stress. These animals survived for up to 6 months without losing any weight or condition (after 6 months they needed to be fed – please contact us for more information).
At each temperature we also did research on whether to feed the shellfish. The animals which were not fed performed better at every temperature for up to 6 months. The feed polluted the system and caused more problems with bacterial booms in the water, more cleaning and filter maintenance and more predation and damage to the animals.
Do I need a seawater chiller on my lobster tank?
Yes, temperature control is very important and we recommend 8-12 degrees centigrade for lobster and crab and 8 degrees for langoustine.
Lobsters and crab should be stored between 8 – 12 degrees centigrade and langoustine at 8 degrees centigrade. Unless you have a cold room which operates at this temperature then a seawater chiller is the most cost effective way of ensuring this optimum temperature is achieved.
If your shellfish get too warm they will get weak and you will lose some. This can result in problems with water quality such as bacterial blooms and this in turn will harm your shellfish.
Our larger seawater chillers are also heaters and this can be important to ensure a minimum temperature throughout the UK winter months.
Seawater chillers can be expensive to operate – please see FAQ on how to keep your operating costs low.
Is it cheaper to chill the air or the water?
It is usually cheaper to chill the water than the air.
If you have a purpose built cold store which is well insulated with a self-closing door then chilling the whole room usually costs more.
The seawater chillers we use are very efficient. You set the thermostat to your desired temperature (we recommend 8 – 12 degrees centigrade) and if the water temperature is a degree above or below then the chiller starts working.
How can I keep the operating cost of my chillers low?
The day-to-day electric consumption of our insulated shellfish systems is very low however the seawater chiller can be expensive if it has to run all the time.
We would recommend making sure the room you put your lobster tank in should be as well insulated as possible.
Cover any windows or glazed doors to avoid heat gain.
Keep doors and windows closed and perhaps add a self-closing hinge to doors.
Make sure any heaters are turned off.
Don’t operate any equipment which generate heat in the same space.
If the heat builds up in the room put in good ventilation such as an Expelair fan.
Ideally put the seawater chillers outside as they will produce heat when operational. If they are outside build a cover with a roof to keep them out of the worst of the weather. If you can’t put the chillers outside then in another room or roof space is okay. The hose for the chillers is 2.5m long but if you need a longer hose to your chillers location then please let us know.
We offer doors, tank lids and filter covers as an optional extra which can help keep reduce heat gain.