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Thinking of getting a crayfish

Daniel E.

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Ok So I have an empty 15 Gal tank and was thinking of doing an electric blue crayfish.

What do i need to know before I make this choice?

Is this tank big enough for it its whole like? If not what is?

What is the food, care, maintenance, and filtration needs for one?

Tank mates if any, and plants?

Sorry for all the questions but want to know my stuff before I jump out and buy one.

PS. I have a small family owned pet store near me that has them for $18 is that a good price?

Thanks everyone for your help

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I don't remember who it was but there was someone on here that was rehoming his/her crayfish. I don't remember where he/she lived or if a new home was found yet. The person will probably your topic.

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I wrote a caresheet here (mods can remove if I'm not allowed to link to it). But I'll just quote what I wrote in case I can't link.

How much space do they need?

Generally you want at least 20-30 gallons. This species maxes out at about 6-8 inches, with 6 being average, so they can get fairly big as they age. They aren’t effective swimmers unless in small dashes (normally to avoid predation) so the longer the tank the better. Filteration is typical for any tropical species, they do not tolerate ammonia or nitrates well so be sure to keep levels to a minimum. They clearly enjoy hiding places, so rocks, caves, mugs, stones, hamster tubes, pvc piping. Whatever works really, they love to explore so give them lots of options!

What are their ideal water conditions?

This is a very adaptable and flexible species as far as ph and temperature goes. Anywhere from 65-85F is fine and nearly any ph from 6.5-8.5, as long as it’s stable there should not be a problem. They do enjoy water with a higher dissolved oxygen content so if the water is particularly warm a bubbler should be added to provide proper aeration.

Suitable Tank Mates?

Crayfish are bottom dwelling scavengers and not the best hunters. They are incredibly opportunistic feeders and will feed on dead or dying fish (as well as other crayfish possibly). So the best tankmates are ones that live in the mid to upper level of the tank and are too fast or large for the crayfish to eat. I do not recommend goldfish or cichlids with crays. I think small schooling fish are the best option, and will mostly likely put in a school of small tetras in my set up.

Feeding and Nutrition Needs:

Being Arthropods crayfish must molt and push off their old exoskeleton as they grow. Molting and forming a new shell require a lot of nutrients, especially calcium and iodine. Crayfish are omnivores and will accept nearly any fish food. I’m currently feeding mine Hikari Sinking Carnivore Pellets, Dried Nori, and Repashy Soilent Green. I will soon be switching her over to Repashy Shrimp Souffle, as this will provide a complete diet and meet all her nutritional needs. Any crustacean based pellet is a good staple as well. Nori has a high iodine content and crays love it, it will help produce a healthy molt. Crayfish should be fed every 1-3 days. This is dependent on the individual and the condition that it is in, try out different feeding schedules until you find a good balance.

Can They Live With Other Crayfish?

The short answer is Yes. The long answer has a lot more factors. When crayfish molt they shed their old exoskeleton and are soft and vulnerable until their new shell hardens. This is the time when most cannibalism occurs. When a cray molts move it and it’s old shell into a separate tank until it has eaten what it wants and the exoskeleton is hardened. The key to a peaceful set up is plenty of hiding spaces, abundance of food, and space. If they are overcrowded there is little chance of them both surviving; I recommend male & female pairs or a harem. It is recommended that for each crayfish you have 1 square foot of space so they can establish a territory and are less likely to fight or resort to cannibalism. Keep in mind that each animal is an individual and there is no guarantee that they will get along.

Overall this species is interactive and becomes very tame. Mine will crawl on my hands during tank maintenance and will greet visitors that come up to her tank. They make a great addition to anyone looking to break from the more common species without committing to the specialized care some of the more exotic species require.

One last thing to consider is what species you are getting. As "Electric Blue Crayfish" can be one of two species P. alleni or P. clarkii. While care is generally the same P. clarkii is less aggressive with other crays.

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