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Description and conditions of the water donkey asellus aquaticus

Not only exotic inhabitants, but also quite simple pets can be grown in domestic waters. These include water donkeys, which fall into the aquarium both by chance, for example, with food, and on purpose.

It is no less interesting to observe these representatives of the marine fauna than expensive and rare fish.

A water donkey may get into the tank by chance, for example, with food

Water donkeys belong to a large population of crustaceans. In Latin, their name sounds like asellus aquaticus.

This type of isopod crayfish is named so because its representatives have the same size and shape of the chest legs.

Outwardly, these arthropods resemble a cross between a cockroach and woodlice, it is no wonder that they are also called water or sea wood lice. The body of the donkey is flat, consists of the head and eight segments, covered with a thin layer of chitin.

On the head are two pairs of antennae. : some are short and others are long.

Water donkeys resemble a cross between a cockroach and woodlice, they are also called water or sea wood lice.

This crustacean has seven pairs of long legs: three pairs are directed forward, three – backward, one pair – to the side. Near the head is a pair of grasping false claws.

Thin walking legs of a water donkey have the ability to regenerate if they break or are devoured by enemies. The newly grown limbs are lighter in color and smaller in size. The average body length of a donkey is about 1.5 cm.

The color of crustaceans can be the most diverse – from gray-blue to brown. In nature, you can find completely white individuals.

Breathing crustacean gills that are in the abdominal region. The rear pair of legs was transformed into gill plates.

Each leg consists of two blades: the top serves to exchange gases, the bottom serves as a protective cap.

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Crustacean water donkey is found on the territory of practically the whole of Europe, in Central Russia and in the Caucasus. Small crayfish live in freshwater bodies, preferring small slow-moving rivers, lakes and ponds.

They can be found even in large puddles. Donkeys hiding in thickets of aquatic plants and under stones.

If there is a lot of decaying vegetation in a reservoir, then crustaceans inhabit it in large numbers. On one square meter there are up to 7 thousand individuals. The rotted algae and sedges serve only food for crustaceans.

They process this vegetation, accumulating nutrients, after which they themselves become food for various fish. Enemies in small crustaceans are numerous. These include:

Water donkeys are characterized by endurance and can live in water with a low oxygen concentration. If the reservoir dries up, then the crustaceans burrow or are in a state of suspended animation until it rains.

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In winter, the water donkey hibernates and starts active life when the water temperature rises to 10-12 degrees. Donkeys live on average about one year. These small crustaceans slowly move along the bottom, making their way through rotting plants.

It is there that they hide from danger. If a donkey grabs a fish or an insect, he throws off his limbs and thus escapes.

The donkey feels confident only in the water. In the air, thin long limbs do not allow him to move.

Food for these individuals are rotten plants. They eat a lot, processing for their entire life about 170 mg of leaves (10−15 times their weight).

The amount of food per day is 5% of the total weight of his body. Crawfish eat plants from the bottom, leaving only lace.

They prefer the leaves of oak, elm, alder, conifers they do not like.

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Water donkeys begin to multiply when the warm season begins, from about mid-April to August. The male sits on the back of the female and is on it for about a week, waiting for her molt.

It is during the molt of the female that the genital openings widen, and the male can transfer the sperm there.

A few hours after fertilization, a brood bag is formed in the female, where the eggs are laid. They can be from 30 to 100 pieces or more.

Newborn crustaceans appear after about 6 weeks. At once after birth they leave mother and begin to lead an independent life.

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Sea donkeys can be kept in the home aquarium. Breeders do this in two ways: using crustaceans as food for other inhabitants of the aquarium and for decorative purposes.

Depending on the purpose, the crustaceans can get into the home aquarium by chance along with live food for fish and with special purchases.

Some lovers of aquatic inhabitants specially populate donkeys in their aquariums. These creatures are very interesting to observe.

For them suitable low capacity, which fall asleep coarse sand and placed small pebbles. Half of the reservoir should be planted with plants.

If the aquarium has been used for a long time, and the plants have grown enough in it, then donkeys can not be fed, as they will feed on this vegetation.

Often, water donkeys are used as a feed crop, because of their nutritional value, there is little that can be compared to them. Due to the fact that the chitinous layer in crustaceans is very soft, they can be eaten by all kinds of fish.

They are especially useful for aquarists, breeding heavy fish in the care.

For breeding crustaceans 10−20 individuals run in a wide flat reservoir with weak aeration. Females should be bigger than males. The bottom of the aquarium is lined with fallen leaves and bundles of javanese moss.

As a feed for crustaceans, oat-flakes and slices of vegetables are used.

Under such conditions, crustaceans multiply very quickly. To feed them to the fish, tear off the leaves, on which donkeys sit very tightly, and rinse them in an aquarium with fish.

Every representative of wildlife is of interest for observation. Water donkeys can become not only food for the inhabitants of the aquarium, but also serve as pets.

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