It is interesting, but aquarium crayfish, on which earlier aquarists simply did not pay attention, are now enjoying great success. If you want to contain crayfish, remember that these arthropods are individualists, they love to live separately from their fellows, carefully guard their hole, snag or other shelter and can “treat” the offender with strong claws.
That is why there must be shelters in the aquarium – ceramic tubes, grottoes, caves, coconut shells, snags. If this is not taken care of, the crayfish will begin to dig holes with the help of the tail and legs.
The water in the reservoir should be clean, enriched with oxygen – these are radically different, for example, from frogs. On 15 liters of water should fall one individual, 5-6 cm long. The temperature regime must be maintained at the level of 21-17 degrees.
Young crayfish like to hide in the thickets of small-leaved plants, females often keep in sight. Most of the day (12-15 hours) crayfish spend in shelters.
Despite the fact that these arthropods seem clumsy, they easily move on their eight legs.
The aquarium must be equipped so that the crayfish, if necessary, could rise to the surface of the water (tall plants, stones, snags, tuff pieces, hoses — all this will help them with their progress). Since crayfish can get out of the aquarium, it is worthwhile to close them with a lid, and the holes for air and wires should be small so that it is impossible to get through them.
Often these pets live peacefully on the bottom, but if they feel a lack of oxygen or the water is too polluted, they are looking for salvation on land. The same situation arises if the aquarium is overpopulated – crayfish tend to escape and hide from the aggression of larger individuals.
Crayfish are most active at twilight time of the day, they go in search of food in the late afternoon. They can eat various mollusks, insects, worms, tadpoles.
In the period of reproduction or change of shell, they need more food. Females can be fed once every 3 days, males – once every two days. 85% of the daily diet should be plant foods.
Elodea, nettle, horsetail, water lily, rdest, algae, carrots – all this can be offered to freshwater crayfish. Also, they do not refuse artificial food, bloodworms, pieces of meat or fish.
Young animals can be fed with ready-made fry for fish, Artemia and chopped shredder. Young crayfish are excellent aquarium cleaners, they eat detritus (organic decay products), a substrate of fallen leaves.
Dry leaves of oak, beech, alder is a source of valuable minerals for crayfish, they improve the digestion of arthropods and relieve them from parasites. In addition, they secrete humic and tannic acids, which favorably affect not only crayfish, but also shrimp. By the way, carefully monitor the indicator of water hardness: too soft medium contributes to the destruction of the shell of arthropods.
You can give Indian almond leaves to crayfish – this is an excellent antiseptic.
It is not recommended to plant small plants in an aquarium, as crayfish easily bite their stems with claws. It is worth remembering that before planting a new plant, it must be quarantined in another container and regularly change water, since many suppliers treat their products with insecticides, and crayfish, like shrimps, are very sensitive to chemistry. As for the neighbors for crayfish, veil varieties and small benthic fish are not the best choice.
Mobile fishes and inhabitants of the upper layers of water get along with crayfish quite well.
Under artificial conditions, the reproduction of crayfish is not such a complicated process. Mating occurs, as a rule, after molting. It is very interesting to observe cancers during this period, they perform a real dance, touching each other with their antennae.
The eggs are laid by the female 20-21 days after mating. It is best to put it in a separate tank during the “pregnancy” period, since it will be in conflict.
After the appearance of offspring, the crustaceans do not depart from the mother for a long time and move, holding on to its torso. Only after the first molt, they begin to produce their own food.
Young crustaceans are rather shy, so they will spend the lion’s share of time behind the ledges and under the snags.
It is better to transport the crayfish separately, in a black opaque package. Arthropods adapt quickly, just beforehand measure all the parameters of water (the temperature difference in the aquarium and the package should be no more than 3 degrees).
Immediately it should be noted that in the world there are more than 200 species of freshwater crustaceans, we present to your attention only some of them.
Apricot Cancer (Cherax holthuisi). This species of crayfish is common in the West Popua, they grow to a length of 8-12 centimeters. Apricot crayfish lead a secretive lifestyle, which is why they discovered this species quite recently.
Apricot crayfish have rather small eyes, but the claws are large, the color of the shell can vary from yellow to bright orange. Other variations have been derived – white, blue and even black.
These are heat-loving pets, but, at the same time, absolutely not demanding to the content.
American swamp cancer (Procambarus clarkii). This species is common in the waters of the States of the United States and Northern Mexico.
Large individuals grow to 12-15 centimeters, they are easily adaptable and are considered survival pros. In the period of drought they can dig holes or go in search of another reservoir.
The male elongated claws, the female – thicker and shorter, at the ends there are thorns. The most common color is red stripes on the abdomen; the back is bluish-black with red dots.
There is an orange, pink, white and red color form. Males are quite aggressive, it is better to keep them separately.
Purple Cancer (Cherax). Distributed on the peninsula Fogklkon, prefers reservoirs with clear water and rocky bottom.
The length of adults is 10–12 centimeters, the character is peaceful, the color varies from pinkish to lilac, the shade to the tail is more saturated. The belly is black or dark purple, the inside of the claws can be painted blue, and a white spot can be seen on the outside.
Blue Cuban Cancer (Procambarus cubensis). The natural habitat of its habitat are streams and small rivers of Cuba.
Males have longer claws and gonopodia, females are distinguished by smaller claws and the absence of the first front legs (they can also be quite small). The color can range from pure blue to reddish brown.
Crayfish grow up to 10 centimeters, they have a powerful tail fin and impressive claws.
Cambarellus (Cambarellus ninae). These freshwater crayfish live in the waters of America, grow to 3-4 centimeters.
The coloring of the Cambarella ninae is quite attractive: it can vary from light beige to rich brown, you can also find blue and reddish individuals. During the breeding season, females are able to change their color, on the main background they have beautiful spots, shaped like stars.
These crayfish are peaceful and not prone to aggression.
Dwarf swamp cancer (Cajun dwarf crayfish). Its natural habitat is North America, Mississippi River.
The size of the crayfish is really small: 2-4 centimeters. Externally, swamp cancer is very similar to Louisian: the main color can be from gray to red-brown. Wavy, dotted and curved lines pass along the back of the cancer, and in the central part of the tail you can see a clear dark spot.
Claws of cancer narrow, elongated. Swamp cancer is unpretentious, it is recommended to keep one male with 2-3 females and peaceful non-aggressive fish.
Pygmy Orange Cancer (Cambarellus patzcuarensis). A small cancer, also called tangerine.
The size of this crustacean is rather modest – from 4 to 6 cm, it lives in the waters of Mexico and is considered an accidental mutation of the usual gray cancer. On the shell of an orange cancer there are dark stripes and spots. In males, the shape of the claws resembles a lancet, they are quite large, smaller in females.
These crayfish are not aggressive, but it is not recommended to lodge several males in one aquarium.
Red Claw Cherax. This species is common in the waters of New Guinea and Northern Australia.
Crayfish reddish blue-green with yellow dots. The males on the lower surface of the claw is a bright spot called the cystic.
Red-mongrel crayfish are considered peaceful and get along well with fish.
Marble Crayfish (Marble crayfish, Procambarus sp). Marble crayfish are very beautiful, they are unpretentious, but they have one interesting feature: they shed their shells with their mustaches and claws during the moulting.
Marble crayfish are same-sex, multiply by parthenogenesis. Adults grow up to 12-15 centimeters, the main color of the cancer can vary from black or brown to greenish, and the pattern of the shell is very similar to the surface of the marble.
Juveniles have a weak pattern, it appears with age.
Blue Moon (Blue Moon). These are fairly large crayfish, growing to 15 centimeters, they are very beautiful. The main color is dark blue-steel, covers the whole body, the blades of the tail are orange-colored, and there are characteristic white dots on the claws and carapax.
Males have a white so-called blister spot on the underside of the claws.
Tiger crayfish (Cherax Tiger). These crayfish live in the waters of New Guinea, grow up to 12 centimeters. They do not tolerate temperature fluctuations, often abandon aquatic plants.
The main color is blue, brownish or white with bright spots. Abdominal stripes can be white or yellow on a dark background, carapace prickly crawfish.
Florida Flake Lobster. Inhabits the waters of Florida, grows to 8-10 centimeters.
In nature, crayfish have an unattractive brown color, but after the work of breeders, they obtained an attractive white and bright blue color. It is better to breed Florida crayfish in pairs – one male and one female, two males will certainly be distracted.
We told you only about the main varieties of freshwater crayfish, in fact, there are many more.