how to feed crayfish

Crayfish for Sale: Buying and Keeping Freshwater Crayfish

Posted on

Crayfish are fascinating creatures that can add color, diversity, and interest to your aquarium or pond. They are also known as crawfish, crawdads, or freshwater lobsters, and they belong to the order Decapoda, which means they have 10 legs. Crayfish are crustaceans that live in freshwater habitats, such as streams, rivers, ponds, and lakes. They are omnivorous and feed on plants, algae, insects, worms, snails, fish, and other crayfish.

If you are interested in buying and keeping crayfish as pets, you need to know some basic information about their care, behavior, and compatibility with other aquatic animals. In this article, we will provide you with a guide to buying and keeping freshwater crayfish, including:

Where to Buy Crayfish Online and Offline

There are many sources where you can buy crayfish online and offline, such as:

  • Online stores: There are many online stores that sell live crayfish for aquariums or ponds. Some of them offer free shipping, live arrival guarantee, and a variety of crayfish species and colors. For example, you can check out Aquatic Arts, Toledo Goldfish for some options.
  • Local fish stores: You can also buy crayfish from your local fish stores, where you can see the actual crayfish before buying them. However, the selection may be limited and the prices may be higher than online stores. You should also ask the staff about the origin, health, and compatibility of the crayfish they sell.
  • Breeders: Another option is to buy crayfish from local or online breeders who specialize in raising and selling crayfish. This way, you can get more information about the crayfish’s history, genetics, and care. You can also request specific crayfish varieties or colors that you want. However, you may need to pay more for rare or exotic crayfish breeds.
  • Collecting: If you live in an area where crayfish are native and abundant, you may be able to collect them from the wild. However, this is not recommended for several reasons. First, you may harm the natural ecosystem by removing or introducing crayfish. Second, you may violate the local laws or regulations regarding crayfish collection. Third, you may expose yourself and your crayfish to diseases, parasites, or predators. Fourth, you may not know the exact species or variety of the crayfish you collect.
Aquarium Crayfish
Aquarium Crayfish. Image by Enziarro~commonswiki from Wikimedia Commons

How to Choose Healthy and Suitable Crayfish for Your Aquarium or Pond

When buying crayfish online or offline, you should consider the following factors:

  • Size: Crayfish can range from 1 inch to 12 inches in length depending on the species and age. You should choose crayfish that are appropriate for the size of your tank or pond. Generally, smaller crayfish are easier to keep than larger ones, as they require less space, food, and water changes. However, smaller crayfish may also be more vulnerable to predation by larger fish or other crayfish.
  • Color: Crayfish come in a variety of colors, such as blue, red, orange, white, black, green, purple, pink, yellow, or striped. Some colors are natural while others are artificially induced by selective breeding or dyeing. You should choose crayfish that have bright and vibrant colors that indicate good health and quality. You should also avoid crayfish that have faded or dull colors that indicate stress or disease.
  • Behavior: Crayfish are semi-aggressive animals that can fight with each other or other aquatic animals over territory or food. You should choose crayfish that are active and alert but not overly aggressive or shy. You should also avoid crayfish that are lethargic or hiding all the time that indicate poor health or stress.
  • Compatibility: Crayfish are not compatible with all types of fish or other aquatic animals. You should choose crayfish that can coexist peacefully with your existing tank or pond inhabitants. Generally,
    • Crayfish can get along with bottom-dwelling fish that have similar size and temperament
    • Crayfish can prey on or be preyed by larger or more aggressive fish
    • Crayfish can eat or be eaten by smaller or more passive fish
    • Crayfish can compete with or harm other invertebrates, such as snails, shrimp, or clams
See also  How Often to Clean a Betta Fish Tank

You should also consider the number and sex of the crayfish you buy. Generally, you should keep one crayfish per 10 gallons of water to avoid overcrowding and aggression. You should also keep more females than males to reduce fighting and increase breeding chances.

Crayfish for Sale
Crayfish. Image by Cherubim from Wikimedia Commons

How to Set Up and Maintain a Crayfish Tank or Pond

Crayfish are hardy and adaptable animals that can tolerate a wide range of water conditions. However, they still need a proper tank or pond setup and maintenance to thrive and stay healthy. Here are some tips on how to set up and maintain a crayfish tank or pond:

  • Tank or pond size: As mentioned above, you should provide at least 10 gallons of water per crayfish. The tank or pond should also have enough surface area for gas exchange and enough depth for crayfish to hide and burrow.
  • Substrate: Crayfish like to dig and burrow in the substrate, so you should provide a thick layer of sand, gravel, or soil that is suitable for their natural habitat. You should also avoid sharp or rough substrates that can injure their delicate exoskeletons.
  • Filtration: Crayfish produce a lot of waste and can pollute the water quickly, so you should provide adequate filtration to keep the water clean and clear. You can use mechanical, biological, or chemical filters, or a combination of them, depending on your preference and budget. You should also avoid filters that have strong currents or suction that can stress or harm your crayfish.
  • Aeration: Crayfish need oxygen to breathe and survive, so you should provide sufficient aeration to oxygenate the water. You can use air pumps, air stones, bubblers, or waterfalls to create bubbles and movement in the water. You should also avoid overstocking or overfeeding your crayfish that can deplete the oxygen levels in the water.
  • Lighting: Crayfish are nocturnal animals that are more active at night than during the day, so you do not need to provide any special lighting for them. However, you can use natural or artificial lighting to create a day-night cycle for your crayfish and other aquatic animals. You should also avoid direct sunlight or excessive lighting that can heat up or algae up the water.
  • Decoration: Crayfish need hiding places to feel secure and comfortable in their tank or pond, so you should provide various decorations, such as rocks, driftwood, plants, caves, pipes, pots, or ornaments. You should also leave some open space for your crayfish to move around and explore. You should also avoid decorations that have sharp edges or toxic materials that can injure or poison your crayfish.
  • Water parameters: Crayfish can adapt to a wide range of water parameters, but they prefer slightly alkaline (pH 7-8), moderately hard (GH 6-12), and cool (temperature 60-75°F) water. You should test your water regularly with a test kit and adjust it accordingly with water conditioners, buffers, heaters, coolers, etc. You should also perform regular water changes (25% weekly) to remove waste and toxins from the water.
See also  Red Claw Crayfish – Full Guide: Care, Diet, and Breeding
how to feed crayfish
crayfish Image by Vel’s Pets from youtube.com

How to Feed Crayfish

Crayfish are omnivorous animals that can eat a variety of foods, such as:

  • Commercial foods: You can feed your crayfish with commercial foods that are specially formulated for them, such as pellets, flakes, wafers, sticks, etc. These foods contain all the essential nutrients that your crayfish need for growth and health. You should choose high-quality foods that have high protein and low fat content. You should also avoid overfeeding your crayfish that can cause obesity or water pollution.
  • Natural foods: You can supplement your crayfish’s diet with natural foods that they would eat in the wild, such as plants, algae, insects, worms, snails, fish, etc. These foods provide variety and enrichment for your crayfish. You should choose fresh and clean foods that are free of pesticides or parasites. You should also avoid feeding your crayfish with foods that are too large or too hard for them to eat.
  • Feeding schedule: You can feed your crayfish once or twice a day depending on their size and appetite. You should feed them only as much as they can eat within 15 minutes and remove any uneaten food from the tank or pond. You should also observe your crayfish’s feeding behavior and adjust the amount and frequency of feeding accordingly.

 

How to Breed Crayfish

Crayfish are prolific breeders that can reproduce easily in captivity if given the right conditions. Here are some tips on how to breed crayfish:

  • Sexing: You can sex your crayfish by looking at their abdomens. Males have two pairs of modified swimmerets (appendages) near the base of their tails that are used to transfer sperm to the females. Females have only one pair of swimmerets and a small opening between them where they receive the sperm.
  • Mating: Crayfish mate when the water temperature and quality are optimal and the females are ready to molt (shed their exoskeletons). The males will chase and catch the females and flip them over to deposit their sperm. The females will store the sperm in a special pouch until they molt. After molting, the females will release their eggs and fertilize them with the stored sperm. The females will then attach the eggs to their swimmerets and carry them until they hatch.
  • Hatching: Crayfish eggs can take from 2 to 20 weeks to hatch depending on the species and water temperature. The hatched crayfish are called juveniles and look like miniature versions of their parents. The females will continue to protect and care for their juveniles until they molt for the first time. After that, the juveniles will become independent and disperse from their mothers.
  • Raising: Crayfish juveniles can grow quickly and reach maturity in a few months. They will molt several times during their growth and need calcium-rich foods to form their new exoskeletons. You should provide enough space, hiding places, and food for your crayfish juveniles to avoid cannibalism or predation. You should also separate them from their parents or other adult crayfish that may harm them.
See also  How to Breed Betta Fish Successfully
white crayfish
Old Exoskeleton of a White Crayfish (Procambarus sp.) after Moulting. Image by Mlogic From Wikimedia Commons

What are the Common Crayfish Species and Varieties Available for Sale

There are hundreds of crayfish species and varieties available for sale, but some of the most common and popular ones are:

  • Electric Blue Crayfish (Procambarus alleni): This is one of the most popular crayfish varieties due to its stunning electric blue color. It can grow up to 6 inches in length and is native to Florida. It is a hardy and adaptable crayfish that can tolerate a wide range of water conditions. It is also a prolific breeder that can produce many offspring. However, it is also a very aggressive and territorial crayfish that can attack or eat other fish or invertebrates in its tank or pond.
  • Red Claw Crayfish (Cherax quadricarinatus): This is another popular crayfish variety due to its large size and red claws. It can grow up to 12 inches in length and is native to Australia. It is a relatively peaceful and social crayfish that can coexist with other crayfish or fish of similar size and temperament. It is also a fast-growing and easy-to-breed crayfish that can produce large numbers of offspring. However, it is also a very active and destructive crayfish that can dig up or damage plants or decorations in its tank or pond.
  • Dwarf Mexican Crayfish (Cambarellus patzcuarensis): This is one of the smallest crayfish varieties available for sale, as it can only grow up to 2 inches in length. It is native to Mexico and comes in various colors, such as orange, blue, white, or brown. It is a peaceful and shy crayfish that can live with other dwarf crayfish or small fish or invertebrates. It is also a slow-growing and difficult-to-breed crayfish that can produce few offspring. However, it is also a very easy-to-keep and low-maintenance crayfish that does not need much space or food.

 

What are the Benefits and Drawbacks of Keeping Crayfish as Pets

Keeping crayfish as pets can have both benefits and drawbacks, such as:

  • Benefits:
    • Crayfish are fascinating and entertaining animals that can provide hours of enjoyment and education for you and your family.
    • Crayfish are hardy and adaptable animals that can survive in various water conditions and environments.
    • Crayfish are omnivorous animals that can eat a variety of foods, both natural and commercial.
    • Crayfish are prolific breeders that can reproduce easily in captivity if given the right conditions.
    • Crayfish are beneficial animals that can help control algae, pests, or waste in your tank or pond.
  • Drawbacks:
    • Crayfish are semi-aggressive animals that can fight with each other or other aquatic animals over territory or food.
    • Crayfish are predatory animals that can eat or be eaten by other fish or invertebrates in your tank or pond.
    • Crayfish are destructive animals that can dig up or damage plants or decorations in your tank or pond.
    • Crayfish are messy animals that can produce a lot of waste and pollute the water quickly.
    • Crayfish are invasive animals that can harm the natural ecosystem if released or escaped into the wild.

 

Conclusion

Crayfish are amazing animals that can make great pets for aquarium or pond enthusiasts. However, they also require proper care, attention, and compatibility to thrive and stay healthy. If you are interested in buying and keeping crayfish as pets, you should do your research and preparation before making your purchase. You should also follow the tips and guidelines we provided in this article to ensure a successful and enjoyable crayfish-keeping experience.

We hope you found this article helpful and informative. Happy crayfish-keeping!