Caring for Blue Crayfish in an Aquarium
The blue crayfish is a creature known by many names, including the electric blue crayfish, the blue lobster, the blue Florida crayfish, and the electric blue lobster. Although this type of crayfish looks like a completely separate species of crayfish, the only real difference between this variety and the others that we know so well is its blue color. If you’ve already got an existing aquarium that you want to spruce up a bit, this could be just the critter to add a vibrant splash of color to your tank. If you don’t have an aquarium yet or you’re fairly new to keeping live sea creatures then the blue crayfish could be a good pet to start out with.
Although the blue crayfish is also referred to as the blue lobster, it’s actually not a lobster at all, but is indeed a crayfish. This type of crayfish is not its own subspecies, but rather it is a genetic mutation that occurs at random and is passed down through generations as a result of the breeding process. Much in the way that albino tigers come about, the blue crayfish is produced when parents with the same genetic mutation breed together. While they look magnificent, they are often at higher risk of being caught by predators because they are so easy to spot—like walking around with a large red flag!
The males of this species can usually be differentiated from the females by inspecting the claws. The pinchers of the male tend to be large in size and stretch to an elongated form, whereas the females have shorter more rounded claws. The precise coloring of the crayfish can vary from the true electric blue variety to a dull violet color, depending on how prominent the mutation is in their coloring gene. On average, you could expect a mature adult crayfish to reach about five and a half inches in length, possibly more if he or she really thrives in the environment that you’ve provided.
The environment that you provide for your new crayfish will have a direct impact on its quality of life, including physical development and general temperament. One of the main things that new crayfish owners slip up on is choosing a tank that is too small for a crayfish. Regardless of the fact that crayfish like to hide out in small places for a large chunk of the day, they actually need at least 20 gallons per specimen. The tank should also have a tight fitting lid because these little guys are extremely good at climbing out of crevices and other openings! The temperature of the water inside the aquarium should be anywhere between 50 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit. Even if you have chosen to have an aquarium that doesn’t have a lid, it’s important to have an aerator set up to pump fresh oxygen into the water.
Now we can get on with the “fun” stuff. Many people like to have brightly colored rocks in the aquarium to increase the wow factor of the tank and give it an eye-catching quality. While rocks can definitely be a part of your aquarium, it’s important that the main substance at the bottom of the tank is something that your crayfish can easily dig though and maneuver around, because tunneling is one of this creature’s favorite past times and it will spend a lot of time creating hidey-holes in the sand and moving pieces of debris to its playground. You may also want to include dark spaces for your crayfish to make use of, such as a small terracotta planter, small hollowed-out logs, live plants, pieces of PVC pipe, and other similar items. You can also spring for more impressive pieces of tank décor from your local pet shop.
Crayfish will eat other fish and invertebrates. Making sure that your crayfish doesn’t miss a meal is a good way to prevent tank mates from disappearing. For young crayfish you can simply allow them to eat the fish flakes that you sprinkle in for the rest of the fish in the tank. Adult crayfish will need shrimp pellets, algae, wafers, old vegetables and leafy greens, or tablet food for catfish. Crayfish are mostly bottom feeders, which means that they will eat up the debris that develops on the tank as well as the carcasses of other fish that have died in the tank.
Personality and Behavior with Tank Mates
On the whole, blue crayfish are very territorial and aggressive, which is why most people do not consider them to be good candidates for aquariums that contain other fish, especially laid back or mild-tempered fish that wouldn’t object when being picked on. On the other hand, large fish with a similar temperament to the crayfish may actually pick on it and eventually kill your new crayfish. If you find that you really enjoy having a blue crayfish, then you could always consider adding another couple of specimens to your tank; as long as the aquarium is big enough you shouldn’t have a problem with the species coexisting with one another.