Freshwater crayfish are beautiful and fascinating creatures to house in an aquarium. There are over 100 different species of crayfish which differ in color, from yellow to green and brown to red. Most of them live up to 3 years, though some may live longer. Nonetheless there is more to keeping crayfish than just throwing them in the tank. Even though they live in mud when in the wild, ensuring that the creature is both healthy and happy at all times is very important.
You must pay attention to a number of factors including, water chemistry and quality, whom they are sharing the tank with and diet. You must also understand that different species of the fish have slightly different needs, temperaments and behavior. Here is a comprehensive guide on freshwater crayfish care:
This is one of the most important factors associated with freshwater crayfish care. If the water conditions in the aquarium are not right, your fish may become uncomfortable or even die. So before you start keeping crayfish learn about cycling your fish tank. Here are some other great points to consider:
- Make sure you keep the water at a Ph. level between 7 and 8.
- Crayfish will do fine at room temperature water, but do not let the water get too hot, above (80 F/26 C).
- Crayfish thrive well in hard water. The minimum water hardness should be between (8-12 dGH and KH (140-210).
- Crayfish that are deficient in iodine usually experience problems when molting. The easiest way to make sure that they have enough iodine is to purchase marine iodine. A single bottle can last you several months.
- Just like any other fish tank, changing your filters monthly and 25 percent water of your water every two weeks is very important with freshwater crayfish care.
What do crayfish eat?
Crayfish are omnivores, meaning they feed on plants and animals; mainly fish. Usually pet crayfish are fed sinking pellets. In addition to that, vegetables like zucchini, spinach, frozen peas and collard greens are also great for crayfish. You can supplement their diet with feeder fish every now and then. Crayfish absolutely love fish. So don't be surprised if one of your fish come up missing one day.
Also note that the fish require a lot of calcium to help them grow their exoskeleton. This basically means that in your aquarium, you should make sure that they are receiving enough calcium in their diet. Vegetables like spinach and collard greens are great sources of calcium. It is also acceptable to give them a supplement of brine shrimp or frozen krill once or twice a week.
How often do they eat?
Freshwater crayfish only need to be fed once a day. But plant food can be left in the aquarium indefinitely. If your crayfish eats a fish, and leaves pieces of the fish, make sure you remove the pieces quickly.
Can I keep crayfish in a tank with live plants?
Crayfish feed on anything they come across. Even though this may not be true for all crayfish, it is safe to assume that they will eat or destroy your plants. That is why it's always a good idea to have artificial plants for your tank.