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Old 09-21-2006, 10:39 PM   #1
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ideas for a small crayfish tank

I've always thought the blue lobsters were really cool and fun to watch. I was thinking of getting a small tank (as small as possible, for an end table) and putting one in there.

Then I figured I could just stick some feeder guppies in there now and then ... hopefully he wouldn't massacre them too quickly.

An Eclipse 6 looks like it might be a good size. If I went with a regular 5.5 gal, that's probably not tall enough, and the crayfish could just reach up and grab whatever it wanted. If I went with a regular 10 gal, that's a little wide for an end table. Maybe a tall 10 gal. would work, but that's really not going to have any more floorspace than the Eclipse 6, and there's really not going to be much in there.

Maybe if it was a big enough tank, the guppies could reproduce as fast as the crayfish could eat them? I really don't think I'm going to have room for anything that big, though.

Has anybody had success putting anything in the same tank with a crayfish? I hear they don't just eat all the fish, but tear up all the plants, too. I'm guessing I'd have to keep things pretty simple... Maybe just gravel and a big rock or piece of driftwood for him.

I think the Eclipse system would be really good for a crayfish because of how contained it is. There's nothing hanging down for him to climb on, and even if he could climb up the wall, the top is very well sealed.

The only negative I see with the Eclipse is that it's an acrylic tank. I've never had an acrylic tank, and I've seen the way crayfish run up and down the side of a tank scraping their claws on it and trying to climb ... I'm not sure if it would get all scratched up or not. Also, the tank would be about 10 feet away from a south-facing window, so not any direct sunlight, but I'm sure it would still stimulate some algae growth, which might be a pain to clean on an acrylic tank (something tells me ottos wouldn't last long in there or anything else that cleans algae).

Just looking for any ideas from people who have had crayfish. Is there anything I could do to make a tank interesting with nothing but a crayfish and feeder guppies in it?
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Old 09-21-2006, 10:55 PM   #2
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I had a cray for a while. I kept him in a 10 gallon tank, but was advised by some experienced folks that a 5 gallon would suffice, so I think a 6 gallon would be ok. I didn't keep any live plants for the reasons you already described, but I did keep some silk plants with him. As you already know, a crayfish will climb up the plants and try to escape, so I like your idea of the Eclipse tank to keep yours contained. Mine never got out, but it was close a couple of times. They are fun to watch sometimes, but remember that they seem to be mostly nocturnal; so mine spent most of his days in hiding, only to emerge at night. I put a small clay pot in my 10 gallon for my crayfish, and that's where it stayed during the day for the most part. They definitely appreciate a cave or other such hiding place. They will dig out the gravel and rearrange it to their liking.

The only problems I see with your idea are that I've been told a crayfish prefers an unheated tank, while I believe guppies would do better in a heated tank. Plus, I don't know if a crayfish would scratch an acrylic tank, as you already mentioned. I think some of the folks here who gave me advice actually kept theirs in acrylic tanks, so maybe that isn't such an issue- I'm not sure though.

If you're worried about algae growth, just buy an acrylic scrubber pad. Lee's makes one that is very cheap and works well IME. I would also go ahead and buy some sinking food for the crayfish, just in case it is not always so adept at catching guppies. Mine really enjoyed algae wafers and shrimp pellets. Your idea sounds really cool, so keep us posted on what you decide- I'm interested to hear how it works out. Good luck!
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Old 09-21-2006, 11:28 PM   #3
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your cray will end up killing the guppies for sport.

Quote:
hear they don't just eat all the fish, but tear up all the plants, too.
you heard right, they are notourious for destroying plants as well.

I have kept fish and crays together with minimal loss, they scavange across the bottom and pick up the leftovers. Only problem is with the larger south americans I kept, they used to pick the legs off the crays.

I think your idea of basic gravel and a log would be perfect, and aesthetically pleasing in it's pure simplicity. All without taking away from the centrepiece being the cray.
They do like to burrow, so if you can get a log with a "cave" in it that would be great.
I'd also be tempted to use a muddy/clay type substrate to enhance its "natural" environment.
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Old 09-22-2006, 01:29 AM   #4
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Have you considered the dwarf crayfish species? There are some that only grow to about 2", and can be kept in a planted tank. There are even a few species that won't attack fish, don't burrow, and are active by day.
I'm looking for some of the orange dwarf crayfish myself. Unfortunately, they only seem to be available from Germany, and the price would be $50 for a pair, plus $35 for shipping. 8O Hefty price for such little critters, and hope they live/breed. On the good side, they are adaptable to just about any water conditions. Someone said they're easier to keep than cherry shrimp, though they prefer cooler temps, around the low 70's.
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Old 09-22-2006, 01:56 AM   #5
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I have owned a crayfish in the past. It was an adorable creature, if you can ignore the havoc they can cause. Mine was especially fond of tearing things out of the substrate, including live plants, plastic plants, small decoration, airline tubing and heater suction cups. It was also a very effective hunter, playing dead until a fish came in to investigate or got too close to it, then snapping the fish up in a flash.
He was also quite the poop maker. His voracious diet combined with his destruction made keeping him in anything smaller than 20 gallons difficult, as he would pollute his water with his own waste, his catches and anything else he could destroy.
At first, I thought he was unhappy for some reason. I tried removing the items he would uproot, and even tried keeping him alone. It seemed he became depressed when he had nothing to destroy, and instead spend a great deal of time in his cave or digging holes in the substrate or making gravel piles.
He was happiest when he had moving things to hunt and items to tear up. This is when he ate best, and hid least. Without things to do, he even stopped molting, eating and coming out of his cave. Once I gave back some toys, he returned to his jolly, destructive self.
He was a 5 inch white crayfish. I was quite fond of him once I experimented and found the best environment for him. The environment we ended up with was a sand substrate, a 20 gallon high aquarium, some plastic plants, a few other plastic toys, a large clay pot, a tube of PVC pipe, and plenty of cleaning and water changes. I was eventually able to add a small school of lemon tetras with him, as they tended to swim rather high in the aquarium, and he was not able to reach them.
He did eventually pass away, due to a move from my home to my new home. It was a long move in which many of my aquatic friends were lost or given away. I attempted to bring him to the mainland with me, but he did not survive the trip.
I highly suggest at least 10 gallons for your friend, as he will definately produce a lot of waste, and if you should opt for 10 gallons only, keep him alone. Give him toys to play with that he cannot choke on or attempt to tear into small enough pieces to try to eat. Feed him sinking wafers or large sinking cichlid pellets, and occasional pieces of larger seafood. He will enjoy turning them over and over in his little claws, nibbling away at it.

Good luck with him.
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Old 09-22-2006, 02:12 AM   #6
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Agree with everything said here. Crays have great personalities, mine is active at all hours of the day (& night). However, live plants of any sort are absolutely decimated. Fish seem to be mostly safe, though not for a lack of effort on the cray's part. hehe.

And yes, they are poop machines. Don't make the mistake I made and put them in with a white sand substrate...
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Old 09-22-2006, 04:09 AM   #7
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Hmm... What kind of substrate would contrast well with a blue crayfish but not look too nasty when it was pooped-up a little? Maybe just all black? I guess I could stick some Eco Complete in there with some black gravel on top of it.
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Old 09-23-2006, 11:29 AM   #8
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Mine lived in a 10 gal hex with drift wood and basalt with a sand base. He was lots of fun, but he took too many walks Personally, I would not add feeder fish to any tank and guppies will not reproduce fast enough. In the wild, crayfish have a varied diet and I know mine ate any pellets, flake, algae wafers, veggies, frozen foods and strips of algae (as seen in my gallery).
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Old 09-23-2006, 09:56 PM   #9
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Hmmm, I had a zebra crayfish for about 2 years. He was awesome, sheer delite to watch as most times he just sat on his perch in the archway of lava rock in my 10 gallon tank. Then, all of a sudden, he would start moving around, waving his claws at the fish, not trying to cathc them, but like he just enjoyed seeing them swim crazily away. Alot of times, he liked to crawl all crevices of the tank, especially the plants. He never tore the plants, just grabbed them so that he could get a peek at the outside world. One morning, I woke up and got out of bed. I put my foot down on the rug over my carpet when I felt this lump, and I heard a slight cracking noise. Before putting any more pressure on my foot, I moved aside and lifted the rug; lone behold, the zebra had crawled out! I caught him and put him back in the tank; he was perfectly fine, I mean his exoskeleton was totally undamaged, all limbs and antennae were fine- a big surprise after stepping on him.

Same thing with the blue crayfish I got after the zebra passed on. Except this little guy managed to crawl out of the tank, fall the good 2-3' to the carpet, crawl out of my room, down the hallway, and then descend a flight of stairs to the first story, where I found him the next morning in the front hallway cornering a spider! Amazing little dude did all that crap in one night! Needless to say, he got extra food (shrimp pellets, his favorite besides fish) after that!
I cant recommend them enough; if you get one, they will very quickly win the popularity contest in your tank! I even thought it was awesome to see him stalk and kill the clown loach then the tetras...LOL
Besides, if you go and get 2 pieces of shale from a construction site and form a cave, he will be very, very happy in there, as they seem to like to be somewhere where they feel protected, just like in the wild. Other than that, keep a good lid and some cheap, replaceable fish for him to torment and all should be swell!
Crayfish rule man!
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Old 09-24-2006, 11:35 AM   #10
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Thanks for all the replies.

All you people who have had crayfish ... they're not very sensitive to water conditions, are they? I mean, they certainly don't seem like it, but would I need to totally cycle a tank that was going to have just a crayfish in it?
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Old 09-24-2006, 01:30 PM   #11
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Yes, you would need to cycle the tank. I believe they are pretty sensitive to water quality; plus, they produce a LOT of waste relative to their size.
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Old 09-24-2006, 09:22 PM   #12
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Any aquatic critter that breathes through gills is sensitive to ammonia, it damages the gills. The pH and hardness are less critical, though most species of crustacean prefer somewhat hard, alkaline water, as opposed to soft and acidic conditions. Most species of crayfish eat a mix of plant and animal matter, and do produce a lot of waste. Think in terms of a common pleco the same size; how much would it produce in a small tank?
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Old 09-25-2006, 01:46 AM   #13
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Mine were sorta hardy, tolerating mild ammonia or nitrate spikes. However, these were VERY rare. I think they survived them cause most times, the water was perfect. So I guess its probably like what others have said- they're sensitive to ammonia.
Plus, the blue lobster and zebra I bought were each $18.00 each. So, just to be money smart, it might be wise to cycle the tank first, then add the crays. Be a shame to lose them so soon after buying them due to cycling, which most lfs do NOT list as being a good reason for exchange or refund on a dead fish. Cycle with some cheap fish first; then let the cray clean the tank out!

What I had in my ten gallon tank was 2 3" keyholes and a clown loach ( I know, given their full-size, but I was an A-1 noob back then!) But, just keep the cray always well-fed ( mine LOVED shrimp pellets once day), some place to hide, and a fish that are the same size or bigger than him.
My crays never bothered fish larger than them, only small fish. And by the way, the blue did eat and devour the loach one night, so no bottom fish, like catfish or loaches- they're just a sleeping dinner! But long term it does'nt matter- I can guarrantee you the cray will be the most fascinating member of your tank! They were always the talk of my friends and relatives when they observed my tanks...
Just my 5 cents! Good luck man!
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Old 09-25-2006, 03:20 AM   #14
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I am too finding this thread informative as I am currently cycling a 10g for a crayfish. Hopefully it will cycle soon so that I'd buy a zebra or blue; not yet sure which one to choose.
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Old 09-25-2006, 02:59 PM   #15
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onah

yeah same here, but i really wanyed to get some cichlids with mine, u guys think i have anything to worry bout in a 20g tank(tall)? i am looking at a blue CF.
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Old 09-25-2006, 08:27 PM   #16
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Quote:
u guys think i have anything to worry bout in a 20g tank(tall)?
only that either your cichlids or crayfish will die.
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Old 09-25-2006, 08:41 PM   #17
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well that blows!
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Old 09-25-2006, 08:53 PM   #18
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lol, yea sorry to say, but it will happen eventually, now matter how big or small either are.

here was my big boy.
In Aus they are a pest, growing in the millions in farm dams, so originally he was a feeder which somehow survived. He shed his skin for the last time and became food afterall. They found his weak torso and shredded him.
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Old 09-25-2006, 08:58 PM   #19
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that sux, he was a nice catch too....
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Old 09-25-2006, 09:02 PM   #20
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Another inch and he would have made the pot to.....
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