Crayfish and Lobsters 1      

By Larry Arnold, Aqualand Pets Plus

 
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Misc Lizards 6
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Snakes Alive
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Misc Snake Pix
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Water

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Live Foods
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Crayfish 1
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Miscellaneous
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How to Start
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Which Fish Get Along?
10 Questions to Ask
What is Ich?
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Preventing Disease
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Watersprite

Different Watersprite

Crayfish Factoids

Origin Wetlands, ponds, streams
Size Three to six inches
Temperature Very flexible
Lifespan Two to three years
Breeding Usually in the spring but varies

LA
Crayfish are attractive in their own way.

LA 
Iowa crayfish trundling across their tank floor.

LA
Iowa crayfish finding a gold gourami.

LA
If given a choice, crayfish back into a corner.

Tasty and Fun.  Crayfish (crawfish, crawdads, crabs, freshwater lobsters, baby lobsters, yabbies, catfish bait, mud bugs or whatever you wanna call them) fascinate people -- particularly little people.  Few observers can resist the way these armored arthropods clamber about on the bottom searching for adventure and scavenging for food.  

LA Kids love these critters.  So do teachers.  Every third grade teacher in our area teaches a unit on crayfish.  Little 3rd graders come in knowing how to sex these varmints.  Can you?


 LA 
Most of this info applies to red lobsters, blue lobsters, and all the varied crayfish/lobster critters out there that we put in our tanks -- except for the Yucatan crayfish that appears to be a filter feeder.  We've heard reports that some Australian blue lobsters do not eat fish.  We've never seen a non-fish eater in all the "blues" we've kept.  Last time we were in Tampa, we saw a whole pond of bright blue lobsters.  They ARE pretty in the sun.
 

Jeremy Nycz , May 13, 2009
I was reading a section on your web page that stated you have never known a blue lobster that didn't eat fish... Well I have one who doesn't... at all...He is about 10 inches long (tip of claw to tip of tail and is in a 50 gallon tank with an 11 inch Bichir, two small (3 inch) iridescent sharks, two large oscars and about 12 feeder fish at all times... He has never even attempted to snack on any fish... In fact, he seems to be friends with the two iridescent sharks... It's not like fish aren't around him either, as he is VERY active and is almost too "wild" for my tank... He climbs everything, destroys everything and his mission in life seems to be "escape from tank"... He is very pretty, but I would not recommend large ones for anyone who has a tank under 125.

A:  I'll add your comments in the lobster section.  LA
 

Amber Pasley, Missouri, February 18, 2011
Larry, I saw in your article about crawdads with someone making a comment about having a bichir with a crawdad. I thought this was interesting because I also have a bichir. I used to keep crawdads, before the tank was switched out for the bichir. My son caught a 3" longpincered crawdad one day, and we decided to add it to the tank. After a week of the 4" bichir stalking it, I finally awoke one day to see the crawdad, dead on it's side with the bichir taking chunks out of it's underbelly. All the feeder fish were around it picking up scraps. I was so suprised. All the time, I was worried about the crawdad eating the slow moving bichir, when I guess I should've been worried for the crawdad. Now, anytime we go fishing, we make sure to bring home a buffet of crawdads and frogs for the bichir. I would be interested to know if Jeremy Nycz (the writer of the comment) still has it, and how long he had it in the tank when he wrote that. 
Just a little tidbit for ya!

A:  I currently have a two-inch crawdad in a breeding tank of 10-inch flowerhorns.  Crawdads can ward off aggressors until they molt.  At this time they are soft and helpless (and tasty).  I'll add your comments to my crawdad page.  Thanks.  LA

LA
Blue crayfish captured at Riverview.

LA
Sold to us as a blue lobster.

LA
Same guy closer up.

LA
Iowa cratfish.

LA 
Small crayfish play a tasty part in the underwater food chain

Tasty Morsels.  In the wild, crayfish ARE the food.  Raccoons, larger fishes, larger crayfish, lizards, Louisianans, and turtles all consider them tasty (if somewhat crunchy) treats.  Freshly shed (soft shell crayfish) are especially tasty and vulnerable.

LA 
And you can find crayfish in Chinese buffets as "baby lobsters."  Nice carotenes.  We asked where these crayfish came from.  They said "Minnesota."

Well Armored.  A crayfish backed into its burrow presents a wall of defense too difficult for most predators to overpower.  When dropped into an Oscar tank, however, their shells and claws offer a futile defense.  Oscars snap them right up.  Oscars like the taste.  Oscars like the crunch.  And oscars like the fight.  

LA 
Some assembly required.  No professional courtesy in a crayfish tank.

Around the edges of most U.S. ponds you'll see piles of mud with a hole in the center.  Crayfish hide in these holes.  Fish farmers in Arkansas dislike them because they weaken the walls of their ponds.  But they dislike muskrats and beavers even more.  Mammals gouge much larger holes.

 

LA Crayfish vary in color -- a lot -- from brownish to reddish.

LA 
Here's a bluish-looking regular ol' crawdaddy looking like a blue lobster.

LA 
Another bluish crayfish.

LA 
Another regular crawdad looking pinkish.

LA 
Snow white (Looks blue) lobsters rarely show up and they cost a bundle.

LA 
Later, under bright lights, algae turns him green. 

LA 
Australian blue yabbie -- formidable pincers.

LA 
Another blue Yabbie with smaller pincers.

LA
Different Yabbie blending into multi-color gravel.

LA
Zebra yabbie.

LA
Under carriage of the zebra yabbie.

LA
Zebra yabbie at home in a ceramic log.

 

LA 
Actual blue lobster.

LA 
Tell me those pincers don't catch fish.

LA 
Don't try this unless your blue lobster has just shed his carapace.

LA
Smaller blue lobster with his shed carapace.

LA 
Blue yabbie.  Good pinchers, too.

Not Rare.  Crayfish grow wild in Iowa.  You can catch them in creeks and ponds containing no large fishes.  Toss out a line with a piece of bacon on it.  You need no hook.  The stubborn crayfish gloms onto the bacon and refuses to release it as you pull him (sometimes them) to shore.  You’ll know how well those big pincers work, unless you pick them up correctly.  LA

Go to Crayfish and Lobsters 2

Go to Crayfish and Lobsters 3

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