Are you a fish enthusiast? Do you like to take care of fish or watch these amazing creatures float by in your home? If yes, one of the types of fish you must invest in is the amazing electric blue crayfish. So, without further ado, scroll down to read the paragraphs below, and we’ll explain to you why these fish are among the most extraordinary ones you’ll encounter in your life.
Electric Blue Crayfish: An Overview
Alternatively, the sapphire crayfish, the electric blue crayfish, belongs to the freshwater crayfish species and is endemic to Florida, U.S. For this reason, it is also called the Florida crayfish and is naturally found in the area to the east of the St. Johns River while extending through the entire state.
The IUCN Red List classifies it as a species of Least Concern. In the wild, the color of this unique fish caries from brown tan to blue; however, the aquarium strain has been bred accordingly to achieve a brilliant blue color.
The following table enlists some basic information about the electric blue crayfish.
|Information Chart||Electric Blue Crayfish|
|Scientific Name:||Procambarus alleni|
|Care Level:||Quite simple and straightforward|
|Size:||10-15 cm (4-6 inches)|
|Diet:||Sinking pellets, algae wafers, and other commercial foods|
|Minimum Tank Size:||Around 114 liters (30 gallons)|
|Temperature:||18-24 degrees Celsius (65-75 degrees Fahrenheit)|
|WaterConditions:||Preferably soft water|
|Tank Mate Compatibility||Tiger barbs, Pearl gouramis, Danios, Rainbow sharks, African butterfly fish, Redtail sharks & more|
Electric Blue Crayfish Appearance
The electric blue crayfish has quite a tough exoskeleton. It is known to shed its protective shell numerous times on a yearly basis as it gets bigger in size. The head of the fish is located on the thorax – which is the main part of its body. On close examination, you can find its dark black eyes.
A couple of antennae extend from its head. They help the crayfish enhance its senses of smell and taste – it is how his creature is able to taste its food and smell its environment. Its eyes and mouth remain protected with the help of horns that protrude from its head; these are quite thorny, so to say, and keep the fish safe from harm.
These creatures have four pairs of small legs. Alongside, they are blessed with a large pair of claws, or chelipeds as they are called. Their tail, located on their back, curves inward and is quite bulky. The tail’s insides are covered by swimmerets that assist the fish in swimming.
A lot of its features, such as the tail, antennae, etc., are similar to a lobster. For laymen, it’s easy to get confused between crayfish and lobsters. However, lobsters don’t exist in freshwater. Although they both belong to the same family, crayfish are smaller in size and have different characteristics.
The Lifespan of Electric Blue Crayfish
The typical lifespan of an electric blue crayfish is around 5-6 years.
To the average layman, this might seem a rather short life. However, in the aquatic kingdom, this is quite a period. Of course, they have to be properly fed and taken care of to be able to live that long.
If you want them to survive longer than that, you’ll need to be fairly cautious and regular about changing their waters, especially since these fish are quite prone to ammonia poisoning.
Electric Blue Crayfish Size
The typical electric blue crayfish grows up to 4 inches on the lower end and 6 inches for larger specimens.
They very much look like mini lobsters. However, do note that crayfish molt all through their lives. Of course, the molting process is slower once the fish reach maturity, but they molt quite often in their early years.
To offer a straightforward schedule, baby crayfish are likely to molt every few days; the adolescents may mold once every 1-3 weeks, while adult crayfish molt every 4-8 weeks.
Natural Habitat and Origin
The natural habitat of the electric blue crayfish is in Florida. It can be found around the areas that are east of St. Johns River. In addition, the fish can be found in areas south of Levy and Marion Counties, extending to some of the Florida Keys.
They seem to have originated in Florida and are the only crayfish species native to the state.
They are biologically called Procambarus alleni, and they belong to the Cambaridae family. The electric blue crayfish is a part of the Malacostraca class, the phylum Arthropoda, and belongs to the subphylum of Crustacea.
Electric Blue Crayfish Care & Tank Set-up
Electric Blue Crayfish Tank Size and Specifications
Optimum Tank Size for Electric Blue Crayfish
The recommended tank size for the electric blue crayfish is 30 gallons (around 114 liters).
This is the minimum size that is feasible for this species. Crayfish need plenty of space to explore. You will also require a lot of space for managing the water quality and development of the territory.
If you have more than one crayfish in a tank, and one of them is a female, shift her to a separate 10-gallon tank when she’s carrying eggs. Then, around 3 days after the eggs hatch, shift her back to the regular tank, or she’ll start eating the babies herself.
Tank Shape for Electric Blue Crayfish
A regular tank with the capacity of 30 gallons usually measures 36 inches x 13 inches x 16 inches. But, of course, the dimensions will depend on the brand you pick as well. Breeder tanks, for example, usually measure 36 inches x 18 inches x 12 inches as they have a square base.
Ensure to fill the tank with the necessary paraphernalia. For instance, a hiding spot is important for a crayfish, so ensure that you place a PVC pipe, an artificial cave, or even an overturned pot in the tank – some kind of space to hide so that the fish can feel protected inside the tank.
Deploy a good filter to ensure that the oxygen levels are sufficiently high in the water, or else your pet fish is likely to suffocate. If you’re overprotective even after having added a good filter, consider adding a decent bubbler.
While selecting a filter, ensure to opt for a hang on the back system or a canister system. Standard filters cannot sustain with crayfish, and they are quite the devil when ripping these things apart.
As far as the substrate is concerned, use something that allows the fish to burrow – something small-grained. Burrowing is natural; it’s something all crayfish are involved in.
How many Electric Blue Crayfish are ideal in a 30-gallon tank?
Note that crayfish are basically aggressive creatures. No matter how large the tank or how many hiding spots there are, we recommend that you keep at most two electric blue crayfish in a 30-gallon tank. You’d be surprised to know that even those two may fight with each other – fight to kill. Nothing surprising there; it’s a territorial fight and is rather common even in the wild.
Water Parameters for Electric Blue Crayfish
The ideal water temperature for electric blue crayfish is 65-75 degrees Fahrenheit.
A temperature of 70 degrees Fahrenheit or around 21 degrees Celsius would be perfect. But of course, it can be difficult to maintain an exact temperature, hence the aforementioned range.
The perfect water pH level for electric blue crayfish is around 7.0.
The natural habitat of these crayfish provides a neutral pH. Therefore, crayfish prefer warmer waters with a relatively neutral pH level of 7.0. However, they can withstand a pH level of up to 8.0 as well. Therefore, ensure that the pH level never dips below 7.0, or it will affect the fish’s molting process.
As a rule, testing for water hardness dictates that you aim for something between 4 and 6 KH – for the carbonate hardness, that is. However, some experts say the general hardness can fall between 3 and 10 dGH or 6 and 8 dGH.
The water’s carbonate hardness is an important factor to be considered, as it is a measure of the amount of carbonates and bicarbonates dissolved in the water. On the other hand, general hardness is a measure of the amount of magnesium and calcium dissolved in the water.
As a rule, consider maintaining water hardness between 6 to 8 dGH.
Electric Blue Crayfish Tank Landscape
Setting up a tank requires the right equipment, correct tank (dimensions and all), internal décor, and more. Although not a very complicated process, the tank setup is important for maintaining the electric blue crayfish.
You’ll need a large enough tank, a suitable lid for the tank, accessories such as a hiding cave, and plants and lighting. Although if you come to think of it, lighting isn’t a mandate per se, since crayfish are happy and sated just living in the warm waters and are not finicky about having an artificial habitat (in terms of decorations).
Electric blue crayfish can pretty much destroy plants, so you have to be cautious while trying to implement greenery in the tank. You can either use live plants or plastic ones, or even driftwood to adorn the tank.
Best Plants for Electric Blue Crayfish Tanks
The following aquatic plants are sturdy and will really work well for your crayfish.
- Marimo moss
- Java fern
You can consider using floating plants as well, such as:
- Amazon Frogbit
- Water lettuce
Worst Plants for Electric Blue Crayfish Tanks
Literally, any other delicate plant falls on the list of worst plants for electric blue crayfish tanks. Not only will they eat the live plants, but they are also likely to dig through substrate material. They are destroyers, these creatures. Hence, you’ll have to be very cautious while implementing greenery in their watery homes.
Decorations for Electric Blue Crayfish Tanks
You can use the following to decorate the home of the crayfish:
- Floating plants
- Plastic plants
- Plastic decorations
- Artificial hiding caves
- PVC pipes
- Floating moss
Lighting for Electric Blue Crayfish Tanks
A lot of people prefer decorating the fish tank with safelights. It is even more appealing if you have an electric blue crayfish; the bright LED lights reflecting on the fish’s cobalt blue color give out a bewitching look. You can use aquarium lights that are multicolored, waterproof, and safe to be used in the fish tank. Using lights within limits does not really affect the crayfish. However, ensure you don’t flood the tank with lights.
Nitrogen/Other Nutrient Requirements for Electric Blue Crayfish Tank
Electric blue crayfish are easily stressed due to the presence of ammonia, nitrites, and nitrates. High amounts of nitrogen can easily make them sick and vulnerable to diseases. Therefore, you have to ensure that the levels of these aforementioned compounds are as close to 0 ppm as possible. If the tank hasn’t gone through a proper nitrogen cycle, never add crayfish in the same; it could be detrimental to their health.
The aquatic plants you add can be of great help in maintaining the nitrogen cycle.
Feeding Electric Blue Crayfish
Best Diet for Electric Blue Crayfish
Electric blue crayfish are known to be omnivorous. They will literally prey on whatever there is. If you don’t feed them, you’ll notice that they will start eating the algae, plants, and other stuff found at the bottom of the tank.
To that end, also keep in mind to never let your crayfish go hungry. They are opportunistic, have a massive appetite, and can be a little dangerous when they are not fed at the right time; they will conveniently attack their tank mates and even eat them up!
Here are a few things you can feed your crayfish:
- Algae wafers
- Dry flakes
- Fresh/blanched veggies
- Sinking pellets
- Calcium supplements (they help them harden their exoskeletons)
Remember to clean out their tank in case you’ve fed vegetables or any other commercial food.
How Often Should You Feed Electric Blue Crayfish?
Electric blue crayfish should typically be fed once every day. It’s the recommended standard.
Feed them small portions, lest they overeat and get sick. On the other hand, if you’re feeding them very minuscule portions, perhaps you can stretch it out to twice a day. We would advise, however, that feeding them one time a day would suffice. Never go without feeding them, though, or they turn savage.
Electric Blue Crayfish Behavior and Temperament
Are Electric Blue Crayfish Lone or Societal by Nature?
One cannot call them lone, surely, but they are more aggressive than societal. They are certainly not the friendliest and do not have peaceful temperaments. They are known to be bottom-feed scavengers, as they are always swimming at the bottom of the tank, looking for something they can get their claws on.
They are very territorial by nature and are likely to fight with all the other creatures in the tank. Although it swims at the bottom, sometimes, it may get creative and drift through the artificial decorations to find a better position. It’s literally never still for a moment and is very active, constantly on the move.
You may want to be very cautious while keeping crayfish in the same tank with other species. First of all, ensure never to keep invertebrates such as snails in the same tank, or else your crayfish will eat them up. These creatures are hardcore hunters and are consistently on the lookout to hunt for other sea creatures.
If you want to keep multiple crayfish, introduce them at the same time, or else you’ll end up watching a territorial war.
Keep fish that prefer swimming on the top of the tank so that they remain safe from the claws of the crayfish.
Ideal Electric Blue Crayfish Tank Mates
The following creatures may be slightly compatible mates for your crayfish:
Bad Tank Mates for Electric Blue Crayfish
Never consider putting a blue crayfish and the following together in a tank:
- Freshwater shrimp
- Betta fish
- Large, aggressive fish like cichlids (especially the bigger South American cichlids)
Breeding Electric Blue Crayfish
When in captivity, crayfish breed extensively. As a matter of fact, the females can lay hundreds of eggs, filling your tank with baby crayfish.
When a crayfish pair is happy to bond, ensure to place them in a separate tank for the mating ritual. The male will mount the female and deposit a sack of sperm on her. If correctly fertilized, the female starts the ‘berrying’ process – she begins to produce and carry her eggs under the tail.
The number of eggs laid may range from 0 to hundreds. Once you spot the berrying female, separate her immediately and put her in a 10-gallon tank, or else the father is sure to eat the eggs.
The eggs require around 20 days to a month for hatching. Once the babies are born, the mother will care for them for a few days, carrying them on her tail. However, after three days, ensure to separate the mother from the kids, as she tends to eat them.
Things will get quite challenging as the kids grow up. They’ll start the molting process, during which it is quite common for the larger ones to eat their younger siblings. Ensure to keep them separate.
Electric Blue Crayfish Breeding Level
The electric blue crayfish breeding level is actually pretty easy.
When they are kept in a healthy environment, they will mate very readily. The male takes the initiative, mounting the female and holding her with his pincers.
Once the ritual is over, it would be wiser to separate them, as they can get rather aggressive with each other.
Electric Blue Crayfish Sexual Dimorphism
To distinguish between male and female electric blue crayfish, we have to look at their basic physical attributes.
The most common way, of course, is just to flip them over and check between their legs.
The males have a set of claspers between their swimmerets and walking legs. They are at rest in a ‘V’ position when not in use. The females, on the other hand, have no claspers. There’s a gap between her walking legs and swimmerets. She’ll positively have a round sperm receptacle between the last two legs.
The male electric blue crayfish has a straighter, narrower tail than the females.
Electric Blue Crayfish Common Diseases and their Treatment
Just like all sea creatures, the electric blue crayfish can also fall prey to illnesses. While their thick shells help them avoid predators, they can still be vulnerable to unclean water and similar issues.
Stress & Infection
Crayfish cannot tolerate unclean water. If exposed to ammonia or nitrates, they are likely to get stressed and will consequently be vulnerable to infection. As their stress levels increase, they also lose some of their immunity and may very well pass away before their time.
This problem can be averted by changing 25% of the water every week. You can also add green aquatic plants to help maintain the nitrogen cycle and keep the water clean.
If you’ve brought in crayfish from the wild, they may likely bring an illness along with them. Indeed, the crayfish plague is quite common in oceans. It causes infection in the fish as well as a loss of coordination in the nerve and brain.
Once it affects one fish, it quickly impacts all the invertebrates in the tank. To avoid this, try not to buy a wild-caught electric blue crayfish. And if you have purchased one, ensure to put the fish in a separate tank until you’re sure it is free of disease.
Facts about Electric Blue Crayfish
- According to the IUCN Red List, the electric blue crayfish is classified as a species of Least Concern
- Electric blue crayfish eat others. However, they are so aggressive and territorial; they are likely to get into severe fights and consume each other.
- Although they are completely different from lobsters, some experts opine that they may be related to each other.
- Crayfish have been around for centuries. Their earliest fossils are around 150 million years old.
- Crayfish eat their babies and have no qualms doing so.
- Crayfish urinate to attract their partners. As gross as it sounds, it’s true. They pee to seduce their mate and engage in the mating ritual.
- Crayfish carry worms in their pincers.
Are Electric Blue Crayfish Right for You?
Ideally, electric blue crayfish is quite an innovative pet to have. Its cobalt blue body color is so real, and it’s almost mesmerizing. If you’re into fish breeding or just have a fascination for sea creatures in colored aquariums, this one’s a perfect addition.
Bear in mind, however, that maintaining this creature is quite a task. It’s not the easiest fish to be around. It’s savage, omnivorous, and can be vicious to other fish. Its cost comes to around USD 40, give or take a few. Not very expensive, but not very easy on the pocket either.
Go for this only if you have the tenacity to take care of it completely and cautiously.
Frequently Asked Questions
The origins of the electric blue crayfish can be traced to Florida, U.S. They are found in massive numbers to the east of the St. Johns River.
The best way to ensure the electric blue crayfish is in a happy, healthy environment is to replicate its natural habitat. Ensure that the water in the tank is warm and pH neutral, and throw in some artificial plants, seaweed, and hiding spots to make your fish feel comfortable.
Aquatic creatures such as Pearl Gourami, Tiger barbs, the African Butterfly Fish, Guppies, and Red Tail sharks would be compatible mates for your electric blue crayfish.
The crayfish has a large appetite and will love to snack on sinking pellets, dry flakes, and algae wafers. Once in a while, you can feed it with shrimps or veggies as a treat. For calcium intake, ensure to feed your fish with cuttlebone or calcium supplements.
The males have a set of claspers between their swimmerets and walking legs that are at rest in a ‘V’ position when not in use. The females, on the other hand, have no claspers. Instead, there’s a gap between her walking legs and swimmerets.
The male electric blue crayfish has a straighter, narrower tail than the females.
The electric blue crayfish is actually a fascinating creature to have. The choice, however, is totally yours:
- Read the instructions on how to take care of an electric blue crayfish very carefully.
- Debate on whether you’ll be okay with one or you need several. We recommend that if you’re a novice, start with one in a tank, or at most two.
- Understand what goes into maintaining these fascinating creatures, and if you feel you’re up to it, go out there and buy one.
We assure you; you will not regret it!