The Australian blue lobster, also know as blue marron, is a freshwater crayfish, an aquatic crustacean with large pincer claws that closely resembles saltwater lobsters and is found primarily in Western Australia. The shell of the creature is a brilliant blue colour. Primarily nocturnal, these crustaceans are omnivorous, opportunistic feeders and are sometimes predatory and even cannibalistic. With a maximum length of 12 inches, a mature Australian blue lobster requires a large aquarium environment to thrive. With proper care and feeding, a lobster can live up to five years, on average.
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Things you need
- Freshwater aquarium with plastic cover
- Biological filtration system
- Aquatic plants
- Plastic screening
- pH test kit
- Pelletised crustacean food or regular fish food flakes
Maintain Australian blue lobsters in aquariums of at least 20 gallons for lobsters up to 8 inches in length. For lobsters over that length, use an aquarium that holds 55 gallons of more. Protect the outlets for filtration systems from entry using plastic screening, as Australian blue lobsters will try to move "upstream" and sometimes inadvertently enter these devices. Use a strong plastic cover made specifically to fit onto the edges of the aquarium you are using to prevent escapes.
Use a medium gravel on the bottom of the aquarium. Provide cover for each lobster to hide in, particularly during moulting, when the lobster feels the most vulnerable. Keep live, freshwater aquatic plants, such as hydrilla or valisneria, in the aquarium with the lobster to provide a food source and absorb carbon dioxide, as these crustaceans use a lot of oxygen and produce a lot of carbon dioxide.
Keep an Australian blue lobster alone or in a small group of lobsters of equal size to prevent the lobsters from eating small fish or even smaller blue lobsters in the same aquarium. These crustaceans are aggressive and commonly attack slow-moving fish.
Set the temperature of the water at around 23.9 degrees Celsius for optimal growth.
Test the water pH level weekly with a pH test kit available from a pet store and add the appropriate chemicals from the pet store to maintain the pH between 7.0 and 8.5.
Use a biological filtration system, available from your pet store and specifically designed to accommodate the size of your aquarium. This system grows algae and bacteria on filter material that remove toxic substances, such as ammonia and nitrates, from the water. Replace the carbon packets or cartridges in the filtration system as per manufacturers instructions to help keep nitrate and ammonia levels low.
Feed the blue lobster pelletised crustacean food or regular fish food flakes from a pet store. Occasionally, introduce small pieces of raw chicken or fish, live earth worms, frozen brine shrimp, or cooked carrots or cucumber, as these animals are omnivorous. Because of the nocturnal nature of the lobsters, feeding should be done at night.
Handle the blue lobster as little as possible. If necessary, hold the lobster between thumb and forefinger on the back carapace, behind the head. This helps avoid a painful pinch.
Observe Australian blue lobsters in the aquarium environment under lowlight conditions.
Tips and warnings
- Increase the length of daylight lighting and raise the water temperature slightly to induce Australian blue lobsters to mate. Remove the male once the female is gravid with eggs. Remove the female once the eggs have hatched.
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