How to Breed Red Claw Lobsters

Written by esperance barretto
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How to Breed Red Claw Lobsters
Red claw lobsters successfully breed in favourable environments with warm temperatures. (crayfish image by Lucid_Exposure from

Red Claw lobsters (cherax quadricarinatus) are a tropical freshwater species of crayfish native to Northern Australia. They derive their name from the red coloured claws that the adult males possess. Red Claw lobsters inhabit diverse freshwater environments such as streams, rivers, lakes, dams and swamps. These invertebrates have a lifespan between 2-5 years, are easy to care for, and breed well in controlled aquarium environments.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Sexually mature male and female red claw lobster
  • Aquarium
  • Substrate
  • Red claw lobster food

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  1. 1

    Purchase a shallow rectangular tank made from fibreglass or stainless steel. Layer it with a 5" substrate of sand and a couple of hollow rocks. The tank dimensions should be around ten feet long and three feet wide, with a water depth of one to three feet. Red claw crayfish require at least two square feet of space each, to comfortably move around the aquarium and mate.

  2. 2

    Maintain a slight alkalinity of the aquarium's water, at a pH level of 8. Set the temperature of the water between 27-32 degrees C, and install a water filter to keep the water clean. Red claw lobsters have more success breeding in a warm and clean environment.

  3. 3

    Purchase a sexually mature red claw male and female lobster from a pet shop and place them in the aquarium. Red claw lobsters reach sexual maturity at one year of age.

  4. 4

    Feed the red claw lobsters a variety of food including boiled lettuce, pellets, shrimps and live foods like mysis, brine or even beef heart. This diet will keep the female nourished through the spawning period, as she abstains from food while carrying eggs.

  5. 5

    Observe the male initiate the mating process, during which he deposits a sperm bag of about one-third inch in diameter, on the underside of the female. Within 24 hours the female releases eggs that look like berries, which get fertilised by the sperm as they are released.

  6. 6

    The eggs will hatch after ten weeks, during which time the female will carry her brood under her tail or swimmerets. Females generally lay around 300-800 eggs per brood. The hatchlings resemble their parents and stay attached to the underside of the mother for seven days after hatching.

Tips and warnings

  • Red claw lobsters can spawn in an aquarium, all year round, under favourable environmental conditions.
  • Do not overcrowd the aquarium, as female red claw lobsters have a tendency of cannibalising their young in such environments.

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