Dwarf crayfish are a freshwater crustacean which come in a variety of colours from dull brown to bright orange. They make good tank mates for other community fish and crustaceans including ghost shrimp, tetras, mollies and others. Crayfish can be bred for fry production. The fries can then be used as food for large carnivore fish, or sold as aquarium pets. Crayfish breed relatively easily when tank conditions are right. Exercise care when setting up the breeding tank for best results.
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Things you need
- 55-gallon aquarium
- Male and female crayfish
- large rocks
Set up the breeding tank. Use a 55-gallon aquarium, with a layer of natural gravel in the bottom. Do not used dyed or painted gravel in a breeding tank because the chemicals are bad for the fries. Add live plants to the aquarium including a large quantity of aquatic moss that will float in the tank. The goal is to provide the crayfish with plenty of hiding spaces. You can also add larger rocks and seashells to create hiding spaces.
Using a net, put a male crayfish in the tank. This will be his permanent living habitat. You can also add a few community fish if you like. They will not disrupt the breeding habits of the crayfish.
Catch the female dwarf crayfish from her normal habitat and transfer her into the breeding tank. The female should be slightly smaller than the male for the best breeding results.
Watch for mating to occur. When the male notices the female he will puff up and colour slightly. He will then display his claws. When he catches the female, who may run or may walk right up to him, he will roll her over on her back. He then deposits a little sack of sperm onto her belly.
Monitor the underside of the female's tail. She will look like she has blackberries attached to her tail when she releases the eggs. She will carry the eggs here for four to 10 weeks until the babies are ready to hatch. The incubation period is determined by the crayfishes overall health and the temperature of the water. A female that had a high protein diet before mating, plus a warm tank, will encourage a shorter incubation period.
Remove the female with a net and put her back in her habitat, which is free of other creatures, before she hatches the eggs. She will mother the fry for about three weeks. Putting them back in her habitat will decrease the chances of them being eaten by the father crayfish or other tank members.
Allow the small fry to mature. They will feed on decomposing plant matter and moult frequently during the eight to 10 weeks it takes them to mature.
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