Crayfish Project - Updates and Photos - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources
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post #1 of 3 Old 05-26-2014, 03:31 AM Thread Starter
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Crayfish Project - Updates and Photos

Ok, so last year we were going to do a crayfish project...ended up not doing it. So we're doing it this year! Quite unplanned, but it happened. lol

It was actually kinda a...well, one of those things. I took my little cousin out crawfish hunting...the way you catch but do no harm, admire and release. Anywho, we caught a few dozen in a few minutes. ^^; Apparently the fishing hole I used to go to fifteen years ago has grown. lol We caught two big males that were...absolutely huge, couldn't get them to let go of the line so they could go back to their hole, actually had to handle them, which we don't normally do. They were pretty too, odd colors I haven't seen here. One was more red and black with the red markings down the back, the other was similar colored but his markings were green. So unusual, yeah. One was about six inches, the other at least eight, biggest ones I've seen around here in multiples since they usually max out around five inches(though there are a couple big guys)....

We also caught a few youngsters. Not as young as I was hoping for. One is about...was about three inches(maybe a tad less) the other near four. Couldn't snag the smaller ones, big guys kept running them off. I was wanting a pair that were an inch or less, so little tinies. Those two went home with us, unplanned, instead.
We had caught a bunch of the larger ones to release much further up stream so the smaller ones had a better chance of finding proper food and cousin though, did the beg/whine, when I told her no she did the quiet big puppy dog eyes with unshed tears, and OK! I don't normally budge, but she got me. The rest went to a nice pooling area similar to where we caught them but with more plant life and less crawfish(bunch of females, or so they looked with their larger size but small, pointy claws compared to the males we caught).

So, I put them in a ten gallon tank, two different tanks so they didn't kill each other...not going to hold them for long. I intend to keep them until the end of Summer instead of next year since they're already so large. Nice little things though, one is a real sweety and isn't aggressive(possibly a girl, I dunno...I always thought the light colored ones with small claws were female and the brighter colored ones with thicker claws were male). The other, assuming a male for his claws and color, is highly aggressive. Little butt. lol

We've had them for six days now. The smaller one adapted right off, the bigger one took a day before he came out to play. They both went right for the snails once they calmed down, and ate a bit of java moss. I'm trying to keep their diet more...natural so they can get back into things when released without trouble.

The big one has already shed his skin and I swear whenever they do that they look like they double in size! The smaller one is looking a little tight but hasn't shed yet.

These two are the most active crayfish I've ever had. lol When I was a kid I used to catch and keep them in a pool until I released them...though there was a giant I caught and had in a tank, he broke the makeshift top and escaped....found him two weeks later cornering my dog. >_>; Most would just kinda be there, would eat but weren't real...go get 'em. These two go right for food, always moving around the tank, the big one made a little nest/tunnel in a patch of java moss the other is using a plant as shelter. They don't freak when I come near, though the big one will try to kill me. ^^; He's gonna be great.

So, let's hope this works out and that they will do alright in their original home later this year. Otherwise I'll have two new friends and will need to open up space in the big tank. LOL You guys think that'll go ok, or have I ruined their wild life for good?

And now for photos. First though, I do have them with fish...well, the small one anyways. I actually tried to feed them one of my unfortunate...guppies with a severely deformed spine, they wouldn't touch it. x.x Left it in a cup with the big guy for a day and a half, he ate snails...not the fish. lol Oh well, she gets to live with it, poor thing. Though I wonder which way is better, eaten by a crayfish or living with a deformity that is so bad.

First up, the little one, see those empty snail shells in the back? Yeup, she's good at eating them! I love it, finally got extra help since my lone blue crayfish can't keep up as well(I wonder if they would breed... I was told my blue was of the wild, "Pest" variety, eh, just having one in a cup up top ticked off Baby Blue, so probably not a good idea to try! LOL):

And the bigger one, he is quite aggressive, is thankfully helping control my snail population by eating both adult snails and egg sacs...and no he's not in the container anymore, I just kept him in there temporarily since I didn't want to keep him, he's too big for the project I wanted, the other one is on the line grandma actually argued it since my little cousin wanted him -sigh- so he's in a tank now:

Oh, and just for kicks...Baby Blue, my Electric Blue crayfish, showing off and being a brat. :3

Turning on the Aquarium lamp in the morning is MY cup of coffee.

Last edited by Sylverclaws; 05-26-2014 at 03:49 AM.
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post #2 of 3 Old 05-27-2014, 12:52 AM Thread Starter
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The smallest one has shed his or her skin overnight. They really do look so much bigger once they shed. She's also not as light colored anymore and looks a lot better than she did when I caught her. I say "her" because she just looks girly compared to the others. lol

I think I was a bit off on their sizes. I should mention they were guesses, I haven't actually measured them. =) I think they are a bit smaller than I suggested though. ^_~ I'm going to -try- and measure each of them for you guys though! Get some proper info out there as they go.

So, those of you who keep much larger do you think they typically are REALLY after they shed their skins? They look like they grew an inch overnight when they do it, though it certainly can't be THAT much. lol

I'm enjoying this project, they are such neat creatures. Aggressive though they are. I'm afraid for my hands when I have to do anything with them or in the tank, I admit, but they are just so neat! It's ok though, I prefer not to handle them not only because of the risk to my fingers, but they really don't like it. lol So better for all.

They're helping me get over the fear I've had for years though. When I was a kid a massive one got a hold of my thumb when I was playing in a creek at a school picnic. Nearly broke it and left a nasty cut and went through the nail, he had me for a few minutes before one of the teachers made him release by putting a nail file between his claws since my not fighting him didn't work(usually if you hold still they eventually release, much like a turtle bite which I've also had...and oddly never had a fear of them over it o-o). I've been afraid of them since, but owning them, and my electric blue crayfish, makes me appreciate them even more than I used to...and also to respect those claws and their space even more.
You wouldn't think it, but they do have personality under that common crayfish attitude they must have to stay alive. =) And boy do they love snails, especially the ones we caught wild. Which I admit I am and always have had second thoughts on. They seem right happy where they are, and don't need to be fed provided there are plants and critters for them to catch themselves. So I hope it wont ruin it, I'm thinking when I release them I'll be making a small area to keep an eye on them to be sure they can indeed do ok back at home. And by then, should be more than big enough to hold their own against other crayfish and find territory and mates for themselves. Of course, Baby Blue isn't wild, s/he's staying with me. In case anyone was wondering.

Turning on the Aquarium lamp in the morning is MY cup of coffee.
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post #3 of 3 Old 06-02-2014, 06:48 PM Thread Starter
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Well, that was a bust. Those things grow really fast. I expected them to be slower like my blue crayfish. The bigger one was a tad smaller than my baby blue, and is now bigger. The littelest one is now just a tad bigger than the big one was when I caught it. LOL They've shed twice each and the big guy is about to shed again. The big guy ALSO tried to kill my filter, he yanked the intake tube off and ran with it. Little brat. Three times. lol I have trouble getting that off. ^^;

Anyways, a bust because we released them. They got too big for a ten gallon tank, they also were escape artists. They got fat and bigger before being released though, so they have a better chance I suppose, not that they had a small one, they were quite healthy upon being caught, and were released fat. They both ate just about all snails in my tanks. 50+ or so. Oh yeah...and the big guy ate all my ghost shrimp, I figured they had enough hiding, shoulda know better! Buwahaha! The ghosts in my blue crayfish tank have been there for months with less hiding and a more aggressive I thought wrong. lol

Anywho, we got a photo of them before releasing them. Got a real measurement on them. With claws the smallest one was three and 1/3 inches. Yeah, it was smaller than I thought when I caught it. The big guy though, he didn't hold still for being measured, so I leave it to your imaginations. He was about the size the little one was when I brought them home, so that should give you guys an idea on how fast the little monsters grow. I'll miss them though, the big one was active and just awesome. But we only intended to keep them until they were a bit bigger...not realizing they grew that fast. That's fine though, bit of fun for what, two weeks? =)

Found a pool for them, right in to feed on someone elses shedding and find a cave.I released them in a similar place, same creek different location. The place I let them go was a pool about fifty times the size of the one we caught them in with calmer water, another pool of somewhat smaller size down a small waterfall from there, with a lot of tasty plants and other crayfish to eat. Also a breeding ground for dragonflies and other bugs, so they should do just peachy. I re-acclimated them first so they didn't get a shock.

Perhaps we will do it again next year, my little cousin really enjoyed that. Gives them a safe place for a couple weeks. I don't think the big guy needs any protection though, he'll give other adults a run for their money...though he certainly isn't as big as the two big males we caught at the same time...he's no small fry either. The little one I wanted to keep a bit longer, but she kept getting out where the filer is and going into the back of the filter. x.x Tried blocking it with screen and duct tape, she just yanked it off.

I'm glad Baby Blue isn't that much trouble or I'd be in trouble. But blue is in a much larger tank. Perhaps they were not as happy as I tried to make them...well, probably not going from a large creek to a tank! No matter how nice the cage is, a cage is still a cage. Perhaps I wont do it again. Wasn't planned anyways, but it made my cousin happy and she got to help release them. She kept trying to catch more and was all begging, but nope. Enough is enough, those wild ones are a disaster in a tank! Thankfully without bait she can't. She went for one and all we saw was a cloud, didn't see where it went...well I did, right under a crevice there. She goes "Where did it go?!?!" I told her "That's what we call the crayfish disappearing act, you'll never find it." xD

Turning on the Aquarium lamp in the morning is MY cup of coffee.

Last edited by Sylverclaws; 06-02-2014 at 06:54 PM.
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