CPO(Dwarf Crayfish) Questions

Discussion in 'Crayfish - Crawfish' started by jbdub, Apr 16, 2012.

  1. jbdubValued MemberMember

    Ok so I have a male and a female Orange Dwarf Crayfish(CPO)

    What I discovered researching about them and what I was told in the LFS don't seem to be true with these two.

    1. They don't eat plants. Well that just doesn't seem to be true with my guys, in my 65g they went to town on the live plants cutting them to pieces.
    2. Mostly non-aggressive. Again not really true, my male CPO literally chased other fish around the tank, especially when hungry.
    3. Molting. My male has molted twice in a fortnight! Both times they were full molts as well not partial. That seems odd.
    4. Size. The male was always bigger than the female but since the two molts he must be pushing 6cm. The female however is the exact same size as when I got her.

    Right now they're both in my 15g tank with some guppy fry and everything is fine but I'm just concerned that I may have something other than CPO's.

    I'm hoping some people on here can give me feedback on their experiences with CPO's and how it compares with my own.

  2. LockedBoxValued MemberMember

    1. All crayfish are opportunists. I am not familiar with CPO's specifically, but I can tell you that no matter what a crayfish "typically" does, they will make exceptions if the situation arises. In your case, where the CPO's eating the plants or simply uprooting and destroying them? As far as I can tell CPO's are known not to eat plants, but that doesn't mean they wont destroy them if they want to. How large is the footprint of your 15 gal? crayfish are restricted to a life on the very bottom of the water, so they may simply be trying to make more room on the bottom to walk around and dig their burrows. I find that my Cherax Desructor is an avid home decorator and whenever I add a new silk plant or rearrange the existing ornaments, he will spend anywhere between a night and a week industrially rearranging things back to his liking. I find that he likes to have "pathways" crossing diagonally though the tank as well as a clear path around the glass, with a nice hidden spot right in the middle where he sleeps. If I change this, he will do his best to change it back. I suspect that this is what your crays are doing.

    2. I'm not sure how non aggressive CPO's generally are, but I stress that there are always exceptions. You cray might just be looking for entertainment, or perhaps the constant activity of the fry are stressing him, I'm sorry but I really don't know. What are you feeding them? Perhaps offering the a small amount of uncooked prawn or some raw mussel will help to quell his appetite. Just be sure to remove any leftovers quickly or it might affect your water quality.

    2&3. Yikes! that's a lot of molting. As far as I can tell, this is a good thing. Crays can stop themselves from molting if the conditions are bad, so your cray might have needed that molt for months but wasn't able to due to the conditions the lfs kept him in or some other stress factor. If he keeps molting I would be worried, but as it is I don't see much to worry about. As a general rule though, crays that molt and grow more quickly tend to have shorter life spans, but I don't know how large the affect is.

    You really need to post some photos if you need help identifying that they are, indeed, CPO's. I wouldn't be able to help you much in that area because CPO's aren't available in this country.

    My knowledge is based on Australian crays, not CPO's but I hope that it's helped you, I'm sorry for any mistakes/useless information I may have given you.

  3. jbdubValued MemberMember


    Thanks for your feedback, it's actually really useful. Particularly the part around the crays just wanting to make their own space. That would actually explain a lot of their behaviour, paticulalry in the 15g tank they're in now. First thing I'm going to do is make the sand footprint bigger for them to move around.
    I'm feeding them special CPO pellets, one a day. They both love them. Once they get a hold of them they just sit there muching away untill its completely gone.
    Here's some photo's I put up last week, they're from when I first got them and the male had just molted;


  4. uphill4meValued MemberMember

    Crays love to climb driftwood and ornaments. In a deep tank they often climb to a tall, shaded spot and wait for the opportunity to fall off and grab at a fish (with horrible success!). To slow molting, improve opportunities to exercise (burn off calories vs growing faster). Good observation on the pathways, the one around the glass is likely searching for something to climb. The more they can climb, the less they disturb plants. They do really well with regular, high protein foods and they also search for dietrus. Maybe powderize freeze dried foods for the guppies and let the Cray search for crumbs (since you have sand). They also love snails, devouring handfuls at a time! In a small tank some fish will inevitably fall prey. In larger tanks they tend to feed on the biggest school or the fish that taunt them and test their luck. High protein alternatives help keep the other fish safe.
  5. LockedBoxValued MemberMember

    Well they definitly look like CPOs to me! I've never seen any other crayfish in that colour. Hopefully someone else will confirm that. Just be sure to give them lots of fruit an veg and you'll be fine, I can see from the photo's that your doing so already so you probably don't need me to tell you that :p Chickpeas, sweet corn, sweet potato and chilli are big hits in my aquarium, all that keratin does wonders for his colour :) He loves his brine shrimp too, but it seems that they are difficult for him to find.
  6. jbdubValued MemberMember

    Funny you say that, I had a bit a pond snail problem in the 15g tank and it seems to have stopped since the CPO's moved in!!

    That's a big variation in veggies, i'll try a few different things and see what they like best. He wasn't a big fan of the cucumber, despite rolling it into his little area of the tank so no one else could have any!
  7. Heather12404Valued MemberMember

    Those are definitely CPO's. I have 1 in my 60G. Mine isn't aggressive at all. He just flies backwards if another fish gets too close. Mine might not be aggressive since he's all alone. I do plan on getting 3 more CPO's since I just upgraded from a 29G to a 60G. Then I will find out how they behave when there's more than 1 in a tank.
    From what I've read it all sounds normal.
    I feed mine the same food I feed my fish: NLS Thera A pellets and about twice a week Aqueon Algae Wafers. I've had him about 6 months and he's molted twice. Once within the first week I had him and again right after I moved everyone into the 60G last week.
  8. jbdubValued MemberMember


    Just to put into context, this is now the size difference between the male and the female!!
  9. JayseeFishlore LegendMember

    well, I'm not at all surprised that it's trying to eat guppy fry, and I wouldn't consider that aggressive - everything eats fry.

    when they molt, leave the shells in the tank - they will eat them to recycle nutrients.

    there are full size orange crayfish - just because it's orange doesn't ensure it's a CPO. When I get to the computer I'll look at the other pics
  10. jbdubValued MemberMember

    No they both take absolutely no notice of the fry, it's when I had them in the community tank there were problems.
    I actually read another post about someone who had a CPO male for 6 moths and he molted twice in that time, both happened when he was moved tanks. That's the same as what happened to me, first when he got put into my 65g community and then again when I moved him out into the 15g fry tank. Could be coincidence but.....
  11. JayseeFishlore LegendMember

    OOhhhh, I see. How long were they in the larger tank before you moved them?
  12. uphill4meValued MemberMember

    My friends new cray has molted 3 times since late November and looks ready to again. The growth is amazing with every molt and he looks great! He is in a relatively new, huge, deep community tank. I've been telling him since he got the cray that he is over feeding with way too much protein. Everything is live or frozen and they are fed far more than generously, more times than I'd like to think about each day (gotta keep the 3 year old happy). We are trying to convince him that water changes are necessary but none have occurred yet or likely to - ever. (shudder) My signature refers to his last fish endeavor.

    (sorry to hijack the thread with that, I'm very worried about the long term implications...breathe)
  13. jbdubValued MemberMember

    They were both in the large tank for about a week before I moved them to the small. You think the tank moves casused the molts?
  14. AquaristFishlore LegendMember

    Good morning,

    :animal0068: I have moved your thread from Freshwater Invertebrates to Freshwater Invertebrates/Crayfish-Crawfish section of the forum.


  15. JayseeFishlore LegendMember

    I would not say it caused the molts, because that's what crayfish do. The more you feed them, and the warmer the water, the faster they molt. Moving them could have triggered the molt, but it did no cause it since it happens naturally. I wouldn't be concerned about the molts - that's how they grow. I'd be concerned if they weren't molting.
  16. jbdubValued MemberMember

    So this male crayfish went Rambo, killed and ate the female plus one of my other fish.

    I brought back to LFS and they say it wasn't actually a CPO!! They are some variation of crayfish, a very aggressive one at that. So they gave me some store credit to make up for it but still annoyed.

    Came home with a really nice electric blue ram though, so a little be less peeved now.
  17. KaygenhillNew MemberMember

    I just had to get in on this conversation.. as I purchased a mexican dwarf cray too. Had it in my tank for about 10 days it molted on the 3 day and got much bigger. Then it started to get aggressive and he has to be almost 4 inches now without the tongs! He got a hold on my angel fish and I toook him out. It was almost like he was fishing. He would sit by the shrimp pellets on bottom at feeding and then wait for the fish to come thats how he got my angel. I put him in my small shrimp tank and Im gonna bring it back. Im thinking like you it is not a dwarf at all. I didnt pay as much as people are saying either he was on sale hallf price at $12. Now im afraid he will eat all the shrimp before tomorrow!! pedro profile.jpg

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