Crayfish basics please!


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I'm getting a new 20G from a friend, and I'm really interested in a white crayfish. I have a few questions!

-How much water/air should there be?
Like 50/50? do they need rocks to stand on to get to the air? I've seen tanks with tiny steps coming out of the water for the cray.

-Are they okay with water modified by crushed coral?
I have very soft water and I keep crushed coral in my main tank to remedy that, but does a cray need naturally hard water? What hardness and pH do they require?

-Do they need sand or gravel?
I prefer sand aesthetically, but do they need gravel to root through? I know the bottom needs to be free of nasty stuff, but I can get that with a siphon, even with sand.

-How much should they eat daily?
I know the basics for fish, but how much does a cray need?

Thank you!
-a very careful aquarist


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Wyoming - USA
More than 10 years
Don't worry about giving them a way to climb out of the water.

If the water is aerated normally (meaning reasonably well) they don't need to ever get to the surface.

But do be aware that they are excellent climbers, and will escape unless you secure the tank well.

They do NOT do well out of water for extended periods, and will die if they escape and you aren't there to rescue them in time.

We keep our crayfish tanks just as full as any normal aquarium.

In my experience, you have to experiment to find what they really like to eat. Ours didn't eat most of the stuff that the experts recommend. What they do go absolutely wild for are worms. Good, old, nightcrawlers from the bait department of the Wal Mart or sporting goods store, or gathered in your yard the same way you would if you were going fishing. They positively freak out over them!

We also try to feed them special crayfish food pellets, shrimp pellets, etc., but the big ones really aren't that interested. The babies, however, seem to eat more of what the experts recommend.

Our water is naturally quite hard with a titratable alkalinity of about 150 mG/liter.

Everyone said they need sand so they can dig easier. So I set up a whole separate 55 gallon tank with a sand bottom, and our mammas don't dig at all, anyhow.

But the babies that hatched got put into a tank with a gravel bottom, and THEY do major excavation despite it being really big pieces compared to their tiny size. So go figure?

My impression is that they do what they want to do, and adapt to whatever you set up, and try to do the opposite of whatever you've gone out of your way to set up for them. So don't sweat it much.

They do like hiding places, though. So give them plenty of things to crawl inside of to get away from the light when they feel like it.

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