Hiding Crayfish

Discussion in 'Crayfish - Crawfish' started by KimMK, Jun 18, 2018.

  1. KimMKNew MemberMember

    20180606_131838.jpg20180517_211506.jpg Hi guys,
    I have looked through previous posts, but haven't found anything exactly like what's going on with Yabby. My daughter brought home a crayfish from school, obtained from a farm in Florida I believe. I researched a ton and thought we were doing everything right but I fear he is fading. We have had him for 1 month. At first he ate like a champ and was active. Now he hides all the time and doesn't seem to be eating much if at all. At first I thought he was molting, but he never did, then got better, now he's doing it again but worse. We have had an air stone, gravel and hiding places the whole time, and always let the water sit 24hours before adding it to the tank. I was told by the pet store that we didn't need to cycle the tank since he'd been sitting in a tub with 11 other crayfish for 2 weeks in the classroom and was fine. After he first started slowing down I added beneficial bacteria supplements, then a few days later iodine and a cuttle bone chunk. Now he also has a filter. We have done 2 50% water changes since we got him.
    He has one spot inside his structure he sits in and I haven't seen him leave it for 3 days. Could he still be molting? How long do they hide out and refuse food? Could my nitrates still be high despite filtration, water changes and bacteria supplementation?
    My daughter is in tears worrying for him. Help?

    Last edited: Jun 18, 2018
  2. RtessyFishlore VIPMember

    Hi, first, tanks always need to be cycled, especially when dealing with invertebrates. I'm familiar with shrimp, not crayfish, but I'd do a few water changes for a few days. Ammonia and nitrItes are bigger worries, as they can't rise above 0, while nitrates shouldn't get above 20. I'm not sure if crayfish are tolerant of large water changes, I know shrimp aren't.... Do a 25% water change now, and do two more today, try to space them every few hours. So three total, and I'd recommend doing the same tomorrow. After that, drop to one a day until he recovers. Any side pictures of him?

  3. maggie thecatWell Known MemberMember

    Hi, sorry your crayfish isn't doing well

    You received some poor advice from the pet store. A cycled tank is mandatory for 99.999% of aquatic pet keepers. (The .001% are those dping 100% water changes for specific reasons.

    You are currently doing a fish in cycle with your crayfish. A test kit, so that you can monitor your water chemistry is strongly advised. Doing large daily water changes to stay on top of ammonia levels will be necessary for the comfort of your crayfish.

    Are you using water conditioner? While chlorine will aerate out, chloramines, used by the majority of water treatment plants, will not.

    You must use water conditioner if you are on any sort of municipal supply.

    Lastly, what are you feeding your crayfish?

    A sinking pellet meant for shrimp plus vegetables like blanched squash and carrots are essential.

    Please provide additional info, and if not conditioning and testing water, start immediately.

  4. AdriifuWell Known MemberMember

    What are your water parameters and temperature? An API Master Test Kit will help with this if you don't know. You need to get the tank cycled. Perform daily 50% water changes until your ammonia is under 1 ppm. After this, perform 25% water changes every other day to help your tank cycle. Use Seachem Prime during the water changes. Make sure to do research on the nitrogen cycle.

    It's very normal for crayfish to go into hiding for a long period of time. If you wanted an animal you'd be able to observe at all times, nobody would ever suggest a crayfish. However, hiding can also indicate other health issues. When you feed him, does he actually not eat at all? Or does the food eventually disappear?
  5. KimMKNew MemberMember

    Thanks everyone! So so much. I will get on this ASAP. As a veterinarian I should know better than to listen to the pet store.
    I have 2 separate sinking pellets, one for fish and one for crustaceans, plus Algea wafers. In addition I have live water plants in there and we alternate veggies with his pellets. I think it's the water. At the store now buying water conditioner and a test kit. Will keep you updated.
    Please tell me it's not too late!?

    2 other questions; do I keep adding the bacteria supplement each time I change his water? What about the iodine? Just weekly? How about Top Fin ammonia remover?
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 19, 2018
  6. RtessyFishlore VIPMember

    What bacterial supplement do you use? And it's probably not too late, most likely he'll be fine :)
    Keep us posted on what those water test results say! And don't freak out, because there will be some readings that don't look too good, but we can help you fix those.
  7. AdriifuWell Known MemberMember

    I'm sure he'll be fine. Bacteria supplements aren't really necessary IMO. I think you should just cycle with water changes.
  8. KimMKNew MemberMember

    We have Top Fin bacteria supplement. And I've got the Seachem Prime someone mentioned as well now.
  9. RtessyFishlore VIPMember

    Great! Since you've got prime, you won't have to add any of the other stuff, even the ammonia remover. I think you should keep the iodine on hand, as it can help crayfish when sick, I don't actually know if it should be added weekly.
  10. KimMKNew MemberMember

    Nitrites were 0, nitrates 5ppm.
    pH 7.6
    Ammonia 4.0ppm (!)

    50% water change, added prime. Ammonia is now 1.
    Will check again before changing water tomorrow.
    I am assuming since ammonia is a base the pH will correct as it goes down?
    Thanks again.
    Last edited: Jun 18, 2018
  11. RtessyFishlore VIPMember

    It's good you have nitrates, it won't take as long to correct. If the ammonia is down to 1, the prime has fully protected your crayfish for right now. You should see better behavior later today or tomorrow. Water changes are going to be important for a while, a week or so, but it should level out.
  12. KimMKNew MemberMember

    Great. We will keep working on it. Feel bad that I did this to him when some part of me was doubting the not needing to cycle all along. Poor dude.
  13. RtessyFishlore VIPMember

    No no no, don't do that. Don't feel bad about it, I promise you have already done so much better than so many other people starting out this hobby. You have done wonders compared to how I started out. You were given advice by someone who has a job to advise, and so you followed it. That's generally a good course of action. It's just that this person wasn't so good at their job. Don't blame yourself, move past this and focus on right now. You've already made all of the toxins harmless, for right now, there's not more you can do. Tomorrow there will be, but you can't blame yourself for that.
  14. maggie thecatWell Known MemberMember

    Here. Have a read.

    Aquarium Nitrogen Cycle

    Welcome to the forum.

    Oh, btw, crayfish, aside from being mainly nocturnal, looooove to tear up plants and rearrange their furniture. I would suggest adding in some fake plants to keep the illusion of a planted tank. Or use floaters.

    Also, be sure the top is secure. They climb up tubing and will squeeze out of the darndest spaces. Duct tape is your friend.
  15. KimMKNew MemberMember

    Thanks! We have some fake grasses in there. The live ones are specifically for him to eat, so he can destroy away! Up until a few days ago he was moving gravel all over the place but now he just sits.

    Hi everyone who has been helping me. Yabby is still in hiding and didn't eat anything overnight, but he looks a little redder, so maybe.
    Ammonia was up to between 1 and 2 this morning. Did another 50% change and added Prime again before leaving for work. Fingers crossed.
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 19, 2018
  16. KimMKNew MemberMember

    Can I get a little more advice?

    We're on day 4 of 50% changes. Ammonia was between 1 and 2ppm the last 2 mornings, and down between 0.5 and 1ppm this morning. Making progress.
    My crayfish appears to have eaten 2 crustacean pellets overnight last night and the night before (at least they are gone and those tend not to dissolve), but he still isn't coming out and exploring or moving furniture around at all. Just sits inside his "brain" (fake brain coral).
    I'm taking the fact that he appears to be nibbling a little as a good sign, but not sure what to expect for recovery time. I am worried by his behavior not returning to normal.
    Any input?
  17. maggie thecatWell Known MemberMember

    He may be exploring at night. That is normal. If he likes the setup, he won't rearrange the environment.

    He may not be over perky because he is still recovering from environmental poisoning aka ammonia and unconditioned water.

    If he seems to be eating then this is one of those "give it time" scenarios.
  18. RtessyFishlore VIPMember

    Do you mind testing your tap? The ammonia should have gone down a bit more with what you're doing. If your tap is clear, try doing 3 30% a day, space them out by 4-6 hours if possible. Good luck!
  19. KimMKNew MemberMember

    I actually tested our water this morning. 0ppm.
    I can do three changes on my days off, but not today or tomorrow. Already did about 50% today- so should I do like 25 tonight? Then 40 and 40 tomorrow?
    Also, I'm thinking about asking the fish store if I could get a cup full of water from their established tanks to get the good bacteria boosted. Don't know if they'll let me, though.
    Thanks for the help.
  20. RtessyFishlore VIPMember

    Only if ammonia gets back up to 2ppm, but you should be fine since it tested at 0. You're good for today, see if doing a 25% each day keeps it at 0

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