The Electric Blue Crayfish (Procambarus Alleni) is always in demand with freshwater fishkeepers, thanks to its brilliant cobalt color. But is the Blue Crayfish also easy to look after and house?
If you’re interested in getting an Electric Blue Lobster or two for your home tank, our comprehensive care guide is just what you need. This article will focus on care essentials, breeding, stats, and everything in between — with contributions from expert aquarists!
Electric Blue Crayfish Facts and Figures
|Average Lifespan||5 years|
|Maximum Size||5 inches|
|Minimum Tank Size||30 gallons|
Meet the Procambarus Alleni
It’s natural for hobbyists to be full of questions when thinking about making an addition to their aquarium. One of the first things to attract prospective fishkeepers towards a species is undoubtedly their looks. The Everglade Crayfish certainly isn’t lacking in that department.
Nonetheless, a detailed introduction never hurts. This section is for readers interested in details about how Procambarus Alleni look and what they’re like behavior-wise.
The Electric Blue Crayfish is also referred to as Florida Crayfish because the species is endemic to that region. The species inhabits the freshwater marshes, streams, and wetlands in several Florida counties. Surprisingly enough, in the wild, the color of these crayfish can vary from blue to brown, red and orange.
This species is difficult to find in places other than the United States because of strict export laws. Furthermore, it is illegal to keep it in certain countries (like the United Kingdom) due to its classification as an invasive species.
Many hobbyists often mistake the Electric Blue Crayfish as a lobster at first glance, and the name Blue Lobster doesn’t help much. However, Procambarus Alleni aren’t lobsters at all because lobsters only inhabit saltwater.
It’s likely the hard exoskeleton that forces people to draw similarities between the Florida Crayfish and lobsters. The species, however, are much smaller in size than lobsters and have quite a few unique characteristics.
For example, Electric Blue Crayfish shed their hard shell (molt) at different times throughout their lives. The species’ thorax is where their heads are located, and that’s where you’ll find their dark bead-like eyes too.
They also have two sets of antennas (the smaller set being antennules) that the crustaceans use to gather information about their environment.
The legs (or appendages) of the Electric Blue Crayfish are attached to its thorax and number eight in total. But one of their most prominent features is the pair of chelipeds (or claws) that they use to catch their prey and in defense.
The abdomen of this species also includes smaller appendages called swimmerets — which are more significant in males than females for mating purposes. And, finally, the telson or tail end has fan-like fins that also help these crustaceans navigate the waters they live in.
The Blue Lobster belongs to the Procambarus genus of crayfish — which means, like all the other members of the family, they’re nocturnal. These crustaceans are also bottom-dwellers and like hiding in gaps and caves whenever they get the chance. Does that mean you won’t ever see your Electric Blue Crayfish moving around in the tank?
Not at all. Aquatic species in captivity behave differently thanks to artificial lighting and tank environments. That’s why these crustaceans aren’t at all timid or shy in aquariums. Blue lobsters are pretty active in tanks and like moving about to explore their surroundings.
The one aspect of their temperament that makes them a little challenging for beginner hobbyists is their aggressive and territorial nature. Experts generally don’t advise housing more than one freshwater Blue Lobster in a tank for beginners. However, you might be able to get away with housing a pair as long as you introduce them to the tank simultaneously and provide plenty of decoration pieces that offer hiding places.
Sapphire Crayfish are also pretty opportunistic when it comes to feeding and will not hesitate to capture small, slow-moving fish with their claws for a tasty snack. You can overcome this facet of the temperament by ensuring they’re always well-fed and only house them with appropriate tank mates (more on this below!).
Electric Blue Crayfish Care and Maintenance
That’s where this section can come in handy. It includes detailed information regarding tank size, water guidelines, diet specifics and, of course, everything you’ll need to make the perfect habitat for Blue Crayfish.
There are several factors to consider when it comes to the appropriate tank size for Electric Blue Crayfish. Crayfish can grow pretty big as adults, which means a tank with extra room will work best. Then there’s the fact that adult Blue Lobsters are highly territorial and don’t mind chowing down on fish swimming around in their vicinity.
All things considered, the minimum tank size for housing an Everglade Crayfish is 30 gallons. Some sources might say a 20-gallon tank is just as acceptable; however, anything smaller than 30 gallons is suitable for juvenile crayfish, but never adults. That would mean that a crayfish pair will have more occasions to run into each other and get into a fight.
A small tank also makes setting up a suitable habitat challenging because of the lack of space. And, finally, crayfish will molt at different times throughout their lives. When this happens, your crustacean is left defenseless and will undoubtedly need the cover of a hiding place to stay safe from potential threats.
On the other hand, having a spacious tank also means that you have better chances of avoiding sudden swings in temperature, pH or ammonia levels, etc. So, to sum things up, when thinking of adding Florida Crayfish to your tank — more is always better regarding tank size and space.
Blue Crayfish are pretty hardy creatures that have been known to survive in brackish water. But, when you get one for your tank, it’s best not to test its resilience and stick to the required water parameters.
As with all aquatic life, the best way to ensure a long and healthy life for this species is to mimic their natural habitat. Thankfully, because Sapphire Crayfish are native to Florida, recreating their water conditions isn’t too tricky.
While the species can endure under a varying spectrum of pH levels, they will do best in ranges of 6.5 to 7.5. A pH level that stays stable at 7.0 will help these crayfish thrive. Avoid letting the pH fall any lower than 6.5 because this can lead to problems with Blue Crayfish molting. Water hardness levels should stay in between the range of 3 to 10 dH, although Sapphire Crayfish can handle slight fluctuations in carbonate hardness without too many problems.
Ammonia and nitrate levels should clock in at zero to ensure your crayfish don’t suffer any side effects of stress. And, finally, a water temperature range of 65 to 75 degrees F is perfect for this species. However, if you’d like to create optimal surroundings, keep the temperature stable at 70 degrees F.
Fish parents should also have their tank equipped with a top-notch filtration system to keep the tank clean. Crayfish are pretty messy eaters, and the presence of leftover food in a tank is never recommended.
It’s also best to keep your sponge filter away from the presence of your Electric Blue Crayfish because they damage equipment with their claws. Another vital component for a tank with crayfish is an airstone (aka bubbler) to ensure there’s plenty of oxygenation for your crayfish.
As stated earlier, Electric Blue Crayfish are opportunistic feeders. The species are also omnivorous — meaning their diet can consist of meat and vegetation. You can feed Blue Lobsters a diet that includes fish or shrimp pellets (this also helps improve their coloration), live food, frozen food, bloodworms, etc. The species doesn’t mind eating vegetables like lettuce, peas and cucumbers either.
It’s best to feed Blue Lobsters daily to ensure their cannibalistic tendencies don’t go into overdrive. Leaving the species hungry for too long may lead to your crayfish taking matters into their own hands and going after other tank mates.
Another detail to keep in mind for the Electric Blue Crayfish diet is that the species are voracious plant-eaters too. That means it’s best not to have underwater plants in the same tank as these crayfish. You might wake up one day to find your aquarium plants stripped clean.
Crayfish also have a tendency to hide their food to eat later. However, this can impact your tank’s ecosystem and affect oxygen, pH and nitrate levels. For that reason, keep a weather eye out for any tidbits of uneaten food and fish them out as soon as you can after the crayfish have eaten their fill.
Electric Blue Crayfish do well in tanks with gravel or sand substrate because they love going into hiding. Plus, the species can adapt their coloration to their environment — meaning colored substrate can add to their appearance if you pick the right color. Most aquarists prefer to add blue substrate to enhance the cobalt coloring of the Sapphire Crayfish.
Keeping aquatic plants along with Blue Lobsters isn’t a good idea because they like eating them. This can lead to overfeeding and unsanitary tank conditions.
Instead, fish keepers should add plenty of rock structures, driftwood, artificial plants, or PVC pipes to give the crayfish plenty of space to hide in. This is especially helpful in a community tank or tanks with more than one Electric Blue Crayfish, because it keeps them from fighting each other or becoming too aggressive.
These crayfish can also move or rearrange light tank decorations by burrowing into the substrate or dragging lighter objects. Plus, they’re also excellent climbers. It’s a bright idea to invest in a tank lid for aquariums with these crayfish in case they manage to reach the top and fall prey to dehydration.
Essential Blue Lobster Stats
Beginner aquarists thinking of setting up a tank for the first time need answers about a species size, lifespan and growth rate to ensure their setup isn’t lacking. That’s where this section can help you out. Read on to discover more about how quickly you can expect your Procambarus Alleni to mature.
Electric Blue Lobster Lifespan, Size, and Growth Rate
The crayfish family is highly diverse in terms of size. Some species grow up to 3 inches, while others can reach lengths of 14 inches as adults. Electric Blue Crayfish size falls somewhere in the middle of the sizing spectrum, and the species can measure 5 inches upon maturity. However, there are reports of Electric Blue Crayfish in the wild touching approximately 7 inches.
The species is pretty fast-growing and will reach full-size and sexual maturity in three months. For aquarists that have juvenile Blue Lobsters set up in smaller tanks, this means a change of tank size will become necessary in 90 days.
As far as Blue Crayfish lifespan is concerned, the species can live up to 5 years, provided they receive proper care.
Susceptibility to Diseases
Just like all other species of underwater life, Electric Blue Crayfish can fall ill. Here are some health considerations you should be aware of.
While molting isn’t exactly a disease, it’s something fish keepers should be prepared to face with Sapphire Crayfish. The species will molt to grow a bigger exoskeleton for their growing size. Crayfish can molt anywhere from six to 10 times during their first year of life and approximately three to five times during the second.
As a caregiver, you can figure out when your Electric Blue Crayfish are about to molt if they show the following symptoms:
Calculating the Timing of Molting
However, since lack of appetite and inactivity can also be illness-related, you can keep time and calculate when your crustacean will shed its shell. Young Sapphire Crayfish can molt once every few days. Once the crayfish are juveniles, molting can take place between one to three weeks. Adults Blue Lobsters will molt once every four to eight weeks.
Don’t be surprised when you find your Blue Lobster’s shell missing because adults tend to eat the molted shell to gain its nutrients. That’s why, once you notice your crayfish has molted, reduce its feed for the next two to three days.
When Electric Blue Crayfish are molting, they become vulnerable to attacks from other tankmates and require a hiding place where they can recover. Aquarists with crayfish need to have suitable hiding spots in the tank habitat to ensure crayfish survival.
It’s also a good idea to refer to a specialized aquarium shop for calcium supplements to help your crayfish avoid unfinished molts.
Other Health Concerns
Despite their hardy nature, Blue Lobsters can get sick due to inadequate water conditions. The species is especially vulnerable to nitrate and ammonia levels.
Once Sapphire Crayfish are stressed, they are more susceptible to contracting infections. However, you can avoid such concerns by conducting a 25 percent water change once a week.
Breeding Electric Blue Crayfish
Breeding Electric Blue Crayfish in captivity isn’t too challenging but does require a separate breeding tank and perfect timing. The species matures at the three-month mark.
If you have a male and female pair, feeding them high-quality food and appropriate water conditions can help trigger breeding behavior. You can tell the male apart from the female by observing their swimmerets. Male Electric Blue Crayfish have bigger swimmerets due to sexual dimorphism.
Once the pair has mated and the female is berried (carrying eggs under her tail), you can take the male Blue Lobster out of the breeding tank. Remember, Blue Lobsters are cannibalistic and will not hesitate to eat the eggs if given a chance.
Female Blue Lobsters will carry the eggs for approximately 20 to 30 days. Once the eggs hatch, you can remove the female Electric Blue Lobster to keep the young safe. The Blue Lobster babies can be fed a diet of baby brine shrimps, spirulina and pellets. Once the babies are about a month old, you can divide them and move them to separate tanks to avoid aggressiveness.
Suitable Tank Mates for Procambarus Alleni
If you’re a beginner with your heart set on adding an Electric Blue Crayfish to a community tank, you need to be very careful about tankmates.
Blue Lobsters will occupy the bottom of your tank, so other types of bottom-dwelling fishes are out of the question. You also want to avoid aggressive species like Cichlids or slow-swimming ones.
More often than not, Danios, Rainbow Darters, Guppies, Gouramis and Red Tail Sharks do well with Electric Blue Crayfish.
While newbie aquarists can handle one Electric Blue Crayfish without too much difficulty, keeping a pair may require a more experienced hand. Here are some of the essentials of looking after the Everglade Crayfish.
- The Electric Blue Crayfish is also referred to as Florida Crayfish as its endemic to that region.
- The species are sought after due to their brilliant cobalt coloring.
- Blue Lobsters are bottom-dwellers and like hiding in gaps and caves whenever they get the chance. However, they’re also pretty active and like exploring the surface of fish tanks.
- Electric Blue Crayfish are territorial, aggressive, and opportunistic hunters. That’s one reason why experts recommend beginners aquarists stick to one Blue Lobster per community tank.
- The minimum tank size for housing an Everglade Crayfish is 30 gallons. A 20-gallon tank is acceptable for juvenile crayfish, but not for adults.
- The species require pH levels between 6.5 to 7.5 and water hardness levels of 3 to 10 dH. They thrive in water temperatures of 65 to 75 degrees F.
- You can feed Blue Lobsters a diet that includes fish or shrimp pellets (this also helps improve their coloration), live food, frozen food, bloodworms, etc. The species doesn’t mind eating vegetables like lettuce, peas, cucumbers, either.
- Tank habitat for Blue Lobsters requires sandy or gravel substrate, with rock structures, driftwood, PVC pipes, etc. However, don’t include any live aquatic plants because Electric Blue Crayfish are voracious plant-eaters.
- The species can grow 5 inches in length as adults and can reach full maturity in three months. Their average lifespan extends up to five years.
- Breeding Blue Lobsters in captivity is pretty straightforward but will require a separate breeding tank.
- Suitable tank mates for Electric Blue Crayfish include Rainbow Darters, Danios, and Gouramis.
Now that you’re all caught up with what Electric Blue Crayfish Care looks like, you can easily decide if the species is suitable for your tank. Blue Lobsters are a fascinating species to observe in freshwater aquariums, and beginners can start their journey by adding a single crayfish to their tank.
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