Blue crayfish: Care, lifespan, size, breeding and tank mates

The Electric Blue Crayfish is a species of freshwater that you should see to believe in. 

But if you ignore their amazing colour, this creature still has much to like about. These crayfish are easy to look out for and a blast to watch (it’s always up to something). 

This guide will teach you the basics of Electric Blue Crayfish care so if you decide to get one for yourself, you will be prepared.

The blue crayfish (Procambarus allei), sometimes called electric blue crayfish, sapphire crayfish, or Florida crayfish, is a species of freshwater crayfish that is endemic to Florida in the U.S.

It is included as a Least Concern species on the IUCN Red List.

Often the blue crayfish is kept in freshwater aquariums. In the wild, this species varies from brown-tan to blue but to achieve a brilliant cobalt blue color, the aquarium strain was selectively bred.

Taxonomy

Here is the scientific classification of blue crayfish given below

Scientific classification
Kingdom:
Phylum:
Subphylum:
Class:
Order:
Family:
Genus:
Subgenus:
Species:
P. alleni
Binomial name
Procambarus alleni

Overview

Electric Blue Crayfish (Procambarus alleni) is one of the most popular invertebrates on the freshwater aquarium market, thanks to its eye-catching colour!

These creatures are also known as the Blue Crayfish, Sapphire Crayfish or Florida Crayfish, and are a unique addition to any tank. 

An Electric Blue Crayfish with direct view of the camera 

Those crayfish are florida endemic. They can be found throughout the state residing in many water bodies. They ‘re most often found east of the longest river in the country, the Saint Johns River, however. 

Electric Blue Crayfish are very hardy despite its delicate looks. They adapt well to nearly any setting.

Lifespan of Blue crayfish

Like most species of crayfish, the lifespan of the Electric Blue Crayfish is about five or six years which is relatively long. Living a little longer is possible for the crayfish but this is the average in captivity. 

If you want your crayfish to live as long as you can, you’ll have to work hard to care for them and keep their environment. 

Several issues can shorten their life expectancy, such as high levels of ammonia and illness. The key to helping your crayfish live as long as possible in order to always keep the water conditions in good shape.

Blue crayfish Appearance

Blue crayfish
Image by Nathan Daly from commons wikimedia

At first glance Electric Blue Crayfish is easy to mistake for lobsters. Truth is there aren’t any freshwater lobsters.

Crayfish belong to the same family, but are much smaller in size and possess some unique physical characteristics. 

The Crayfish Electric Blue has a hard exoskeleton. Throughout their lives they shed this protective shell multiple times as they grow bigger. 

Here the head was indeed located, the main part of their body, the thorax. You will spot a pair of dark black eyes if you look closely. 

Thorn-like horns protrude off the head to keep the eyes and mouth protected. It is like what you would see on a large lobster or small shrimp.

There are also a couple of antennae extending from the head. These antennas are used to help the surrounding crayfish smell and taste their food. 

Crayfish Electric Blue are leggy creatures! They have 4 pairs of tiny legs. These accompany their large cheliped pair, or claws. 

Its tail is on the crayfish’s backend. The tail is girthy like a lobster, and curves inward. The inside of the tail is covered by small appendages, called swimmerets.

Swimmerets help with crayfish swimming, as you might have guessed.

Of course the Electric Blue Crayfish’s most identifying feature is its colour. The most sought after specimens are those which take on a bright blue cobalt hue.

Often this bright blue color is accompanied by darker spots along the underside of the body, and some white sections. 

Other variations of color do exist. This is especially true in the wild, where crayfish covered in brown or tan are to be seen.

The blue specimens, though, are the ones you will most likely see in pet stores and aquariums. 

Males and females do have some differences. These differences are very subtle which makes it difficult to distinguish between the two. The biggest indicator is usually tail shape.

How big do blue crayfish get?

Electric Blue Crayfish gets to be about 4 to 6 inches long when fully grown. As we mentioned earlier, as they grow bigger the invertebrae will molt. 

Very often, this process happens when they are juveniles. Molting can still occur as an adult, but it’s far more rare once they reach their full adult size.

Blue crayfish Care

This species is a great option, whether you are a seasoned aquarist or a newbie looking to get something interesting for your tank.

Electric Blue Crayfish care is very straightforward because they are very resilient and can live comfortably in many different environments. 

However, you need to stick to some basic care guidelines. You have to provide a comfortable habitat for your crayfish if you want it to reach its full potential.

Blue crayfish Tank size

The ideal tank size for blue crayfish depends However, Some fish-keepers saw success raising Electric Blue Crayfish as small as 10 gallons in tanks. We ‘re not recommending that you go that small though. 

Due to their adult size, the minimum tank size that you should go with is 30 gallons. 

Juveniles, like a 20-gallon tank, can be raised in something smaller. But adults need plenty of room for exploration.

Sticking to a larger tank allows you to keep together multiple crayfish while minimizing the chance of aggressive behavior.

Water parameters

The trick to keep the fish or invertebrate happy is to replicate as much as possible of their natural habitat. They are no different from Electric Blue Crayfish.

However, because they live in many different types of Florida environments, you’ve got some generous parameters to work with. 

These crayfish can usually be found at the Saint Johns River or at smaller tributaries in the area. The waters are warmer and are relatively pH neutral. 

They’re quite gloomy too, but you obviously don’t have to replicate the gloom to keep your crayfish happy. These creatures should have no problem with adapting as long as you stick to the following parameters.

  • Water temperature: 65°F to 75°F (70°F should be ideal)
  • pH levels: 6.5 to 7.5
  • Water hardness: 3 to 10 dKH

Tank setup

The great thing about maintaining Electric Blue Crayfish is that when it comes to decor they ‘re not really picky.

Unlike other species of invertebrates and fish, you need not necessarily replicate a natural environment. Plastic plants or whimsical decorations can be used as you see fit. 

The only requirement is that of some sort of cave. 

Good options are an artificial cave, overturned pot, or PVC pipe. This cave serves as a crayfish hiding spot. 

An Electric Blue Crayfish that hides in the cave 

The cave should be fairly big. The crayfish will make the most use of it when they mold. They are very vulnerable to injuries and assaults during the molting process.

So it’s a must have to have some kind of protected housing. 

You can use live plants, driftwood, and other large decorations that will hide their location to provide even greater protection. 

However, exercise caution on live plants. Sapphire crayfish are known for eating delicate plants, uprooting them and destroying them. 

The bottom of the tank can be filled with gravel or sand. If you use a substratum of fine sand, the crayfish may burrow and dig every time. It is just another way you will enjoy hiding your crayfish. 

We recommend the use of a powerful filtration system when it comes to equipments. It should be able to make efficient cycling of the water.

Possible common diseases

Just like any other creature in your tank, Electric Blue Crayfish can become ill. Thankfully, due to their thick shells it prevents predators and then they tend to stay on the healthier side. 

If your crayfish gets sick, poor water conditions are more than likely to be the culprit. 

These creatures do not tolerate the high levels of ammonia or nitrate. They can become stressed out and more susceptible to infection. 

Fortunately, by making a 25 per cent water change, you can lower the chance of these problems occurring. To get the best results we recommend making water changes every week. 

Some crayfish can also carry illness into your tank. Crayfish Plague is a common problem in wildlife. It is causing both physical signs of infection and a loss of coordination. 

This can affect all of your invertebrae if brought into the tank. As it commonly affects crayfish in the wild, so be careful if you buy a wild-caught Electric Blue Crayfish.

You may want to check this article Flowerhorn fish: Food, lifespan, care, types and tank size

Blue crayfish Feeding

The omnivores are electric Blue Crayfish. They ‘re highly opportunistic and they’re going to eat whatever they can get their claws on! 

In captivity, you can feed a nice balanced diet of dry and live food into your crayfish. We like to give you these:

  • Standard sinking pellets
  • Dry flakes
  • Algae wafers

You can feed your crayfish shrimps or blanched vegetables for the occasional treat. 

We advise to feed your crayfish once a day. Feed small portions which can be managed. If you give them more than they can eat it ultimately will affect the quality of the water.

Behavior and Temperature

These creatures are feeders at the bottom of the tank which means they will spend all their time investigating and scavenging at the bottom. 

At the bottom of the aquarium is Procambarus allei 

Electric Blue Crayfish are not shy like other invertebrates! They ‘re very active, and are constantly moving around the tank. This makes them a pleasure to watch. 

Sure enough, these creatures can be aggressive and territorial. As we said earlier, they are going to eat whatever they can catch.

Sometimes they may be trying to catch nearby fish, but if the fish is paying attention they won’t see much success. 

You might even be witnessing your crayfish trying to make their efforts to mess with their tank mates a bit more creative.

Blue crayfish Tank mates

Maintaining other creatures with aggressive invertebrates is typically a big no-no. That is not the case with mates of Electric Blue Crayfish tanks, though. 

This species can be kept in large community tanks as long as you do some planning in advance. 

These crayfish occupy the water column underneath. So, to avoid any issues, you should add fish that live in other parts of the tank. Make sure you get the swimmers quick! 

Sapphire Crayfish is going to try to catch and eat any fish passing by. If you have fast-swimming fish, you can rest easy knowing the crayfish can’t catch it.

Here are some good tank mates add up with blue crayfish consider:

Blue crayfish Breeding

In captivity, electric Blue Crayfish are bred fairly extensively. At once they can lay hundreds of eggs, filling your tank with lots of color. 

When a bonded pair is ready to breed, place them in a separate breeding tank for their unique ritual. The male is about to deposit a sperm sack on the female. She will then lay her eggs for fertilization as she passes them through the sperm. 

Then, for about a month, she will carry the eggs under her tail. Before the eggs hatch, the male should be removed to ensure he doesn’t eat the babies. 

Some 4 weeks after breeding, tiny crayfish will emerge. The female may have a few days after birth to care for the young.

After about 3 days though, you should remove her from the tank to avoid aggressive behavior. 

You can keep raising the babies with foods such as spirulina, shrimp baby brine, and pellets. The crayfish will grow very fast and in no time will provide you with a tank full of large invertebrates.

How long do blue crayfish live?

Usually Blue crayfish lives around 5 to 6 years. However, it depends on their living environment.

Concluding Thoughts

Now that you are an Electric Blue Crayfish care expert, the choice is yours to decide whether this species is the right one for you. 

We watched those fascinating criteria for hours. More so than almost any other species of freshwater which we owned! 

We definitely think they ‘re worth considering with their vibrant color, low-maintenance care requirements and high level of activity. 

If you’re still unsure whether they’re right for you, or just have some pictures or tips that you think we should include, let us know! We hope you enjoyed this guide about care and we look forward to making another guide.

 

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