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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My female Cherax sp. "Zebra" crayfish bred with her boyfriend (for the first time!) a couple days after our move last month. I've been trying to keep a close eye on her, but she obviously hides a lot so I usually can only get a good look every few days. Well, the Friday before last I managed to coax her out with food and saw that after over a month, her eggs had finally hatched. After checking my crayfish resources, I learned that once they're hatched, they will keep them for about another two weeks before they're released, so I promptly set up another 20gal long as my crayfish nursery tank. I've been keeping an even closer eye on my girl since then, as I didn't want to move her until I had to. Well, last night as I was on my way to bed and went in to shut the light off, I peeked in at her to see that she looked ready to burst with mini cray babies. I grabbed a net and immediately moved her to the nursery tank - they're so close to popping that three of them even came loose when I gently scooped her into the net. They are so freaking cute! Lol. So far she hasn't released the rest of the group, just the odd one here and there that has broken free...but seriously, they're adorable. They're about 3/8" right off of mom, and you can see their little pinchers and everything.

Anyway, to start with, here's their tank:


It's not meant to be pretty (though it actually was before I added the "ground cover" just now), it's just meant to be as complicated as possible with tons of hiding places, as baby crays are cannibals. It will also need to be upgraded in about a month I think...I'll be clearing out my 46gal which has the same footprint as a 55gal at that point.

And now to the cool but creepy part, lol. Mom is still carrying around the clutch, but they are barely clinging on. If you look at her from above, her tail is about double with width that it actually is, from them poking out. It's so cool but looks creepy at the same time...all these moving little things with black eyes and legs everywhere, lol. These pics actually turned out better than expected...I took them sideways with one hand as they were taken from the side of the tank, which only has about a 6" gap between it and the wall. I basically just guessed at a target and clicked, lol.




Cord got in the way of this one...


Lol if you look reallllllly closely on the second picture, you can see one of those tiny little pinchers...
 

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Etouffee, anyone? :lol:

I can't see a crawfish without wanting to eat it!

Great pics, SK! I learned something today! I had no clue that they carried their little ones like that. I hope you'll update the thread on a regular basis with more pics!
 
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That is freaking awesome!!! Great job breeding these guys. Are these the ones that go for $30 a pop at the stores? You got some big bucks coming your way. :D
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
dntx5b9 said:
That is freaking awesome!!! Great job breeding these guys. Are these the ones that go for $30 a pop at the stores? You got some big bucks coming your way. :D
Yes indeed they ARE! I paid $30 each for both mom and dad...so I'm planning on selling the babies at $5 when the reach about 2". Hella cheap but should bring in some bucks for me ;)

Lol thanks for the comments everyone. I'll update with some pics of the free-roaming babies once they're released and scooting around the tank.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Any crustacean (least that I'm aware of) has tons of babies. They have to...only a couple will end up surviving to adulthood and reproduce, so it's a strength in numbers thing.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
All right...peeked in on the fam just now, and she's hanging out in full view from the surface, and the kids are starting to come off in droves. They're all hanging out with her still, maybe encouraging their brothers and sisters who haven't taken the plunge yet? Lol. Pics are bad, since they're from the surface down, but you get the point.









 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
The parents are a perfect pair. They have been living together in a 20gal long (just the two of them) for about six months, and get along completely. They even share the same cave most of the time, despite having others to use. The parents won't be kept with the kids - once Mom has released them all, I'll remove her from the nursery tank and put her back in with her hubby. Crayfish as a rule are cannibals however, adults who are not paired will attack each other and yes, the babies will eat each other. The key is to provide a very complicated living space with tons of hiding places to optimize the survival rate. In about a month, the group will be moved to a 46gal (same foodprint as a 55gal), and hopefully that will do them for an additional six months or so.

As for food, they pretty much eat any of the sinking foods for bottom feeders, shrimp pellets, etc. The female actually really loves just plain old flake fish food...she'll often ignore the pellets when I feed them and wait for the flakes. The babies will eat crushed flakes as well, and the occasional sinking pellet.
 
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Is that species dimorphic? Do you special order yours or anything? My LFS only has blue ones (and brown feeder ones too I guess for puffers or something) and one is usually bigger than the rest and drags the smaller ones into his cave... It's usually a cool sight (the bigger one doesn't appear to harm, just terrorize) especially when (rarely) the liitle ones fight back.

Oh, and do they need regular water changes or lower maintenance than fish in any other way? I was thinking of doing a lowtech tank soon.
 
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