What Are the Characteristics of a Dwarf Crayfish?

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Dwarf crayfish usually grow to 1.5 to 2 inches in length. In the wild, they are brown or gray with brown or blue tints, but a selectively bred bright-orange variety is popular in the aquarium market. Dwarf crayfish thrive in small tanks by themselves or in large tanks with other fish. They are omnivores and eat a variety of plant and animal life.

Several dwarf crayfish can thrive in a tank as small as 5 gallons, but if they are put with other fish, the tanks should be much larger. A tank cover is necessary to prevent dwarf crayfish from escaping. They do not eat aquarium plants, so an abundance of plants, pieces of wood and rocks allows them the hiding places they need. Filtration is necessary to remove waste and keep the tank fresh. As long as fish are not too small and do not have over-large fins, dwarf crayfish do not attack them, but dwarf crayfish attack and feed on tiny fish, baby shrimp and small snails. Dwarf crayfish feed on mosquito larvae, blood worms, fish flakes and algae pellets. They are also scavengers and help clean the tank by feeding on accumulated waste and algae.

Dwarf crayfish are not difficult to breed in the tank. After mating, eggs form between the back legs of the female. In 3 to 4 weeks, they hatch into tiny crayfish identical to their parents. The newborns feed on any available food source, including each other, so it is important to have an abundance of places where they can hide.