Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Blue Lobster / Blue Crayfish



Data Sheet

Scientific Name: Procambarus alleni
Other Names: Blue crayfish, Blue Florida Crayfish, Electric Blue Crayfish, Everglades Crayfish
Origin:Florida
Adult Size:10-15 cm
Social:Poor. Highly territorial and aggressive.
Lifespan:20 years
Tank Level: bottom
Blue Lobster
Minimum Tank Size:20 gallons and bigger
Diet: omnivore (scavenger)
Breeding:Egg-Layer
Care:Medium
Ideal pH: 7.0
Temperature: 10-22 C (55 - 70F)
Tank setup: Allow for gravel or sand substrate. Some caves will be welcomed. Plants are highly recommended.
Sexing:The male blue lobster's claws are generally larger and more elongated and if you turn him upside down he has two claspers near his vent that look like hockey sticks. The females blue lobster claws are shorter and more rounded and she lacks the claspers.


Blue Lobster coming out of hiding place.

Blue Lobsters with pincers raised

Close up of a dark blue



Close up of bright blue colors.

Lots of baby blue lobster


Lobster with shell mold.

Description:

The blue lobster that is found in aquarium hobby is actually not a true lobster, but rather a blue color crayfish. For the purpose of this article, I will refer to them as blue lobster. Like its name suggest, the Blue lobster is blue in color and shades of blue vary from bright electric blue to a duller bluish white. Other then their unique coloration, they are highly similar to other crayfish and lobsters. By maturity, Blue Florida Crayfish achieve lengths of 15 centimeters.

Habitat/Care:

In the wild, Blue Lobsters are usually found in wetlands biome or habitats that have distinct wet and dry seasons. Although Blue Lobsters trend to be abundant in wet seasons, they are extremely well hidden in periods by burrowing into the mud. When water is abundant, Blue Lobsters stay near the bottom of the flooded area, eating invertebrates and algae.

It is recommended that the tank mirror their environment by providing some fine sand or gravel, and allow a cave or place for hiding when the blue lobsters are stressed. Plants are highly recommended as they provide a source of food and hiding places. As long as the tank contains enough water, blue lobsters should be able to bury themselves.

Because they require a large tank, blue lobsters should be keep in a tank of at least 20 gallons. They are excellent escape artists, and the tank should have a tight lib.. Temperatures should remain between 10 and 22 degrees Celsius. They usually require pH values upward of 7.0. It has been reported that the addition of freshwater salt greatly enhances the health of this species.

Usually, Blue Lobster get along well with other fast, medium size fishes. However, small and slower fishes will be eaten, and larger but slower fishes may be injured by the Blue Lobster. Larger, carnivorous fishes view Blue Lobsters as a tasty snack. Blue Lobsters are highly territorial and they should NOT be kept with others of their kind, or they may fight and gravely injure one another, unless there are lots of hiding place and the tank is large enough for all of them.

Blue Lobsters continuously molds (they will drop off their shell) as they grows bigger. During the juvenile period, the molding is fairly rapid, but slows down as it grows

Diet:


Blue lobsters aren't actually very fussy when it comes to food. In the wild, they eat aquatic plants, algae, rotting vegetation that falls into the water, snails, fish, and even the decomposing flesh of animals that die in or near the water.The trick is never to over-feed them, as uneaten food could contaminate the tank quickly. Fish flakes are great for baby lobbies, while shrimp pellets are perfect for adults.

Two large crushed flakes a day are plenty for babies, one in the morning and another in the evening. For adults, a large pellet for breakfast and then another for dinner should do it. You can also try feeding them water lettuce, water hyacinth, water cress and romaine lettuce.

Breeding:


The male blue lobster's claws are generally larger and more elongated and if you turn him upside down he has two claspers near his vent that look like hockey sticks. The females blue lobster claws are shorter and more rounded and she lacks the claspers. During the mating act, the male initiates copulation, and the Blue Lobsters will clean each other as part of the mating ritual.

After mating, the eggs are carried in the female pleopods. Blue Lobsters eggs normally hatch in about four weeks. They emerge as miniature versions of adults, though lacking reproductive organs. In the first 24 hours of life, Blue Florida Crayfish fry must molt, and many may not survive this first molt. You should begin changing the water regularly and maintaining the best water conditions possible to aid the fry in surviving. They can be fed freshly hatched brine shrimp, microworms, or liquefied foods. After about two weeks, the young Florida Blue Crayfish have generally become much more hardy. They will still be rather transparent, but by the time they reach sexual maturity they will have gained adult coloration.

Got a photo? Contact me






References Cited:

Pet Central Com [Online]. Available, http://www.centralpets.com/animals/fish/freshwater_inverts/fwi5009.html
Lobster Care Sheet, [Online], Available, http://www.petco.com/caresheets/fish/Lobster.pdf
Charles Drew (2004) Spawning the Florida Blue Crayfish Procambarus alleni, newsletter of the Hamilton and District Aquarium Society, October 2004
Holy Spirit Spirit Interactive, Lobsters Care and Feeding, , [Online], Available http://www.holyspiritinteractive.net/kids/pets4us/lobsters/lobsters_03.asp

Blue Lobsters, Online, Available http://trouble.iotashan.com/animals/lobster.cfm

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