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4 weeks with the babies

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  • David Johnson
    I really can t call them babies any more ... I have to start calling them kids. When we first rescued them, they were 1/4 inch long more or less. Ebi was
    Message 1 of 2 , Jun 3, 2007
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      I really can't call them babies any more ... I have to start calling them
      kids.

      When we first rescued them, they were 1/4 inch long more or less. Ebi was
      slightly smaller and transparent, Zaregani was opague.

      For the first week we would see Zaregani inside the loofah that we got for
      them, and Ebi stayed under the sponge so we only saw her occasionally.

      By the end of the first week, they were both about 1/2" long, and looked more
      like mutant ghost shrimp than anything else. The front claws were there but
      undeveloped.

      Ebi disappeared for about a week and we thought she was fish food. When she
      reappeared, she was motoring around the bottom of the tank like there was no
      tomorrow and cozying up to the fish. Zaregani, while 1/4 inch longer, was
      quite timid and rarely strayed more than 2 body lengths from the sponge.

      At this stage, Ebi and Zaregani were both fairly sociable, sometimes eating
      meals together and sharing a hidey-hole for sleeping.

      I caught Zaregani stalking the fish in the tank. While he did not represent
      an immediate threat because of his size, both he and Ebi were moved to a new
      tank before hunting became an issue.

      In the new tank, the two shared a burrow under some Java Moss for a few days
      before Zaregani started becoming territorial. Ebi lost a claw in the first
      fight, but they appear to have resolved their territories for now. Zaregani
      prefers one of the caves under the rocks, while Ebi keeps the burrow under
      the Java moss and the other rock cave.

      Both of them will drag any food into the java moss burrow, but they eat alone
      now. Ebi avoids Zaregani now.

      Ebi is a full 1 3/4" long today, while Zaregani is still 1 1/2" long. Ebi is
      also heftier than Zaregani now. This reversal in size is sudden,
      unexpected, and caused me some confusion.

      When I looked into the tank today, I thought Zaregani had lost a claw! After
      a moment's panic, I found Zaregani calmly munching on an algae wafer with
      both claws still intact.

      Both are showing good front claw development, and the claw tips are starting
      to show blue like their mother's. Their overall coloration is so close to
      that of the sand bed in the aquarium that I have trouble seeing them if they
      don't move.

      They are averse to light early in the evening, but they no longer react
      strongly to light once they are fully active.

      When we drop algae wafers in the tank, Zaregani runs around and gathers them
      all up, then runs around the tank until he is exhausted. He looks like a
      runaway christmas shopper on methamphetamines, with algae wafers in each claw
      and stacked on top of his head.

      When they get a bit bigger I'll have to separate them - at 10 gallons, my tank
      is too small for two crays as large as these should get.

      I tried to get pix, but digital cameras are a poor choice for macro shots into
      an aquarium. You can't get a decent focus with the autofocus, and there is
      no manual focus :o(

      I still have no idea what species they are. Unfortunately, the first steps in
      formally tracing the taxonomy of crayfish is to disect the first pleopods of
      a mature reproductive form male. This is hard on the crayfish, and requires
      a certain facility with "in-close" work, not to mention it doesn't help when
      you have juveniles and species that revert to juvenile form at the first molt
      after breeding.

      Cheers!

      David Johnson
      NW Arkansas
    • randymescaniuk
      This is is the first time I have ever heard of crayfish carrying things on their head. The marching around I first heard about when I read on the internet, an
      Message 2 of 2 , Jun 6, 2007
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        This is is the first time I have ever heard of crayfish carrying
        things on their head. The marching around I first heard about when I
        read on the internet, an account of the behavior of freshwater shrimp
        in a commercial operation that raised them for food. The group forms
        a pack with the larger ones in the front and middle. They march in
        one direction, going in circles since it is a round pond. I wondered
        if this behavior is because of high population densities and the
        differences in the wild. In the ocean crabs form lines and march
        several miles a day when they migrate.
        In my aquariums I don't feed them too much, trying to help keep the
        tanks clean. I know that an abudance of food helps them get along.
        When I first captured crayfish I put at least 7 (seven) Signal crays
        in a 20 gallon tank. They were between 3 1/2 and 7 1/2 inches long.
        I had bought and fabricated many caves or hideyholes. When I learned
        that a 20 gallon tank will support one 3 1/2 cray, I returned all
        but 3 to the river I had caught them in. I would have eaten them but
        the river is in an industrial area and I was worried about pollution.
        I started collecting small aquariums to give the crayfish privacy or
        seclusion.
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