The Electric Blue Crayfish is a freshwater species you have to see to believe. The number of people who’ve said “that’s photoshopped” when we showed them pictures is through the roof!
But if you ignore their stunning color, there’s still a lot to like about this creature. These crayfish are easy to care for and a blast to watch (they are always up to something).
This guide will teach you the essentials of Electric Blue Crayfish care, so you’ll be prepared if you decide to get one for yourself.
Table of Contents
Thanks to their eye-catching color, Electric Blue Crayfish (Procambarus alleni) are one of the most popular invertebrates in the freshwater aquarium market! Also known as the Blue Crayfish, Sapphire Crayfish or Florida Crayfish, these creatures are a unique addition to any tank.
These crayfish are endemic to Florida. They can be found residing in many bodies of water throughout the state. However, they’re most often found east of the country’s longest river, the Saint Johns River.
Despite their delicate looks, Electric Blue Crayfish are very hardy. They adapt well to almost any environment. As a result, they’re a good choice for aquarists of any skill level.
Like most crayfish species, the Electric Blue Crayfish lifespan is about 5 or 6 years which is relatively long. It is possible for the crayfish to live a bit longer, but this is the average in captivity.
If you want your crayfish to live as long as possible, you will need to work hard to care for them and maintain their environment.
Several issues, such as high ammonia levels and disease, can shorten their life expectancy. The key to helping your crayfish live as long as possible to keep water conditions in good shape at all times.
At first glance, it’s easy to mistake Electric Blue Crayfish for lobsters. Truth is, freshwater lobsters don’t exist. Crayfish belong to the same family, but they are much smaller in size and have some unique physical characteristics.
The Electric Blue Crayfish has a tough exoskeleton. They shed this protective shell multiple times throughout their life as they get bigger.
The main part of their body, the thorax, is where the head is located. If you look closely, you’ll spot a pair of dark black eyes.
To keep the eyes and mouth protected, thorn-like horns protrude from the head. It’s similar to what you’d see on a large lobster or small shrimp.
Also extending from the head are a couple of antennae. These antennae are used to help the crayfish smell their surroundings and taste their food.
Electric Blue Crayfish are leggy creatures! They have four pairs of small legs. These accompany their large pair of chelipeds, or claws.
On the backend of the crayfish is their tail. Like a lobster, the tail is girthy and curves inward. Tiny appendages, called swimmerets, cover the inside of the tail. As you might have guessed, swimmerets help crayfish swim.
Of course, the most identifying feature of the Electric Blue Crayfish is its color. The most sought-after specimens are those that take on a bright cobalt blue hue. Oftentimes, this bright blue color is accompanied by darker spots and some white sections along the underside of the body.
Other color varieties do exist. This is especially true in the wild, where you’ll see crayfish covered in brown or tan. However, the blue specimens are the ones you’re most likely to see in pet stores and aquariums.
There are some differences between males and females. These differences are very subtle, making it hard to distinguish the two. Usually, the biggest indicator is the shape of the tail.
Males tend to have a straighter tail that’s a bit longer when fully extended.
When fully grown, Electric Blue Crayfish get to be about 4 to 6 inches long. As we mentioned earlier, the invertebrae will molt as they get bigger.
This process happens very frequently when they’re juveniles. Molting can still occur as an adult, but it’s much more infrequent once they have reached their full adult size.
Electric Blue Crayfish Care
Whether you’re a seasoned aquarist or a newbie looking to get something interesting for your tank, this species is a great option. Electric Blue Crayfish care is very easy because they’re very resilient and can live comfortably in many different kinds of environments.
Nevertheless, there are some basic care guidelines you need to stick to. You must provide your crayfish with a comfortable habitat if you want them to reach their full potential.
Some fish-keepers have seen success raising Electric Blue Crayfish in tanks as small as 10 gallons. However, we don’t recommend going that small.
Because of their size as an adult, the minimum tank size you should go with is 30 gallons.
Juveniles can be raised in something smaller, such as a 20-gallon tank. But adults need plenty of space to explore. Sticking to a larger tank allows you to keep multiple crayfish together while reducing the chance of aggressive behavior.
The trick to keeping fish or invertebrate happy is to replicate their natural habitat as much as possible. Electric Blue Crayfish are no different. However, because they live in many different kinds of environments in Florida, you have some generous parameters to work with.
Usually, these crayfish can be found in the Saint Johns River or smaller tributaries in the area. The waters are warmer and relatively neutral in pH.
They’re also quite murky, but you obviously don’t need to replicate the murkiness to keep your crayfish happy. As long as you stick to the following parameters, these creatures should have no problem adapting.
- Water temperature: 65°F to 75°F (70°F is ideal)
- pH levels: 6.5 to 7.5
- Water hardness: 3 to 10 dKH
Setting Up The Inside Of Their Tank
The great thing about keeping Electric Blue Crayfish is that they’re not really picky when it comes to decor. Unlike other invertebrate and fish species, you don’t necessarily have to replicate a natural environment. You can use plastic plants or whimsical decorations how you see fit.
The only requirement is some kind of cave.
An artificial cave, overturned pot, or PVC pipe are all good options. This cave will act as a hiding spot for the crayfish.
The cave should be relatively large. The crayfish will use it most when they are molting. During the molting process, they are very vulnerable to injuries and attacks. So, having some kind of protected housing is a must-have.
To provide even more protection, you can utilize live plants, driftwood, and other large decorations that will hide their location.
Exercise caution with live plants, though. Sapphire Crayfish are notorious for eating, uprooting, and destroying delicate plants.
You can fill the bottom of the tank with gravel or sand. If you use a fine sand substrate, the crayfish may burrow and dig every once in a while. It’s just another form of hiding your crayfish will enjoy.
When it comes to equipment, we recommend using a powerful filtration system. It should be capable of cycling the water efficiently. Crayfish produce a lot of waste and are highly sensitive to extreme ammonia levels. Your filter needs to keep levels manageable.
Author Note: Another big thing to consider is the lid of your tank. Electric Blue Crayfish are escape artists that will climb on anything they can to get out of the aquarium!
You don’t have to worry about the crayfish prying your lid open, but they will try to escape if kept in a lidless environment.
Common Possible Diseases
Electric Blue Crayfish can get ill just like any other creature in your tank. Thankfully, they tend to stay on the healthier side due to their thick shells.
If your crayfish does get sick, the culprit will more than likely be poor water conditions.
These creatures do not tolerate high ammonia or nitrate levels. They can get stressed and become more susceptible to infections.
Luckily, you can lower the chance of these issues occurring by performing a 25 percent water change. We recommend doing water changes every week to get the best results.
Some crayfish can bring disease into your tank as well. Crayfish Plague is a common issue in the wild. It causes physical signs of infection as well as a loss of coordination.
If brought into the tank, it can affect all of your invertebrae. Since it commonly affects crayfish in the wild, so be wary if you are purchasing a wild-caught Electric Blue Crayfish.
Food & Diet
Electric Blue Crayfish are omnivores. They’re highly opportunistic and will eat anything they can get their claws on!
In captivity, you can feed your crayfish a nice balanced diet of dry and live food. We like to give them:
- Standard sinking pellets
- Dry flakes
- Algae wafers
For the occasional treat, you can feed your crayfish shrimp or blanched vegetables.
We recommend feeding your crayfish once a day. Feed small portions that they can manage. If you give them more than they can eat it will ultimately affect the water quality.
Behavior & Temperament
These creatures are bottom feeders which means they’ll spend all of their time investigating and scavenging at the bottom of the tank.
Unlike other invertebrates, Electric Blue Crayfish aren’t shy! They’re very active and will move around the tank constantly. This makes them a joy to watch.
These creatures can definitely be aggressive and territorial. As we said earlier, they will eat anything they can catch. Sometimes they might try to catch nearby fish, but they won’t see much success if the fish is paying attention.
You might even witness your crayfish trying to get a bit more creative with their efforts to mess with their tank mates. They can often be seen climbing on decorations to get closer to fish or the tank lid.
Electric Blue Crayfish Tank Mates
Typically, keeping other creatures with aggressive invertebrates is a big no-no. However, that’s not the case with Electric Blue Crayfish tank mates.
As long as you do some planning ahead of time, this species can be kept in large community tanks.
These crayfish occupy the bottom of the water column. So, you should add fish that live in other parts of the tank to avoid any problems. Make sure that you’re getting fast swimmers!
Sapphire Crayfish will attempt to catch and eat any fish that passes by. If you have fast-swimming fish, you can rest easy knowing that the crayfish won’t be able to catch them.
Here are some good tank mates to consider:
Author Note: You can also keep multiple crayfish in one tank but it needs to be large enough to give each specimen its space. Keeping the crayfish well-fed is also important or else you’ll run the risk of fighting and aggression.
Electric Blue Crayfish are bred pretty extensively in captivity. They can lay hundreds of eggs at once, filling your tank with lots of color.
When a bonded pair is ready to breed, put them in a separate breeding tank so that they can perform their unique ritual. The male will deposit a sack of sperm onto the female. She will then lay her eggs while passing them through the sperm for fertilization.
Then, she’ll carry the eggs under her tail for about a month. The male should be removed before the eggs hatch to ensure that he will not eat the babies.
Tiny crayfish will emerge approximately 4 weeks after breeding. The female may care for the young for a few days after birth. However, you should remove her from the tank after about 3 days to avoid aggressive behavior.
You can continue to raise the babies with foods like spirulina, baby brine shrimp, and pellets. The crayfish will grow up very fast, providing you with a tank full of large invertebrates in no time.
Time To Get One For Yourself?
Now that you’re an expert in Electric Blue Crayfish care, the choice is yours to decide if this species is right for you.
We’ve spent hours watching these fascinating critters. More so than almost any other freshwater species we’ve owned!
With their vibrant color, low-maintenance care requirements, and high activity level, we definitely think they’re worth considering.
If you’re still unsure if they’re right for you, or simply have some photos or tips you think we should include, let us know! We hope you enjoyed this care guide and we look forward to making another.