dwarf crayfish
 

Cambarellus genus of dwarf crayfish, containing:
Cambarellus patzcuarensis Orange (CPO/orange dwarf crayfish/Mexican dwarf crayfish), Cambarellus shufeldtii (Cajun dwarf crayfish), Cambarellus montezumae, Cambarellus ninae, etc.

Natural habitat:
Dwarf crayfish are mainly found in Mexico and southern parts of the USA. Their primary habitat consists of lakes, small streams and slow-flowing rivers.

IMG_3566
Mexican dwarf crayfish are selectively bred for a bright orange color. IMG_3566 by captkodak on Flickr.

Appearance:
Dwarf crayfish are freshwater crustaceans that look somewhat like a tiny version of lobsters. Most wild varieties have a brown-greyish color with darker stripes that allows them to blend in with the environment; a slight hint of blue or orange is also sometimes seen, but is often limited to the pincers. Females will sometimes carry eggs between their back legs.
If you find a strange, empty, crayfish-shaped shell in your aquarium, don’t worry! Your dwarf crayfish hasn’t died, it has molted.

Requirements:
Dwarf crayfish are rather undemanding when it comes to tank size and water values; couples/trios of almost all of them do fine in a tank of at least around 8 gallons (30 liter), and trios of the smallest types, like Cambarellus shufeldtii (Cajun dwarf crayfish), can be kept in 5+ gallon (20 liter) aquariums as long as there are multiple hiding places for every one of them. Heavy filtration isn’t necessary, but at least a small filter is required to allow the tank to cycle and remove particles. Never introduce dwarf crayfish to an uncycled aquarium! They don’t react to nitrites and ammonia well. For more information on how to cycle an aquarium, check out this article.

CPO
Shrimp hides will be much appreciated by your dwarf crays as well! CPO by susanne.lajcsak on Flickr.

Dwarf crayfish love to hide, so lots of hiding spots are definitely necessary to prevent stress and territorial battles. Plants, wood and piles of rocks are all great options – my Cajun dwarf crayfish especially love their shrimp flat. At least one of them can be found inside it at any given time! Hiding places are especially important when a crayfish has just molted, because it will be very vulnerable for the first few hours.

As for tank mates, dwarf crayfish don’t limit your options like their bigger cousins do – they are quite peaceful and usually won’t kill fish unless they’re weak or very tiny, or have long flowy fins. Small snails, baby shrimp and bamboo shrimp may also be damaged by dwarf crayfish, but apart from that, they’re usually harmless.

Diet:
These crayfish are omnivores and will eat pretty much anything. I feed mine Hikari Crab Cuisine as a staple (I wrote a review of it a while ago for everyone who is considering to buy it), along with all kinds of other foods: frozen blood worms/black mosquito larvae, pieces of algae pellet, peas, and even the gel food I made for my goldfish! Their varied diet make dwarf crays a great addition to your aquarium cleaning crew.

Behaviour:
If you’re interested in keeping shrimp but think they’re a bit too boring for you, you might want to consider one of the many dwarf crayfish species! They show much more personality towards each other and even towards you. They can often be observed carefully approaching each other and suddenly making a huge jump backwards when one of them gets too close. When you approach the aquarium, you’ll often see them running towards you, pincers raised, ready to defend their territory – seemingly forgetting how small they are. Quite adorable!

Sorry little fella, you're not really as intimidating as you think you are :(
Sorry little fella, you’re not really as intimidating as you think you are :(

Breeding:
Breeding dwarf crayfish is not too difficult and actually quite similar to breeding dwarf shrimp; after the mating process, eggs will develop under the female’s back legs. If the eggs are dark colored, they are fertilized and will hatch into tiny copies of the parents in around 3-4 weeks. The fry will eat leftover food, rotting plant bits and, occasionally, each other – be sure to provide extra hiding places for a high survival rate!

pseudonym
pseudonym updated dwarf crayfish
2015-02-02 11:51:26 -0700
Cambarellus genus of dwarf crayfish, containing: Cambarellus patzcuarensis Orange (CPO/orange dwarf crayfish/Mexican dwarf crayfish), Cambarellus shufeldtii (Cajun dwarf crayfish), Cambarellus montezumae, Cambarellus ninae, etc. Natural habitat: Dwarf crayfish are mainly found in Mexico and southern parts of the USA. Their primary habitat consists of lakes, small streams and slow-flowing rivers. IMG_3566 Mexican dwarf crayfish are selectively bred for a bright orange color. IMG_3566 by captkodak on Flickr. Appearance: Dwarf crayfish are freshwater crustaceans that look somewhat like a tiny version of lobsters. Most wild varieties have a brown-greyish color with darker stripes that allows them to blend in with the environment;
pseudonym
pseudonym posted on dwarf crayfish
2015-02-02 11:51:24 -0700
pseudonym
pseudonym created dwarf crayfish on dwarf crayfish
2015-02-02 11:50:38 -0700
Cambarellus genus of dwarf crayfish, containing: Cambarellus patzcuarensis Orange (CPO/orange dwarf crayfish/Mexican dwarf crayfish), Cambarellus shufeldtii (Cajun dwarf crayfish), Cambarellus montezumae, Cambarellus ninae, etc. Natural habitat: Dwarf crayfish are mainly found in Mexico and southern parts of the USA. Their primary habitat consists of lakes, small streams and slow-flowing rivers. IMG_3566 Mexican dwarf crayfish are selectively bred for a bright orange color. IMG_3566 by captkodak on Flickr. Appearance: Dwarf crayfish are freshwater crustaceans that look somewhat like a tiny version of lobsters. Most wild varieties have a brown-greyish color with darker stripes that allows them to blend in with the environment;

Invertebrate Specs

Scientific Name
Environment
Fresh
Min Tank Size
8 gallons
Max Size
2.0 in.
Chemistry
6.5 - 8.0 pH
Temperature
72 - 82 °F
Temperament
Peaceful
Diet
Omnivore
Difficulty
Moderate