Blue Crayfish (Procambarus alleni 'Blue')

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Blue Crayfish
Procambarus alleni 'Blue'
Blue Crayfish (Procambarus alleni 'Blue')
Name Blue Crayfish
Name Lat. Procambarus alleni 'Blue'
Family Freshwater Crayfish
Family lat. Cambaridae
Order Decapoda
Order lat. Decapoda
Origin North America
Habitat Streams, swamps
Diet Carrion, leaves, crayfish food
pH 6.0-8.0
Behavior Aggressive
Keeping Individual, pair, group
Care Level Moderate
Reproduction Egg layer
Breeding Moderately difficult
Life Span 3-6 years
Protection No
Metric Units
Size 12 cm
Temperature 15-30 °C
Hardness 5-15 °dH
Aquarium 100 l
US Units
Size 4.7"
Temperature 59-86 °F
Hardness 89-267 ppm
Aquarium 25 gal

Distribution and habitat

The Florida crayfish wild form originates from Florida (USA). It lives mainly in stagnant or weakly flowing waters, but also in swamps and floodplains and can survive dry periods when buried in moist soil.


They need a well-structured aquarium with roots, stones and robust plants, with hiding places (caves, crab tubes) and a moderate current. The substrate should be sand or gravel, partially covered with foliage (e.g. sea almond leaves, oak leaves).

No ammonia, ammonium and nitrite should be detectable in the aquarium water, the nitrate value should not exceed 100 mg/l. To ensure water quality and oxygen content, a filter and heater adapted to the size of the aquarium is required, as well as lighting for the species-appropriate day-night rhythm of the animals. When choosing the filter, special care should be taken to ensure that the animals cannot be sucked in.


They feed on animal organisms, carrion and dead plant material. They prefer live food, such as daphnia, artemia and fish, which is also accepted in frozen form, as well as foliage (e.g. oak, beech, maple, birch), food tablets, granulated and flake food. Occasionally, vegetable food in the form of spirulina, kelp or scalded leafy vegetables should be offered.

Regular and varied feeding promotes health and prevents deficiency symptoms. Unaccepted food must be removed after 2-3 hours.

Behaviour and compatibility

They behave aggressively within the species, but also towards other crayfish, therefore keeping several pairs or groups is only recommended in a much larger and richly structured tank. They can be socialized with shrimps, snails and smaller peaceful fish, but it is better to keep them in a species tank.

Basically, only compatible animals with similar demands on water quality and water temperature should be socialized.

Reproduction and breeding

Males can be identified by the pointed claws and the gonopods (mating styli) on the abdomen of the underside of the body. Males have 3 swimming legs, females 5. During mating, the male turns the female onto her back shortly after her molt and transfers a sperm package with his gonopods. The female carries the eggs (50-100 of them) on her pleopods (webbed feet) and supplies them with oxygen by movement (fanning). Dead or non-developing eggs are eaten by the female. The young hatch after about 4 weeks.


They are not particularly demanding on water quality and can stay on land for a long period of time (semiterrestrial). It can happen that a Florida crayfish is missing a claw. Usually these are females that have lost a claw during mating. The missing claw slowly grows back during the following molts.

The foliage (e.g., sea almond tree or oak) encourages the development of microorganisms as it rots, providing a valuable secondary food source.

The well-being of the animals should be monitored regularly. Temperature should be checked daily, pH, hardness and nitrate levels at least every 14 days. Regular partial water changes are recommended, even when contaminant levels have not yet reached the upper limit. Sudden changes in water quality should be avoided. Newly introduced animals must be accustomed slowly to the water in the aquarium.

Further literature can be found in your pet store.


Text: Barbara Pachner; Image: Franz Lowak

Source: LUKHAUP & PEKNY (2008): Süßwasserkrebse aus aller Welt, Dähne Verlag; ENGELMANN & LANGE (2011): Zootierhaltung - Tiere in menschlicher Obhut: Wirbellose, Verlag Harri Deutsch