Keeping Spinycheek Crayfish (Orconectes limosus)
I suddenly and unexpectedly became keeper of a spinycheek crayfish (Orconectes limosus). I keep the 12 cm (4.8 inches) crayfish in a separate tank with sand, larger pebbles and plants.
He already dug out the plants, however they are not for aesthetic but only for biological purposes, and he can do with them whatever he wants.
sooner or later this will most likely turn out to be "take them apart and at least partly eat them"!
Until now I have been feeding only animal food, i.e. crab and fish meat chunks. What else can I give the crayfish, e.g. fish food tablets, mosquito larvae?
The crayfish will literally eat anything that in any way resembles food, the crayfish are not finicky. sera crabs natural is suitable as a staple food, and you can also give them various types of fish food. When doing so, food tablets (e.g. sera O-nip, sera viformo and sera Plankton Tabs) and freeze dried food animal blocks (e.g. sera FD Artemia Shrimps) are of course more convenient than flakes or other food that consists of very small morsels.
From his size I suppose he is fully grown, or will he continue to grow?
No, he is fully grown with 12 cm.
He has lost one antenna (due to a fight with another crayfish?). I suppose he will grow a new one when he sheds his skin next time, thus my question: at which intervals do these crayfish shed their skin? Until now, I have experience only with freshwater shrimps that shed their skin in rather short intervals.
Skin shedding takes place less frequently the older they get, as there is no need to due the shell becoming too small. The rate can go down to about once a year, possibly even less. The missing feeler does not cause the animal any problems, loss of mlimbs is very common. Lost limbs are replaced during the forthcoming skin sheddings, altough the do not have yet their full size at first. This will be achieved only after several skin sheddings.
Dr. Bodo Schnell