Orange Dwarf Crayfish / Mexican Orange Dwarf Crayfish (Cambarellus patzcuarensis)
Orange Dwarf Crayfish are an amazing color variant of Cambarellus patzcuarensis which most of the specimens found in nature are brown and sometimes with a gray or blue tint. They rarely exist in nature but mainly the orange color variety is a result of the selective captive breed. The members of this kind mostly have similar patterns with different tones of orange. Especially after molting, they may have a pale color.
They are safe to keep in the planted tanks since they are harmless for the plants. Sometimes they may attack fishes. Especially the bottom feeders are in their range. But, most of the time they are not able to catch or harm the fish. In case the fish is weak or sick, they can catch and eat it.
Cannibalism is common for this kind as it is in most of the other crayfish species. Especially during the molting period, they are vulnerable to attacks of their kind while the exoskeleton hardening period is ongoing.
pH: 6,5 – 8,0
Hardness: 10-18 dGH
They mostly prefer alkaline waters with high hardness values since it is crucial for their exoskeleton development. Substrates that are rich in Calcium and Magnesium are a suitable choice with additional dosing(calcium & magnesium) to keep them healthy and support exoskeleton development.
Cambarellus patzcuarensis are quite good eaters and they consume anything that they can catch or reach with their claws. They can eat both vegetables and protein-rich foods or live foods. High-quality protein-based foods are best for them supported with some vegetables in their diet.
The best sexing method for this kind is checking the first pair of their pleopods. Males have rigid and longer pleopods with hooks at the forward ends, females have no hooks and pleopods are flexible and similar to the other four pairs.
The Male will catch the female from her back and deposit sperm to her stoma. Females will develop eggs and fertilize them with the stocked sperm. Depending on water temperature the eggs will appear under the female’s abdomen attached to her pleopods within 30 days. Eggs number can vary between 20-60. The eggs will hatch after 3-5 weeks and fully developed babies will drop to the tank. Female will aerate and keep the eggs clean by moving her pleopods constantly until they hatch.
Babies can be kept together with enough hiding places and food sources. If they won’t starve they will not attack each other seriously and harm. Water temperature is a factor in growth rate. In warmer water, they will grow faster and molt every 2-3 weeks. It is critical to keep the water rich in Calcium and Magnesium for proper molting and to support a good exoskeleton development. They usually start breeding after reaching around 2 centimeters in length and around 3-4 months old.