21 Jul 2004

Caring for Adolescent Crays

Dear Blue Lobster:

i just got 3 baby lobsters they are family will they stil fight i was just asking i have them in a 15 gallon.

Dear Gentle Sir:

Just like any other family, your crays are dependent upon a stable home. Without their mother or father to care for them, you must provide the guidance and discretion required to raise a healthy family. Fighting is only one small facet of these young crays' behavior that will need touched upon in the years ahead as they mature and hopefully become self-sufficient, productive members of society. The dangers of letting these orphans grow up without a loving environment make it clear that you must provide a loving home.

Crayfish juvenile delinquency is a widespread problem in aquariums today, and one that does not garner the attention it deserves. One out of every five crayfish tanks is home to young crayfish with a history of illegal activity; it is estimated that 22% of all crays under the age of three will commit a violent act before their first thirty molts. Criminal tendencies especially present themselves in mixed environs where crays of different species grow up together. Such problems increase when other crustacean families, like prawn, crabs, and water fleas, cohabit. Animals of other phyla are also at risk for a clawing by unorderly cray youth.

To prevent unruliness and ensure a stable home, make sure your crays have plenty of hiding places, at least five gallons of water each to themselves, plenty of live plants in the tank to munch on, and healthy interaction with you, their new foster parent. Nothing is more important to a young cray than to know that they have a strong base where they can feel comfortable and unthreatened.

Open dialog helps maintain such an environment, so make sure to play with the crays early on, letting them become acclimated to physical activity with you. Touch is important at such a young age. As they mature, be sure to listen to their questions and comments regarding the tank and their food. It's hard to make a healthy home in a poorly-built house. When puberty hits and the crays start becoming territorial, increase the size of the tank and perhaps introduce more physical activity to help them burn off their frustrations. That algae brush is good for more than cleaning the sides of the tank!

Checking the childcare section at your local bookseller might aid in raising the crays as the years go by as undoubtedly unexpected problems crop up. With plenty of interaction and an attentive eye, you should be able to not only keep your crays from fighting but also nurture them into robust adults that can one day birth their own little cray-families.

Just think: One day you'll have grand-children to spoil!

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