Dear Blue Lobster:
i am moving out of my ex wife's house (love stinks) and i want to bring my oh so precious crays with me. i was thinking of syphoning about a quarter of the water in my crays' tanks in individual buckets and then putting them in the tank in my new place plus some fresh water.
i'm kind of lost on what would be the most sound way of doing this...any suggestions?
Dear Gentle Sir:
Moving can be a traumatic time for crays and indeed all species of crustacea. Given proper preparation, however, you can minimize the impact the move has on your little fellow.
How you transport your cray depends on how far you're moving. If you're no farther than an hour from your new destination, you can allow your cray the freedom on perching on your should as you drive. You'll be able to tell it's having a good time as it sways his claws in the air along to the rhythm of the radio or some car songs you and your family might sing. Just remember to dropper it with water every few minutes lest it dry out.
Longer trips require some sort of water for the cray to rest in. A cray traveling over an hour should be accompanied by a five gallon bucket of water filled all the way to the top and sealed — and don't be afraid to pound the lid on with a rubber mallet or hammer. You may want to throw a few food pellets in with the cray. If it seems especially jumpy, grind and add a motion sickness pill or two to the water.
Long-distance moves that involve cross-country driving or flying are best done through airmail for the crayfish. With the following steps you can ensure your cray will meet you at your destination alive and healthy.
Reduce the temperature of your tank by a few degrees a day over the course of several weeks until it's near freezing. (Colder climate crays' temps can be lowered a little more rapidly than tropical species.) You can plan on feeding them less during this period, as their metabolism will slow and you don't want to soil the water.
Call your local United States Postal Service branch and ask about sending items requiring refrigeration (but don't tell them it's a live animal!) The night before you're due to ship, keep the cray in a bowl of water in your refrigerator. At this point it should be almost catatonic.
Using the special packaging and cold-packs specified by the USPS, carefully wrap your cray tightly. I recommend sealing your cray in a plastic baggy filled with water and arranging several cold-packs snugly around it until the padded box or envelope you're using is tight.
Ship your cray so that it will arrive a day or so after you do. The sooner you release your cray from its packing the better, and it wouldn't do to let it sit at your front door day after day waiting on your arrival. You might need to talk to your USPS branch about rates and shipping times.
Optimally you will have shipped your tank's gravel and decorations as well, in which case you can just add these to the tank. Make sure to use cold water at first because too much of a change in temperature could shock your cray. After a few hours, your cray should come to life.
With the right planning and care, your cray will survive the move mostly intact, ready to help you settle in at your new residence.