The red claw lobster is not actually a lobster but a crayfish species commonly referred to as the Australian red claw crayfish. Red claw lobsters are fairly inexpensive to add to your home aquarium, and they are easy to raise and breed in tropical aquariums as unique pets.
One red claw lobster can inhabit a 25-gallon aquarium, but if you want to house multiple crayfish in one tank, each will need at least 2 square feet. A 40-gallon aquarium with plenty of caves and space to move around can house two red claw lobsters. They can become aggressive toward their own species, so watch for bullying. Otherwise, they are generally nonaggressive toward other fish and can be successfully homed with slow-moving fish.
Place about 5 inches of aquarium sand or gravel on the bottom of the aquarium and decorate with pipes or tunnels, decorative rocks and caves. You can plant hardy plants in the aquarium, but small, weaker plants won't survive. Use an aquarium heater and thermometer to measure the water temperature and maintain the aquarium between 77 and 90 degrees Fahrenheit. They will try to escape if rocks and decor are large enough for them to reach the surface, so keep a lid on the aquarium.
Make sure the aquarium has a filter to keep the clean between partial water changes. At least once or twice a month, use a gravel vacuum to clean the substrate of excess waste, and siphon out about 20 percent of the water. Use test strips to monitor the pH levels. You want to maintain the pH around 6.5 to 8. When cleaning the tank, test pH before and after changing the water to ensure levels remain within proper range. Test the hardness, as well; they need hard water to thrive. You can add limestone to make the water harder, if necessary.
Red claw lobsters are scavengers. They will eat just about anything. You want to offer both vegetables and animal proteins. Offer zucchini and romaine lettuce, as well as frozen brine shrimp, tubifex worms and bloodworm. Provide sinking catfish pellets to mix up the diet and keep it varied. Red claw lobsters will also scavenge dead or dying fish and plants when available.
Red claw lobsters are native to the north coast of the Northern Territory and northeastern Queensland; various populations have spread throughout Papua New Guinea, southern Queensland and into West Australia. Red claw lobsters live three to five years. Specimens average about 8 to 12 inches long. Red claw lobsters have the ability to regenerate limbs; the new limb will usually grow out within a month. They are commonly used in Cajun recipes because they are high in nutrients, low in fat and meatier than other crayfish.
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