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Ditch Fencing Crayfish Care Sheet

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  • Ditch Fencing Crayfish Care Sheet

    by Solitarianknight

    DISCLAIMER: This is something of a beginners guide to the care and keep of the little known Ditch Fencing Crayfish. In short, these are a small species of crayfish that can be found commonly in the southern US. There is very little recorded information on them and this will be the first care sheet written in their name. I will continue to update it as I learn and I advise everyone here to take percaution with the information since it will all be based on my experience with the animals.

    As such, i feel it is necessary for me to state the current parameters under which I am studying them. The tank is 10gals. It is heavily planted and filtered. The temperature of the tank is kept in the low 80's. Other inhabitants include Flag Fish, Eastern Mosquito fish, least Killi, and Ghost shrimp. All of which are found in it's native habitat and were collected at the same place. As of right now I have 1 Ditch fencer but I plan to add 2 more to see how they work together.

    Name(s): Ditch Fencing Crayfish, Shield Crayfish, Carolina Crayfish
    Scientific: Faxonella clypeata

    Range/Origin: There are no studies of this animals range. Reports of this crayfish do range from Oklahoma to Florida(where i am located) and up to North Carolina. They are found in ditches, ponds, marsh's. They are capable of burrowing deep into mud to hibernate between rain fall should their water source dry up.

    Size: The largest sited has been 3.5" long. They average between 2" and 3".

    Tank Size: A 5 gallon tank should suffice for 1 or 2 of these creatures. More on this once I determine their territoriality.

    Tank Setup: This is pretty standard for any crayfish. They like heavy foliage and structure to climb on. They need at least 1 cave per crayfish. Like all crayfish they are excellent climbers and escape artists. All tanks should have tight fitting lids with few open spaces. They don't seem fond of the filter current so I wouldn't worry to much about that. Over all, with the hardiness of the species and their tendency to stick it out, they have a low flight risk for a crayfish.

    ?Temperament/Behavior: This is where I find this species unique. These crays have very small claws with very little grip, incapable of even causing a human pinky discomfort. It is for this reason that they seem to be rather timid. Even small fish like the least killi seem be out of danger here. It may go after small fry though and I wouldn't keep it with small shrimps. These guys do not pose a threat to larger fish and unlike crayfish of similar size, they do not seem as keen to defend their territory. I'm not sure yet how they would react to fish with long fins, at the moment, i would not advise it. They do tend to prune plants and rearrange them to their liking. So far though they only snip dead leaves. This is a good quality imo.

    Diet: So far this cray seems to be more of a sifter than a hunter. With its small claws it is likely not use to eating live prey with the exception of tiny or sick animals. I have noticed that it will use its claws to trim down dead plant leaves and munch on them as well as to stir up detritus on the bottom of the tank to sift through almost like a filter feeder. All crayfish are omnivores so a steady diet of plants and veggies is advised. They love leafy greens and will readily take sinking flake and pellet foods. Catfish pellets and Algae tablets may be a good option.

    Tank Mates: If you are breeding live bearers with a purpose or have expensive shrimp, this is not the animal for you. That said, these guys will probably do fine with any fast moving tetras or schooling fish. They don't seem to bother my clown pleco but i am unsure of corydoras. Larger fish are fine so long as they don't happen to munch on crayfish. Aggressive species are not advised due to their timid nature, they won't even confront my eastern mosquito fish. It's a sad hilarious thing to watch.

    My Notes: This is an interesting little critter. They seem to be very hardy and take well to tank life. Unlike dwarf crayfish, they are not nearly as aggressive and will not likely pinch you when handling. I handle mine every now and then and have only been pinched once. It is much easier to just get them to crawl onto your hand. I think they may be the perfect species of crayfish to go into community tanks. Even dwarf crayfish are often too aggressive for tank life but these guys are very relaxed. I have more info to come on breeding and sexing which tends to be the same for most crayfish. I am also planning on putting 2 males together so i can figure out why it is they are called "Ditch Fencing", which I assume may have something to with their long skinny claw arms.

    • Sean
      #1
      Sean commented
      Editing a comment
      personally id recommend more than one cave per cray. but thats coming from owning hermits that will fight to the death over a single shell when there are 100 to choose from.
    Posting comments is disabled.

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