When choosing the inhabitants of a home aquarium, aquarists are often guided by the attractive external appearance of fish, shrimps, or other creatures. Common yabby (Cherax destructor) is undoubtedly an impressive species, which due to its appearance has become a popular choice of aquarium enthusiasts. When deciding to place it in the tank, be aware of its requirements so that its conditions are as close to natural as possible. Then you will be sure that your crustacean has a happy life, and in return, it will certainly show its gratitude by decorating your interior.
Yabby is a semi-terrestrial crustacean that naturally inhabits marshes, freshwater streams, rivers, lakes, and lagoons. These waters are characterized by a very high degree of oxygen saturation, rich flora, and a muddy bottom. In nature, these crayfish can survive at a water temperature between 1 ° C to 35 ° C, but below 15 ° C, they enter a state of partial hibernation (food intake is abandoned, animal growth is stunted and metabolism is significantly slowed down). In nature, this species inhabits almost the whole of Australia.
Despite its Latin name, it is relatively gentle and calm. It does not attack fish (especially if it is richly fed). What's more, it behaves in harmony even towards representatives of its own species. Blue yabby has a smooth carapace, devoid of sharp appendages. It has smooth armor and powerful wide and long claws. It is gray or navy blue with a characteristic cherry sheen. The legs, including powerful (especially male) tongs, are usually slightly lighter and bluish. Orange stains appear on the sides of the armor plates covering the abdominal segments. The orange-red color "shines through" the joints of the limbs and in the gaps in the armor. The blue variety of this species with uniformly azure armor is also a popular choice in the aquarium. It reaches a size of up to 15 cm. Females are usually smaller than males. In the wild, they live 4-5 years, but in an aquarium, under good conditions, they can survive longer.
The most important criterion for yabby is the bottom surface area of the tank - the larger the better. The second important thing is to provide them with enough hiding places - especially when they are kept with other animals. They must be prepared in such a way that yabbies are invisible to one another. We use stones, rocks, PVC pipes, wood (e.g. bamboo), ceramic, coconuts, roots, sticks, etc. to build them. The size of the animals should be taken into account - so that they do not get stuck. Appropriately selected colors of the equipment make it possible to emphasize and intensify the color of the inhabitants. Third, highly oxygenated water is essential for these crustaceans. Yabbies breathe via gills and do not breathe atmospheric air. Yes, they can stay on dry land, but only as long as their gills are moist.
This chancer will try to escape from the aquarium, in which there will be a lack of oxygen (it is necessary to cover the tank tightly). They prefer to stay in cloudy waters, but that doesn't mean the water is supposed to be dirty. These animals are sensitive to the presence of ammonia and nitrite. Therefore, effective filtration and systematic water part changes are required. Lighting should not be too intense, preferably diffused. When choosing a substrate, it’s recommended to use those with delicate, rounded edges. You can keep more than one Yabby in the aquarium together. It is best to keep a pair of crayfish or a trio consisting of one male and two females. Larger stones should be well protected because they love to dig in the ground and could move them around. Solid, strongly rooting and fast-growing plants, such as Vallisneria, have a chance of survival, as well as epiphytic ferns attached to the roots and wood. Placing more delicate plants in the aquarium is rather pointless as they will almost certainly be consumed. Water: temp. 20-28ºC, pH from 7.5 up (this species feels bad in acidic water), hardness is irrelevant.
Cherax destructors are omnivorous - they consume plants, their remains, and other putrefying substances in the substrate. However, we should diversify their diet by giving them live or frozen meat (shrimps, fish) or vegetables (lettuce, spinach, green peas). It is also recommended to give animals alder cones, almond leaves, beech, or oak, which prevents the occurrence of rusty stains on the carapace of this species. These spots are a kind of inflammatory purulent condition.
This species breeds perfectly in the aquarium. The female lays 300-350 eggs 2-3 times a year. She does this while lying on her back, thanks to which all the eggs go to the underside of her abdomen and are glued by sticky discharge to the swim legs. The eggs are initially greenish to blue-orange and turn black during the first week. The female checks them from time to time and eats unfertilized ones. Under no circumstances should she be stressed or disturbed then, as she may eat all the eggs. She spends a significant part of her time - especially right after laying eggs - hidden in a hideout. The young hatch after approx. 3 weeks. They attach to the mother's swimming legs with the help of special hooks. The female takes care of them at the beginning, but they become independent very quickly. They can be raised in one tank with adult yabbies, but they should be provided with many hiding places (e.g. some small snail shells) where they could protect themselves from possible consummation attempts.
Due to the Blue Yabbies ability too survive in cold waters, these crayfish are not permitted to enter the aquarium trade in the UK.