If you have been keeping crayfish as pets, or maybe you are new to it, it is possible you might have noticed your female crayfish carrying tiny round things on her tail, well, those things are her eggs. First, you may be surprised and will wonder ‘ what in the world are those things? ‘. They are just eggs. Now the question you might be asking is, how do I tell if they are fertilized.
How do you know if crayfish eggs are fertilized? Fertilized eggs are black in color, but as time goes on, they will change to yellowish/white splotches. Soon those splotches will develop into the eyes of the babies. This will indicate the eggs are fertile and are very close to hatching.
The truth is, crayfish do not give birth nor lay eggs like some other animals, their method of egg-laying is amazing.
When a female crayfish wants to lay eggs and hatch them, she will look for a hidden place to stay, like burrowing in the soil, in order to stay peaceful and safe, because carrying those eggs on her tail makes her very dull and therefore vulnerable.
At this stage, anything could attack her, even her fellow crayfish and once her prey fishes may turn to her predators.
Sometimes people could tell if the eggs are fertilized if they can be seen under the female’s tail. (Berried)
To know if the eggs are not fertilized, the eggs will develop orange color.
How long does Crayfish Eggs take to Hatch
You might have checked the eggs and seen they are good to go, ( fertilized) another question you might be willing to ask is, ‘ how long do they take to Hatch?.
Fertilized crayfish eggs can take 3-4 weeks to hatch if the conditions are right.
Although the time a crayfish egg takes to Hatch depends on the specie involved and other things like the water parameters, temperature and the immediate environment.
But on average, 3 to 4 weeks is normal for the hatching to take place.
As I explained above, the female crayfish will go into hiding alone till the eggs hatch.
In the case where some eggs did not hatch, she will feed on them.
How do Crayfish Eggs get Fertilized?
A female crayfish can lay eggs without mating, if so then how do the eggs fertilize?.
For crayfish eggs to fertilize, there must be a male sperm sack. if the male’s sperm sack is present, the eggs will fertilize.
This simply means that the female crayfish must have to meet a male crayfish in order to mate and have sperm deposited in her, which she will use to get her eggs fertilized.
The female can only get the male’s sperm sack after mating.
One unique thing about female crayfish is, they can store it for the next 6 months.
This means that if within 6 months the female develops eggs, chances are that the eggs will get fertilized and the female will have them under her tail because she already has enough sperm to fertilize them from her previous mate.
In case she lay eggs and there is no sperm sack to fertilize them, they will fall off and be eaten by the crayfish.
How do Crayfish Protect Her Eggs?
Crayfish are predators that could kill and eat many aquarium animals, including some fishes, but once she lays eggs and become berried, she becomes weak and vulnerable. In such a case, how does she now protect her eggs from other tank mates?
Crayfish do protect their eggs by burrowing and hiding in the soil till the eggs hatch.
They will do this to stay safe from other creatures in the tank, as they are weak at this stage, and can’t defend themselves, even talk of their eggs.
By doing this, both them and their eggs will be safe because other tank mates can not easily locate them.
This is why it is always advisable to add substrates to your cray tanks.
Do Crayfish Die after Laying Eggs?
I have read some funny comments on social and forum websites, where some people were saying that ‘ crayfish do die after Laying Eggs.
Crayfish do not die after Laying Eggs, they do hatch the eggs and raise them.
I find this claim very funny and misleading.
Laying Eggs is not the end of the life of a female crayfish, in fact she will still be alive to lay more eggs before she could get to the end of her lifespan, that’s if the conditions are suitable for her.
The only time your crayfish might die after Laying Eggs is, if she is sick, or you are not taking proper care of her.
How to take Care of a Nursing Crayfish
Once you notice that your crayfish is having eggs, the first thing you should do is to remove her from the tank, if she does not live alone, then add substrate to another tank, place a well-treated water that matches her conditions and allow it to calm, then transfers your crayfish there and be giving her quality foods.
When the eggs hatch, the young ones will be swimming underneath her, allowing them for some time till the baby crayfish are independent.
Then remove the other from the tanks and start giving the baby crayfish quality foods. This is to prevent the mother from eating her babies, which all crayfish do.
Allow the small ones to live alone, and on their own, till they are mature enough, as any tank mate, including bigger crayfish will eat them.