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Tank for yabbie or perhaps a marron


Ravenau1
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I used to have yabbies in a tank when I was a kid and have recently thought about getting another one. Would I be able to keep one in a 20 ltr tank? Smaller? Bigger? lol, I'm thinking just the one but I have no idea what they need and the info around seems pretty slim, and what there is seems mainly for yabbie farms. Thanks :)

Edited by Ravenau1
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Dont know much about Yabbies but I have just turned my female betta tank 2ft into a RedClaw crayfish tank it has pebbles on the bottom driftwood Pvc pipe covered in Java Moss, I've left the large sponge filter in have a terracotta pot some Java fern and smooth rocks had other plants in there put the redclaw pulled them out . He scavangers off the bottom and keeps the tank clean as well as some vegies and crayfish food I give him it also contains 3 white clouds and a silver shark and one snail. My eldest daughter's class last year had two yabbies in about a 20 or 40lt tank all they had in the tank was small rocks, pebbles on the bottom and some driftwood for the yabbies to hide cant recall if they had a filter though. you can get all types of food from pet stores for them these days. Hope this helps

Charlie

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I've got 2 blue claws, both of them are in separate tanks and both are only about 15L in total volume. Some gravel or sand at the bottom of the tank means they can landscape (which they love to do) and a tube or pot to hide in. Mine get crayfish pellets as well as frozen then thawed carrot skins and peas (the left overs from bettas). Do the odd water change but I guess I should be doing more of them.

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I don't know how you can keep as a pet something that is so fabulous lightly poached and served with a garlic aioli. :) Of course, I'm the guy that bought a loin of pork for my roast dinner straight after watching Babe. I couldn't stop thinking about crackling for the entire movie. :)

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My 7 yr old son has been bugging me for yabbies for ages and I keep putting him off saying 'Maybe for xmas, maybe for your birthday next year' coz I know that when they get bigger I'll just walk past one day and think *mmm yabbies* and probably eat them...then he'll be wondering where his beloved pets have gone hahahaha. On a completely different note I once caught a marron at a trout farm in Pemberton, it was eating the bait for the trout and wouldn't let go of the line so it got caught instead of the trout. Was a damn nice tasting Marron too! Fed our family of 6 comfortably, big sucker! I wish there was somewhere decent around where I can to go 'yabbying' I'd love to take my son and make a day of it...although he's so sensitive he won't want to eat them he'll probably cry. My precious little man! Spose we can always feed the smaller ones to Logan the Tiger Oscar :) (if he decides to eat ever again)*rolls eyes*

Edited by Fighters4U
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Hey Ravenau1 :D

20L is a bit on the small side, but you could get a young one and trade up as it grows. I've grown some out in 12L, then moved up to 30L, then up to 60L etc, providing you move them in time you are fine and dandy :) Depending on the species you get, you could get something anywhere from 18-48" long as a permanent home. Heavy lids are vital, as are very small corner gaps and something heavy to put on top. They are incredibly strong for their size, climb like monkeys and have a taste for exploring.

In Perth, I think you might be a bit limited in the species you can get, but koonacs are lovely and even gilgies should be OK in a larger tank. You'll have trouble getting blue claws and red claws, I believe the marron industry over in WA has done their best to put the brakes on them coming in to the state.

Cray will stunt like fish if you keep them in a tank that is too small for them due to the build up of waste matter (measurable or otherwise) and lack of space for movement and this may or may not shorten their lifespan, but it definitely isn't recommended. They are very easy going with the water but there are a few very important things you need to make sure of. The water needs to be well filtered as they don't tolerate ammonia well, they need high oxygen levels (which translates to cold/cool water, depending on species) and they need some sort of natural calcium source to make sure that their shells stay in top nick. They'll actually pick up bits of grit or whole oyster shells and have a good chew if they feel the need, so that is very important. I put shell grit bags in the filters and bury cuttlebone under the substrate for mine, as well as offering leafy greens and whole foods with shells and skeletons etc.

The main one that is an issue over your way is the temperature. I can get away with keeping most things in Sydney, but even I have trouble with keeping the temperature low enough for marrons, so I'd advise against those (they also need the largest tank). If you have trouble with the temperature, you'll get warning signs. Their metabolism shoots up and they get very active and absolutely ravenous. Ones that used to be fine with fish in the tank will polish off the lot in one go, or they'll go on a renovation spree or start chewing the decor like mad. They do this type of thing anyway, but if you buy one in the cooler months and get used to what is normal behaviour, you'll spot this very quickly if there is a temp spike. If it happens, lids off, get some fans blowing over the surface and then ice the tank down to a more reasonable temperature. They are far more tolerant of quick changes than fish but really, those methods are fairly gradual in the temperatures in which you'd be forced to use them.

For water quality and filtration, UGFs and rUGFs are ok, but because yabbies are forever renovating they end up being very inefficient. Sponge filters get minced when the yabbies attempt to 'farm' bacteria by shredding the available items to provide more surface area and enable faster decay. HOB filters will get climbed and you'll spend hours hunting for a dustbunny with legs and trying to rehydrate it. Really, the only filters that are recommended would be canisters, internals and sumps. For the young ones though you can use box filters and the air driven disposable type, and UGFs are OK if push comes to shove.

Feeding is easy. They eat pretty much anything. get a rock and an elastic band, strap the food to the rock and drop it in. Done and dusted. Favourites around here include zucchini, carrot, red coral lettuce, capsicum, nori (the seaweed from sushi rolls), prawns, earthworms, peas, corn nibblets (sparingly, they are high sugar and make a mess) bits of fish and seafood flesh and the occasional feeder fish (very rarely, they certainly don't require live food, but they are wonderful fast cullers should you need it). I only feed saltwater seafood as that reduces the risk that it could be carrying anything that could be potentially harmful.

Don't try and feed them mulm and detritus. I know a lot of yabbie books recommend it but it just messes up your tank. Also, don't bother with live plants unless they are floating things like duckweed and hornwort as they just uproot the things and shred them. The shredding thing is interesting. If they aren't fussed on a food or there is more than they want to eat (tends to happen with veggies) they bite off small pieces and spit them out. What they are doing, as mentioned above, is trying to farm bacteria and other micro-organisms which they can then eat. This can be a bit of a hassle as you often end up with a filter full of carrot confetti, but it isn't that big of a drama if you keep food portions small. Starve/gorge feeding seems to work well, so feeding every 2nd day over winter and 2 days on/one day off over summer might work well, but this depends on size and temperature and what and in what quantity you are feeding.

Other than that, just keep the decor munchproof and make sure you don't use any metals or colour-based medications in their tank as they are quite sensitive to copper and a number of other contaminants.

You are looking at a lifespan of about 10 years, give or take, if you buy one of the 15-20cm species at around the 4cm mark.

Honestly, they are completely worthwhile. I have 3 at the moment, and am hunting 2 more species. I have a female that lets me hold her in my hand, and two young adults that are enjoying the run of one of my larger tanks (my first success at keeping two together, I have lousy luck in that regard). Each one has it's own personality and each one will interact with you in a different way. I've had somethat will hand feed, some that need coaxing, some that'll just sit and watch you while you watch them. My favourite thing would have to be watching them groom. There is absolutely nothing like it. If eyeball cleaning can't bring a smile to everyone's face, I think there is something very wrong :)

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