Building and maintaining a crayfish pond needs proper care and patience. I’ve seen people asking various questions about adding crayfish in a pond and what should be the pond environment for this.
Today, I’ll give you simple guidelines to help you know about crayfish ponds and how to maintain it for the best results.
Things You Should Know First About Crayfish
Crayfish or crawfish are freshwater crustaceans that resemble small lobsters.
People often use crayfish to control algae or plants growing in their ponds. Adding crayfish in a pond also creates a bit of interest.
When you are planning to buy crayfish for your pond, be careful to choose the right one. There are several varieties of crayfish available on the market and the varieties are difficult to tell apart, so you have to observe while choosing the fish.
The electric blue crayfish is a popular variety of crayfish in the aquarium trade. They are very expensive, usually, no less than 20$ per crayfish, and can be found in a local pet shop.
The dwarf least crayfish is one of the smaller variety and also very popular for aquarium uses. They bear less danger among other crayfishes for different animals.
The marbled crayfish reproduces itself by cloning. There is a variety of virgin crayfish and they can get very high in population.
Crayfish are suitable for a wide range of water quality and temperature extremes. Crayfish are very hardy and scavengers with a diet ranging from the snail and small fish to plants, algae, and other crayfish.
Crayfish are shy and not very visible in the pond at day time, you’ll have to look for them at night. They generally burrow into the mud banks in a natural pond, in artificial ponds, they’ll settle under the plants or rocks.
Selecting Location For Crayfish Pond
Crayfish are mainly suitable for natural ponds which are large and deep. If you are adding crayfish in some small or indoor pond, then it might crawl up the top and leave the pond.
They are used in aquariums to gather attraction and cleaning the aquarium water. If you want to add them to indoor ponds, make sure they are large enough to keep the fish in place.
If you want to add crayfish in indoor ponds, make sure the location of the pond gets adequate sunlight, otherwise, the environment won’t be suitable for the crayfish.
Natural crayfish pond should be located somewhere flat and open areas, where soils have a sufficient amount of clay available. Sufficient water and clay soil are necessary to maintain the integrity of crayfish burrows.
Elevation of the pond must be sufficiently high to allow the pond bottom to remain the above water levels in the surrounding drainage system and canals.
Sometimes, rice-fields are considered as crawfish ponds. It is important to select rice-field with all-weather access because crawfish harvesting and pond’s management is a daily activity and often done during wet weather.
The water requirement for crayfish is higher than rice production, so the crayfish pond location should have accessible and economical water supplies.
Crayfish pond should be minimum 5 – 7 meters long and wide, 1 to 1.3 meters deep, you can build pond larger than this and for that, you need to properly aerate and drain it.
Making A Healthy Crayfish Pond
Install Aeration Devices In The Pond
You need to aerate the water of the pond every day. Paddlewheels are the easiest device to handle for aerating the pond water. You can buy paddlewheels from a nearby local shop, buy one and install it following the instruction provided with the device.
Paddlewheels run by electricity or gas. But if you are in a budget issue, then find some paddlewheels which are powered by wind or solar.
If you have a larger pond, then you’ll need two or more paddlewheels set in the middle of the crayfish pond.
Paddlewheels provide oxygen for crayfish, so you need to turn on the device and let it go for about 30-40 minutes in the pond every day.
Warm weather holds less oxygen in the pond, that’s why especially in the summer you should run the paddlewheel on the water for two or three times a day. Aerating water keeps the crayfish healthy.
Make Hiding Place For Crayfish
Crayfish are shy type fish, they hide during the day and when shedding. Collect some nylon sock bags, cut them open, and anchor them with bricks or rocks so that they sink to the bottom of the pond.
You should set the nylon sock bags at the center of the pond so that the younger crayfish can find them. Avoid filling the bags with toxic materials, it will damage the water and crayfish health.
About 150 hiding spots per 1000 square meters or 11,000 square feet of pond’s space is ideal.
Cover The Pond With Netting
Crayfish ponds are attracted by birds or forest animals, ready to pick on your crayfish.
Buy a pond cover net from local home improvement stores and install it to cover the crayfish pond. It will protect the crayfish from animals.
You should lower the net to the dirt so that any animal can’t slip under it.
Harvesting Crayfish From Crayfish Pond
You need to stock the crayfish pond with mature crayfish. Purchase a healthy stock of crayfish from another farm in early spring and you should ask for at least 4 males of every female crayfish.
You should aim for about 1500 crayfish per hectare or 2.5 acres.
Crayfish needs food to survive. Younger crayfish need a different food source than adults. You need to feed the juvenile crayfish plankton and about 50 kilograms of plankton per hectare or 45lb per acre then add more after draining the pond.
Nitrogen and diammonium phosphate facilitate plankton growth, use them in your crayfish pond. They are commonly available on home and garden stores.
For grown crayfish, you need to feed them commercial crayfish pellets. Spread the pellets on the water surface of the pond at dusk when crayfish tend to be active.
You need to wait for 4 months so that the crayfish can grow. After that, crayfish will be ready for harvesting. Until then, juvenile crayfish can be left with their parents as long as you are providing plenty of hiding spots.
Flip on your drainage system of the pond, the crayfish will gather near the flow trap. Now, put on some boots and gather the fish by hand into a water-filled bucket. Shake out the net because you might find some lingering crayfish.
You should separate the younger crayfish from the harvesting stock and reintroduce them to your pond again.
Now, transport your crayfish stock from your pond in a tank to your next location. Make sure the tanks have an oxygenating system working properly and don’t leave the crayfish in the tank for too long.
Maintenance of Crayfish Pond
You need to follow some criteria to maintain your crayfish pond –
- You need to check the water oxygen level regularly and it is important to keep the water optimized for crayfish. Oxygen level should be 5 milligrams per liter (1.8×10−7 lb/cu in) or 5 ppm. If the oxygen level is less than this, then aerate the water properly.
- The calcium level of the pond should be 20 to 30 milligrams per liter, calcium keeps the crayfish healthy and helps to build their shells.
- You need to perform pH testing of the pond at least once a year. For crayfish safety, the pH level should be between 7 and 8.5. An abnormal pH level means you need to remove some decaying plants.
- You need to clean the crayfish pond completely at least once a year, it ensures the crayfish health and water quality.
Frequently Asked Questions About Crayfish Pond
How Deep Should A Crawfish Pond Be?
A crayfish pond should be 12 to 18 inches deep. Typically natural ponds in our surroundings are maximum 2 feet deep, which is ideal for crayfish. It shouldn’t be too deep.
Are Crayfish Good For A Pond?
They help to control the algae growth of a pond and create a more complete ecosystem of it.
So, yes crayfish are good for ponds if you are using them in proper ways.
Crayfish are easy to keep in a pond and they recreate the pond environment. They are vastly used for aquarium purposes.
You can have economic benefits from crayfish ponds. Harvesting crayfish can earn you some extra bucks and add interest in fish farming. For that, you need to have patience and be optimistic. Read my article attentively and it will help you to enlighten yourself about a crayfish pond.