Thunderbolt Crayfish (Cherax pulcher)
Due to state restrictions on invasive species, we are not able to ship or sell any color morph of the Cherax sp. crayfish to the following state(s): Florida, Texas, and Wisconsin.
This species is prohibited to own in the above state(s), meaning it is illegal to possess them live in these state(s). This includes possession for consumption, education, aquarium trade, or any other live trade.
* For the safety of our animals, we now ship cherax crayfish exclusively via UPS Next Day Air. If your order contains this item, you will only see UPS Next Day Air as a shipping option during checkout *
This very rare species is widely regarded as the world's most beautiful crayfish, and this is its natural, wild coloration!
The Thunderbolt Crayfish (Cherax pulcher) is a newly discovered and extremely rare species of crayfish native to the Hoa Creek of Western Papua New Guinea. With its remarkably eclectic coloration, this crayfish is without a doubt one of the most unique-looking crayfish in the world. This crayfish is also commonly known as the Pink Coral Freshwater Lobster, though true lobsters do not exist in freshwater. Deep blue, hot pink, emerald green, orange, white, and black are all distinctly shown on top specimens of this crayfish. A 7-color spectrum is not found on any other freshwater crayfish! The Thunderbolt Crayfish will breed in the aquarium with proper care, although the fry are extremely slow growing, especially compared to the many more common US crayfish species that are popular in the aquarium hobby. In fact, many of our specimens have bred in our tanks at our facility!
This particular crayfish is relatively active and spends plenty of time exploring the floor of the aquarium in search of food. The Thunderbolt Crayfish is an omnivorous scavenger and will eat most any meaty or plant-based foods. This crayfish should not be kept with purely ornamental live plants as it will eat them at a surprising rate. While this crayfish can use some animal protein in its diet, it seems to show its greatest color, health, and breeding potential when it is fed a diet that is mostly plant matter, including peas (an excellent vegetable protein source) and carrots. Frozen peas and carrots are an excellent staple diet. They only need chopped into smaller pieces when feeding juveniles.
As it reaches adulthood, the Thunderbolt Crayfish will become relatively territorial, so it may behave aggressively towards other animals in the tank. It is important that ample hiding places such as rockwork, driftwood, or PVC pipes be provided. This is even more crucial when housing multiple crayfish in the same tank. Due to the size and waste production of this crayfish, a minimum 30-gallon, well-filtered aquarium is necessary for one adult. A larger aquarium of 55 gallon or larger aquarium can house multiple adults of similar size. This is a reasonably hardy animal, but regular water changes are vital to its optimal health. Other bottom-dwelling invertebrates and fish should not be kept with large crayfish. It is possible to keep mid- and upper-level, fast-swimming fish with the Thunderbolt Crayfish, but crayfish are opportunistic feeders and will generally eat whatever they can catch. It is a skilled climber, so extra care must be taken to ensure that it does not escape its enclosure.
As with all of our crayfish, the coloration of the Thunderbolt Crayfish is EXTREMELY high quality for the Pink/Purple variant- much higher quality than others on the market. This crayfish may TEMPORARILY change color and hide more than usual after molting, which may occur during shipping. If your crayfish has faded color and you find a molt in the bag or in your aquarium, do not worry; this is normal and the bright color will return in 2 weeks or less.
We do also offer no pink/purple color variants of this species when we receive some that are not up to the higher color quality that this species can possess. The no pink/purple color variant of this species can still possibly produce higher color grade offspring, but they may not color up themselves to the higher color grades. Both the pink/purple and the no pink/purple color variants are the same species and we will only stock the no pink/purples if the shipments comes in with less colorful specimens.
It is very uncommon to see tank-bred juveniles of this species, but we are currently offering USA-Bred Juveniles from breeders whose breeding adults have superb coloration, including the highly-desired pink/purple coloration! We have been working on distributing this species to US breeders for several years in hopes establishing it as a species that is bred in the aquarium.
*IMPORTANT* Please "Choose a Variant" above before adding this crayfish to your cart. The variants we're currently offering are:
- Two color grades: With Pink/Purple (a very significant amount) and Without Pink/Purple (little to no amount). The variants listed below are available for both color grades.
- 1 Male Thunderbolt Crayfish - 2-3+ inch Adult
- 1 Female Crayfish – 2-3+ inch Adult
- 1 Male/Female Crayfish Pair – 2-3+ inch Adults
- 1 B-Grade Crayfish - 2-3+ inch Adult (All of our “B-Grade” crayfish are simply specimens that are missing legs or claws. Loss of appendages is not permanent and happens commonly with crustaceans. They are completely healthy with excellent coloration and will completely regenerate lost appendages within 1 to 2 molts, which is typically about 2 to 3 months.)
- 1 USA-Bred Crayfish - .5+ inch Unsexed Juvenile (A younger and smaller variant of Thunderbolt Crayfish than our young adult specimens. This is a hardy species and will usually grow well into adult size and coloration within 6 months with proper care. In the meantime, any customers who choose to go with a juvenile specimen can experience the excitement of watching their little crayfish grow! All of our juvenile specimens come from adults with very high pink/purple coloration. While this color sometimes does not show in juveniles, many of our juveniles are already showing this pink/purple coloration! There is a small chance that genetics could throw some less desirable color genes into the young, but most should color up into beautiful crayfish.)
What We Like About This Crayfish:
- Stunning blue, pink, purple, and emerald coloration
- Less aggressive than many other crayfish
- Easy to feed
- Excellent scavenger
- Fascinating and rewarding aquarium subject
RECOMMENDED TANK PARAMETERS:
- Temperature: 65°- 78° F (18° - 25° C)
- pH: 6.5 - 7.5
- KH: 6 - 15 dKH
- Minimum tank size: 30 gallons
- Diet: Crayfish are typically very easy to feed since they are mostly omnivorous scavengers. However, Cherax species can sometimes be a bit finicky. In addition to various plant matter, we have been feeding all of our Cherax crayfish frozen peas and carrots as well as frozen shrimp that is chopped into manageable pieces after thawing. We highly recommend that our customers at least initially offer this diet to their Cherax crayfish. In time, it is very likely that the crayfish will also accept high-quality dry foods, though a varied diet is required for optimal health, coloration, and activity. This species does best with a diet that is mostly vegetable matter.
- Social behavior: Can be aggressive/territorial with other crayfish, but is much less so than Procambarus species (such as the Electric Blue Crayfish). Crayfish will typically eat whatever they can catch, but since they are slow-moving, they are not often able to harm fast-moving fish
- Origin: West Papua New Guinea
- Average adult size: 5 - 6 inches (12.7 - 15.2 cm)
- Average purchase size: Adults: 2 - 3+ inches (5 - 7.6 cm), Juveniles: .5 - 1 inch (1.27 - 2.54 cm)
- Recommended Aquatic Arts tankmates: Fast-moving fish (such as Celestial Pearl Danios, Rasboras, Guppies, etc.). While dwarf shrimp can be kept successfully with these crayfish, caution should be exercised, as the crayfish have been known to catch and eat slow, sick, or particularly small shrimp. Cichlids can be aggressive toward crayfish and should not be kept in the same tank. Bottom-dwelling tankmates should definitely be avoided.
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