Cherax cf. monticola - Papuan crayfish
  • quite peaceful crayfish
  • very beautiful bluish color
  • does not go to plants
  • from 80 cm edge length
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Cherax cf. monticola - Papuan crayfish

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Cherax cf. monticola - Papuan crayfish
A very beautiful, extremely compatible crayfish from Papua is Cherax cf. monticola. The blue color form inspires with a deep to bright blue coloration, especially in the males with very broad, prominent claws and a very interesting social behavior. It can happen that males and females sit completely peaceful scissors to scissors in their cave, thereby they make the impression of an old married couple. However, they can also fight properly, many hiding places and a good structure with roots and stones are nevertheless obligatory. Crayfish burrows made of clay are also well accepted. With good keeping Cherax cf. monticola multiply, but since the young grow very slowly and can also be cannibalistic, one must not fear overpopulation. - Garnelio

The home of the peaceful, beautifully colored Papuan crayfish Cherax cf. monticola is in Papua/Irian Jaya. There it lives in running waters and lakes up to an altitude of 3,300 m above sea level. The males of the blue color form have bright blisters on the broad, large claws. In addition, males have sexual openings (gonopores) at the root of the fifth pair of walking legs; in females they are at the base of the third pair of legs. Now and then hermaphroditic forms may exist, but then they usually behave like males when mating.

Keeping these beautiful, compatible crayfish is relatively easy. One pair can be kept in aquariums with an edge length of 80 cm or more, several pairs need larger tanks of 120 cm or more. Papua crayfish hardly swim, so a large base area is much more important than swimming space. This can be achieved by adding many roots and stones to provide structure. Cherax cf. monticola is not known to eat plants heavily, if it is fed a balanced diet and gets enough plant food. Since it does not dig much, it is also suitable for planted aquariums. Crayfish are escape artists and get through amazingly small holes, so the aquarium really needs to be well covered!

The peaceful nature of the Cherax cf. monticola, with a final body length of about 12-15 cm (without claws!) and a life expectancy of a good 5-8 years makes it an interesting aquarium inhabitant. Papuan crayfish are rather crepuscular and nocturnal. The socialization with medium sized, not bottom dwelling peaceful fishes usually goes very well, although it can happen that weak, sick or even very curious fishes are caught. However, the Cherax cf. monticola does not actively hunt. Contact with water where North American crayfish are kept, or contact with these crayfish themselves, should be avoided at all costs - American crayfish can transmit crayfish plague, which would inevitably kill the Cherax cf. monticola. This crayfish is also incompatible with crabs, fan shrimp and large-armed shrimp, while dwarf shrimp are a good combination if the water quality requirements match. Large snails may not be cracked, but they will be scooped out.

As for water parameters, Cherax cf. monticola is not too demanding. A pH between 6.5 and 7.5 and soft to medium hard water with a total hardness (GH) up to 20 and a carbonate hardness (KH) up to 10 are ideal. Temperatures should not fall below 22 °C, up to 25 °C is fine. The water should be rich in oxygen.

If the pair feels comfortable, they will mate every few months. After that the female carries 40 to 80 eggs under her curled up abdomen, from which after 7 to 9 weeks fully developed young crayfish hatch. They remain under the mother's tail for a few days after hatching and only then go in search of food on their own. With good, varied food and a large number of hiding places, the little crayfish have a good chance of survival. They grow very slowly compared to other crayfish species.

In their natural environment Cherax cf. monticola mostly eat plant remains, fallen leaves and insect larvae, but in the aquarium they also like to eat scalded or dried green food like nettle, spinach or dandelion, vegetables (pumpkin, zucchini, tomato, cucumber etc ... please pay attention to untreated goods!) and granules, pellets or flake food and frozen food. Also specially for crayfish offered ready-made food is very well accepted.

Our food recommendation: Freshwater crayfish have a very varied diet in the wild. The Natureholic Crab Feed Sticks contain in a biologically balanced form only those ingredients that these crayfish in this or similar form to their natural food spectrum. This naturally supports and promotes moulting, growth and reproduction. Due to their protein content they are ideally suited for omnivorous crayfish of the genera Procambarus, Cambarus, Cambarellus, Astacus and the Cherax crayfish from Australia, which are basically omnivores that like to eat animal as well as vegetable food. The crayfish of the genus Cherax from Papua also like to eat a portion of animal food when they are young, but later they switch mainly to plant food.

Our plant recommendation: Use for planting NatureHolic InVitros. These are free of snails, planaria and other unwanted co-inhabitants. Also free of algae spores, bacteria and fungi.

Expert Tip: We recommend for fish keeping the NatureHolic 3 Phase Liquid. The care set offers the best all-round protection for your animals. It ensures optimal conditions for successful breeding and keeping.


Scientific name: Cherax cf. monticola
German name: Papuan Crab
Difficulty level: suitable for beginners
Origin/Distribution: Irian Jaya/Papua
Coloration: various shades of blue, males with bright scissor bubbles
Age expectancy: 2 to 5 years
Water parameters: GH to 20, KH to 10, pH 6.5 to 7.5, temperature 22 to 25 °C
Tank size: from 80 cm for a pair, however, we recommend a size of at least 100 cm for successful breeding
Food: Natureholic crayfish food, brown autumn leaves, nettles, flake food, granulated food or food tabs, vegetables, frozen food
Reproduction: relatively easy, after seven to nine weeks 40 to 80 young crayfish hatch, needing lots of hiding places
Behavior: very peaceful
Socialization: with shrimps, possibly with peaceful small to medium sized fish
Further information Sex differences crayfish, shrimp, crayfish, snails & mussels feed properly, Cherax aquarium crayfish - keeping in the aquarium
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