Pazcua dwarf crayfish - Cambarellus patzcuarensis
  • Wild form of the CPO
  • does not dig
  • does not eat plants
  • suitable for beginners
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Pazcua dwarf crayfish - Cambarellus patzcuarensis

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Pazcua dwarf crayfish - Cambarellus patzcuarensis
The pattern of the very attractive wild form of the orange CPO and the chocolate dwarf crayfish is ideal for planted aquariums - the Patzcua dwarf crayfish does not eat plants, and it does not dig. This pretty little crayfish is a great alternative for those who find the orange Cambarellus patzcuarensis too gaudy. It is also easy to breed in the aquarium, provided there are plenty of hiding places and a nice layer of brown fall foliage. This medium sized dwarf crayfish is also very suitable for beginners in crayfish keeping. - Garnelio

The Patzcua dwarf crayfish with the scientific name Cambarellus patzcuarensis originates from Mexico, more precisely from the Lago de Patzcuaro and its inflows and outflows. The lake is located in the state of Michoacán. The wild form has a gray-brown to dark brown coloration and a striped or marbled pattern. The best known form of Cambarellus patzcuarensis is the CPO (Cambarellus patzcuarensis "orange"), which was bred out of this dwarf crayfish.

In Lake Patzcuaro, the water has from 15 to 25 °C depending on the season, and the pH is relatively high, from 7 to 9. The Cambarellus patzcuarensis lives in its habitat on the cool, mud-covered bottom of the water and in the plant-covered shore zones. In the aquarium, the Patzcua Dwarf Crayfish can handle a wide range of water conditions, but the water should be medium-hard to hard.

This attractive wild-colored dwarf crayfish lives about 18 to 24 months. After three to four months the Cambarellus patzcuarensis is already sexually mature. With a body length of 40 to 50 mm the females are slightly larger than the males. You can reliably tell the sexes of the Patzcua dwarf crayfish by looking at the underside: Males have V-shaped mating styli, called gonopods, at the junction of the head carapace and the abdomen, consisting of the remodeled first two pairs of swimming legs.

The Patzcua Dwarf Crayfish feels comfortable in aquariums of 50 liters or more for a pair with offspring. Since it does not swim much, a large base area with plenty of structure provided by wood and stones is more important than swimming space.  The pH should be between 7 and 9, the water hardness between 12 and 18 dGH. Since the Cambarellus patzcuarensis neither nibbles nor digs up or pinches off plants, it is suitable for planted aquariums. Many hiding places, consisting of stone structures, perforated bricks, clay tubes or an appropriately structured root wood structure. By the way, these hiding places can be wonderfully overgrown with moss, they then look very natural. Since the Cambarellus patzcuarensis is a loner, there is nothing against keeping a single animal.

The breeding of the Patzcua dwarf crayfish is easy. After the rather rough looking mating, the females lay dark eggs, which can be easily seen under their abdomen. After three to four weeks (the length of gestation depends on water temperature, the cooler the longer) up to 40 young crabs hatch. They live under the mother's abdomen for a few more days and then leave her. Since the small crayfish grow very fast, they molt almost daily and are thus correspondingly susceptible to disturbance. Many hiding places and also a thick layer of foliage significantly increase the number of surviving young.

Young as well as old Patzcua Dwarf Crayfish need protein containing food three or four times a week(frozen food, special protein food, Artemia, also live food like water fleas is gladly chased and eaten). As a permanent vegetable food, brown autumn leaves do an excellent job. Special crayfish food, green food like nettle, spinach or dandelion, peeled peas or dried Hokkaido pumpkin are also eaten with pleasure.

Cambarellus patzcuarensis can be socialized very well with small to medium sized peaceful fish of the middle and upper water regions that do not sleep on the bottom. In fish company, juvenile crayfish are of course even more dependent on hiding places. You can also keep these dwarf crayfish together with shrimps with suitable demands on water hardness, temperature and pH, but it is always possible that the crayfish will eat one or the other shrimp. Snails belong to the natural food spectrum of the Patzcua crayfish, it does not stop in front of them in the aquarium. Species tanks are a good thing for this crayfish, so the Patzcua Dwarf Crayfish have less stress and you can watch them more often during the day.
As a crayfish from Central America, the Cambarellus patzcuarensis is unfortunately also a potential carrier of the crayfish plague . This disease is caused by a tubular fungus and it is fatal to all crayfish that do not originate from the Americas. Therefore, Patzcua dwarf crayfish should never be released into the wild, nor should they be socialized with crayfish from other continents. Even the water they are kept in may contain pathogens and must not come in contact with these crayfish.

Our food recommendation: Freshwater crayfish have a very varied diet in the wild. The Natureholic Crayfish 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: Cambarellus patzcuarensis Villalobos, 1953
German name: Patzcua dwarf crab
Difficulty level: suitable for beginners
Origin/Distribution: Lago de Pátzcuaro, Mexico
Coloration: light brown to grayish, with marbled or striped pattern
Age expectancy: 1.5 to 2 years
Water parameters: GH 6 to 20, KH 3 to 20, pH 7 to 9, temperature 20 to 26 °C
Tank size: from 50 l for one pair, well structured
Food: Natureholic crayfish food, brown autumn leaves, nettles, flake food, granulated food or food tabs, vegetables, frozen food
Reproduction: easy, after four to six weeks up to 40 young crayfish hatch, they are strongly cannibalistic and therefore need many hiding places
Behavior: relatively aggressive, territorial, solitary
Socialization: with shrimp and mini fish, also with snails (may be eaten)
Further information Sex differences crayfish, shrimp, crayfish, snails & mussels feed properly, Cherax aquarium crayfish - keeping in the aquarium
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Pazcua dwarf crayfish - Cambarellus patzcuarensis

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