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NFC: More on Crayfish.

I had just aquired 2 electric blue crayfish from the local pet store and
could not locate any females, when it suddenly hit me! Why spend $$$ on
crayfish when I could just go down to the river and turn over a couple
of rocks and bring home crayfish native to my neck of the woods.  So I
bundled up a small pail about two weeks ago and went collecting down on
the Rappahannock river here in Fredericksburg, VA.
      It was right after the first icestorm of the season, and the water
was pretty high, with lots of surface ice I walked along the bank for
about 100 yards before I noticed a small area of almostr sanding water
that had tons of bright green flilementous algae.  I thought that the
water here must be a little warmer because there was no ice, and I was
partially correct. It was about 2 degrees above freezing!
     I turned over a few stones and noticed that this was not the sand
and pebble strewn substrate I had often seen in the river, but a very
fine silt that you could almost put your hand through up to your wrist
before you hit harder stuff.  I noticed a few snails attached to the
underside of the rock and added them to my collecting bucket with a
small amount of algae.  After the silt began to settle I could see the
antennae of crayfish wavering about!  I had caught crayfish as a child,
so I new where to reach in and grab the crayfish, even without seeing
the carapace.
     With the water being so cold, the crayfish were sluggish and were
easy to handle. The largest measured approx 3 3/4" from head to tale and
was female. I proceeded to verturn rocks and ended up with a large
assortment of crayfish starting as small as 1/4" long.  Eagerly I took
them home to add to my 20 gallon tank along with my 2 electric blue
crayfish.  After approx 1 week everything seemed fine until I noticed
the large femal was attacking one of my blues and had done fatal harm to
him before I could intervene.
    Well, I guess necessity is the mother of invention, and it was no
more true than when I realized my crayfish were fighting for the same
space.  I proceeded to my local hardware store and acquired an 8'
section of 1 1/4" PVC pipe which I proceeded to cuy into 6" sections.  I
then stacked the sections at the rear of the tank, and now every
crayfish has a "burrow" of its own...fighting has ceased and I am eager
to see if I can spawn these crayfish in my aquarim. I have between 15
and 20 various sized individuals im my tank and my "crayfish condo" is
working great. perhaps if i wasnt in such a hurry to preserve my
specimens I would have siliconed the pieces into one large unit, but I
will wait until I do my next tank teardown to accomplish that.
   Crayfish are some of the most ionteresting aquatic inhabitants to
have, and if they are well fed, will not bother other fish in the tank.
I feed my crayfish mainly blackworms (tubifex) and have already had a
couple molt their shells.