navy rule
navy rule

Mesocosm Home



Build It

Run It



More Info


Return to Munin Home

Copyright ©2000-06
P.D. Schreuders

Build It

Below is the design for a basic tank. You do not need to adhere to these protocols, you can put whatever you want in your tank so long as your budget allows it. Some other things that can be put in your tank can be found in biota, but again, those are only suggestions. You could even add a stirring device that would help the prevent turbidity.

  • 10-gallon aquarium tank
  • aquarium light
  • one cubic foot of coral gravel
  • 4-5 bundles of anarcharis
  • 20 liters of room temperature, non-chlorinated fresh water
  • 4 crayfish (babies, if possible)
  • 2 clumps of java moss
  • 4 PVC plastic tubes (large enough for one crayfish to fit inside) or other plastic hiding spots plastic plants (as desired)
  • Aquarium dividers (optional)


  • If the tank is not new, thoroughly wash it out with soap and water. A dish scrubber will make removal of algae easier.
  • Pass tap water through the gravel for about ten minutes using a screen or pasta strainer. This will help to remove dust particles, impurities and biological contaminants from the gravel.
  • Cover the bottom of the tank evenly with gravel to a depth of approximately 1". You could add some crushed coral to the gravel as well. Crushed coral buffers the water against a change in pH and also provides a source of calcium for the crayfish.
  • Cut the PVC tubing into 4" sections using a hacksaw. Have at least one PVC section or cup per crayfish. These "houses" are essential in providing a safe haven for the crayfish when they are undergoing their vulnerable molting stage.
  • Place the "houses" in the tank strategically, allowing each crayfish to have a personal territory equally distant from the other crayfish.
  • If desired, add aquarium dividers to separate the crayfish territories permanently. These should definitely be used if there is a problem with cannibalism, but be warned that crayfish can also learn to climb the dividers.
  • Dechlorinate about 6 gallons of water. You can use water treatment chemicals from your local pet store or run the water through a water filter such as Brita. A greater volume of water allows for a slightly greater buffering capacity for wastes but crayfish may be able to climb out of the tank if the water level is to high.
  • Add anacharis plants to the aquarium. Include about one bundle of 5-6 stalks of anacharis per crayfish. Remember that there need to be enough plants that they can grow to replace the eaten plant materials. The plants can be kept in bundles or placed separately as desired. Bury the root ends of the plants in the gravel or cover with several stones to help prevent the crayfish from pulling the plant up.
  • Add Java moss as needed. Make sure it is weighed down by something to prevent it from floating to the surface.
  • Add the crayfish to the system. The crayfish should be acclimated to the temperature of the water to prevent shock. Don't let the change occur faster then 5-10 Degrees an hour. This can be done by slowly mixing the water that they are being kept in with the water from the aquarium. Reducing the crayfishes stress in the system is always important.
navy rule