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Consider the Crayfish: The Best Aquatic Pet (That's Not a Fish)

A fish tank is both a livable habitat for your new best friend and a decorative piece of furniture. Fish are cool and all, but we think you can do better. How about a lobster?

Okay, well it's technically a crayfish. These little ones are delicious in a New Orleans bake, but if you're grossed out by declawing, we think they make pretty great pets, too. Here's how to take care of your new pet crayfish.

1. Get a proper tank.

Crayfish thrive in 5 to 10 gallon tanks between 70 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit with a pH of 7.0. Also, make sure it's properly aerated and filtered. You must partially change the water each week -- it's like making the bed for the crayfish. Stick to one crayfish per tank at first, because you want to make sure the little one has enough space to hide and keep to itself. Also, if you must get a cray-friend for your crayfish, make sure it's a different species, or else they'll fight to the death.

2. Get the Feng Shui going on.

Time to establish tank ambiance. Make it dark, with lots of places to hide like fake plants and rocks and stuff.

3. Nom nom nom.

Crayfish need sinking shrimp pellets as a staple, but they are also gourmands and like to feast on cabbage leaves, zucchini, shelled peas, brine shrimp, and also (on occasion) cooked chicken!

4. It's molting time!

Your crayfish will molt every once in awhile, or shed its hard exoskeleton. But don't take the shell out of the tank! They actually eat this exoskeleton in order to strengthen their new forming skin. Don't feed your cray during the molting season.

5. Stop that escape artist.

If your crayfish tries to escape, don't place it right back into the tank because its gills have to get used to the water again. Fill a bucket with a small amount of water to just cover the cray, and then add a rock for comfort. Then hold your cray upside down on the surface of the water. If all is well, your cray is ready for the tank.

These non-fish cuties are an easy choice for a unique aquatic pet. You can find them at your local tropical fish store ranging from three to twenty dollars, depending on the rareness of the species. We hope you enjoy your new best friend!