The Wamena mountain crayfish (Cherax monticola) hails from the region of Papua/Irian Jaya, where it thrives in the Bailem River area at altitudes of up to 3,300 meters above sea level. These crayfish inhabit both flowing and standing waters and exhibit highly variable colors, including red, brown, and a blue color form. While they are primarily harvested for consumption and not commonly seen in the aquarium trade, they possess unique characteristics.
The males of the Wamena mountain crayfish feature notably broad and large claws. Distinguishing between the sexes can be done by observing the gonopores, which are the sexual openings. In males, these openings are situated at the base of the fifth pair of walking legs, while in females, they can be found at the base of the third pair of legs.
Crepuscular and nocturnal in nature, these crayfish are relatively easy to maintain in aquariums. A single pair of Wamena Mountain Crayfish can be accommodated in well-structured aquariums with a minimum size of 80 cm in length. However, if multiple pairs are to be kept together, larger tanks starting from 120 cm in length are required, along with ample hiding places. Swimming space is not a priority for these crayfish, as they are not inclined to swim. Instead, a larger footprint is necessary to provide sufficient living space. Incorporating roots and stones into the aquarium setup enhances usable surface area, offers structure, and creates hiding spots. While the Wamena mountain crayfish does not have a strong penchant for plants, it can coexist with robust plant species if provided with a balanced diet rich in plant material. As they are not avid diggers, these crayfish can be housed in planted aquariums. It's important to ensure that the aquarium is securely covered, as crayfish possess remarkable abilities to escape even through small openings.
Overall, the Wamena mountain crayfish presents an intriguing option for aquarium enthusiasts, with its unique colors, moderate aggressiveness, and relatively straightforward care requirements.