How to Care for Crayfish (Care Sheet & Guide 2022)

Crayfish are considered a delicacy in many places, such as New Orleans. However, crayfish are also kept as pets in various parts of the world. Pet crayfish come in many varieties, sizes, and personalities. Some pet lobsters are small, shy, and shy, while others are strong, curious, and even destructive.

Crayfish make excellent pets for children and first-time pet owners. They are fairly easy to care for, don’t take up much space to maintain a happy and healthy life, and they are fun to watch when they are active in their habitat. Here’s everything you need to know about caring for pet crayfish.

fish bowl divider

Crayfish Facts

These freshwater crustaceans are also referred to as crawdads and crawfish, depending on their geographic location. There are several species of crayfish, some of which can be found living in murky waters, such as swamps and rice fields. Other crayfish species live where water flows freely, such as rivers.

With over 500 species of crayfish found worldwide, they are never hard to find in nature if you know where to look. They are most commonly found in North America, Australia, and New Zealand.

This animal is made up of several different body segments that each grow their own unique set of appendages. Crayfish usually eat live plants and animals that are the same size or smaller than them. They are known for their good eyesight and attractive colours, which include pinks, reds, yellows, blues, and browns.

Crayfish reach puberty on average between the ages of 5 and 8 years. They can live between 20 and 30 years in the wild. Unfortunately, they usually live only a fraction of that time in captivity. This means that prospective pet lobster owners don’t have to worry about long-term commitments when keeping one of these animals.

baby crayfish

Is Crayfish a Good Pet?

Crayfish make excellent pets because they are strong, active, and interesting to watch. Crayfish are even known to occasionally interact with their human companions. They cannot live with other types of freshwater fish, but their friendship deserves to be offered a tank just for their enjoyment.

There is no need to worry about whether they will get along with other pets because they will be locked up in their own habitat. They do not require special care or regular vet visits, which makes them affordable pets for families of all shapes and sizes to consider, whether in a small apartment or a large house.

crayfish in plants

Where can I get pet crayfish?

There are many different ways to get pet crayfish for your household. A good place to start is a pet shop, as many of them sell crayfish of many species to invest in. You can also find freshwater crayfish at water shops where fish and other marine life are sold. Another way to get crayfish for pets is to catch them in their natural habitat and bring them home and get used to living in captivity.

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No matter where you get your pet lobster from, they need to adapt to their new environment before they seem calm and comfortable in their habitat. You should also make sure that the lobster you take home is healthy. If they do not move much and appear lethargic, there is a possibility that they have a disease that affects their quality of life. When in doubt, consult an aquatic veterinarian or a general veterinarian who specializes in crustaceans.


What Type of Home Does My Pet Crayfish Need?

Pet crayfish can be kept in a freshwater aquarium, just like any other freshwater fish. However they should be kept alone and not put in a tank where other fish are already located, or fighting may occur. Crayfish live happily alone and will explore every inch of their habitat, so the tank should be covered with a tight lid to prevent escaping.

The bottom of a pet lobster tank should be covered with gravel or sand for convenience and to help keep the aquarium water clean between maintenance sessions. Crayfish love plants to curl up with, structures to explore, and toys to interact with throughout the day.

A filtration system should be installed in the aquarium to clean dirt and waste from the water on a daily basis. Every 2 weeks or so, up to 15% of the aquarium water should be drained and replaced with fresh, clean water to maintain the proper pH level. You can use a pH test kit to verify that your lobster water is properly balanced.

crayfish on the grass

How Much Does It Cost to Own a Pet Crayfish?

Owning a pet crayfish is more affordable than owning other types of animals, such as cats, dogs, and even hamsters. After initial habitat costs, which can range from $30 to $200, depending on the setup you choose, it’s likely you’ll only end up spending a few dollars a year on parts and maintenance.

Your pet crayfish need to be fed, but commercial food should be no more than $5-$10 a month. Pet crayfish rarely see the vet, so regular checkups and vaccinations are unnecessary. Things like toys are optional expenses that you may incur over time.


What Should I Feed My Pet Crayfish?

Crayfish are omnivores and will eat anything they come across. In the wild, they tend to eat decaying animals and plants. In captivity, they will eat algae, which helps keep their aquarium clean over time. These animals love to eat plants, and it’s a good idea to include live ones, such as moss and hornworts, into their habitat so they always have a snack to rely on.

They will also eat all kinds of fish food that is offered to them. Many commercial lobster foods on the market are designed to meet all the nutritional needs of these crustaceans. Just follow the feeding instructions on the package to keep your lobster healthy.

You can also offer small crayfish and other fish to feed occasionally for extra protein. Other foods that can be given to pet lobsters include shrimp pellets, dried seaweed, dried squid, and even bloodworms.

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Australian blue crayfish

How Do I Take Care of My Pet Crayfish?

Caring for freshwater crayfish is very easy to do. These animals should not leave their tanks unless their habitat is being cleared or in an emergency. Crayfish have pincers like lobsters, so they can injure someone who tries to pick them up and remove them from their habitat. These animals should be left undisturbed in their habitat, where they can be observed from the outside.

But this doesn’t mean that lobsters aren’t fun to have. They are active and can be funny as they go through interactive objects and plant life. They are interesting to watch as they hunt live shrimp for food. They will even come to the walls of their habitat to greet their human companions they recognize from time to time.


If you must handle your pet crayfish, it is important to pick up the crustaceans from behind. Hold the main part of the body, behind the clamps to minimize the risk of pinching. It’s best to place them directly into the holding container so they don’t try to wiggle and struggle out of your hands.

crayfish in plants


There are several different ways to enjoy being with a pet lobster other than by observing them from the sidelines. Using tree branches or leaves from plants, you can interact with crayfish in their habitat. Just dip the branch or leaves in the water, and slowly move them around your crayfish.

The animal should start showing interest in him by following him around or trying to pinch him. Another way to enjoy being with your crayfish is to lightly tap the glass of their habitat to get their attention. Try to get your pet to follow your finger up and down and side to side.


Crayfish make a lot of waste because they shed their outer shells during molting season, and they destroy plant life quickly. Therefore, it is important to clean their habitat several times a month to ensure good health. This can be done by removing some of the water, up to about 15%, and then replacing it with clean water. It’s also a good idea to use a vacuum to clear gravel or sand at the bottom of the habitat.

If the water in their habitat is cloudy and difficult to see clearly, you may need to transfer the crayfish to a holding container and replace all the water in their habitat. Make sure the water is properly balanced by checking the pH, and making sure the filter is working before returning the crayfish to their habitat.

red crayfish in aquarium

How Do I Know If My Pet Crayfish Is Sick?

The first thing to know is that crayfish are molt, which means they shed their exoskeleton to make room for a bigger and stronger exoskeleton as they age. This process usually results in a lack of interest in the food until the molting process is complete, which can make it look like the animal is sick. However, being lethargic and not wanting to eat is a typical behavior of molting lobsters.

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The molting process only lasts about 24 hours for younger crayfish, while adult lobsters may take up to 5 days to fully molt. Their lack of interest in food and activity should not be a concern during the molting process. Your crayfish will be excited and start eating again once the molting process is complete.

If your crayfish act strangely when there are no signs of molting, they may have an illness that needs to be treated. Here are the most common crayfish health conditions to look out for.

Crayfish Plague. Affecting North American species of crayfish, the disease is caused by a fungus. Signs of illness include whitening of the body, especially the stomach and limbs. They no longer dislike bright light as usual, so they can be seen in open water during the day, when they should be hiding in plants or caves.

If the disease becomes terminal, the affected crayfish will lose balance and may start lying on their side before dying. Once a crayfish is infected, unfortunately there is no cure. Habitats can be disinfected with sodium hypochlorite so that new crayfish entering the habitat will not become infected and fall ill.

Parasite. Crayfish can be infected by parasites just like any other animal. Being infected with a parasite can cause lethargy, a distended stomach, a voracious appetite, and a lack of interest in exploring. If you see signs of parasites, you can use a commercial parasite treatment designed for animals such as crayfish. Usually added to habitat water.



Crayfish are fun pets that are easy to care for over time. They don’t need much attention, and they don’t mind being left at home, like dogs or even cats. They are fun to watch and don’t make any noise that would annoy or annoy their human companions. Hopefully, our grooming guide will make it easier for you to transition to crayfish ownership and enjoy your new pet to the full for years to come.

Featured Image Credit: Geza Farkas, Shutterstock