What to feed baby crayfish

Crayfish - The Care, Feeding and Breeding of Freshwater Crayfish (Crawfish)

Crayfish Stats
Minimum Tank Size: 5 Gallons
Care Level: Easy
Water Conditions: PH 6.5-8 and Medium Hard to Very Hard
Temperature: 65-75 F (18-23 C)
Maximum Size: 3 inches (8 centimetres)


For anyone looking for a quirky and interesting pet, the freshwater crayfish is an excellent choice.. They are easy to care for, extremely hardy, and often interact with their owners. While crayfish are definitely not safe for a community fish tank, it is well worth having a tank dedicated to crayfish just to enjoy their antics.

When choosing a freshwater crayfish, it’s important to know that there are well over 100 species of crayfish from around the world. While most crayfish require cool water, some require  tropical temperatures to thrive. Before purchasing a crayfish, a owner should do some research to determine the crayfish species needs. If a crayfish is well cared for, they will usually live 2-3 years, with some species living even longer.


A single crayfish can be kept in a relatively small aquarium. A 5 to 10 gallon aquarium is usually more than adequate, especially if regular water changes are provided. Crayfish are notorious for hiding their food, and will often have a stash hidden away in a cave or flower-pot. On top of that, they are also messy eaters, and when coupled with hidden food , water quality can quickly decline. When doing water changes, you should always check for a stash of food in any of the crayfish hiding spots.

If more than one crayfish is going to be housed in a tank, then a minimum of 20 gallons need to be provided. Crayfish are cannibalistic by nature, and when a crayfish moults it is nearly defenseless until its shell hardens again. During this time, it will hide for a few days, so don’t be too alarmed if a crayfish disappears for a up to a week at a time. Because of this, it is very important to provide numerous hiding places and enough space for each crayfish in the aquarium –  unless someone wants their crayfish to become an expensive meal for the other tank inhabitants.

It becomes much trickier when it comes to housing crayfish with fish. There are many accounts of people successfully keeping crayfish and fish together, but given enough time, either the fish or the crayfish is going to be eaten. There is nothing worse than losing a large, expensive fish to a crayfish over the course of a night. Or alternatively, finding crayfish parts scattered across an aquarium, with a very full looking fish. While a person can certainly try to keep fish and crayfish together, it ends badly more often than not.

The filtration for a crayfish should usually be a HOB (Hang-on-back) filter. While a sponge filter is cheaper than an HOB filter, the air line leading out of the tank gives the crayfish a perfect escape route. If you leave the crayfish alone long enough, you will eventually see a crayfish running around on the floor of your fish room.


A crayfish’s main diet should be comprised of sinking Shrimp Pellets, but they also enjoy some green vegetables and frozen foods in their diet. They are not picky when it comes to green vegetables and can be offered cabbage leafs, zucchini medallions and shelled peas. As for frozen foods, they happily accept small portions of frozen fish, daphnia, bloods worms and brine shrimp.

A word of warning – crayfish love aquatic plants and will eat any that are put in the tank with them. An adult crayfish can strip a heavily planted aquarium bare in a matter of days. So while it may be a good place to dispose of unwanted plant clippings, you should never put any plants in their aquarium that aren’t replaceable.


Most species of crayfish will breed at any time in the home aquarium, though feeding high quality foods and keeping the water pristine will help trigger breeding behavior. Crayfish can be frustratingly hard to sex for someone new to keeping them, but the easiest way is to look at the swimmerets. The males will have swimmerets that extend past the back legs, while the females won’t have any past the back legs.

When mating begins, the male deposits a sack of sperm on the female who then passes her eggs through the sperm to fertilize them. After the eggs have been fertilized, they are then kept under the tail by the female who should be placed in a tank on her own at this point.

After around four weeks, the eggs will hatch and the young crayfish will emerge. The female crayfish will take care of the young for a short period of time, but should be removed after a few days to prevent the fry from being eaten. A large nursery tank is required if any number of crayfish fry are expected to survive as they are extremely cannibalistic like their parents.

The baby crayfish can be feed blanched cabbage leafs or lettuce leaves, and also consume detritus in the tank. As the crayfish grow, the larger ones should be removed from the tank as they will feed voraciously on the smaller crayfish.

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Everything You Need To Know – Acuario Pets

Whether you wanted it or not, your crayfishes have mated and produced tons of babies. Now you there are hundreds of baby crayfishes swimming around in the tank. You need to know what to do, how to take care of them. Does the situation sound familiar to you? Well, you’re in the right place.

In this baby crayfish care guide, I’ll talk about the proper tank setup for the babies, how to feed them, how to increase the survival rate, and finally, what to do with them.

So, let’s get started!

Table of Contents

Crayfish Breeding

Though this article is mainly about baby crayfishes, I want to start it with a little bit of crayfish breeding. Because that’s how the baby crayfishes get born, right?

Breeding crayfishes is pretty much straightforward. If you have a male and a female in a tank with a proper setup, they’ll breeding eventually.

When male mates with the female crayfish, he puts a sack of sperm under the belly of the female crayfish. The female crayfish then passes her eggs through that sperm pocket to the tail. The eggs get fertilized and attach themselves to the swimmerets of the female crayfish.

The eggs stay attached to the swimmerets for about 4 weeks. This is called the gestation period. The period can be influenced by many other factors such as temperature of the environment, season, water condition, etc.

In case of freshwater crayfishes, the mother take care of the babies for some time after they are born. However, as soon as the babies can swim around independently, the mother will try to eat them.

This is not the case for saltwater crayfishes aka lobsters. The mother doesn’t care for the babies after they are born.

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Tank Setup For Baby Crayfishes

Enough breeding talk. Now we need to know how to setup a proper tank for the baby crayfishes. In this tank, the babies will stay for a few weeks until they get aggressive and start to attack each other.

For your convenience, I have divided the setup process into several parts. Let’s go through them one by one:


Substrate is very important for crayfishes. They need substrate to dig through it. Digging & burrowing is one of crayfish’s natural behaviors. So, you need a good layer of substrate for the babies.

I recommend using sand. Sand is easy to clean, maintain as well as perfect for digging. The babies won’t face a hard time digging through the sand and it will also keep them safe from one another.

In my substrate guide for crayfish, I’ve talked more about substrate, which one should you choose, what should be the substrate depth and so on. If you are interested to learn more about substrate for crayfishes, check out that guide!


The baby crayfishes need pristine quality water to grow. Also, the water needs to be free from chlorine & chloramine. For this, I suggest using a water conditioner.

A good water conditioner will take care of the chlorine and chloramine for you. There are lots of water conditioners available in the market. You’ll never know if a cheap one is working or not. That’s why I recommend getting one from a reputed brand. I’ll suggest Seachem Prime.

Seachem is one of the most reputed brands in the aquarium industry. You can trust their products with your eyes closed. Though they are a bit pricier, but you get what you pay for!

For pristine water quality, you’ll also need the tank to be cycled. If you don’t know what nitrogen cycle is, read this cycling guide of mine. Though it is for shrimps, the concept is pretty much the same.

For properly cycling a tank, we need a decent quality of beneficial bacteria. However, it takes time to grow such a colony, especially 4 to 6 weeks. If you don’t have that time, you can does some additional bacteria and the tank will be cycled quicker. I suggest using API Quick Start.

You can use it for both freshwater and saltwater aquariums. It will establish a good beneficial bacterial colony almost instantly and you won’t have to worry about the dreaded nitrogen cycle.


For baby crayfishes, I’ll suggest a sponge filter. Nothing else.

Why not a HOB filter? Because the flow rate of a HOB can be too much for the babies. Also, crayfishes need aeration in their tank to grow properly. That’s why a sponge filter is the best. It will aerate the tank as well as filter the water.

Just get your hands on a big size sponge filter. The bigger the sponge filter is, the more beneficial bacterial colony it can hold and consequently, the water quality will get better.

This double sponge filter from Aquaneat seems pretty good to me for a baby crayfish tank. You can change the direction of the flow rate easily. This one is suitable for a 10 gallon tank. You can get two of this for a bigger tank.

Hiding Places

Crayfishes need lots of hiding places in their tank. Even the babies need hiding places to keep themselves safe from each other. I’ll suggest to throw in some pieces of PVC pipes. These work great as hiding places for the crayfish.

You can also put lots of aquatic plants in the tank. Though the crayfish will eat the plants, a dense plantation will work great as a hiding spot too! Also, plants help to keep the water fresh & clean.

Don’t choose any expensive plants. Cheap hornworts, densa, guppy grass, etc. will do fine. Also, floating plants like duckweed, azolla will be great.

Tank Cover

Crayfishes are excellent escape artists. They’ll find a way to escape from the tank if you don’t have a tank cover. Trust me with this.

You’ll must need a cover for a crayfish tank. Otherwise you’ll see baby crayfishes lurking around your living room soon!


Feeding baby crayfishes is very easy and straightforward. They’ll eat any food that is suitable for the adult ones. You’ll just need to crush the food pellets or algae wafer so the babies can fit them in their mouth.

If you want my recommendation for crayfish food, check out my crayfish feeding guide. You’ll know which foods I like to feed my crayfish, why I like them and what schedule I follow to feed my crayfish.

For baby crayfishes, I’ll suggest feeding the required amount everyday instead of every other day for the adults. They need more nutrition in order to grow properly.

Also, feed a protein rich diet. Protein is extremely important to grow. Crayfishes can eat pretty much anything under the sun. So, change their diet once in a while so the babies can taste different foods! It will also keep them happy!

How Many Babies Do Crayfish Have?

Well, needless to say the number of babies will depend on many factors, especially on the type of the crayfish. Generally, a female crayfish can hatch 400 to 1000 eggs at a time.

But that doesn’t mean you’ll get 400 baby crayfishes. Some will not hatch. Some babies might die after getting hatched. Also, the babies can get aggressive and attack each other. It is normal for crayfishes to attach their own and kill.

So, in the end, you’ll have much fewer baby crayfishes than the number of hatched eggs.

Do Crayfishes Eat Their Babies?

Yes, crayfishes eat their babies. Crayfishes are very bad parents. The mom will take care of the babies only for a few days until they babies start to swim around on their own.

Once the babies are developed enough to swim around, the mom can eat them. That’s why at this stage you need to separate the mom from the babies.

I’ve written a detailed article on this exact topic. If you want, you can read it here.

I know it sounds cruel, but that’s how nature works.

How Long Do Baby Crayfish Stay With Their Mother?

Baby crayfishes can stay with their mother for about 2 weeks. After being hatched, within the first 2 weeks, the babies stay under the tail of the mother crayfish.

This keeps the babies safe. During this period, the babies catch floating food particles with their claws and eat those. After 2 weeks, when the babies leave the mother, they can independently live on their own.

Soon, they’ll get matured and aggressive.

Do Baby Crayfish Need Air?

Baby crayfishes need air in their habitat. They need highly oxygenated water to live properly. That’s why it is recommended to use an air pump 24 x 7 in a crayfish habitat.

If you can’t get an air pump, place some large stones in the middle of the tank. The peak of the stones need to breach the water level. This way, the babies can crawl to the peak and get oxygen if there is low oxygen level in the water.

Do Crayfish Die After Giving Birth?

Crayfishes don’t die after giving birth. This is a common misconception among many. If the crayfish gets injured anyhow during mating, then it might die. But that’s exactly same as getting injured from a fighting.

So, in general, crayfishes won’t die after giving birth.

What To Do With The Babies In Future?

You need to think about the future of the babies from the very beginning. You can keep the babies in a tank only for a while. As soon as they start to get matured, they’ll attack each other for dominance. That’s how crayfishes are in nature.

So, if you don’t separate the babies soon, they’ll fight each other to death soon!

It is not feasible to keep hundreds of babies. You’ll need a separate tank for each of them and that’s just not possible for a regular home. So, what can you do with the babies?

  • You can try to sell them. Contact your local fish store and ask them if they’ll buy the babies at a wholesale rate. If they agree, you can sell all the babies at a good profit margin.
  • If the fish store declines to buy, you can sell some to other local hobbyists in your area. Just keep the price extremely cheap so people get interested to buy. However, make sure the buyer knows how to take care of them properly.
  • If you can’t sell the babies, there is no other option than giving away. Just give away the babies to your local fish store or other hobbyists. They might find other suitable homes soon!

What conditions should be provided for crayfish at home and how to feed them


  • 1 How to feed crayfish at home
  • 2 Reproduction
  • 3 Diseases
  • 4 If you decide to start breeding

Recently, it has become fashionable to keep rare and unusual animals at home. The more exotic your pet, the more attention to it.

Here and crayfish used to be rarely seen in someone's aquarium. But now such pets have become very popular. They not only surprise guests, but are also endowed with a calm character and interesting behavior. The coloration of many individuals is impressive, and caring for cancer does not cause any problems.

In the wild, crayfish inhabit almost all bodies of water, whether they are salty, fresh, small or large. Outwardly, they resemble creatures that lived during the time of the dinosaurs. Their body is protected by a shell, their eyes stick out on stalks, the number of their limbs is 19! A pair of powerful claws in front gives the crustacean a very formidable look.

If you decide to buy crustaceans, it is better to buy them when they are small. This will make it easier for them to get used to the new place. It is necessary to transport them from the store to the house in an opaque container - so they will have less stress. When settling them in an aquarium, check the temperature difference. The temperature in the container for transportation and in the new dwelling for crustaceans should not have a difference of more than 3 degrees.

Aquarium crayfish need special conditions:

  1. Very pure oxygenated water.
  2. Contains 2mg nitrogen and 0.5mg phosphorus per litre.
  3. One individual requires at least 15 liters of necessarily hard water. To increase the hardness of the water, add marble or limestone. Such water is necessary for crayfish to renew the shell.

The hard shell protects the cancer body but prevents growth. That is why the animal drops it from time to time. Young individuals do this about 8 times a year, adults - 1 time. There are cases when cancer cannot throw off the shell - some part of the body simply does not come out of the old shell, and the animal dies.

During the molting period, there is another problem - the cancer is very vulnerable without its protective shell. Therefore, until the molt ends, the animal hides. Provide the bottom of the aquarium with conditions that provide hiding places for crayfish. These can be stones or parts of ceramic flower pots. And the more there are, the better. It is advisable to cover the bottom with a layer of sand and clay, where the crayfish will be able to dig their shelters.

In the wild, crayfish like to go ashore and look for food there. Therefore, if you want to provide your pets with ideal conditions, purchase aquaterrarium which has access to a land area. Keep in mind that the love of walking on the ground can push your crustaceans to escape. Create all possible conditions that will prevent this: cover the aquarium with thick glass with a small gap. If your pet is desperately trying to get out of his "home", this will be a signal to you that the water quality is very low.

How to feed crayfish at home

Crayfish are nocturnal, they also feed at dusk. As feed, any plant and animal food is used. It will not be difficult for you to provide them with food. Only if they are kept with fish will you have to feed the crayfish at night. Due to its slowness, cancer can literally miss all the food from under the nose.

Their diet is similar to aquarium fish. You can feed them with bloodworm , tubifex and bottom fish food. Plant foods should not be forgotten either: lettuce, carrots, nettles. Algae must be present, which also purifies the water. Wanting to diversify their diet, cancer can eat leaves. For this reason, in no case do not decorate the aquarium with artificial plants - cancer can swallow them and die.

You can pamper such a pet with pieces of meat or fish. But in no case do not feed cancer with untested purchased meat or semi-finished products! From extraneous additives that are not dangerous to humans, he will die.

It is not advisable to keep crayfish together with bottom fish. Small fish may simply not survive until morning, and larger individuals risk being left without fins. Also, you should not experiment and populate cancer with aggressive species. Due to constant stress and fear, he will not be able to eat normally and will die.


Mating period starts after molting . Females secrete pheromones that excite and attract males. The mating process itself takes several hours.

After 20 days, the female lays eggs, which she then carries around. To ensure the necessary comfort, it is better to move it to a single aquarium. Until the first molt, young crustaceans will cling to their mother. After the second molt, it is better to remove the female from the offspring. Provide the aquarium with a very large number of shelters for crustaceans. During the molting period, even sisters and brothers can attack each other. The more shelters, the more individuals will be able to survive.


Cancers are living beings that can be subject to various diseases. But know that no matter how sick your pet is, only your negligence is to blame. Wrong temperature, untested food, dirty water , an infection accidentally brought into the water by your hands. Only you can help your pet avoid health problems. At the slightest suspicion of illness, contact your veterinarian immediately.

If you decide to breed

First, remember a few things:

  • You will not be able to grow many individuals at once.
  • It is worth buying several aquariums right away. Cancers need to live separately. Why? Because older individuals can eat younger ones.
  • Mature individuals should be placed in a separate pond, leaving the little ones in a more familiar environment for them. So you protect the young from unnecessary stress.
  • Also observe population density. There should be no more than 5 individuals per 1 square meter.

Which species is best for breeding

Crayfish will cause a lot of trouble because they are small. In addition, in winter they hibernate, which significantly slows down their growth. Agree, this will not add to your benefits. Ideal for breeding lacustrine crayfish . They are very large and grow quickly. Keep in mind that representatives of different species cannot coexist in the same aquarium!

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What and how to feed crayfish at home - RibnyDom.Ru


River crayfish are very unpretentious in food and absorb food of both plant and animal origin with equal ease. Largely because of such pickyness, people have a desire to start breeding arthropods at home. However, in order for the venture to be successful, it is necessary not only to know how to feed the crayfish, but also to understand all the subtleties of caring for them.

Crayfish varieties for breeding

You can grow arthropods in ponds or special aquariums. The variety most suitable for breeding is chosen based on the intended method of keeping:

  1. River crayfish hibernating with a significant drop in temperature will feel much better in a pond where conditions are as close as possible to their natural habitat. This method of cultivation is also considered less expensive: since any reservoir eventually becomes a formed sustainable ecosystem, arthropods will be able to feed on what the pond gives them, allowing the owner to save on feed. Among other things, crayfish are cheaper than their other relatives (and if desired, they can be caught for free in reservoirs).
  2. Large blue or lake species are not prone to hibernation and perfectly adapt to artificial conditions, so they can be grown even in an average apartment. But it must be borne in mind that these varieties grow rapidly, reaching impressive sizes, and are distinguished by thermophilicity.

Read more: content of blue crayfish.

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To create a farm, it is better to buy mature individuals with a length of at least 8 cm. For each male, there should be two females - the latter are distinguished by an undeveloped upper pair of limbs and a wider abdomen.

Keeping in a pond

Since crayfish search for food, relying on the senses, it is necessary to create conditions for them that are as close to natural as possible. An important parameter for good appetite and optimal development is the acidity of the water: the optimal pH should vary between 7-8.5. The acidic environment inhibits the growth of young and molting, as a result of which the shell softens and becomes thin. The temperature in the reservoir cannot fall below -15 °C - if the pond freezes to the bottom, all its inhabitants will die.

Organic and mineral fertilizers - superphosphate, ammonium nitrate, various types of legumes - are used to enrich the forage base. This technique improves the composition of water and contributes to the formation of optimal microflora.

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, apparently with the all -Jemplery of the members of the members and their unpretentiousness, When feeding crayfish at home, you need to take into account several nuances:

  1. Lime is necessary for healthy growth of the shell. This is especially important during the molting period, when crayfish shed the old shell and grow a new one. Algae rich in lime will help replenish the amount of “building material” - for example, hornwort, elodea and char species of plants. The rhizomes of sedges, reeds and reeds are very attractive to arthropods.
  2. Various types of invertebrates (daphnia, cyclops), insect larvae, snails, water worms, tadpoles and small fish are suitable as animal food. The daily amount of food can reach up to 2% of the total weight of the individual.
  3. Crayfish are very positive about the neighborhood with phyto- and zooplankton - these varieties serve as food not only for the arthropods themselves, but also for their prey.

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. In their natural environment, their diet is as follows:

  1. Very tiny underyearlings feed on daphnia and chironomids, and after reaching two centimeters in length, larvae of various insects are included in food.
  2. Arthropods that have grown to three centimeters begin to eat mollusks, and four centimeters are already able to digest fish.
  3. The main diet of young animals (8-10 cm in length) are amphipods - up to 63% of the total amount of food consumed.

Aquarium cultivation

Keeping arthropods in an apartment has its advantages - for example, the ability to control the life of pets, strictly adhere to the temperature regime and minimize the wintering time. However, it should be noted that if the rules of care are not followed, the water in the aquarium quickly deteriorates. To avoid this, it is necessary to feed crayfish at home from special square trays equipped with sides, timely removing uneaten food debris.

The diet of the inhabitants of the aquarium will depend on their age:

  1. Underyearlings and young growth can be fed with minced fish or meat, boiled vegetables and compound feed for herbivorous fish. To speed up development, a variety of top dressings are added to the main food. It is important to avoid fatty foods that degrade water quality and provoke mass death of individuals.
  2. Soaked cereals, pieces of bread and vegetables, worms, shrimp pellets, snails, bloodworms and young frogs are suitable as food for adult crayfish. It is useful to add alder, potato and nettle leaves to food. Spoiled meat and stale fish can be given occasionally, while carefully monitoring the purity of the water.

The amount of food required for each individual is 2-4% of its weight. If it is difficult to calculate it, you must be guided by a simple rule: it is better to underfeed than to leave extra pieces of food (especially fish and meat) in the aquarium.

Decaying food residues promote the multiplication of pathogens, which subsequently lead to a plague of cancers.

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Useful tips

And for this you need to know the main subtleties of caring for arthropods:

  1. The water in which the crayfish live must be clean, so keeping in the aquarium requires the presence of purifiers and devices for supplying oxygen. An artificial pond also needs to be equipped with a high-quality aeration system and a filter. It is better if the reservoir is oval in shape - this ensures optimal gas exchange. It is strictly forbidden to equip the pond in a sunny place.
  2. The volume of water for each arthropod is at least 20 liters. The number of pets per square meter should not exceed 350 pieces.
  3. A sufficient amount of pebbles and sand should be poured on the bottom of the artificial reservoir, since crayfish are very fond of digging holes. Special caves can also be placed in the aquarium - this will allow pets to hide and feel safe.
  4. Both in the natural environment and at home, crayfish feed at night - accordingly, they need to be fed in the evening.
  5. Adults kept cool should not be fed in winter. Hibernating arthropods do not absorb food, and unused food residues become an ideal breeding ground for pathogenic flora.
  6. Several varieties of crayfish cannot be in the same reservoir - this will lead to rivalry and destruction of a weaker species.

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