Crayfish - Crawdad
Updated August 6, 2019
Author: Mike - FishLore Admin
As a kid I used to visit a local creek and would catch these little crayfish like crazy. We would usually find them in a crawdad hole or under a rock using raw bacon as the crawdad bait.
You'll want to provide stable water parameters for your crayfish and provide some sort of hiding place for when they molt. They may eat smaller slow moving fish and can also get eaten by larger fish. Having multiple crawfish in your tank may cause territorial problems as well. Try to provide well oxygenated water. Use air stones and/or power heads to provide water surface agitation.
Crawdads are very good at getting out of the tank so you'll need to have a tight fitting hood with no possible escape points.
If you have the right setup, this invertebrate can make an interesting addition to your tank.
Photos courtesy Lisa White
Crayfish Care Details
Scientific Name : Cambaridae Camburus
Common Names : Crawdad, Crayfish, Crawfish
Care Level : Easy
Size : Usually up to 3 inches (8 cm), sometimes larger
Life span : 2 - 5 years, possibly longer
pH : 6 - 8
Temperature : 60°F - 80°F (16°C - 27°C)
Water Hardness : 5° to 15° dH,
Origin / Habitat : Different species all over the world
Temperament / Behavior : May fight with other invertebrates and go after smaller fish.
Aquarium Size : 10 gallon minium
Tank Mates : Don't keep them with fish capable of eating them. They may also eat smaller slow moving fish.
Fish Disease : Freshwater Fish Disease - Diagnose, Symptoms and Treatment
Tank Region : Bottom
Gender : Difficult to determine except when females carry the eggs.
Site References :
Fish Lore Forum : Freshwater Crayfish Forum
These are actually the most aggressive inverts there are. They are extremely territorial and will eat other fish, frogs, snails, etc. They are though interesting to watch. 1 per 10 gallons.
The two I've had actually weren't that aggressive to my fish, and took nearly a year before it ate the snail. However, they are quick to snip off leaves of plants they want to eat. They are cute but shy and must have a place to crawl under or into, especially when molting.
If you have one of these make sure not to keep any other bottom dwellers unless they are of a decent size. I have a blue one and he ate my pictus catfish and even my small pleco.
Once they get a few inches on them, they can knock down an entire tank single handed. I had a 'blue shrimp' (as Petco calls them) in a heavily planted 40 gallon, and once he hit 4 or 5 inches he ate at least 3 platys, a very large lyretail molly, a barb, and at least 3 danios before I got him a new tank. And he escaped once before I sealed off the filter hole in the tank.
Don't keep these guys unless you have large, aggressive fish tank or a solo tank. That said, he's definitely my favorite aquatic pet, and a fascinating guy to watch.
One bit of advice, that I've never seen on any websites, is that they produce a lot of waste, so watch those ammonia and nitrite levels! The recommended water changes are presuming you only have fish in your tank. Having them may mean that you need to increase the regularity of water changes.
If you have angelfish DON'T get one! They are nocturnal and when your fish are sleeping they will go after them. My poor angel looked like he went in a paper shredder. Also it is not a good idea to have them in a tank with an undergravel filter. They tend to burrow and this caused the pump to jam up constantly. Back to the store it went. I would avise caution if you want one of these but you could get lucky, unlike me.
Ok, I'm from Louisiana. Crayfish, or as we call them here in Luzianne, Crawfish, are food. Yes they are aggressive and they'll eat just about anything you put in front of them. They WILL eat your other pets. I suggest boiling them or even making a good ole sauce picante with them. I prefer them boiled. They'll pinch the heck out of you if you make the mistake of trying to pick one up, unless you're from Louisiana and know how to pick them up. And don't be surprised if you wake up one morning to find some of your other fish pinched nearly or completely in half. They will fight with each other. They will rip each others claws off, in fact. Sorry to be so negative. I just thought you all should know the true nature and purpose of Crawfish.
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