Freshwater Aquarium Crayfish Care Guide – Video

Freshwater Aquarium Crayfish are scavengers that spend most of their time searching the substrate for food. Often, pet stores market them as freshwater aquarium lobsters labeling them by the color of their shell. Whatever the case, aquarium crayfish are fun to keep, and the requirements for care are the same regardless of the species.

Aquarium Crayfish Video

Types Of Aquarium Crayfish

Hammers Cobalt Blue Lobster

The Hammers Cobalt Blue Lobster is an aquarium crayfish with a vibrant blue colored shell. The claws and antennae are also blue and contrast beautifully against a black background or substrate.

Tangerine Lobster

Tangerine Lobsters have bright red-orange shells. They have sharp claws and are quick on their feet. They are always moving about the aquarium scavenging for food.

White Crayfish

White Crayfish, like the other types of aquarium crayfish, are avid scavengers. Being white in color, they add a bit of accent against a black background or substrate.

Photos Of Aquarium Crayfish

Aquarium Crayfish Tank Size

For aquarium crayfish species only tanks, a 20 gallon (long) aquarium size is a good starting point. Freshwater crayfish need lots of space and water; smaller aquariums won’t work (not even for a single crayfish).

If you think about it, aquarium crayfish are always on the move in search of food. Crayfish need lots of space to move about. The tank also needs to have lots of decorations, aquarium plants, etc. for the crayfish to explore.

Aquarium Crayfish Tank Mates

Aquarium crayfish are not compatible with tropical fish or most other aquarium fish. Crayfish are territorial and aggressive toward other species of aquatic animals.

Freshwater shrimp are too small and defenseless as crayfish will attack and eat shrimp. Freshwater snails will also be helpless against aquarium crayfish.

Bigger fish like Jack Dempsey or other cichlids can attack crayfish. The larger fish can suffer injuries, and the crayfish can also suffer injuries. The larger fish may even eat the crayfish.

So, it’s best to avoid keeping aquarium crayfish with other aquatic animals. In species only tank, be sure that the crayfish are of the same species. Crayfish may attack their species but are more likely to attack a crayfish of a different species.

The best thing to do is to speak with the store clerk when buying live fish. They can help you determine if the fish is compatible with crayfish. It’ll be tricky but it can work.

Diet & Feeding

Crayfish are easy to feed. They eat most anything that they can get their claws on. So, bottom feeder pellets, flakes, frozen foods, and live foods are all ok.

Crayfish are scavengers and have no problem finding food and feeding themselves. But, if there is no food in the tank, crayfish can be aggressive and attack other tank mates. So, try to ensure that you feed the crayfish regularly to avoid turf wars.

Plants & Substrate

Crayfish do eat plant matter, so a planted aquarium is ideal. Some crayfish nibble on Java Moss, but not so much that they damage the plant. Other aquarium crayfish can uproot plants and eat their leaves. As always, speak with the store clerk to learn about the crayfish or lobster that you’re buying.

Plants like Anubias and Java Fern attach to rocks and decorations, so crayfish can’t uproot them. These plants also have tough leaves which may deter pet crayfish from eating them.

Crayfish love to scavenge for food on the tank bottom. While they aren’t too picky about the substrate, soul, or gravel is best. Crayfish may dig into the substrate to make tunnels.


Crayfish need to molt to grow bigger and stronger exoskeletons (shells). When an aquarium crayfish molts it:

  • Spends all day in a tunnel
  • Loses appetite
  • Remains inactive and motionless

Molting can last for minutes or hours. After, the crayfish may eat the old shell to refeed and gather minerals and nutrients for the new shell. When molting, crayfish are defenseless and can be targeted by fish and even other crayfish. Usually, the crayfish will stay buried in its burrow until the exoskeleton hardens, but it’s something to be aware of.