How To Care for a Pet Crayfish


If you struggle with depression or anxiety pets can be overwhelming. Actually, they’re overwhelming without depression and anxiety.

They’re expensive, time consuming, and take our energy. If you have kids, a job, or are going to school, you have enough things to do.How To Care for a Pet Crayfish

So I’m going to elaborate on a super low maintenance pet & cover some of the most common questions about how to care for a pet crayfish.

You could even go outside and find one for free so you won’t have to spend any of your hard earned money!

Outdoor activities boost growth and healing, especially mental health

& even people who love the outdoors can struggle to find enjoyable outdoor activities.

So here is just one idea to get outside, along with some info on how to care for a pet crayfish.

This post will start with where to find crayfish then discuss different ways to catch them and what you can do with them after you catch them!

Before we talk about how to care for a pet crayfish, you’ll need to know where to find crayfish.


Crayfish Habitat

You can find crayfish in

  • Rivers
  • Streams
  • Ponds
  • Lakes

They’re usually tucked under

  • Rocks
  • Logs
  • Other debris in the water


At first glance you may not see any crayfish but it’s worth watching for a minute. They blend in well therefore can be pretty hard to spot!

Once you’ve found a good crayfish spot, you’ll have to decide how you want to catch them.



How to Catch a Crayfish

Well, here are some of my methods.



Catching Crayfish By Hand

How To Care for a Pet Crayfish

This one is maybe the most intimidating but the easiest and simplest method in my opinion.

  1. Step in the water
  2. Stealthily look for and find a crayfish
  3. Place your hand in the water and slowly move towards the crayfish from behind
  4. Prepare your hand in an open pincer stance
  5. Mentally prepare to pinch with your thumb and pointer finger
  6. Move slowly toward the crayfish with the catching hand until about 3-5 inches away
  7. Thrust hand forward as fast as lightening without any hesitation and grasp crayfish using pincer grasp


*PRO TIP: Crayfish can only “swim” backwards. SO, when you’re going to catch one, position your body in front, above or to the side of the crayfish and make your hand come from behind. This will be a little tricker for them to escape, giving you more opportunity to catch them.

how to hold a crayfish, How To Care for a Pet Crayfish

Catching Crayfish With a Net

Purchase a cheap butterfly net and scoop them up. Its typically easier to approach them from behind so that when they bolt away, hopefully in will be right into your net.



Catching Crayfish With a Trap

You can create or purchase a trap. Using the traps is relatively easy but I would be mindful of the regulations in your area for catching crayfish!



If you do end up catching crayfish and are wondering about eating them or how to care for a pet crayfish, see more below.



How to Care For a Pet Crayfish

Learning how to care for a pet crayfish is fairly easy, especially when comparing them to other aquatic pets. I’ll sum up everything I’ve learned and read about how to care for a pet crayfish. 



Crayfish Tank Setup

  • A crayfish tank should have at least 5-10 gallons of water
  • If you’re going to have fish and other crayfish, at least 20 gallons would be ideal
  • Ammonia and nitrite should be near 0ppm 
  • Temperature varies depending on the species
  • A pH of 7.0-8.0 is best
  • It’s worth noting that the bigger tank you have, the more margin you have for errors with pH and other imbalances
  • Most dirt, soil, sand or gravel will work for a substrate
  • You can even add wood, rocks or certain glass; just be mindful of your tank!
  • Give them a hideout or material to make a den
  • Clean your tank every 2-4 weeks (or sooner if needed)
  • They will likely destroy plants and go after fish



Crayfish Tank Mates

  • Shrimp
  • Guppies
  • Platies
  • Rasboras
  • Snails
  • Tetras
  • Tiger barbs
  • Congo tetra
  • Rummy rose tetra
  • Neon tetras
  • Danios
  • Hatchetfish
  • Rainbowfish
  • Rainbow darters
  • Red tail shark
  • Most community fish do well


Do Crayfish Need an Air Pump?

Crayfish do use a fair amount of oxygen so it’s not a bad idea to have an air pump.

You can use a lot of plants and keep your water shallow (4 inches or less) and get away with not having one. If you’re going to try that route just make sure that the crayfish can reach the surface if they need to have more air. 

If you’re going to have a full fish tank of water, without vegetation; the crayfish will need an air pump. Despite having gills, they can still drown without a source of oxygen.



Do Crayfish Have Gills or Do Crayfish Have Lungs?

Crayfish do have gills and as long as their gills are moist and oxygen is available, they can pull oxygen through them; which gives them the ability to live on land as well.

Understanding how to care for a pet crayfish is really pretty simple. Once you’ve figured out how to arrange their tank you’ll need to know what to feed your pet crayfish.



What do Crayfish Eat?

Crayfish will eat plants and animals (dead or alive), including

  • Leaves
  • Sticks
  • Fish
  • Plankton
  • Algae
  • Turtles
  • Frogs
  • Other crayfish
  • Snails
  • Worms
  • Shrimp
  • Tadpoles
  • Insects
  • Vegetables
  • Eggs
  • Larvae


What do Baby Crayfish Eat?

  • Algae
  • Pellets
  • Boiled vegetables


Crayfish Lifespan

Most crayfish have a lifespan of 2-8 years.

That’s about all there is to learning how to care for a pet crayfish!

I’ll show some popular pet crayfish to own below.



Popular Crayfish Pets

pet crayfish

pet crayfish

pet crayfish

How To Care for a Pet Crayfish

pet blue crayfish

If you’re not interested in how to care for a pet crayfish & instead are looking for how to cook them, see below!



How to Cook Your Pet Crayfish

“You can eat crayfish!?”

Yes. You can eat crayfish, and they’re pretty tasty. Rinse them well and you can even soak them in salt water for a few minutes.

Then, just bring some water to a boil & cook them for 5-10 minutes. I usually just remove them when their shell is bright orange.

Remove them, strain them and serve them.

You can dip them in butter just like crab or lobster.

There are tons of recipes for crayfish. Here is just one:

How to Cook Crayfish

Throwing live crayfish into boiling water is an activity the whole family can enjoy!



Here are more posts related to How to Keep A Pet Crayfish:

Outdoor Activities During the Winter

Outdoor Activities During the Spring

Outdoor Activities During the Fall

Outdoor Activities During the Summer

The 10 Best Small Pets For Anxiety 

Owning a Pet Slug

Easy Outdoor Activities for Mental Health: Salamander Searching

How to Keep A Pet Worm



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