What Do Crayfish Eat? Some Foods Might Shock You!

Crayfish are fascinating in the sense they can eat many things in their environment. Crayfish can easily eat algae, dead fish, aquarium plants, and so much more. The list is not even complete. You have to keep reading this guide to find out more about what crayfish eats.

Why Keep Crayfish in the Aquarium?

Crayfish can eat many things in the tank. That is how some people have found that crayfish can be beneficial in many ways.
One of the reasons people keep crayfish in their tanks is because it can feed on aquarium algae. This also includes other types of bacteria too. As such, you should end up with a cleaner tank than before.

Always maintain your tank properly

As much as crayfish can feed on many undesirables in the tank, it does not mean you do not maintain your aquarium filter. You still have to ensure proper maintenance so that your other fish types can have a clean environment.

Other than eating every other thing, crayfish can also eat a lot of planned foods too. This is because they are not picky.

The sinking pellets are often a preferred choice for crayfish. This is because they do not have the best swimming capabilities. It is possible to see crayfish feeding on leftover fish flakes that have sunk to the bottom of the aquarium. This is an advantage as the crayfish will help clean up such waste.

Crayfish can also eat protein-based snacks and vegetables. It is why sometimes you can buy such products in a pet store to properly feed your crayfish.

Precautions for Keeping Crayfish in a Tank

At this point, you know that crayfish can eat almost anything in a tank. However, there are still some things to keep in mind when you decide to put a crayfish in a tank.

The biggest consideration is that crayfish have ferocious appetites. This can quickly lead to problems if you are not ready to handle its appetite.

Crayfish can easily eat small and slow-moving fish. So, if you are going to stock your tank with some fish types that like to swim close to crayfish, expect them to be eaten.

Crayfish can go for large slow swimmers

It is not just for the small fish as crayfish sometimes can try to grab the large fish. However, they cannot do much damage to a large fish. You can always introduce them to your community tank with a bit of planning.

A good way of keeping them distracted from the other small fish is by having more plants in the aquarium. This is because crayfish loves to snack on plants. Each time you place a crayfish in lush aquariums, you will mostly have to forget about it going for the small fish.

The hardy or fast-growing plants can handle regular snacking by crayfish. Good examples are hornwort or java fern. So, make sure that the plants can also regrow fast to keep up with the crayfish destructions.

What Crayfish Eats in the Wild

Once you understand what crayfish eats in the wild, you would know what to feed it in the tank.

Crayfish will generally live in filthy places while in the wild. You will find them in streams and rivers where it is mostly muddy. This is because they cannot swim like the other fish types.

Since crayfish will mostly be in the mud, the best food it can get is something that is already decaying. That is the easiest food source for crayfish.

Crayfish can get their food when the currents in the rivers and streams push dead animals and plants downstream. With their claws, they will eat whatever they can catch. Since some of the food might be already decaying, it is soft for their claws to tear the food apart and easily feed on it.

Crayfish are vital for the ecosystem

Well, do not be disgusted by the type of food crayfish eats. This is because they are vital to the ecosystem. It is through their feeding habits that we can have a balance in the ecosystem.

When crayfish is not feeding on dead animals and plants, it can also scavenge for other food sources in its environment. That is how it can end up eating algae commonly found on rocks, planktons, and twigs. Sometimes they get lucky and quickly trap a slow-moving small fish.

As mentioned earlier, crayfish cannot swim very well. They rely on the strong currents to bring food their way. Luckily, they tend to enjoy what comes downstream in their environments.

Best Diet for a Young Crayfish

Let us say that you want to keep crayfish as a pet in the tank. In most cases, you will buy the young crayfish and watch them grow. However, what will you feed them?

The age

Crayfish, whether they are young or old, will not have many demands in terms of feeding. Nevertheless, you should still plan their environment and make sure it can enjoy a clean and healthy environment.

Crayfish are mostly not demanding when it comes to the water conditions and décor. You still watch out for stress levels since they might not be used to their new environment. Yes. Even crayfish can experience stress just like humans do. So, make sure you try as much as possible to provide a comfortable environment.

The substrate

The first thing you need to do is provide the crayfish a layer of substrate, mostly sand. This allows for the young crayfish to burrow into the substrate more often. Still, ensure the tank has many plants, twigs, and rocks. Your crayfish often needs a place to hide each time they get anxious.

Now that you have created a comfortable environment for crayfish, it is time to try out new food options.

The food type

In case you find it easier just to buy food meant for crayfish, it is advisable to choose dry pellets. The shrimp pellets seem to be a great choice for most aquarists. These pellets are well-balanced to provide the crayfish with all the important nutrients it needs. This includes more vitamins too. The pellets can also easily sink so that the crayfish can easily access them.

You could try the algae wafers or other protein snacks such as bloodworms that your crayfish will enjoy. It is possible to get a lot of protein options in the market. Good options include worms, mosquito larvae, and dried krill.

Some might find crayfish as decomposition machines. There is where you provide the crayfish with dead shrimp or fish. Well, you should however, not give crayfish any fish that died due to infections from parasites. This is because you would spread the disease to your crayfish too.

Plant-based snacks

It is best if you can use some plant-based snacks more often too. These snacks would have vitamins that the young crayfish needs. Crayfish can accept many vegetable types, so it should not be hard to find something they like.

Most aquarists have found that crayfish are fond of vegetables such as romaine lettuce and mashed peas.

Feeding Frequency for a Crayfish

Crayfish tend to eat throughout the day. So, it is best to feed them small meals if you want them not to overfeed. Just ensure the food is cut into small pieces of around ¾ of an inch in width. This size makes it easy for the crayfish to pick up and eat the food.

The young crayfish only need to feed once a day. Once they start approaching maturity, that is when you can reduce the feeding frequency.

Do not worry if you see the food sinking to the bottom without the crayfish touching it. Crayfish tend to be more active at night. However, you may want to check the water conditions further if the crayfish tends to ignore the food even more.


In case you have ever wanted to know what crayfish eats, you should have an idea at this point. Just make sure you try to provide a clean environment for your pet. Since crayfish does not discriminate most of its food, you will have an easy time feeding it. Go ahead and try some of the food options mentioned above to see if your crayfish likes them.

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