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What Do Crayfish Eat?

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Everyone has seen a lobster before, but many people don’t realize that smallĀ lobster-like creatures exist, and these can be kept even as pets! These are known as crayfish or crawfish. They do indeed look like small lobsters, are crustaceans and even have the same color as them. They are different in many ways besides their size, but one of the more interesting is that they live just as well in fresh water as they do in salt water. This has allowed many people to keep them as pets in small aquariums at home. If you decide to do something like this, then one of the first concerns you will have is finding out what they eat so that they can survive and work well with their other tank mates.

Tropical Blue CrayfishTropical blue crayfish (Cherax quadricarinatus) is commonly found in Queensland, Australia and south-eastern Papua New Guinea.

So what do these crayfish eat?

Well, it may be surprising to note that crayfish will eat just about anything around them. This is great news for those keeping crayfish as they will eat almost anything you give them. This is also bad news, however, as anything in the tank is fair game for the crayfish to dine upon. This means, if you have plants in your aquarium, they might be eaten, but more importantly it means that if there are other creatures in your tank, they might become dinner as well! This will take some careful planning on your part to ensure that you do not put things together in the tank that will end up killing one another.

Keeping crayfish with other, aquatic animals

So if this is the case, you may be wondering what you can feed your crayfish that will keep it from munching on its tank mates. Small fish, for instance, are a great snack for these crayfish, but this is problematic in tanks as the crayfish can begin to think that any fish is a snack. Imagine your surprise when you see your nice fish sleep on the bottom of the tank only to be gobbled up by the crayfish!

Wild crayfish diet

In the wild, you will find crayfish eating dead fish or shrimp as well as plant material. So if you are going to have them in captivity, it is best to feed them plants such as lettuce and of course you can use crayfish food. This consists of things like pellets of shrimp or even algae. You can be creative with much of this, but the most important thing to remember is that these animals will eat anything around them. You need to prepare for this by either separating them from other creatures in their own tank or by ensuring that they are fed well enough to stay away from smaller fish you actually want to keep as well as any expensive plants you might have in your tank!

More on crayfish: Facts about crayfish.